I do enjoy a wide array of horror games, but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that have capable protagonists. A capable protagonist is someone who isn’t handicapped by things like bad stamina, poor aiming, and tank controls. One upon a time those things were great elements in horror games but now they’re outdated. I feel horror games are at their best when they can still strike fear into your heart without needing to handicap you. That is why today’s pick comes from The Last of Us.
I was incredibly excited to play this game when it first came out. Everything from the visuals to the gameplay spoke to my tastes. Besides Resident Evil 4 this would be one of the few horror games I got to play that has capable protagonists. It felt so good to control Joel and Ellie during their journey and not once did I feel like I was over powered. I was constantly looking over my shoulder and around every corner to best handle each new threat. Most of my encounters with clickers were nerve racking. I didn’t want to attract more infected but I also wanted to deal with them. This led to very tense moments of stealth that felt very gratifying to clear. I loved every moment of that game, can’t even think of one complaint I’d have for it.
The choice in song is one of the first you hear and I feel it sets the tone really well for the game. The world went to hell and humanity is hanging onto existence by threads. There is a big difference between existing and living. Existing is just getting by, day by day, which is what these quarantine zones have reduced life to. In order to stay safe you stay within a zone and hope for the best. Even then many of these places have come under attack by hostile groups such as hunters and the infected. With limited resources tensions rise and unrest sets in. The sad state of affairs fits in well with the somewhat chaotic nature of the guitar. When paired with the ambience you can really feel that despair set in as people wonder how long they may have left before it all ends for them.
Do you fight? Do you run? Do you succumb? It’s a terrifying way to “live”.