Sorry to disappoint but no, it is not Friday! But it is Halloween and we here at Respawning wanted to discuss all things spooky, so for that reason we’re bringing this weeks Let’s Talk forward a day. This week we’re getting together to discuss times in video games when we were genuinely terrified! Make sure not to read this one with the lights off as you may be in for a fright!

Genuine fear is something difficult to evoke. A lot of contemporary games mistake startling for the creeping, anxious dread that true fear can evoke: Five Nights at Freddies may make you jump, but when you’re done playing with it, does it linger in your mind, making every shadow suspect?

There are definitely games out there that manage it. Alien: Isolation, for one. Before you get the flamethrower, that game is a bundle of nerves manifest: you hide, you crawl, you run, seeking to outwit the xenomorph who seems to be everywhere you go. In Resident Evil 2, every enemy is a legitimate danger: in the dark ruins of Raccoon City, a zombie in a tight hallway is every bit as deadly as a licker. No headshots can save you here, as the foe slowly crawls towards you, moaning its hunger for you…

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But, honestly? The scariest title I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying was Forbidden Siren for the PS2. The dark, foggy streets of Hanuda are stalked by deadly, and increasingly horrific looking Shibito, as you – one of several ordinary humans, ultimately powerless – struggle through the town in order to escape and survive. You could see through the eyes of others to help you make your decisions, but seeing yourself be spotted by an enemy is a chilling experience. It, and its sequel, Forbidden Siren 2, were masterclass horror titles, and it’s a shame that instead of a HD update, we got Blood Curse – a remake replacing most of the Japanese cast in the Japanese setting with Americans. Sigh. Hopefully one day we get a port of these classic titles, so that people can experience the terror anew. Look it up, and check it out, if you’re curious.

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As always, I come along and are the exception to the rule! I hate scary games. There I said it. I avoid them at all costs. I tried Alien Isolation, nope. Lasted all of five minutes before I had to turn it off. So, in the spirit of what scares me in a game, my total curve ball is height. Now, where it isn’t exactly a scare so to speak, I get extremely anxious whenever a game has me climbing or jumping round at height with a danger of falling off. My first experience of this was the Assassin’s Creed titles. When they have you climbing tall buildings and hanging off stupidly high ledges, it gave me sweaty palms and an elevated heart hate. It genuinely made me feel nauseous. And I find this again in the Destiny titles with their jumping puzzles. The worst thing about this? I keep going back! (Even the picture below makes me feel uneasy!)

The person responsible for my feeling of utmost terror actually works for Respawning and with this in mind I want to give a special little shoutout and say:

Fuck you Clarissa.

Clarissa singing down the microphone at me and Will as she chased us down in Dead By Daylight is one of the most tense and terrified I have ever felt playing a video game, in fact – HERE is video proof:

As someone who actively avoids horror it’s not often I find myself terrified by a game. I do dip into games that are out of my comfort zone every now and then, and recently attempted to play Soma whilst on a trophy hunt. I didn’t last long, as the tension rich atmosphere and creepy setting put me off in almost no time. I definitely appreciate that the game is supposed to be unnerving for players, but as that’s not what I want from a video game, it isn’t something I’m willing to humour for more than an hour or so.

Horror games do have a place in gaming, and that place is far far away from my consoles. Please and thank you.

I don’t play a tonne of horror games and lets be honest I’ve covered Resident Evil 7 VR to death (because it’s the product of pure terror). So the other one that really sticks in my mind is the early Silent Hill games. One moment in particular for me which I think is in number 2. I entered a room with a mannequin, went round a corner away from it heard a thump and went back to find it had been gorily beheaded…..If you know you know. Silent Hill 2 was creepy and mind bendy AF and made me shart my pants!

I can’t believe we’ve got this far down the list without somebody mentioning P.T. Now I enjoy a good horror game from time to time and watch a ton of horror films, so I like to think I don’t scare easy. Then I heard about P.T – a short and simple teaser for a Silent Hills game made by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro that never happened. Suuuurely this can’t be as terrifying as people were making out it was? Fast forward an hour later to me, sat on my own outright refusing to open the door to that goddamn corridor one more time until at least somebody else could sit in the room with me! The way the game messes with your expectations then executes its jump scares to perfection was enough to scare any fan of horror. I would say go and play it but thanks to Konami pulling it from the PS Store after the games cancellation, that is no longer possible. But hey, we’re getting Death Stranding instead so yaaaaaay *rolls eyes*.

The time I’ve been most scared playing a video game was whilst playing Amnesia with my friend. The amnesia collection has been released for switch recently so I wont spoil it, even though its a really old game. I’ll just say…..the Chancel. To this day that moment still shakes me to my core! 

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