Tuesday, June 2, 2009

5 Reasons Why Survival-Horror Games Aren't Actually Horrifying

With E3 currently in full-swing, it's a good time to be a socially maladjusted nerd...Well, kinda. With the Xbox 360 and PS3 trying to establish dominance in the field of gritty and realistic (read: brown and gray) FPS sequels Wii little more than a dumping ground for shitty third-party casual, the standards of great games has kinda dropped drastically. The worst offender of the lot? The survival-horror. Not because they aren't good games, it's just that...well, they're not scary. At all. Where the fuck did they go wrong?

#5: Save-points

Okay, so admittedly, this one is kind of a double-edged sword. Having too few of these is just irritating as fuck. Ever needed to get out the door when you desperately need to save four hours worth of playtime? Not fun. However, too many of these, and get ready to suck the scary out of it. Dying (at least in video game terms) kind of loses its impact when you realize that you have an army of expendable clones at your disposal. Kinda sucks the fun out of it, huh?

#4: Weapons

Do you know why no one in Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street ever whipped out a rocket launcher and blew Freddy and Jason into meaty salsa? Because then the entire move would be boring, pointless, and about five minutes in duration. So why the fuck would you give one to the player? Furthermore, it's hard to be afraid when the main character looks and acts like a brick shithouse in a bulletproof vest.

#3: The Plot

Hey, do you remember the worst horror movie you ever saw? Remember how bad the script sucked? Well, multiply that by ten and you still won't get around to the soul-crushing disappointment of the plot. The worst part? The characters all seem to live in the deepest bowels of the Uncanny Valley.

#2: The Enemies

Story time! When I was a kid, I used to play Super Mario Bros. 2 at my cousin's house all the time. It was hear that I learned to fear Phanto, a mask that chased you around and tried to kill you. Masks aren't exactly terrifying, I know, but it's the actions that were scary. All it did was chase you relentlessly until you died. That's it. It didn't pop out, go "Oogie Boogie Boo!" then sit around while you prescribed a hot lead injection.


Do you know why shit like The Exorcist or Hellraiser were actually scary? It's because it actually immersed you into the plot. When it comes down to it, Survival-Horrors just aren't scary because they just can't make you give a shit about them.


Rusty said...

My brother (who actually plays video games) would like me to tell you that you're pretty damned funny. Also, that the original Mega-Man game is impossible.

Robert said...

I'm with Rusty's brother!
x Robert

Snath said...

That's okay with me. Resident Evil is still one of the best franchises out there, even if series kind of outgrew the genre name.

The Silent Hill series, however, is still definitely worthy of the name. The first one scared the shit out of me the first time I played it. My best friend had to actually leave the room when he watched me play it, and he did so by running away when he heard the radio start squawking.

Lord Thundercox said...

Dude, I care deeply about Francis from Left4Dead.


Anonymous said...

No way they have plots.

Making it passed all the levels by killing everything in sight so you can kill, fuck or marry the prince is not a plot - unless you get to maim, cripple, or castrate the game developers and creators along the way.

karstark said...

Hey! I disagree! Silent Hill is one of the best horror experiences to ever happen, and it relies mostly on mood. It's better than easily 90% of the horror movies around now or since it came out.

And regarding plots, well, there's a whole lot of feature horror films that get by waith as little or less plot than the best survival horror games. Hell, I STILL don't really understand the plot of Silent Hill --- but I'll never forget how creepy it was.

Anonymous said...

beating original mega man simply requires judicious use of the lightning bolt pause/unpause cheat.