A few months back we featured the most bloodcurdling games to be unleashed this fall. We then graded each fright fest depending on what we assumed would be the scariest. The big surprise though is that half of the games featured - including FEAR 2 - either won’t be released by year’s end or - like in GhostBusters and Fatal Frame’s case - don’t even have release dates.
Instead, we’ve had some quality time with the freaky games already out and we’re here to set straight what we predicted. What games are as spooky as we thought and which disappointed? Read on for the actual scariest games this fall.
Words: Tyler Nagata
Left 4 Dead doesn’t have zombies. Those lumbering masses of un-scary flesh - that gently pawed their victims to death - died with Romero’s Living Dead film series and won’t be present in Valve’s upcoming survival horror shooter.
Like 28 Days Later, Left 4 Dead’s infected are full of rage. They don’t slowly shuffle their feet while moaning. Instead, they relentlessly charge at you as though every fiber of their being is focused on ripping you to shreds and feasting on the gooey guts inside. Boards of wood won’t stop these maniacs from busting through a window to grab you by the throat. Only a bunch of bullets can do that - but your ammo is running low.
There’s a reason why everyone’s been raving about Left 4 Dead since Valve started drip feeding the media details: the game’s extremely badass.
But what else do you want us to say? When you’re trying to conserve what’s left of your ammo, as you and three other survivors barely manage to hold off a hulking wave of infected storming down a poorly lit hospital hallway, you know you’re playing a solid shooter. But when all of a sudden, another angry mob of undead breaks through the wall to your immediate left and the infected start clawing at your face while your teammates scream for help, you know you’re playing a truly frightening and stressful first-person shooter.
Would you kindly imagine the following scenario? You’re armed with a generous cache of weapons and magical - sorry - Plasmid powers. As you creep around the soggy corners of a submerged dystopia, you realize there’s no way you can be freaked out considering the heat you’re packing. And suddenly some thing scurries above you. Unexpectedly, faint whistling can be heard in the distance. No enemies are visible. And just as you reload your shotgun, a wayward soul starts lunging for your jugular.
Chances are you’ve played in the world of Rapture - one of the most terrifying societies we’ve ever experienced in gaming. Immediately upon booting the game, you believe in the world, almost as if it had existed at some point. Every nook and cranny is terrifyingly doused in blood or shadow - all crafted to lure you into a consistent sense of dread. And every audio diary provides just enough info to flesh out its sad inhabitants as if you walk through the ghostly relic. Even the iconic diving suit-wearing Big Daddies are enough to make anyone wish for a quick death.
The scariest thing about the PS3 version seems to be some low-res visuals of particular textures, namely the Big Daddies. And while the PS3 gets all the DLC of the 360/PC version and a brand-new Survivor mode, this port doesn’t appear perfect. At the time of this writing, 2K was working on a patch solution. Here’s hoping this issue is straightened out.