Last year was pretty good to horror fans, pretty good indeed. It gave us Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a game that would’ve scared my pants off if I had been wearing pants while I played it. What? Don’t you play all your horror games without pants? After coming close to soiling myself during late night Dead Space marathons I’ve learned the virtues of playing games while my loins are in the comfy embrace of a thick adult diaper. It keeps me from having to do laundry so I can save my quarters for more important things like soda and snacks for said half naked gaming marathons.
But enough about me and my bizarre gaming habits, let’s talk about this year and what’s lurking in the shadows, waiting to satiate our endless appetites for all things twisted and horrifying. If the following thirteen games are anything to go by, this year might just be the best one yet for fans of the genre.
I sincerely hope you’ve already pre-ordered this game by now because it’s only two weeks away. Dead Space 2 promises more scares, a longer campaign, more variety and an incredibly fun multiplayer mode, among a plethora of other exciting additions.
The third installment in the popular, if not a little convoluted, horror FPS series is coming up and so far it’s looking pretty damn good. The game marks the franchise’s first foray into cooperative gameplay, but hopefully it’ll do what Resident Evil 5 couldn’t and retain some of its scares. We also have playing as the supernatural powered Paxton Fettel and a much improved cover system to look forward to in what could possibly be the best game yet.
I love that developer Volition is taking the amazing Red Faction series in a terrifying new direction despite there being essentially no need to do so yet. Armageddon takes us under the surface of Mars where creepy bug-like aliens have been let loose upon the unsuspecting colonists. We can expect even more ways to unleash havok on the environments only this time in more claustrophobic quarters.
Sadly, no one outside Japan was able to experience Fatal Frame IV but there’s a chance that will change with the upcoming remake of what’s considered by many, including myself, to be the best game in the ghostly series. Like the last game, Crimson Butterfly will be exclusive to the Wii so you can expect a hefty amount of frantic wand waggling. If we do end up seeing it outside Japan don’t let its Wii exclusivity keep you from enjoying one of the best survival horror games of all time.
There are rumors this game will be out at the end of the year but if tomorrow brings with it an announcement to the contrary, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised. Demon’s Souls was a game I had no interest in until I was asked to review it and at first I resented it for being so unforgiving. After a few hours I tossed the game aside and vowed to never pick it up again. Not much later I cooled myself off and tried it again using the things I learned from my first tumultuous experience with the game to keep it from getting as frustrating. Thirty hours of tough battles later I discovered I was hooked and that is why Project Dark, a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, makes the list.
This is potentially the most fascinating game here because it’s the only one that’s been designed specifically with Kinect in mind. Rise of Nightmares is a game that we know practically nothing about but is enthralling nonetheless. It’s been drawing comparisons to D, a decent horror puzzle game released back in 1995. How the game will implement Kinect’s full body controls is yet to be seen but if it’s done well Rise of Nightmares could be good.
All I can say is finally. After waiting a decade to hear something about this game I was beginning to lose hope that we would ever see a sequel. Then it was revealed in 2009 that the game was on the way and was being made by the developer behind the original game. All signs point to us seeing this game near the end of the year but I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets pushed back a bit.
The only mobile horror game on the list is here for good reason, because it looks amazing. Not only could Revelations be easily mistaken for a console game (it uses a modified version of Resident Evil 5’s engine), its use of the 3DS’ 3D technology makes it infinitely more exciting.
Another game that might end up getting delayed since it’s been pushed back once before is the long in development Aliens: Colonial Marines, brought to us by the dudes (and dudettes) that gave us Borderlands. I just hope it’s better than that craptacular Aliens vs. Predator game.
Now, I hesitated to throw this one on the list since there’s little chance we’ll be seeing it this year, but I can hope can’t I? Blizzard’s shown every class in the game, many of the exciting new features, some boss fights, spells and a myriad other things so the chances of a release date being the next thing they reveal is looking pretty good. If Diablo 3 does make it to my anxious hands sometime this year I can assure you I won’t be heard from again for many, many months after its release.
Ah, yes. The game I hyped up before we knew anything about it was revealed at TGS to mixed results. It has three of the biggest names in the industry behind it, including Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil), Goichi Suda (No More Heroes) and Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill composer), is decidedly Japanese in flavor and could pass for a spiritual successor to Nightmare Creatures. I think that’s a formula for success right there.
Doom 4 was ready to be revealed at QuakeCon last year but was taken off the schedule to give it more time to look spiffy before its big showing. It’s because of this that Doom 4 makes the list because I simply want to see something from it preferably early this year. Developer id Software is likely going to focus on getting Rage out so Doom 4 won’t be seeing the light of day until 2012 (unless some crazy gaming miracle proves me wrong I suppose) but when we do finally see what those guys have been hard at work on over the last handful of years I’m sure it’ll be as exciting as any major release.
We only recently had some light shed on what’s been an otherwise very mysterious game. We’ve been promised a return to what made the original games so terrifying, including a stronger focus on puzzles, some side quests and the very exciting addition of weather that ought to mix things up a bit. Downpour might not be the complete return to the series’ roots many gamers have been hoping for, but so far it’s looking far more intriguing than the last handful of games.