horror

My Steam Halloween Sale Haul

Since moving out I haven’t really had a chance to use my Steam account. We’ve got a family PC which I couldn’t take with me, my laptop is in no way built for games, and I don’t have the space or money to buy my own PC. Kinda sucks. (Although I do have a PS4, Xbox 360, PS Vita and Nintendo DS, so I’m not exactly lacking in gaming. Privileged bitch.)

BUT seeing as I visit my parents about once a week (it’s more of a “hi.. *boots up PC* how are you.. *puts on headphones* that’s nice.. *loads up game* mhmm..”) I do get to have a tinker on the odd Steam game here and there. Lo and behold there was a Halloween Steam Sale this weekend, so I had a perusal through for some cheap as chips games. I gave myself a budget of £10 (because I’m supposed to be a responsible adult now, Christmas is round the corner and I have a ridiculous amount of unplayed games stacking up..) and I think I’ve done pretty well!

The five games I managed to get in my £10 budget are:

Outlast Whistle blower DLC – £1.49

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Does a DLC count as a game? I think it does. It’s a mini prequel game to Outlast, not just maps or more items etc like your typical DLC. According to howlongtobeat.com, Whistleblower takes 4 hours to complete, so I’d definitely call it a game, albeit a short one.

I had a quick play of Whistleblower on Sunday, and forgot just how jumpy Outlast is! It has no mercy at all and found myself dying pretty much instantly when I tried to hide in a locker. Off to a great start. When I get a bit of a backbone I’ll have another try and hopefully get the game finished in a scary afternoon session.

Grim Fandango Remastered – £3.73

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The original Grim Fandango was released in 1998 (I was eight!), and was a game I always wanted but never had. I don’t know why. Fast forward 17 years (holy shit) and Grim Fandango Remastered was released! Praise be, I can finally play it without trying to play an old copy on a mate’s PS1. I decided to wait a little while before buying it because I have an issue with spending more than £10 on digital games. I am very much a budget gamer (*cough*stingey bastard*cough*), and seeing as you can’t trade or sell digital games, I don’t like spending too much money on them. But I digress, I’m so excited to finally play a game I’ve waited 17 years to play.

The Room – £1.99

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The Room was originally an iOS puzzle game, and was hailed by Apple as the best iPad game of 2012. An enhanced version of the game was released for PC in 2014, so seeing as I’ve never played the iOS or PC version, I’m hoping it doesn’t let me down!

Symphony – £2.03

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Symphony is your classic arcade style shoot-em-up game with a twist – it uses your own music. It’s not exactly like Guitar Hero where you’re playing along with the song, but the game picks up on the beat and rhythm of the song playing, and incorporates it into the game. On my first play I chose Take on Me – Aha, and it was bloody hilarious. I’ve only played a few times through and already know that I’m going to get hooked, it’s also a small enough file that it works fine on my laptop, where all my music is saved. Bring on the musical fun!

Haunt the House: Terrortown – £0.99

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The  final game I bought was Haunt the House: Terrortown. A while ago I watched YouTuber NerdCubed have a play and it looked so cute and silly, so when I saw it was only 99p I couldn’t resist! The premise of the game is to possess objects in a haunted house and scare the bejeezus out of the occupants, the more people running away the more points you earn. I haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but I’m sure I’ll have fun with this little game.

So.. the overall total for these fives games? *drum roll* £10.23! I was 23p over budget, but I think I’ve done pretty damn well. It just shows that a little bit of patience can pay off, especially when it comes to Steam Sales!

Anyone else pick up a good bargain this Halloween Steam Sale?

– AmyGames

Twitter: @littleamyhere

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Until Dawn – Game Review

I was so intrigued by Until Dawn, the game even made it to my “Upcoming Games I’m Excited For” post I made almost two months ago. I held off buying it for a few weeks, as I had a friend coming to stay at the end of September and we’d planned to play it together. No shame in trying to save a few bucks on a new release!

As a lover of a good old slasher horror flick, Until Dawn did not let me down. It was incredibly cliché; a group of teenagers staying in a log cabin on a mountain, with a mix of teenage dramas, crushes, and couples that will take their chances against death for a quickie. Slap on a bit of paranormal activity and a psychotic killer on the loose, and you’ve got me hooked. It was a nice blend of Evil Dead, The Cabin in the Woods, and Scream.

The visuals were incredible, something Supermassive Games really deserve all the praise for (and I’m hoping they win all the awards!). I strongly suggest that you watch the behind the scenes videos, they’re a bonus with the game but I’m assuming they’re available online now. They show how the actors performed the whole game on a sound stage, in their fancy CGI morph suits with cameras attached to their heads to capture all of their facial movements. The only letdown is that it’s a short video, I would really have loved a more detailed documentary showing the process from “Stage to Screen.”

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Now, onto the gameplay. Until Dawn is advertised as being “designed to be played multiple times,” but I’m afraid to say that the game is only fun to play through twice. Any more than that and it’s far too repetitive, with no skip button for the long cinematic scenes. I’ve played it five times now (I’m a shameless trophy hunter. FIGHT ME.) and I’m ready to put the game to rest. There isn’t enough variety to keep seeking out new ways to change the story.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game, the first playthrough with my friend was a bloody good time. Watching someone else’s decisions, having little arguments about said decisions, judging each other for failing the Quick Time Events, then discovering the big plot twist, it’s a really fun game to play the first time through with a gaming buddy.

During my second playthrough, which was on my own, I took a bit more time with the game. I found all the collectibles, which piece-by-piece unlocks a video about the lore and history of the mountain, the suspicious mining accident, and the creatures inhabiting the mines. I also changed a lot of my previous decisions, completely changing the outcome of the game. Like I previously said, the first two playthroughs are brilliant and I cannot fault them.

My favourite collectibles were the Totems. Depending on their colour, they would show you character deaths, and any upcoming dangers or fortunes you may come across. The scenes are re-playable, so they were interesting to play back during the game to see if any of the premonitions may be coming up. It was a nice twist to the usual collectibles in games, which sometimes don’t add much to how you play.

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One of the biggest downfalls of Until Dawn is the lack of multiple save slots. Your first playthrough is your main save, and once you’ve played the game you can play again from whatever episode you choose (you have to play all the episodes from that point on to make a change to the outcome in the end). The biggest flaw in that is a character potentially dies in an early chapter. If they died on your first play, then you need to play from that early chapter every time to try and keep them alive. It’d be nice if there were at the very least two save slots, one to keep said character alive and the other one where they die.

If you’re not a fan of games with Quick Time Events, then I’m sorry but this game is pretty much built on them. Personally I don’t mind them, they can make me feel a bit anxious (I’m an Anxious Annie..), but I think it adds to the feel of the game. You’re being chased by a killer – you’re gonna be feeling a bit antsy.

In addition to the Quick Time Events, there’s also the use of the DualShock 4 controller’s gyroscope feature. In situations where you’re hiding, you’ll be told to keep still. And I mean keep still. The tiniest of movements will trigger the attacker, and in some situations can lead to a character’s death. I ended up holding my breath and resting the controller on my stomach to avoid my hands betraying me and going into spasm out of sheer stress.

At first I found the controls a bit difficult, they reminded me of old school Resident Evil (I’m sure a lot of you know exactly what I mean!), where the right toggle didn’t really have much control of your camera movements. After a while I got used to it, however it was a bit daunting walking towards the camera and not knowing what you were walking towards until the camera angle changed. I wonder whether they decided on these controls as a nod to the classic horror game.

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Overall, I really enjoyed the game, but got a bit tired of it after a few replays. However I won’t let my greediness in replaying for trophies spoil the fun I initially had playing it. I paid £38 for a new copy a few weeks after release, which may seem steep for some people, but considering I’ve raked in almost 40 hours playing it, I’d say I’ve got my money’s worth.

– AmyGames

Twitter: @littleamyhere

Spooky Scary Skeletons.

Last night I invited a few friends over for a Spooky Games Night with a side of pizza. We’ve sort of come to an age where going out drinking every weekend doesn’t cut it any more, plus the amount of money you spend on alcohol makes my eyes water. The most we spent was £6 each on food, had a great time, and no hangover!

We started the night playing PT. I played it last year when it first came out, and honestly I was psychologically scarred by the demo. We didn’t know the controls, what the premise of the game was, or what the jumpscares were, so it took us quite a while to get through to the end, and didn’t manage to complete the final puzzle (people were still discussing theories back then).

I tried to let my friends take control of the game last night, as I didn’t want to spoil it for them. The only hints I gave them were the controls (R3 to zoom and the X button I believe are the only buttons?), and showed them the picture frame that you need to find the ripped up pieces for.

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(This corridor looks far too much like my brother’s home. No joke.)

It was interesting playing it through again, as things happened this time round that didn’t happen last time. There’s a moment where the radio says “Turn around.. I said turn around..” First time playing we were like HELL NO and kept walking with our head down until we got to the door, not coming across the Lisa jumpscare until the next loop. This time, the moment the radio said “Turn around..” the Lisa scare instantly kicked in, making us all jump and one of my poor friends wouldn’t come out from behind a cushion. What I love about PT is it has so few jumpscares, you spend the majority of the game waiting for them, making it so much more intense. We also saw Lisa on the balcony, which I didn’t see first time round, but didn’t see her in the window this time.

We made it to the end and I was eager to try the final puzzle, so took over the controller. After doing a bit of research, the theory that came up the most was to:

  1. Watch the digital clock, when the time changes to 00:00 stand still until the chimes end, then walk 10 steps and stop. This will make the baby laugh.
  2. A haunting should begin, with Lisa laughing/crying over the phone and lots of strange noises and interference sounds. During the haunting, but after Lisa finishes crying, whisper “Jarith” into the microphone. Try it as many times as you like, as it takes a few seconds for the PS4’s voice recognition to kick in. This should make the baby laugh.
  3. After the baby laughs, stand completely still. Your controller should start vibrating, then when it stops, the baby will laugh and the phone will ring. Walk over to the phone, press R3 to zoom in onto the receiver, and a voice will be heard saying “You have been chosen.” Then the trailer for Silent Hills should begin.

We had to try this several times, the first try I got the baby to laugh from the 10 steps, but couldn’t get anything from whispering into the microphone. We had to walk through the loop to reset it and try again. The next try I walked too many steps which didn’t trigger the baby, so finally on the third loop it worked. I was so spooked by whispering into the microphone, then hearing the baby laugh! Even though I’ve seen the Silent Hills trailer before, it’s gotten me excited all over again. NORMAN REEDUS.

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After PT we had a short break playing Call of Duty (as you do), then moved onto Slender: The Arrival.

I’ve played the original Slender plenty of times, but didn’t realise Slender: The Arrival had more of a story to it. We expected it to be the original game but with better graphics! The game is split into five chapters, starting with having to search your friend’s house after her mysterious disappearance. There are strange drawings on the walls of trees and Slenderman, and the house is in complete darkness with all of the doors open. The first thing I said was “maybe you should shut the front door after you… HE’S ALREADY OUTSIDE.”

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With each chapter comes a different objective, focused around collecting items i.e notes, switching on generators, shutting the doors and windows in the house during a flashback. The premise is similar to the original, but it has a lot more depth, better graphics and sound effects (the classic drum “boom boom” beat still kicks in when you’re collecting notes), and attempts to give a backstory to the urban legend.

We’re also introduced to a different character down in the mines chapter. A child-like monster that SPRINTS TOWARDS YOU AND ATTACKS YOU. I was mentally prepared for running into Slender, not having to run away from someone else!

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Overall it took us just under two hours to complete the whole game. It was quite fun, but I do think Slender is a game to play with a few people together, it sort of heightens the atmosphere and fear factor a little bit. I do recommend having a go if you’re into the classic horror game, it’s currently £6.99 on Steam if you’re interested (might be worth waiting until it pops up in a Steam sale, though!).

Even my dog enjoyed watching us play:

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She’s no scaredy cat!

I’m thinking of hosting another scary game night, any recommendations? We’re thinking along the similar lines of PT and Slender, nothing too long to complete, but a ruddy good scare!

– AmyGames

Twitter: littleamyhere

Top 10 Scary Video Game Moments (Mild Spoilers)

To me, a scare in a video game doesn’t necessarily have to come from the horror genre, it doesn’t even need to have the intention of scaring you. I’m sure you have your own gaming moments that had you jumping out of your seat, letting out squeaks of terror, or sending you into such a panic you had to pause the game. Unless you’re playing Nazi Zombies and YOU. CAN’T. PAUSE. Here’s 10 of my favourite scares. You may agree, you may think I’m a sissy. Let’s go.

10. Crash Bandicoot: Boulder Dash

I know, you’re probably laughing right now. But imagine yourself as a seven year old kid, a kid who had never played a scary game or anything more than Super Mario Bros, to suddenly have a boulder hurdling towards you. There’s no stopping, no jumping over it, no running to the side to let it pass. It was intense! I recently bought Crash Bandicoot on my PS Vita, and when I got to this level I felt the same rising panic that I had as a kid. It’s not a huge scare, but it was one of my firsts.

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9. Tomb Raider 2: THE DINOSAURS

I’m not a fan of dinosaurs. I mean, I like to see their skeletons in the Natural History Museum and know that they are very much extinct, but Jurassic Park messed me up to the point that I was freaking out on a kids Dinosaur ride in Disney World. Embarrassing.

So when I played Tomb Raider 2 (I was about 8 or 9), imagine my horror when a dinosaur came out of the darkness to eat me. No, not one dinosaur, TWO. My shooting technique was very much “spray and pray” on that level!

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8. Resident Evil: The First Zombie Encounter

Quite possibly one of the most memorable horror moments that I won’t forget in a hurry. Watching it again almost twenty years later (wow. I feel old.) the graphics and music are laughable, but Resident Evil certainly inspired the survival-horror genre (it was the first game to be given the title), and also with it’s alternative endings feature. Who lives, who dies – you decide.

7. Call of Duty Black Ops 2: The Warthog

Like I said before, not all scares in video games are intentionally scary. There’s something about the sound of the Warthog that scares the hell out of me; it’s not something I’d like to hear moments before I die. The video doesn’t really give it justice, but here you go.

6. Bioshock: Splicers

I’m only about halfway through the first game of the Bioshock franchise (I love it), but those Splicers give me the creeps. Their distorted masks and brutal violence gets me into a right panicky state as I’m trying to fight them off with whatever weapon I have at the time, usually just your wrench! I’m sure there’s plenty more creepy characters the further I get into the game.

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5. Dead Space: All of it.

I never completed Dead Space, I didn’t even get very far into it I was so scared. The moment I was officially done was when I was walking up to the next checkpoint, relieved I’d made it, when suddenly this horrifying monster-thing jumped out and killed me. I never attempted to reach that checkpoint again.

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Free hugs!

4. The Evil Within: Chainsaw Guy

Another game I’ve yet to complete, but this one I’m gonna try to! I’m not necessarily scared by much of this game, possibly because I’m expecting a lot of the jumpscares, but the guy with the chainsaw freaked me out. When playing it with a friend, we got stuck very early on in the game trying to get past him on a ward. Lots of hiding in lockers, ducking under tables, chucking glass bottles to distract him. The epitome of anxiety.

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3. Silent Hill 2

Another hit of nostalgia. I’ll be honest, I’m only guessing that the scare I’m thinking of is from this game, as I’m not exactly sure. I was watching my stepbrother play the game, he was running round a curved corridor, when suddenly a huge monster was there, chasing him down. He screamed, I screamed, we had to pause the game and take a break. It’s a complete horror cliché but it was a good’un.

(I can’t find a photo or video of the curved corridor so have a photo of Pyramid Head. You’re welcome.)

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2. Outlast: The Courtyard

Outlast is full of jumpscares and all the horror clichés, but the part that scared me was in the courtyard. You’re trying to find the Priest, you come across a few notes, locked gates, a shed with a key inside, and it’s gotten a bit too quiet. As you walk back to the middle of the courtyard you hear the most terrifying, demonic sound, then a black, shadowy figure rises from the ground and flies above you. I was bricking it. I’ll take Chris Walker on any day, just get me away from whatever the hell that was. I had quite a few “jump-out-of-my-seat” moments in Outlast, but that part scared me the most.

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1. P.T.

No words can describe just how terrified I was playing this damn game, nay DEMO. It’s not even a full game, just a teaser for the next Silent Hill. A GODDAMN DEMO. I played P.T. with a friend; it was about 2am, we had the lights turned off, and were taking turns playing with each new corridor. Well guess who got the big jumpscare? Me. My friend practically jumped onto my lap, I hit myself in the face with the controller, we were a mess. The scariest parts? 1. The baby crying, 2. The sound of the woman breathing/choking down the phone, 3. The refrigerator violently shaking when the baby’s cries got louder, 4. TURN AROUND. I SAID TURN AROUND.

Considering P.T is only a short demo, it’s gotten me very excited for the next Silent Hill installment. I might have to play that one with the lights on, though.

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And there we go, my top 10 scary moments! What video games scared you the most? Or, what game that wasn’t supposed to be scary had you hiding behind your couch?

– AmyGames

Twitter: littleamyhere