Upcoming Horror Games in 2014: 5 Terrifying Experiences
Despite being somewhat bastardised by the high demand for explosive, guns-blazing action, Horror is still one of gaming’s most popular genres. It’s had some spectacular hits in recent years, with games like the disturbingly bloody Dead Space franchise and the sanity-destroying Amnesia games bringing Horror back into the limelight.
These days, most games have a little dash of horror in them – depending on what you consider to be horror. Games like Gears of War, Metro 2033, Dead Island or Dark Souls might be considered hybrids of the genre to some; half-horror, half-something-else. But in most cases, it comes down to the use of visceral imagery. Lots of blood and gore – that’s not exactly what I’d call horror.
This is the distinction I’ll make before looking into some of the heart-stopping, pulse-pounding games that are coming out in 2014. The Horror genre really has two main offshoots; Horror games, where we see things which are horrific, and Terror games, where we actually feel terrified. For me, a good Horror game is one where I don’t want to switch off the lights before bed, where I have to keep looking behind myself (in person as well as in-game) just to make sure something’s not about to stab, bite or maim me. I want to feel terrified by a Horror game, not repulsed. Games like Gears of War or Dark Souls can be scary in some places, but it’s not the focus. They’re dark, but not bleak.
It’s this understanding which will shape my list; these are games which will try to scare you, not games which are a little bit gory. So, here’s a look at five of the most anticipated horror games that are coming out this year:
Alien: Isolation is the long (very, very long) awaited Alien game that fans of the franchise have been asking for. Concentrating solely on the first film – which was undoubtedly the scariest – developers Creative Assembly aim to bring you this survival horror sci-fi in Q3 2014, for the Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Mixing the mechanics of Amnesia and Bioshock, this first-person trawl through an abandoned space-station features only one deadly alien – a huge difference from the gargantuan disappointment that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, in which we mowed down thousands of the flimsy things. Using only scavenged tools and makeshift traps, you’re not looking to go hunting in Alien: Isolation. You’ll more likely be running, hiding and silently weeping, as the alien that stars in this spiritual successor to Ridley Scott’s 1979 film is very much a living nightmare.
The gameplay so far looks beyond impressive, and the beautifully crafted 80’s-style future looks detailed to the extreme, with analogue displays and chunky computers to boot. Any Horror fan should keep a close eye on this one.
The Evil Within
The Evil Within celebrates the return of Shinji Mikami, creator of the renowned Resident Evil series. While it’s easy to be sceptical when taking into account that recent instalments in the R:E series have been considered poorly executed , gameplay footage of this new title looks highly promising. It’s true that Mikami has dedicated more time of late to action-orientated horror games such as Shadows of the Damned, but now it appears he’s returning to his roots.
The Evil Within is a third-person action-survival-horror coming to Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC in late August. Footage and information so far point to a Silent-Hill kind of other-world setting, in which grotesque and violent creatures lurk and stomp through a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s a real struggle to stay alive. You have a variety of weapons to choose from, such as pistols and trip-mines, but it appears avoiding enemies is usually a more valid option in most circumstances.
Though it’s perhaps not the most frightening game in the works, it nevertheless appears to be shaping up as a gritty, disturbing and stressful adventure into a bloody, hopeless world – exactly the kind of refreshing take we need on Mikami’s original work. Fingers crossed.
While the previous two games are being made by larger developers, Routine is a sci-fi survival-horror made by lesser-known developers; Lunar Software. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking game coming out this year, Routine seems to play a lot like Amnesia but in a Dead Space setting, minus the necromorphs.
Eerie, cold and silent, you explore an 80’s-future-style moonbase, devoid of human life, but with strange machines prowling around every corner. The game is non-linear, with the direction of exploration up to the player. Routine is set in first-person, and limits you to making use of the junk you find around the base – though one or two weapons may be involved. Most terrifyingly of all, the game exhibits a perma-death system, in which you have no HUD, no lives and no health bars. It’s incredibly atmospheric and quickly sucks you in – even watching the trailer made me feel immersed, so I can’t wait to experience it for myself.
Everything from the meticulously rendered retro-space-environment, to the noise of distorted static AI voices emitted by damaged computer systems makes this game already look perfect. It’s safe to say that Routine seems like it’s going to be one of the scariest games ever created. In any case, we’ll have to wait, as the only release date Lunar Software has given is 2014.