2014 may not have been a great year for gaming as a whole, and yet the survival horror genre had some rather interesting additions and successes. Arguably one of the best titles of the year was The Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation. The Evil Within was also a well received adventure, but with Shinji Mikami creating a game that seems to need a sequel and Guillermo Del Toro and Hideo Kojima teaming up for Silent Hills, which survival horror experience are you looking forward to the most and what do you look for in this genre?!
Now, obviously we're going to have to allow ourselves a degree of speculation here, seeing as The Evil Within has not been granted a sequel, nor has it really been discussed. But Silent Hills is on the way for the PS4 with a 2016 release date. Therefore, could 2015 and 2016 be great years for the genre that really has been abandoned by so many as of late?
The Evil Within 2 vs Silent Hills
I suppose I'll start with discussing Mikami's latest entry into the gaming world, seeing as I finished it only about two weeks ago. Personally, The Evil Within was lacking in a lot of areas for me. The plot didn't give us much in order to cling to for the 20 hours we engaged with it. It just found a way to throw us into a load of different environments, without having to give a reason of why we're going there.
The combat was a lot of fun though, but with such limited ammo, the game seems to ask the player to play the game stealthily, more in line with the traditions of the survival horror genre. However, most of your enemy encounters start off with you being ambushed...strange logic there.
But then again, it did lend a great deal of satisfaction to finally putting your enemy down or nailing that desperate headshot. It was a mixed bag for me, and the lack of a conclusion to the narrative was really irritating after having invested so much time in trying to figure everything out and make my way to the end. So does this cliffhanger ending point towards new chapters in the Evil Within series or just some DLC packs?
It would be interesting to see whether Mikami fleshes this series out and if he manages to iron out all of the creases in part 2. But the question remains, are you looking for this style of horror game, or are you more interested in getting something like Alien: Isolation or Silent Hills?
For those of you that enjoy a good survival horror game, you've got to check out the P.T. Demo, which you can download for free on the Playstation Store. It is genuinely terrifying. I had to stop playing after a while, I mean the atmosphere was just too intense. Not a game I should have started playing on my own in the middle of the night.
Personally, I found this kind of survival horror game (well, it's a demo but it is kind of survival horror) to be far superior to The Evil Within, if not only because we never see games likes this anymore.
For me, it really was a shame to see the likes of Dead Space become just another kind of shooter with its third installment. They took all of the dark horror aspects out of it, probably because they wanted to appeal to a wider audience. But surely there are enough people out there that want to play a game that scares the hell out of them?!
Too often we get horror games that seem to be just an amalgamation of a load of other titles. That's what I loved about Alien: Isolation. The developers demonstrated such astounding determination in recreating this sci-fi world, but also giving us a form of gameplay that suited it. They were consistent and worked so hard at making one strong idea work.
This feels like such a rarity of late that even a man who helped define the genre, Mikami, can't even deliver an experience like he used to. Don't get me wrong now, I loved Resident Evil 4, but I think it's about time we get a few more focused horror titles based on survival. Maybe Until Dawn on the PS4 will be something along the lines of what I'm looking for!
I really want to see the survival horror genre revived in main stream gaming. The demand is there! No, it's not going to sell like a Modern Warfare title, but I feel like there are enough gamers out there who are longing for the days of Resident Evil style horror to return. Am I wrong in saying this? What kind of horror game are you looking for? Let us know in the comments!