The Night We Gamed at Home
Ahh, Hallowe’en. The night of a thousand screams! The night Michael Myers came home to stab some babysitters! The vampire equivalent of Christmas! Ghouls love it and the writers at GamEir are no exception to the rule. As a fun seasonal treat (or trick?) a few of our distinguished monster squad have outlined their Spooktober gaming plans.
Are you brave enough to read the article? Few who delve in have ever returned… it’s a bit like The Ring except during lockdown we promise not to crawl through your telly. Or do we?!? (Legal department: under no circumstances will we haunt our readers.)
Niall-mare on Elm Street
Halloween has snuck up on me this year, like a slasher villain. Instead of dying, however, I’m planning to enjoy some like spooky fun with Luigi’s Mansion 3. I’ve been a big fan of the series since the Gamecube days and so far this has been an utter delight. Ghostbusting with a hoover never loses its inherent comic appeal and the astounding character animation and level detail makes exploring the hotel a joy. I’m sorry to be so late to the party with this one but I couldn’t have picked a better time to hop in.
Also on the Switch, I’ll be jumping into the Animal Crossing New Horizons Halloween event. I’ve spent a lot of the month decorating my island with a metric butt-load of pumpkins and perfecting my gimp/vampire costume. My Halloween gaming is surprisingly wholesome so I’m going to balance it out by sprinkling in some truly depraved horror movies hopefully!
A quick note for anyone looking for something to play: the Epic Games Store will be giving out two movie-based games for free! Blair Witch and Ghostbusters would make a terrible film double-bill but might just make for a great gaming one? Is there anything scarier than an utterly disinterested Bill Murray? You can be the judge!
Sean of the Dead!
Since I can’t see my own friends this Halloween (damn lockdown), I’ve decided to compensate with virtual friends on a camping trip in Until Dawn. It has everything that you would expect from classic horror movies like psychotic slashers, creepy clowns, spirits, clunky romances and plenty of social drama.
The game is well-paced and quick time events are normally very fluid, making the jump scares all the better. The game also quizzes you near the start so that it can feature your personal fears more heavily. It has been out for a while but there’s very little that’s as entertaining as watching someone new to the game experience a stressful QTE for the first time. It’s even better when they realize that mistakes are permanent.
With a great cast featuring Peter Stormare, Hayden Panettiere, Rami Malek and more, the voice acting and mo-cap really seal the terror. One reason I keep going back to Until Dawn is how much the story can change depending on the choices you make. It stays pretty fresh with repeated playthroughs and there is an option for additional DLC Rush of Blood with VR support to bring the horror all the closer.
Like many people, I’ve spent a great deal of time hunting ghosts this October in Phasmophobia. For those of you out of the loop, Phasmophobia is an early-access co-operative paranormal investigation sim. In a team of (up to) 4, players enter a haunted location. Equipped with thermometers, crucifixes, video cameras and other accoutrements, the aim of the game is to locate and identify the type of ghost in play. After that, it’s all about surviving long enough to get the hell out of there in one piece. If you die, you lose all of your expensive ghost-hunting equipment.
In premise and execution, Phasmophobia is incredibly simple. That said, there’s something incredibly compelling about the experience. Not quite being sure where, or how, the ghost will strike creates this wonderfully tense atmosphere. In-game voice chat is brilliantly executed. Players can chat with nearby players using the proximity chat, or with those further-away using the radio. Be careful what you say, however – the ghost is listening, and it really doesn’t like when you use its name!
I think what I find so special about Phasmophobia, and I’m surely not alone in this, is that it’s a multiplayer experience that still manages to be scary. Most horror games lose their bite once you’re playing with friends – but not Phasmophobia. Kinetic Games have incorporated plenty of ways to force you to occasionally split up the group, and having friends nearby isn’t quite as comforting when they’re just a crackly voice on the radio. That goes double when the ghost starts hunting – that’s when the radio stops working altogether, and it’s every man and woman for themselves.
Graham Day… of the Dead!
This Halloween season we’re all doing scary things, right? Wrong, good day sir! I say this as I am a scared child. I can barely stand horror games. Films, television series and books I’m cool with. However, when it comes to games, I get too immersed and will jump if the title is in any way good.
It takes a lot to force me to dive further into my nightmares. So, when I say my favourite horror game is Dead Space, I would like to think you understand just how outstanding that game is.
What makes the exception for me is that its story, though not original, is absolutely brilliant. Pulling from a lot of sources (the cult hit Event Horizon in particular) Dead Space when it first came out in 2008 was a phenomenon. It blew everyone’s mind with its visceral gameplay and stellar graphics.
I couldn’t stop playing and it was all because the story gripped me and the horror, my god the horror was morbidly captivating. It is right up anyone’s alley if they are a fan of survival horror games. If you haven’t had the pleasure of playing as horrors favourite engineer, I highly recommend it.
By now, everyone knows how much I love horror. It practically runs in my veins. I have a list of games that I keep playing over and over again. For spooky season though, I’m going back to a personal favourite from this year and also the first game I ever completed on my Xbox One.
First one is my favourite from this year, a wonderful indie horror called Those Who Remain. I hype this game up every chance I get! The game was made by two brothers, who got stuck thousands of miles away from each other thanks to the pandemic!
There’s also a free Halloween update bringing, even more, scares into the game. I think I’ll call that a dream come true! Between the fantastic story, terrifying atmosphere and the haunting choice system, how could I not replay? Those Who Remain is definitely my favourite horror from this year, and I’ll probably just keep playing until I physically can’t. And it’s also short enough (a couple of hours) that I could get through it in one sitting now.
The other game that deserves a mention here and one of my most replayed games is Little Nightmares. I was late to this gen but Little Nightmares was the first game I completed when I finally arrived. I can’t stop going back to it either! It like a massively twisted remake of Spirited Away. My only problem right now is deciding am I playing it this weekend on Xbox One or on PC? Because yes, I bought it for both. An adorable protagonist in a terrifying world? Sign me the heck up!
I’m also super hyped for Little Nightmares 2, and cannot wait for that to drop next year. There’s also something in this for you guys too! Little Nightmares is currently 80% off on Steam! Go, go, go! Join me in the adventure over the weekend!
So there we have it! A veritable buffet of ghoulish delights and devilments! 2020 may have been horrific enough but there’s always room for a digital nightmare or two! From all of us here at GamEir, have a happy Halloween!