I always enjoy Halloween, even if I’m totally unsuited to the games and films it inspires. With that in mind, I think it’s a shining reflection of the games I’m going to talk about for this list that I enjoyed playing all of them as much as I did.
I don’t enjoy horror films in the slightest, and jumpscares in games or films can just get in the fucking bin. There’s no substance to them, and I just see them as the horror equivalent of a fart joke, something to be thrown in when the producers don’t know what to do next. I won’t spend this list whining about things I don’t like and instead want to focus on five games I’ve played that are great to play for Halloween.
5) Metro Redux (2014)
I’ll start with Metro: 2033 as it’s a great example of a game I played that’s right out of my comfort zone that was a really nice surprise. I confess I purchased the Metro Redux collection for PS4 purely because I wanted some bloody games for the thing I’d just sank a couple hundred pounds on, and the trailer for this looked interesting to say the least.
The premise is great for the Metro series, which takes place in the Moscow underground following nuclear war eradicating almost all life on Earth and heavily irradiating the surface, forcing all survivors to seek refuge in the tunnels beneath the cities. They are not the only inhabitants however, and radiation fed monsters also lurk in the depths, and they’re not in the least bit squeamish about feasting on human flesh.
Weapon ammunition is scarce here, so you have to make every shot count if you want to survive even on the easiest difficulty. This leads to some of the greatest hide and seek gun battles I’ve experienced in games, with one such fight forcing you to progress inch by gruelling inch as you shoot Nazis (of course Nazis would survive the Armageddon) popping out of cover in one of the more graphically satisfying tunnels.
Two sequels have followed this game, Last Light and Exodus. I completed Last Light directly after finishing 2033 and enjoyed it (almost) as much as the first. I am yet to play Exodus but it will be one of my next video game purchases, once I’m finished with Fallen Order anyway!
The only game on this list I didn’t finish, I very much enjoyed the opening and stage setting of Dying Light. Everything was going so well, I’d beaten a couple zombies over the head with sticks, run around for a bit, then beaten some more zombies over the head with sticks. I was in my element, as humiliating enemies in video games is one of my favourite pastimes and it seemed for a while I could do no wrong.
Eventually, inevitably, the sun set, and Dying Light became an entirely different beast. The reanimated dead I had spent the last couple of hours bullying decided it was time to fight back, and chased me around the dark beautiful streets of Harran. Being the quitter I am, it didn’t take long for me to get frustrated and uninstall the game, but looking back I can confirm this is solely down to my own cowardice and is not a negative reflection on the game itself.
I’ve often commented on gameplay footage of Dying Light 2 positively, as it definitely looks like a fun game. The question as to whether I will get it or not rests entirely on how it does at launch, and if reviews report it’s ‘not as scary’ as the first then I’ll be all over it like pepperoni on pizza.
A fun little spin-off from Infamous 2, Festival of Blood sees Cole cursed / gifted with vampiric powers by the games antagonist, Bloody Mary. What follows is a fantastic Halloween themed (or ‘Pyre Night’ to quote the game) bloodbath that sees Cole able to drain blood from any NPC wandering around the overworld to recharge his abilities. This brings added danger through vampires posing as civilians, who will transform and attack Cole if he attempts to drink from them.
My favourite new power introduced in this is the ability to transform into a colony of bats and fly around the map. This is even more fun when you couple it with flying directly into an enemy and impaling them on the wicked looking Barbed Cross melee weapon that replaces Cole’s Amp at the start of the game.
Festival of Blood is testament to how silly the Infamous franchise is capable of being, and credit to Sucker Punch for making a Halloween holiday themed expansion for an already brilliant game.
Murdered: Soul Suspect didn’t receive the praise at launch that I feel it deserved. Receiving middling scores from critics, I confess this game doesn’t do anything overly interesting, but as it is so short (and easy to Platinum) that it’s worth anyone’s time. Now it is five years old, this game frequently appears in sales on the PlayStation store, and at time of writing is available for £3.29, which even the harshest critic will admit it is worth playing with that price tag.
You play as recently deceased detective Ronan O’Connor, on the hunt for a serial killer dubbed ‘The Bell Killer’. Ronan is personally invested in this case so much as to pursue it beyond the grave, as he was killed by The Bell Killer in the games opening. This isn’t a spoiler as it’s the first thing to happen in the game and is included in all of the games marketing.
The events of the game sees Ronan exploring the town of Salem, hunting for what he needs to discover the identity of The Bell Killer and to be granted access to the afterlife so he can be reunited with his deceased wife Julia. On the way to this you’ll have to discover clues, solve mysteries and avoid demons who want nothing more than to hunt you down and keep Ronan in Limbo.
Whilst the ‘scares’ in this game are nothing to write home about, the exploration and story are enjoyable enough to make this a great title to experience over Halloween. Thanks to its afore mentioned length, it won’t keep you busy past Halloween if you do decide to pick it up.
A masterpiece of a game in my opinion, and a must play that I’ve mentioned at least a dozen times in Respawning. Without giving away any main story beats as it is best to experience this game knowing nothing about it, you take control of protagonist Alex, who has travelled to a party on a spooky island with her school friends and new step-brother Jonas. Things ‘go south’ fairly quickly, and the decisions made by you will heavily impact how the game plays out. There are several endings for Oxenfree, and the game encourages you to play multiple times to see all of the options.
I’ve completed five or six playthroughs of Oxenfree and always found myself with a different ending. If this game isn’t on your radar, for Halloween or not, then it absolutely should be and I can guarantee that if you like story driven games with gorgeous art styles you will not be disappointed by this.
The next game from developer Night School Studio, Afterparty, launches on 29th October, and you’ll be able to find my review of it following its release on respawning.co.uk
Thank you for reading my top picks for games to play at Halloween. Feel free to let me know yours in the comments, but I hope you’ll forgive me when I tell you now I’ll never play them. If you’re interested in more videos then subscribe to the Respawning YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter @RespawningUK. Happy Halloween, and I will see you soon.Become a Patron!