Recently Deceased – 2010 in Horror Gaming
This last year has been a pretty decent year for horror games. Every year faces a bit of a drought, but 2010 has had some amazing titles for the genre. So while the days of 2010 dwindle down, let’s take a fond look back at the blood, gore and horror of 2010. So without further adieu, and in no particular order is Part 1 of The Horror Games if 2010.
So perhaps you’re thinking that Heavy Rain isn’t exactly a horror title. Well, consider it a psychological thriller if it makes you feel any better. Plus, we reviewed it this year, we weren’t going to leave you out. If Time Magazine thought that Alan Wake had a dark story, then they certainly never picked up Heavy Rain.
There’s nothing quite as dark as a child abductor/killer on the loose. Even worse when the creep kidnaps the lead’s kid. Heavy Rain puts you in the shoes of four characters hunting for the Origami Killer – each with their own motives for finding them. In addition to offering an incredibly dark plot, the game also serves up a nice helping of amazing visuals and a stellar soundtrack. With sometimes painful consequences for flubbing your QTEs, who says that Heavy Rain didn’t have any horror in it?
The scenario – atomic warfare. Millions of people dead, leaving a world completely destroyed behind. Sure, the story might seem like old news to us, with games like STALKER and Fallout exploring this area. Metro 2033 takes the fight for survival underground.
The game is dark and moody, it looks and sounds amazing, what’s not to love? It might have been a little bit short and a little bit linear, but we still love it. The claustrophobic tunnels that Artyom calls home crawling with muties threatening to destroy his home, limited ammo and just oozes atmosphere. On the surface, the only thing separating Artyom and horrible, agonizing death is a gas mask – which cracks away and takes damage the longer you linger.
Resident Evil 5 – Gold Edition
March (September for Move Support)
So technically, this shouldn’t even be on the list. Not because the game was considered by many fans of the series to have totally sucked (hey, I liked it…), but because the game technically didn’t release this year. Well, when you consider that the Gold Edition of RE5 combined the great DLC Lost in Nightmares and Desperate Escape, plus included Move Support via an update, we feel that we should at least discuss the Move Edition…
Whellp…it’s the same old RE5, the same [redacted] story, the same [redacted] characters, pretty much the same [redacted] game. It didn’t even let you get the trophies/achievements again with the PS Move. Which would have been a lot easier due to the excellent accuracy we had using the Move Controller. Getting used to the other quirks though? That’s another story.
William Redmoor just can’t seem to catch a break. Yeah, he was in the first Dementium for the Nintendo DS…no, he didn’t make it out, that was just the First Phase of his treatment. Dementium II picks up with…the second phase in this twisted little world on a platform we figured was pretty much for Mario games.
Dementium II delivers with some of the best graphics we’ve seen on Nintendo’s little platform. It doesn’t skimp on the details, from blood spattered walls and genuinely creepy sounds sputtering out of those little speakers. There are a few hiccups with the controls, but the game feels like a solid, stellar FPS. While the game might be ‘crap your pants, piss yourself’ it’s definitely a creepy little game, possibly being one of the darkest, most twisted games on the system. Awesome!
Alan Wake (xbox 360)
What can we say now about Alan Wake that we haven’t already said? Alan Wake, a game that gamers feared would never see the light of day, was approaching Duke Nukem Forever status (but hey, they said they were going to finally finish that too, didn’t they?).
While critics point out many of its faults, for what it is, Alan Wake does a lot of things right. Remedy sure does have the Twin Peaks-esque Stephen King atmosphere down pat. Taking inspiration from a variety of places, Alan Wake takes everything about weird, frightening pop-culture and suit it to fit its needs. Bright Falls feels like a real place, complete with real kooks to boot.
It’s very rare that a game as simple as Limbo can have such an affect. Playdead does with Limbo what other developers can’t – project a deep, meaningful plot without saying a word. Leaving the entire story, setting and everything to the imagination of the player. It’s simplistic almost to the point of being ‘too’ simplistic. It’s a story about a boy, looking for his sister.
With its unique art style, the gruesome nature of Limbo makes our reaction to it more than what it actually is. The Boy might get stuck in a bear trap…what am I saying! ‘Stuck’ He’s viciously torn apart. That’s how most puzzles end, most of the time. Trial, and brutal, unforgiving error, from the dark depths of the jungle to the gritty industrial areas of a city – cause if you’re not really here, but you’re not really gone, where else do you go?
Amnesia – The Dark Descent
Oh God, Amnesia. Turn off all the lights, throw on a nice set of headphones and play Amnesia – The Dark Descent. The music I was listening to just turned creepy for no particular reason, other than the fact that I typed out the words. And we loved everything about it.
Amnesia takes everything we love about survival horror and amps it up a few notches. To sum it all up, there is nothing more pants-crappingly terrifying than knowing that there’s an enemy just on the other side of a thin, wooden door, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it but run away and hide. But you can’t run, your character is too afraid to move an inch. Stay in the dark too long and Daniel, the poor guy unfortunate enough to be trapped in this horrible place, will start to do what most of us would – freak out, lose control, hallucinate. Oh, and for good measure, Frictional Games threw enemies that ‘aren’t’ afraid of the dark. Genuine thanks, guys.
Saw II: Flesh and Blood
Following the Saw tradition of releasing a new film every year, Konami released Saw II on us this year. With big improvements over the previous entry, the game feels a lot more polished than its predecessor. However, that polish doesn’t prevent the game from getting a little bit tedious. The blood and gore are there, but…
Saw II definitely stayed true to the gritty environment of the first game and the movies inspired by it. Abandoned subways, barricaded streets and a whole lot of industrial space serves as your playground. Did we mention that there will be blood?
Castlevania – Lords of Shadow
There’s nothing quite reminiscing about Castlevania. Dishing out the hurt on some skeleton monsters and putting Dracula rightfully in his place. Well, this isn’t ‘that’ Castlevania. Lords of Shadow makes a bold move into this generation ditching the 2D side-scroller and opting for pure awesome.
Epic battles, a deep and dark story and some of the best visuals this gen, not to mention Patrick Stewart channeling some serious Sean Connery. Complete with a wide diversity of levels, hidden collectibles in every level and a variety of relics to seek. So what if it feels like a bit of a God of War clone? It’s a damned good one, and we certainly can’t wait for the next.
Stick around for our second part of the Games of 2010 – Post Mortem.