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Survival Horror

Until Dawn photo
Until Dawn

Having trouble loading Until Dawn? You're not alone


PS4s are too scared to load it
Aug 26
// Vikki Blake
The PlayStation Network is preventing some early adopters of Until Dawn from playing the game.  According to reports on reddit, most gamers are able to download the game without incident, but on launch, they're info...
Fatal Frame Wii U photo
Fatal Frame Wii U

Fatal Frame Wii U is an eShop exclusive in North America


'Free-to-start'
Aug 24
// Jordan Devore
Fans speculated that Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water would be a digital-only release on the Wii U eShop in North America. Unfortunately, they were correct. Nintendo confirmed its launch plans (October 22, $49.99) in a 2015...

Killing Floor 2's Incinerate 'N Detonate update feels damn good

Aug 20 // Zack Furniss
Killing Floor 2 (PC [previewed], PlayStation 4)Developer: Tripwire InteractivePublisher: Tripwire Interactive Release date: April 21, 2015 (Steam Early Access)MSRP: $29.99 As per the name of the update, the main draw here is the return of the Demolitionist and Firebug perks. In the past few months, most available perks had trouble taking down sub-boss enemies such as Scrakes and Fleshpounds. If you didn't have someone playing as Support with an AA-12 shotgun, chances are you weren't going to survive (put your dicks away, I'm not saying it was impossible, tough guys). In such a team-based game, it felt odd to be pigeonholed in this manner. Demolitionist fills a much-needed gap in Killing Floor 2's cooperative structure. Having the big guns necessary to tackle the big specimens feels long overdue, but it's much appreciated. You'll start off with sticks of dynamite, a utility knife, and the first tier weapon: the HX 25, a grenade pistol that may be my favorite in the entire game thus far. It launches a short-range horizontal cluster of grenades that explode on contact, and encourages strafing to properly group oncoming attackers. Having to change the way you move and think about lining up your shots separates this perk from the others in a pleasing manner. You have to reload between every shot, but the destructive power contained within more than justifies the increased pucker factor.  The second tier weapon is the C4, which I haven't got much of a feel for yet. You can deploy up to eight of them and then set them off in the order you set them. I imagine creative players will have fun rigging doors to blow, but I usually skipped C4 to get to the third tier M79 grenade launcher more quickly. You don't need to be as careful with this one as you do with the HX 25, since you can shoot from a farther distance. It doesn't work very well in a panicked backpedal, since you need to have a certain amount of space between you and your target for the round to explode. You'll still do damage with a dud round, but you won't take out the group in front of you like you were probably hoping. The final Demolitionist weapon is the RPG-7, which you've used in every game with guns ever. It's welcome here, even if I miss the LAW from the original Killing Floor. It launches one rocket at a time, which makes a missed shot a painful experience. You'll mainly want to save this for Scrakes, Fleshpounds, and the boss, Hans Volter. On a solo match I was able to take out Hans with three rockets, but they've already nerfed it somewhat since then. As much fun as it was to obliterate the boss so quickly, it's better that they took it down a notch. Don't worry, it still feels immensely powerful, just not ridiculously so. Perk skills for the Demolitionist include explosive resistance, being able to rig doors to explode when you weld them, and increased damage when using weapons from other perks. There seems to be less of a sure a build than with the previous classes. I only reached level six so I could only choose between supplying teammates with grenades and having my dynamite explode on contact. Even at this low level, I felt integral to every team I played on. Firebug occupies a similar role to the Commando perk: you're the garbage man, taking out the trash so your friends can take on the bigger meatsacks. You start out with Molotov Cocktails, a Fireman's Knife, and a makeshift flamethrower called the Caulk 'N Burn. It's a caulking gun that emits a short-range stream of flame that cooks weaker Zeds in seconds. It's easy to burn through all of your ammo before the wave is over but careful conservation eventually comes naturally. Once you have enough dosh (Killing Floor money), you can get the Trench Gun, a pump-action shotgun with incendiary rounds. This is the only weapon in the update that feels a bit underwhelming to me so far. The flame rounds are pretty, but feel ineffective. Next up is the Flamethrower, which is as enjoyable to use as I was hoping. Watching the never-ending onslaught of Zeds charge through your wall of flame only to keel over just in front of you remains a pleasurable (demented, horrible, what's wrong with me) experience. It sort of invalidates the Caulk 'N Burn though, since it's better in almost every way. The star of the show is the fourth tier weapon: the Microwave Gun. This high-tech laser beam feels straight out of Turok, replete with the oh God gross gore. It heats up enemies, covering their skin in what looks like gingerbread dough, making them expand until they just...pop, leaving entrails and other viscera strewn about. Some of the Firebug skill choices seems obvious: why would I choose to Flaritov (Molotovs become better light sources in dark areas) when I could have Fully Stocked (purchased weapons have full ammo)? Later skills seem more difficult to pick from, such as when you have to choose either increased range or splash damage. I wasn't able to try any of these skills, so maybe I'll be singing a different tune in a few weeks. Firebug, while entertaining, can't hold a candle to Demolitionist. I like having more options so I appreciate every perk, but a class that specialized in bosses was sorely lacking. I see myself rocking the grenade pistol for quite some time. And that's just the perks! The two new maps, Evacuation Point and Catacombs, are vastly different from each other. Evacuation Point is a more urban environment with plenty of open spaces and long tunnels to funnel Zeds through. There are only a few areas that you can get cornered, and there always seems to be an escape route. Catacombs is my new favorite map. It's an Ossuary under Italy, with tight corners and almost no light. It's the first map where every light can be shot out or accidentally blown up, and tension runs high when you can't see anything. It's fortunate then that one of the new perks is about creating meat torches, no? There's a host of other improvements that continue to make Killing Floor 2 feel more finished than the average Early Access title. The reworked audio includes meatier sound effects and also adds additional hit markers on the enemies. Whereas before there was really only a difference between head shots and body shots, metallic implants on the Zeds now make clanging sound effects. Shooting Hans' power core on his chest now does more damage than body shots. It's nice to be choosing to shoot somewhere other than chest or slightly above the chest. Upon ending a match, whether by defeat or victory, you're greeted with a results screen. Awards are handed out for various achievements such as killing the most specimens and getting the most assists. You can see which team member is doing the most damage, and how much experience you earned for each perk. Map voting has now been implemented as well so players can actually choose where they're going for the next round.  As if Killing Floor 2 wasn't gory enough, there's now the optional Nvidia FleX toggle that simulates soft tissue and fluid interaction. Just wait until the first time you launch a grenade into a group of Zeds and see the satisfying meat explosion. Do I sound crazy? I sound crazy. You need a beefy graphics card to handle FleX on high (they recommend a 770 or higher, which is what I'm rocking), but even with the extra giblets abound I didn't see a performance drop. If you want to get close to all that gore, you can try the new Berserker skill tree. Since the perk was underwhelming at launch, it's been completely re-worked. It has more damage resistance and you now have to choose between being stronger with normal strikes or doing massive damage with counterattacks. Since I've seen both styles of players, I know these changes will be appreciated. I still haven't mastered the parry. Some Zeds now have unblockable attacks (denoted by a fiery outline on their weapons) so Berserkers will have to stay on their toes. Berserkers (as well as Commandos) also have night vision instead of flashlight now. No more 'wasting' a skill slot! Dual pistols have also made their return, though the Gunslinger perk that will utilize them has yet to be implemented. Using their ironsights feels great; instead of holding your hands out a little further to zoom like the previous game, you aim with your right hand while the left remains in place. While the concept of dual-wielding is and will always be silly (he said while previewing a game with mutants taking over Europe), it's a great compromise. There are two crossover characters for players who own Red Orchestra 2 and Chivalry. The first is Anton Strasser, a soldier of the German Wehrmacht. He was cryogenically frozen by Hans Volter during World War II and now he's pissed. The second is a LARPing knight who played too much Chivalry before the Zed outbreak (seriously, that's what it says in his bio). He comes with his own unique weapon for the Berserker perk, a Zweihander that easily cleaves through Clots. As long as one player has this character, he can share the weapon with anyone on the server. This way the crossover bonuses are purely cosmetic. In a cool final touch, when Hans comes out for the final wave, he's introduced with a title card and a strategic hint. It's minor, but makes him seem more imposing. I look forward to when there are multiple bosses on rotation and each one gets their own little introduction. The Incinerate 'N Detonate content update is a shot in the arm for Killing Floor 2. Since the only problem I had with it before was that there wasn't enough to do, this was exactly what I needed to put it back into my regular rotation. While we don't yet have the release date for this update, it shouldn't very far from now. It's now in the QA stages, so as soon as final balancing touches are in place, it should be in your hands. I'm happy to say it was worth the wait. Now if I could just get the Sharpshooter perk back...
Killing Floor 2 photo
FIRE AND BLOOD
Killing Floor 2 has been available through Steam Early Access for almost exactly four months. Upon its initial release, I was already surprised by how fluid and satisfying the cooperative horror shooter felt. Cleaving my...

Until Dawn photo
Until Dawn

Hey, Until Dawn kids: Your winter getaway is a very bad idea


*Sigh* You won't listen
Aug 18
// Brett Makedonski
I urge you, Until Dawn kids: Don't go on that winter getaway. It seems like a lot of fun, but it won't be. It's not all drinking and partying and sexing. There will be a scary guy in a scary mask doing scary things. Your fri...

You don't need a GamePad to play ZombiU

Aug 18 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]306573:60033:0[/embed] Still, it's not anywhere near a deal-breaker. The Xbox One controller and DualShock 4 are serviceable in their one-button press menu summoning. It all just requires a little bit more care. Honestly, if you're playing Zombi carelessly, menu navigation is the least of your concerns. There are some other slight drawbacks in the Xbox One version of Zombi. Textures and character models seem a bit outdated, which can be expected from a game that launched before current consoles released. Also, the frame-rate tends to dip when action gets too thick. Those annoyances are nothing too detrimental to Zombi, though. The captivating environment and the unique survivor-after-survivor gameplay easily overshadow the flaws. And, we shouldn't view the switch from GamePad to regular controllers as a downgrade; we should view it as a fantastic opportunity for a wider audience to experience everything Zombi has to offer.
Zombi impressions photo
Well, just 'Zombi' now
To date, ZombiU has been one of the best (and only) non-Nintendo published Wii U exclusives. It has turned into something of a cult classic, as many have praised the way that it felt more like a survival game and resiste...

RE2 Reborn canceled photo
RE2 Reborn canceled

Fanmade Resident Evil 2 remake canceled


In the nicest way possible
Aug 17
// Nic Rowen
A bit of bad news with a silver lining, Capcom's recent announcement of an official remake of Resident Evil 2 has indeed put the kibosh on Resident Evil 2 Reborn; a promising looking fan remake made with Unreal 4. On the...
Until Dawn photo
Until Dawn

Can you stay alive for two minutes of live action Until Dawn?


It's not impossible
Aug 17
// Brett Makedonski
Since the beginning of time, sexy teens have been going out into the woods to do naughty things and get slaughtered. It's the circle of life. This time-honored tradition is well-documented in many films of the 1980s. Until D...
Banned Memories photo
Banned Memories

Banned Memories: Yamanashi resurrects lo-fi PS1 horror


Party like it's 1999
Aug 10
// Zack Furniss
After spending a couple of years writing for relyonhorror.com, I became fairly jaded with horror games in general. You can only cover so many games where you explore dark corridors with naught but a flashlight while watching&...
Rare Replay Sundown photo
Rare Replay Sundown

Rare's cancelled horror title Sundown looks hellish


This isn't your dad's Rare
Aug 04
// Jed Whitaker
Rare Replay is available now and includes unlockable videos of canceled games with concept art, stories, and gameplay that have never been show to the public. Unlocking the videos means completing various challenges and...
Zombi photo
Zombi

ZombiU hits PC, PS4, and Xbox One next month


Is it too late?
Jul 30
// Jordan Devore
Early Wii U owners should know all about ZombiU. Depending on who you ask, it was a decent to great zombie survival game and a much-needed one at that. Years later, Ubisoft is bringing it to other platforms -- PC, PlayStatio...

Review: Five Nights at Freddy's 4

Jul 24 // Nic Rowen
Five Nights at Freddy's 4 (PC)Developer: Scott Cawthon Publisher: Scott Cawthon Released: July 23, 2015MSRP: $8.00 The setup of Five Nights 4 intentionally replicates the design of the first game. The original cast is back, their avenues of attack directly mimic their first outing, and the general layout of your besieged room is the same, making this entry feel like closing a loop. But, this time instead of haunting a creepy knock-off Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, they're spooking up your home instead. There are no more security cameras to monitor, no more batteries to fuss over. You're just a little kid with a flashlight, scampering between the two doors into his room and whatever might be lurking in his closet (or right behind him). The type of sense you rely on has been inverted: instead of keeping an eye on things, this time you'll be listening for whatever is out there. When you creep up to a door you have to pause, wait a moment, and listen for any kind of breathing or noise in the darkened hallway. If you hear something, you need to shut the door as fast as you possibly can. If it's clear, shining your flashlight down the hall will ward off anything stalking towards you. If you're wrong though, and the monster is right there, and you shine your flashlight right into its toothy mechanical face, well, it's is the last thing you'll ever do. What this means mechanically, is that you need to absolutely crank up the volume to reliably hear things. Headphones are nearly required. Of course, the jump scare death animations are as loud as ever. Do you see where this is going? Sonic fucking boom. If you want to know if this game made me yelp, or jump, or spill my coffee and send me trudging to the kitchen for a roll of paper towels while I swore angrily under my breath -- yes, it did. Of course it did. It's a cycle of protracted periods of peering into the darkness and intensely listening to absolutely nothing interrupted with SUDDEN. LOUD. JUMP. SCARES.   [embed]296612:59683:0[/embed] It's an easy, dull, and obvious trick. The final refuge for a game that has run out of any other ways to scare people. Don't think of anything new and clever, forget introducing any kind of gameplay twist, or carefully establishing tension or mood. Just take the basic components, crank up the contrast, pump up the volume, and jam the severity. It's trite, lazy even. I'm not sure how the inevitable Five Nights at Freddy's 5 will be able to top this kind of “subtlety.” Maybe it will come with a pair of electrodes you attach to your testicles, so it can administer 5,000 volts of spookiness every time something goes “boo.” *BZZZZZT* What, did that make you jump? Sissy. There are a few other tricks. Monsters introduced in later nights operate with slightly different rules, and by the time the fifth night rolls around, you'll be sprinting all over the bedroom trying to keep things locked down. Unlike previous games though, the rules don't feel tight. Things are sloppier, with more guesswork and chance baked into the experience. When I died, I often had no idea what I did wrong. And if I'm being honest, when I succeeded I wasn't always sure why. Frustrating deaths and unearned victories are equally unsatisfying in their own way. The animatronics' logic was never clear enough to me to come up with a reliable strategy to keep them at bay. I supposed that could be intentional, a way of always keeping even seasoned players on their toes, but I think that's giving the design credit it doesn't deserve. More than any other Freddy game so far, I just felt exasperated and annoyed playing through Five Nights 4.   The emphasis on carefully listening for every creak and groan in the darkness isn't just a lame way to manufacture easy scares. It's also a way to ruin one of the greatest pleasures I've had with the series, namely playing the game with an audience. While others sneer at Freddy's for being pure Twitch/YouTube bait, I've always understood it. I get why these games are fun to watch because I know how well they play in the living room with a couple of spectators and rotating victims. There is a real joy in playing these games with someone else or two in the room to watch you screw up. To have a small chorus whispering “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit...” behind your shoulder as the tension mounts. Of having someone to exchange nervous glances with when the doors stop working and it's 5 AM going on 6 AM and there is just the tiniest chance that you might roll over to the next day before Freddy pops out and – “OH GOD HE'S IN THE ROOM!” Those were moments I missed while I played Five Nights 4. What I'd think about while I was all hunched up in my chair with a pair of headphones clamped on tight. The memories that made me feel like a traitor whenever I violently shushed anyone in the room who made even the slightest distracting peep. However you played the previous games, know that this Five Nights is purely for the lone wolves and streamers out there who don't mind strapping on their pair of overly-expensive, sound-canceling Beats By Dre. But enough about how I resent the bargain-basement scares and penny-ante tricks the game uses to provoke a response from you. Enough about how this game is profoundly annoying and deeply unimaginative on a mechanical level. As a person who has followed the series since its start, the most damning part of this boondoggle of a game is how it absolutely folds under the pressure of its own established narrative. After all the teasing and hints, the essay-length forum posts and amazing fan-made theory videos that manage to be more entertaining than the games themselves, the promise that THIS Freddy's will be the one to finally answer the series long-standing questions -- it completely flubs the landing. All of the world building and story momentum generated by the first three games lurches to a disappointing stop, like a wind-up car gummed up with carpet lint. Yes, the infamous “bite of '87” is finally addressed in Five Nights 4. But like so many smoke monsters and Cylon replicants, the mystery was always better than any answer the series could reasonably provide. You see it, say “meh” to yourself, and retroactively wonder what the big deal was in the first place. The fact that this kind of anti-climax is common doesn't excuse Five Nights 4 of its wet noodle narrative and limp “reveals.” If anything, all of those previous failures should have been taken as cautionary tales, the value of mystery should be known and respected by now. Some questions are better left unanswered. It doesn't help that the way the game wraps up heavily implies that the events it depicts should not be taken literally. Yes, the tired old “it was all a dream/nightmare, or maybe a metaphor, or like a weird trippy memory, I don't know” trope is dusted off once again, so nothing is particularly clear. That's without getting into how the chaotic mass of prequels, reveals, and reinterpretations the games have constructed now threatens to collapse into a superdense black hole of no-longer-giving-a-shit at this point. I almost broke out a whiteboard trying to figure out the series' mythology at this point. “Okay, so this game is set in '87 to see the infamous 'bite,' around the same time as the prequel events in Five Nights 2. But it's also BEFORE the murders of the children that haunt Five Nights 1 and what you find out happens with Springtrap in Five Nights 3. The Purpleman doesn't really have a role, but he does show up in a cameo. Wait, are the kids in the last cutscene the eventual murder victims? Oh god, I'm seeing spots. Is this a migraine, or am I having a stroke? Do I need to call 911? If I die, are they going to find my body splayed out in front of a computer with a bunch of crazy notes about Five Nights at Freddy's? Am I going to end up as some shitty urban myth about how Five Nights totally killed a reviewer?” This game is stressful in all the wrong ways. The now familiar Atari-esque mini-games appear between chapters to deliver their payload of exposition and spooks, but all the menace of those scenes has been lanced and drained by repetition. There is a new sort of mini-game between nights where you play Weeping Angel stop-'n'-go with an animated plush doll. Stop him on a specific mark and you can knock two hours off the next night. Let him get too close or run out of time and, you guessed it, JUMP SCARE! It's the one new addition Five Nights 4 brings to the table, and it feels like the shadow of a reflection of an afterthought. You don't need to play this game. Even if you've been invested in the series up till now, it's just going to disappoint you and rankle your nerves. The interesting gimmicks have been completely rung out of the franchise; this game is imaginatively bone dry. The louder, nastier jump scares that are left are just a crass attempt to try and distract you from the lack of innovation. The story, the ongoing mystery of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria, and the strange goings-on surrounding it are best left to your personal headcanon or favorite fan theory. You'd be better served experiencing Five Nights at Freddy's 4 the way it was obviously intended to be enjoyed. By going on YouTube and watching some twenty-five-year-old, dressed like a fourteen-year-old, scream and cry his way through the game like a seven-year-old. The game truly has come full circle. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Five Nights 4 Review photo
This guest has overstayed its welcome
Well, it's been a few months, time for another Five Night at Freddy's game I suppose. I don't like to be cynical. I don't volunteer to review games, and pay for them out of my own pocket, hoping that they'll disappoint me and...

Five Nights 4 photo
Five Nights 4

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 released early


Surprise! But not really!
Jul 23
// Jordan Devore
The new and almost certainly not final installment of Five Nights at Freddy's has released a couple of weeks earlier than expected. It's available for $7.99 on Steam. Given the events of the last game, Five Nights at Freddy's...
Coming this summer photo
Coming this summer

Full blown Resident Evil 2 fan remake in Unreal 4


Basically Resident Evil 4, playable soon
Jul 21
// Steven Hansen
Italian studio Invader Games is coming up on its summer release of its non-profit remake project, Resident Evil 2 Reborn. The playable alpha missed its October 2014 release, but is now in Unreal 4 instead of Unity, and will ...

The Silent Hill Retrospective: Silent Hill 2

Jul 18 // Stephen Turner
Silent Hill 2 was always more of a character study than any other game in the series. Whereas Silent Hill used its cast to drive the story forward, the sequel firmly kept its protagonist in focus. The world literally revolves around him, from location to creatures; a deconstruction of a seemingly infallible man. His quest is examined through existential conversation and perspectives, as Team Silent (or at least this iteration) comments on survival horror heroics and the audience’s passive tendencies towards empathy. At its core, Silent Hill 2 is about two adults dealing with loneliness and compromise. James is unable to move on from his dead wife as her sexualised doppelganger, Maria, adjusts to his ideals. You might not think it, but their companionship takes many of its cues from film noir. The broken man struggles with the femme fatale; a fate that can only end in destruction. For all its surrealist theatrics, one of Silent Hill 2’s most memorable scenes happens to be the sparsest. It’s a brilliant example of visual storytelling in a video game as Maria tells an uneasy story under a single light bulb and between bars. A schizophrenia plays out under washed features and fluid shadows. The duality on both sides of the room suggests two prisoners, not one. Without revealing too much, you completely understand the characters without being told what to think. [embed]296234:59589:0[/embed] Perceptions are constantly challenged in James Sunderland’s new world. The town draws in an eclectic cast of runaways, each with their own conflicted reasons for being there. And it’s through them that our protagonist is slowly shaded in and exposed, along with our own participating flaws. The brattish Laura recalls the parental fears of Silent Hill, but also provides a catalyst for Maria’s maternal instincts. Eddie Dombrowski, all sloven and immature, highlights our own dismissive stance towards imperfection. And then there’s Angela Orosco; a layered subject of meta-commentary and character complexity. Just because we save her from the Abstract Daddy, it doesn’t mean we’ve saved her from years of sexual abuse or the murder that finally breaks it. The best we can achieve is an understanding of her desperation and hopefully find genuine sympathy for her self-judgemental inabilities. For Angela, The Otherworld is a Biblical hell, quite unlike the world seen from James' perspective. The Otherworld is no longer the industrial nightmare of before. Gone are the obvious sirens, the collapsing machinery, and the reflections of a childlike mind. Now it’s just damp, moldy, and earthy, full of soil browns, fleshy whites, and dank greens. Akira Yamaoka’s soundtrack deals in regretful synths and piano-led sorrows instead of blaring cacophonies as James pieces the world together. Instead of schools and fairgrounds, we find apartments and date nights; the little reminders of domestic life. Rather than being the outsider looking in, James is confronted by his own subconscious. Repressed images become disturbing manifestations of the self. They scream with distorted female voices and click their heels in the dark. The Pyramid Head – now a defanged mascot of the series – is this relentless, mysterious force, a puzzle that can only be solved at a distance. It’s as much as an embodiment of The Otherworld as it is James’ dark half. Silent Hill 2 is a flawed game by today’s standards; sharing the rough gameplay of its predecessor and the Japanese attempts at Americanised dialogue. But that does not make its success overrated. It’s like that one landmark album that influences a hundred more, each one a little more refined than the last. What Team Silent did, or whoever you deem this development team to be, was to introduce audiences to the idea of cinematic codes and keys. They highlighted the need for more complexity in our characters, to show relatable ideas in unfamiliar ways. Silent Hill 2 is a milestone in video game narrative. Sure, maybe not in dialogue, but in the mise-en-scène of every location, every dress code, and every creature. It’s a game that says a lot without actually saying much at all. That opening 20 minute walk into town was everything you need to know about Silent Hill 2’s intentions. At times you were apprehensive, reluctant, lost in the unknown. But you kept going because you had to know how it all ended. You were James Sunderland without even realising it.
Silent Hill 2 photo
In our special place...
It started with a worried look in mirror dimly lit. For Silent Hill 2, this was a statement of intent; a progression in not only hardware, but also in narrative. Out went the B-movie horror about gods and the occult, and in i...

The Last of Us photo
The Last of Us

Naughty Dog devs thought The Last of Us would ruin the studio's name


It obviously didn't
Jul 14
// Brett Makedonski
The Last of Us was the game that proved to a lot of people that Naughty Dog could handle a mature narrative. Its writing explores the human condition and examines the child/guardian protective emotional bond. Upon relea...
Five Nights at Freddy's photo
Five Nights at Freddy's

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 coming August 8, free content update on October 31


Five Nights at Anthrocon DLC imminent
Jul 13
// Joe Parlock
Love it or hate it, Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s series has been a huge success, and now we know when the fourth game in series is coming. Thanks to an email sent to YouTuber Dawko by Cawthon and posted...

Resident Evil 0 N64 prototype shows how far remaster has come

Jul 10 // Kyle MacGregor
[embed]295730:59450:0[/embed]
Resident Evil 0 prototype photo
A long, long way
Today, Capcom took a trip down memory lane, reanimating some old footage of a Nintendo 64-era Resident Evil 0 prototype originally shown at Tokyo Game Show in 1999. The following year, the publisher reworked the project for n...

Don't Starve photo
Don't Starve

Here's what Don't Starve looks like on an iPad


It's out today for $5
Jul 09
// Chris Carter
Don't Starve was announced for the iPad platform yesterday, and soon, you can buy it! It's $4.99, and will only work on "at least" an iPad 3 or iPad mini 2 with iOS 8 and up. Courtesy of a new trailer, you can get a better l...
Don't Starve photo
Don't Starve

Don't Starve: Pocket Edition probably won't actually fit in your pocket


Above: so glad they put me in-game
Jul 08
// Joe Parlock
Everyone’s favourite shaving simulator Don’t Starve is coming to iPad! The inaccurately titled Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition does two things: Includes the base game and Reign of Giants, both optimised for to...
Spooky scary photo
Spooky scary

Allison Road might fill the P.T.-sized hole in my heart


No looping hallways here
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
Kojima and co. gave us a glimpse of home-based horror with P.T. and I desperately want more, even if it's from a completely different group of people. Allison Road looks like the next closest thing. A couple of notes about t...
Fatal Frame Wii U photo
Fatal Frame Wii U

Fatal Frame for Wii U might be eShop only in North America


Speculation based on Nintendo listing
Jun 23
// Jordan Devore
I was relieved to hear that Nintendo had picked up Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water for release outside of Japan, but there might still be cause for concern. The newly updated page for the Wii U ghost game on Nintendo.com s...

Frictional Games' SOMA brings true horror to PS4

Jun 19 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]292979:58725:0[/embed] In an underwater research station, you play as an engineer, Simon, who must uncover the mysteries behind the disappearances and deaths of the crew. After finding himself alone in an unknown part of the station, he discovers that things have taken a turn for the worse as machines begin inhabiting human characteristics. Some robots have even gone rogue after merging with the biology of the deep, and will hunt down anything they find. Using his own resourcefulness and whatever gadgets he can find, Simon will have to evade these horrors to reach safety. Following the school of design found in Amnesia: The Dark Descent, the player will not have any weapons at their disposal to take on whatever creatures they encounter. And gadgets and other support tools to help evade the creatures will only do just that. The name of the game is evasion, and hiding behind crates or other furniture scattered around is usually your best bet. Much like studio's previous title, this can make encounters incredibly nerve-wracking. Though my session only had one real encounter with one of the deep-sea abominations, I got pretty tense during it. That sure made solving the puzzle to escape more challenging. The environment is an interesting setting as well. The underwater research facility is dank and in disrepair, and with the horrors of the deep seeping into the facility, it feels like an industrialized take on the Lovecraftian aesthetic. While venturing through the halls of the station, you'll come across the bodies of workers that still possess clues and other secrets. As each member has in internal black-box installed, you can experience their last moments in audio-log form. It's a clever take on the mechanic, and it does a lot to flesh out the story as well. Though I only had a brief session with SOMA, I found the developers made something that felt like a more natural evolution of Amnesia -- a continuation of the same hide-and-seek-style horror that many fans loved. And in such a rich setting, surprises are in store. Without saying too much, there's a lot more going on with the character's journey and his surroundings than you might think.
SOMA preview photo
Releasing September 22 for PC and PS4
Even though it doesn't seem that long ago, it's been five years since a group of indie developers struck it big with the release of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The game became a hit with players looking for...

Fatal Frame Wii U photo
Fatal Frame Wii U

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water coming this fall to Wii U


Where was this during the digital event?
Jun 16
// Ben Davis
Among all of the exciting announcements at E3, Nintendo quietly announced another title through its YouTube channel: a new Fatal Frame! It's very strange that this wasn't a part of the digital event, but it's exciting noneth...
Perception photo
Perception

Perception Kickstarter hits $100K, devs release new 'found footage' teaser


Bluff Witch Project
Jun 12
// Vikki Blake
As the Kickstarter campaign for Perception celebrates hitting $100K, the development team behind the upcoming horror game has released a new "found footage" trailer video. The video -- which will feel familiar in a Blai...

Horror and secrecy need to be better bedfellows

Jun 08 // Zack Furniss
[embed]293479:58861:0[/embed] Don't Do This In this year's Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Capcom felt the need to release videos that focused on the various beasties players would be facing throughout the episodes. Any surprise or confusion that should have been reserved for a first encounter is squandered by any fan wishing to keep up with a product they are excited for and have most likely already decided to purchase. Though some consumers make the decision to go on media blackouts to prevent this exact situation, it shouldn't be on them to decide not to watch. This effectively renders these marketing efforts useless. Another title that gave away too much before anyone played it is last year's The Evil Within. One of the bosses, an amalgam of limbs and hair, was arguably the most unique creature in the game. It could teleport from corpse to corpse by climbing out of their coagulating puddles of blood and your best bet was to flee. This made for a thrilling moment in a mostly monotonous survival horror, but by the time The Evil Within came out, anyone who had been following it knew exactly what to do to survive. So what do we about this? Publishers want to make money, and the best way to do that is by showing the most exciting, gruesome sections of their newest product. But is that the only way? There are a few successful games from the last couple of years that prove there are other viable methods. So What Can Be Done? This is the part where I talk about P.T. (you knew it was coming). On August 12 of last year, P.T. was released alongside a short teaser at Gamescom. The teaser only showed reaction shots of people afraid of whatever they were playing. I immediately downloaded it out of curiosity and found the best horror game of last year. That it ended up being a teaser for the now-cancelled Silent Hills was icing on the bloody cake (I can already hear DashDarwin fuming in the comments). P.T. diffused through gaming media like a drop of blood in a glass of water; even with (and, let's be honest, because of) its utter destruction by Konami it will be remembered for a long time. I'd be foolish to deny that P.T. being free had no bearing on how often it was downloaded. However, I think if a new game came out of nowhere for only a few dollars it would have a chance of replicating this viral success. It's worth a shot at least.  Next up, we have Bloodborne. Sony spared no expense with providing images and videos of From Software's latest, but players had no idea what was lurking in its back half. BLOODBORNE SPOILERS FOLLOW, SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH AND IMAGE TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE. Though Bloodborne started off with beast-like enemies and Gothic environments, its latter half brought enough Great Ones, cosmic horror, and tentacles to merit numerous comparisons to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Most players would likely have been content with fighting lycanthropes in their various forms throughout the dark descent, but this unexpected tonal shift provided an identity that separated it from the studio's previous work with Dark Souls.  Providing media only from the first half (quarter, eighth, whatever) could be a way for publishers to keep the horror skulking about in the shadows and allow room for players to be surprised. An example of the downside to this method would be Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and its Raiden fake out. Though I appreciate that surprise now, Hideo Kojima earned a well of ire for that back in the day. There's definitely a risk here, but Bloodborne is proof that it can pay off beautifully. The last idea I have isn't exactly for releasing new games, but for adding content to them. The wonderful Lone Survivor: Director's Cut added extra endings, a new enemy, and fresh music to the original, yet no one could find them upon release. Creator Jasper Byrne teased this, and mentioned looking forward "to hearing your thoughts about the new edition, and interpretations of the new content… especially the secret endings!" And so began a mad hunt to uncover anything new, and no one could find anything for a few weeks (and if they did, they didn't tell the internet). Byrne created more excitement by doing this than he would have if he had just said "here's how you get the new ending, and here's where you fight the new monster." Though it isn't explicitly a horror game, Batman: Arkham Asylum did something similar. Just around the time the sequel Arkham City was announced, it was discovered that there were hidden blueprints for the Arkham City itself in the original game. How cool is that? Rocksteady Games waited until time had passed to expose this and it made players go back to see it for themselves. I understand that developers want everything they've made to get some time in the sun, but this delayed gratification can be just as, if not more, impressive. I'm not a marketing expert, and I won't claim to be. But in a time where the Internet can be used as a tool to spread information via experimental methods, we may as well try to change things up. P.T. and Bloodborne show that these risks can be well worth taking. Here's hoping some of these ideas are implemented next week at E3. Please don't show us everything!
Horror games photo
We can do better
Horror games, as much as I love them, have a serious problem right now.   In the modern-day media maelstrom, almost every scare, monster, and plot twist is given away or hinted at before a game is released. Of course, us...

Dementium talk photo
Dementium talk

Developer talks Dementium remastered for 3DS


Add saves, remove enemy respawns
Jun 03
// Steven Hansen
Underrated DS horror jaunt Dementium: The War (here's a review by Colette from 2,000 and flippin' 7) is getting a 3DS remaster (the DS original is pictured above). It was originally pitched (and thoroughly rejected by Konami...

The Silent Hill Retrospective: Silent Hill

May 30 // Stephen Turner
Silent Hill was as much about crumbling economics as it was about night cries and picket fences. Much like Resident Evil’s Raccoon City, the dilapidated lakeside town was undone by greed. America losing its values to modernisation was a recurring theme in survival horror. It was a warning from those whom had lost their own traditions to capitalist growth, not that far removed from the J-Horror zeitgeist at the time. But more often than not, Silent Hill takes its inspiration from days gone by. Old Silent Hill's influences are worn on street names and ledgers, from Stephen King to Sonic Youth to Psycho. Even the intro pops to the sounds of vinyl, its theme song in equal parts Eastern tremolo and Western twang. These influences come together to create small-town America on the slide, full of “mom & pop” stores and tight-knit suburban mazes. But rather than a tourist, you’re a trespasser. Horror in all its forms has this element of invasion. Here, Harry Mason breaks into homes, schools, and hospitals, as he searches for his missing daughter. Though the overall plot ends up becoming more about the Otherworld, his parental fears are always at the forefront. Essentially, it's not Harry's story, but Alessa Gilesspie's. As the player, and as Mason, we're the outsiders looking in. Perception is the key to the story and scares. Memories are skewered to point where friendly faces are misjudged and emotional attachments lead to narrow-minded decisions. Harry falls through the layers of reality, like the waking waves of a bad dream, and sees the town for what it really is. The Otherworld is an abstract place, clearly a concept that reflects its tortured conduit. What could’ve possibly been a new paradise takes a horrific form because of Alessa's abuse and lack of care by her mother, Dahlia Gilesspie, and Dr. Michael Kaufmann. Later games would force the perspective onto the main protagonist, and at times would suffer for it, but few would capture that “traveller in a foreign land” feel of their predecessor. It's because of the Otherworld that Silent Hill is relentless and oppressive. It constantly toys with the audience, waiting to take shape, and gradually stripping away the safety nets. Harry is shown to be extremely vulnerable, early on. He stumbles off steps, puts out his hands as he crashes into walls, has to catch his breath, and is a terrible shot. Our first contact with the Otherworld ends in seemingly death. It’s a far cry from the shrug-it-off antics of S.T.A.R.S. or Edward Carnby P.I. Every attempt is made to obfuscate the audience, either by claustrophobic gaze, location, sounds, or virtual threat. Radio static is both friend and foe; warning us of monsters beyond the flashlight's reach and ramping up the tension just by letting us know that something's there. Ominous, hollow synths give way to industrial noise, punishing and overbearing. Akira Yamaoka’s soundtrack is comparatively brutal to his later work, the kind of unsettling cacophony that would give a pre-Grammy winner John Congleton nightmares. Even at its most calm in the Fog World, the music still sets your teeth on edge. And yet, by the final act, where reality is in actuality nothingness, Silent Hill does an amazing job of drawing sympathy out of horrific circumstances. To many, Lisa Garland is the human face of Silent Hill (both town and title), and our perception of her stems from Alessa’s own memories. She’s seen as this kind and selfless nurse that only wants to help, but as we delve deeper, endure and learn, we discover what lies beneath. The bright smile, the homely uniform, and her position of warmth and care, are all her “picket fences.” By the end, we find out Lisa was a drug addict, terrified of her only patient. Through Harry, she finds the strength to push onwards, only to realise her own fate was already set in stone. Truth shatters the façade, breaks down her body, and we’re confronted with yet another disturbing subject of horror. For Harry, it's too much and he runs away. But for once, instead of the oppressive percussion of Yamaoka’s themes, we’re treated to the melancholic Not Tomorrow. These were people, not monsters. [embed]292927:58733:0[/embed] In a time of hi-five heroics, Silent Hill offered no such compliments. The best ending closes on a bittersweet note. The town is still lost to the Otherworld, though probably not as powerful as it once was, and Harry doesn't quite get his daughter back. In a shot mirroring the intro, and with his cop friend, Cybil Bennett, standing in for his deceased wife, there's the nagging suspicion that for all we've done, it might just happen again. Sure, we saved a young girl's soul, but we didn't really win anything. Only lessons and traditions were learned. Maybe that was the point, considering the start of this article. As a game, the first and only PSX release has undoubtedly aged in the last 16 years. But much like the low-budget horror movies and low-fi recordings it emulated, Silent Hill overcame handicap through inventiveness. The Otherworld, the town, the storytelling, they were all informed by thinking outside the box. Everything we know about Silent Hill – every fan theory, every femme fatale characteristic, run-down aesthetic, social commentary, urban quest, childhood memory, occultist lore, and personal demon – stems from this very title. So it might be a little frayed around the edges, and certain conveyances are needlessly obscure, but for a mainstream horror game that was intended, quite cynically by Konami remember, to chase after that sweet Resident Evil success, it really was a very unique and artistic beast. It's still wonderful to think how something like that could be produced by such a small group of rag-tag developers, left alone to their own devices in a fairly corporate environment. Of course, though we had survived our first trip through the dark side of Americana, the world had been left open for more lost souls and more horrific layers to come…
Feature photo
What's going on with that radio?
Western horror, Eastern eyes. That was what made Silent Hill memorable for a generation. It was visceral and relentless, oppressive and paranoid, and underlined with a tragic tale that hadn’t been seen on the normally e...

Corpse Party Vita photo
Corpse Party Vita

Corpse Party: Blood Drive creeps west this fall


More Vita love from XSEED
May 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Corpse Party: Blood Drive, the third chapter in Team GrisGris and 5pb.'s horror series, is on its way to North America, XSEED Games announced today. Unlike the original game and Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, Blood...
Allison Road photo
Allison Road

Is Allison Road the spiritual successor to P.T.?


I SAID, LOOK BEHIND YOU
May 29
// Vikki Blake
Though Konami wants to "scorch the earth" and deny that P.T. was possibly the best game reveal in the history of forever (do I still sound bitter?), there are some determined to keep the dream -- or nightmare -- alive. Christ...
Don't Starve photo
Don't Starve

Don't Starve on Wii U isn't quite a perfect fit


Out this week
May 28
// Zack Furniss
Don't Starve's whimsical world full of hungry horrors has been available to PC gamers since 2013 and later came to the PlayStation 4 and Vita, but it always seemed to me that it would find a perfect home in the Wii U. What be...

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