2014 was most certainly not a great year for gaming. A series of broken games from Ubisoft, disappointing Game of the Year candidates, and no real stellar releases for our new Xbox One and PS4 consoles. But then, we also received some incredible Indie adventures, some beautiful remasters and two intriguing entries into the survival horror genre.
In terms of triple-a games, survival horror is a genre that is often overlooked. Considered a niche market, a lot of producers can see that their profit margins are going to be a lot smaller with a game that uses scares as one of its main draw factors. But the reality is, there are a lot of gamers out there who want to relive the golden days of this genre on the Xbox One and PS4.
The Evil Within vs Alien: Isolation
These two games, though very different from one another, were the two biggest titles of 2014 that represented the horror genre. Shinji Mikami is one the most recognised individuals in the gaming industry, thanks to his creations such as Resident Evil 1 and 4 and Vanquish. He helped define the genre that he returned to with The Evil Within, but a lot has changed.
Alien: Isolation is quite possibly the first great Alien game ever created, and it took the guys who gave us all the Total War series to do it. Who would have guessed?! Its levels were stunning, the atmosphere was beyond tense and most importantly, it was engaging from start to finish. Perhaps the narrative was stretched a bit far, but the amount of gameplay here is remarkable for this formula!
In terms of looking ahead, I actually found the latter title to be more representative of where I'd like to see the genre go. The Evil Within was never really that scary, and it was never really about survival in the true sense of the genre. Enemies continually ambushed you throughout the campaign and you were force to fight all of them with a pathetically small amount of ammunition.
I'm all for having little supplies, but not when the game continually throws you into combat scenarios. Sure, it definitely made that killing blow so satisfying, but the game was really lacking in tension. Except when this spider lady was chasing me, that really did freak me out I must say.
But Alien: Isolation was remarkable, seeing as it managed to keep me in a state of fear from beginning to end. I was terrified by every sound, would curse the sight of an android, but then also be awestruck by the level and sound design in every single corridor. But that's not to say the game was without its faults.
The campaign was indeed too long, the ending was really anticlimactic and they supplied me with the flamethrower far too early. After that stage the Alien could be handled with a few short blasts of the weapon as I ran off down the hallway. Ammo was in good supply for this device. But overall, this was exactly what I'd always wanted from the Alien universe in terms of gameplay. It was a thrill and I hope we see a lot more games like it!
In terms of sequels, I would have to say I'd much rather see something like Alien: Isolation 2 over The Evil Within 2. The Evil Within had a terribly disengaging plot-line that basically just gave the designers an excuse to throw you into a lot of different horror environments at the touch of a button. I'm not interested in this protagonist either, or his story. He was pathetically bland, as was the supporting cast.
I'd love to hear your opinions on these two titles! They both claim to be a part of the same genre, but exhibit some very different methods in achieving their goals. Be sure to let us know what you thought of Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within and whether you'd like to see sequels in the future!