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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Are you afraid of the dark?

UPDATE: Added new trailer for Condemned 2: Bloodshot and added trailer for Alone in the Dark 5.

Since the birth of my first son just over a year ago, I've found that it takes quite a bit for a video game to scare me. After getting less than 5 hours sleep for well over one year's time, I find that I'm just not as jumpy anymore. What used to terrify me just isn't that scary anymore - probably because I'm half asleep at the best of times.

In my opinion, the scariest game that I've ever played (and finished) is Condemned: Criminal Origins. It's the perfect blend of spooky environments, jump scares, gruesome imagery, and gripping story. There were a number of times when I'd find myself contemplating putting down the controller rather than wander down a dark hallway or investigate an abandoned department in order to give my heart a rest. It's never a good sign when you can't hear the game over the sound of your own heart beat.

Although BioShock, Clive Barker's Jericho, and Dementium:The Ward all have their fair share of frightening scenes, I don't think any of these titles comes close to delivering the terrifying thrills of Condemned: Criminal Origins. So now I'm left to wonder if 2008 will be any different? Are there any games coming out that will make me poop my pants due to the sheer terror I'll watch unfolding on the screen?

Let's see...

Capcom pretty-well invented the survival-horror genre with Resident Evil. Next year, Capcom is back and ready to challenge for the title of scariest game with Resident Evil 5. The extended trailer below shows a game with great graphics and great atmosphere. If the game can live up to the hype, horror fans and Resident Evil fans should be in for a treat (hopefully) next year.

EA is ready to throw its hat into the survival-horror genre with Dead Space. The game's premise involves a large planet-cracking ship - the USG Ishimura - that goes silent and Isaac Clarke, an engineer, is sent in to fix things up. When Isac reaches the Ishimura, he realizes that there is something far worse than a simple systems' failure on his hands. Judging from the clip below, Dead Space is poised to scare the living daylights out of gamers in Q3 2008.

I've only played one Silent Hill title (Silent Hill 2) and my reaction to the game can be best described as "WTF?!". Unlike some horror games that rely almost exclusively on jump scares, Silent Hill excels equally well in creating creepy environments, disturbing imagery (e.g. Pyramid Head vs. Legs), and nightmare-inducing creatures. Silent Hill 5 will undoubtedly raise the bar for survival-horror games yet again. If I play this game, it'll be with the lights while in the company of my wife and kids (eyes and ears shielded, of course). Although I don't think Silent Hill 5 will be the scariest title next year, it's right up there with the best of 'em.

UPDATE: One title that I overlooked when first putting out my list of the scariest games being released next year was Alone in the Dark 5. I blame the fact that it is a franchise that I've never played before. I also blame the crappy movie that shared the "Alone in the Dark" name and was "based" on the game. Fortunately, the trailer below makes me forget all about Uwe Boll's disaster of a film; all I can say after seeing the trailer below is "Wow!". I really like the setting of the game - Central Park in NY. A survival-horror based in the middle of New York, a part of the city yet removed from the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps...

The trailer above sets the mood of the game but it doesn't really show any of the in-game action or divulge any of the storyline. Luckily, I've also embedded the first trailer for Alone in the Dark 5 below.

Seriously, this game looks to be quite good. If it lives up the quality of the trailers and game play footage revealed thus far, we're all in for a great game!

I think the scariest game next year will be Condemned 2: Bloodshot. Watching the videos below and perusing the various screen shots that have emerged have convinced me of one thing: Condemned 2 will be scary as f*ck! Not only will Bloodshot have the jump scares that will cause me to throw my controller across the room: it also has creepy subject matter. Hunting down serial killers and investigating the causes of an evil spreading throughout society are all terrifying when coupled with solid gameplay and creepy locales.

This first video is an interview with Martin Caplan, Associate Producer of Condemned 2.

UPDATE: This second video is the newest trailer for Condemned 2: Bloodshot. Enjoy!

After reading about these games, browsing the screen shots, and watching trailers and gamplay videos, I only hope that my fatigue levels remain high enough to desensitize me to the horror I'll be facing in these games. A couple weeks of solid sleep and I may lose my nerve...


Mike said...

Hmm. Playing these scary games at this time of the year might just be the thing to make Halloween creepier.

Because of your recommendation, I'm now thinking of getting Criminal Origins. ;) I think the title's on sale in a local mall somewhere.

I can't seem to make the RE5 trailer to run. I'm stoked about this one too!

So many games, so little time. :P

Klopzi said...

Mike -

Criminal Origins is a great game! I played the demo and bought the game shortly thereafter.

I'll look into the RE5 trailer - not sure why it wouldn't work. Probably something on GameTrailers.com's end of things.

Thanks for stopping by!