Think Survival Horror Is Gone? Check Out These 10 Disturbing Games Coming in 2013
The History of Survival Horror
The survival horror genre got its name and fame from the Resident Evil series which launched to critical acclaim in 1996. It earned its description as survival horror (which actually was coined from the famous line it displayed on the loading screen) because you could never feel safe. You weren’t all-powerful, you didn’t have much ammo, and you never knew when a zombie would jump out as you inched slowly through the corridors. The Silent Hill series took a different approach, messing with your mind through psychological twistedness. There were many other horror series at the time, but none so mainstream as those two. Just like the film industry had its horror genre, the video game industry had its survival horror genre. But, at some point the men in the suits at Capcom decided that horror games should be more similar to blockbuster action films. Only with zombies. At the same time the Silent Hill series seemed to be bent on copying the original games in the series, relying on convention and tradition, and feeling less and less disturbing as time went on. When it came to using the advances in technology to also advance the gamer’s sense of fear and terror, it was clear that Konami and Capcom could no longer be relied upon to make it happen. True, Resident Evil sold better as an action/adventure/shooter/horror game than a pure survival horror experience. But where did all the horror game fans go? Did they disappear? Did they exist only in the 90’s? I’m happy to say that’s not the case.
The Future of Survival Horror
There has been a revolution as of late and more and more developers are turning to the ways of old: the true survival-horror experience. Moreover, they have been finding new and ingenious methods to scare the wits out of gamers. The two indie games to spark the ignition were Amnesia and Slender. And another little series you may have heard of called Dead Space. Suddenly the internet has been flooded with Amnesia and Slender Reaction videos. Indie developers all wanted a crack at making similar experiences. Gamers forced their girlfriends and wives to try it out and see how long they could last. Horror games took on a new meaning. And Dead Space seemed to be going on a more mainstream route, with guns and action, but managed to completely preserve the horror experience by providing a nail-biting atmosphere and gruesomely disturbing, deep-space, nightmare adventure. Survival Horror isn’t gone. It went on hiatus, took a brief vacation. But now it’s back and is looking more promising than ever. And to prove it, we want to show you ten horror games that have us delightedly quivering in our shoes and wanting to lock ourselves in a safe cupboard. Check out what we think are the best, most promising horror games of 2013.
Get ready to enter the slaughterhouse in..
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Don’t you just love that name? It sounds so twisted. So, are the pigs the new enemies? Or are they the victims? Maybe both. But, if you come face to face with a massive, squealing and snorting, mutation of a pig, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
What if you were as helpless as a toddler…
Among the Sleep
In Among the Sleep you see the world through the eyes of a child. You’re two years-old, your perception of reality hasn’t fully formed, and your eyes can play tricks on you when they don’t understand what they’re seeing. Your parents have gone to sleep and disturbing things begin to happen in your house. You’ll toddle around and even crawl under tables and other furniture as you try to avoid the growing horror.
Let’s hope your flashlight doesn’t run out in…
Slender: The Arrival
We were big fans of the original Slender game, as it relied on brief glimpses and thick atmosphere for its scares. In a way it was similar to Amnesia, but it used the player’s lack of familiarity with his surroundings to its advantage. Slender: The Arrival allows the developers to power their vision with technology so that this time the environment will be even more palpable and your panic will be sustained for more than a few hours.
You can’t escape…
Let me just say that this trailer was one of the most intense trailers I’ve sat through. I was probably holding my breath for a few minutes there. Enter an insane asylum where things have gone wrong…
From the father of survival horror…
While there’s no trailer yet for Zwei, it should have your complete attention because it comes from Shinji Mikami, the creator of Resident Evil who wants to see survival horror return to its glory as much as we do. He says “A true ‘survival horror’ game is one in which the player confronts and overcomes fear. I’ve found my focus and once again I’m striving for pure survival horror.” He hasn’t directed a Resident Evil game since Resident Evil 4. Also cool is how the game is being published by Bethesda and it’s been in development for two years already.
Can you stay alive…
I call Until Dawn in my head Every Horror Movie Ever Made: The Game. The developers take no shame in that though. They clearly express how their inspiration is hundreds of teen-horror flicks. In fact, their description of the game is: “Until Dawn puts you in control of eight teenagers, stranded in a remote location, under threat and trying with all their might to survive ’til sunrise.” So far it looks like it will be purposely cliche and still well-executed.
The sequel to the most atmospheric game ever…
Metro: Last Light
With tons of atmosphere and immersion, the sequel to Metro 2033 challenges you to survive horribly mutated creatures in a post-apocalyptic Moscow. Last Light is set after the nuclear holocaust. Humans have been driven underground, while violent mutant creatures called the Dark Ones populate the surface.
From the series that revived the genre…
Dead Space 3
Dead Space 3 brings Isaac Clarke and merciless soldier John Carver on a journey across space to discover the source of the Necromorph outbreak. It doesn’t help that Carver is battling dementia. Just being near them is enough to induce personality shifts, insanity and hallucinations, all of which usually lead to death. We’ll see if John Carver can hold on long enough.
The first game with permadeaths…
Some say Dead Space is becoming too action-oriented, like Resident Evil. Routine is what you would get if you crossed Amnesia with Dead Space. One of the most intriguing parts of the game is what the developers call permadeath. You die, you lose. Forever. No second chances. That should ratchet up the game’s fear a whole lot as the stakes are raised much higher.
From the DS to the PC…
Dementium 2 (PC)
The way I know about this game is because I was a big fan of the Dementium series on the Nintendo DS. In a very original move, the DS game is now being remade for the PC. I guess that’s a sign of it’s quality. In Dementium 2 you wake up in an insane asylum and you’ll be battling insanity yourself most of the time.