Hide And Shriek, the new game from Funcom, is a Multiplayer Horror experience which takes place within the same universe as their previous game The Secret World, while remaining perfectly accessible to players new to this developer’s work. In this game you are pitted against another player, either a friend or a stranger through matchmaking, attempting to scare your opponent silly by setting traps and casting spells.
What I liked about the game from the off is that there aren’t many horror games in which the objective is to scare other players. There are many horror games where this is more of a byproduct of the game itself, so I thought that the principal objective being to create the horror was an interesting idea. However, I will say that despite its best efforts I did not find this game to be as frightening as I had hoped.
I don’t say this lightly as when it comes to horror video games I am something of a scaredy-cat. It saddens me the amount of money I’ve spent on horror games that I was too chicken to complete, and there are many horror games (most memorably for me perhaps Resident Evil 1), which have had an indelible mark on me. This fear is something I experience more with Video Games than I do in other horror media, mainly due to the interactivity of video games which lends itself to even deeper immersion. That’s why I was quite saddened to see this game rely on quick jump scares when it could have really gone for a more chilling tone and atmosphere.
The sound design in the game is great which is an integral and often overlooked aspect to any video game, let alone one from the horror genre. The game also looks nice and plays very well, and for people jumping straight into the game I will say that it isn’t too difficult to get your head around. You may require a few plays before you get used to the whole aspect of setting traps to locate your opponent and scare them, but overall I will say that this was a fairly intuitive playing experience.
What I will say hold this game back from being truly great is the repetition and lack of diversity in the game. The game currently has just the one map set within an empty school at night, which unfortunately doesn’t hold the atmosphere I needed to get the adrenaline pumping and make it more of an intense experience. There being just the one map was an issue, however this doesn’t mean that the developers won’t bring out new maps in the future, which I would look forward to seeing. In regards to the repetitive nature of the game, this was something that did hinder my playing experience with it and makes me reluctant to return to the game again. This not only comes from the one map, but also how each game involves the same objectives and goals in order to scare your opponent, which if you’re playing with a friend and getting to know their tactics more and more, could depreciate the game’s replayability.
Hide and Shriek has a lot of great potential with its unique focus on being the frightener and frightenee at the same time, and is definitely a well crafted game both in its sound design and its mechanics. However, for a game where the objective is to scare, I have to say that I was let down in this area, and was hoping for a more intense playing experience. I never felt vulnerable or at threat, which are emotions that a strong horror game should be creating. Its repetitiveness and lack of map variety are things that I feel can be remedied, and if they are I do believe Hide And Shriek could hold a lot of promise to be a truly terrifying and enjoyable gaming experience. I do genuinely hope that Funcom build on this game further, as they definitely have an interesting concept with this game.