I think a lot of players (myself included, at least initially) had a similar problem with “Alan Wake”, even though it doesn’t have previous games to go off of. Though the developers never claimed it to be just a survival horror game, the mechanics in the game (from being mostly generous with ammo and light to going into a “slow-mo” mode when enemies appear) seem at odds with the atmosphere and immersion worked so hard at. Which is a shame, because, when looked at in another way, “Alan Wake” is a good bit of pulpy fun, what with its episodic structure, quasi-cheesy writing, multiple allusions, and reliance on improbable combat. So I guess you could say it heartily wears its Stephen King inspiration on its chest.
Also, “epic moments” reminds me of the MST3K joke “deep hurting.”
Lovely bit of ruminating Charlie. I have to say that while I’m upset at the decline of horror gaming in the mainstream, I think we can take some solace in the fact that it’s part of the cyclic nature of horror in any medium. Usually horror is born out of obscure or indie projects, becomes familiar to a point where it’s no longer frightening or profound then gets pushed over by the next incoming IP. Looking at film series such as Alien or Evil Dead you can see an arc wherein the horror is quickly recognized and in sequels becomes an adversary to be overcome by action.
One of the main reasons that Silent Hill remained fresh for so long is that they adapted and altered the concepts enough in each iteration so it could stay unknown and therefore harder to comprehend. In time of course it devolved into action schlock in Silent Hill: The Arcade, and even though the new developers tripped up a bit in Downpour I think there might be life in the old dog yet.
I’d be interested to hear your take on Downpour actually.
Dead Space was a game I had high hopes for its future. The atmosphere was perfect and with some tuning it could’ve really become a horror game of its own.
I agree with most points except the camera. While I felt the camera in Dead Space was acceptable I don’t think it was “camera clunkiness” that made the game feel so claustrophobic, but the environment itself that led to that. You are stuck on a small derelict space station that’s long since been infested by necros in Dead Space 1; a great setting for the classic space monster horror.
Dead Space 2 has you on some massive space city that in process of being infested, which sounds like an upgrade but is really just a downgrade in reality.
Dead Spess Marine 3 is not making a good impression at all so far.
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