Good morning, everyone. It is that time of the year when it gets really cold out and people want to hype up small children so their parents go a little bit more crazy than usual. I have long enjoyed scary movies and games, and Halloween tends to bring about an abundance of both every year.
We still have one little one who goes out all dressed up and hunting for candy. It’s wet, gray and cold today so I’m sure it will be a good time for us as well. My oldest is hanging out with some of her friends tonight while my son is doing… well, what I probably will be in another year or two when my youngest no longer goes out to Trick or Treat. He is staying in and planning to play scary games. Now last year, he did the same thing, but ‘scary’ has to be used loosely as what he played was the (in my opinion at least) underrated Luigi’s Mansion for the Gamecube.
With the Steam sale going on right now though, he has hit me up about a couple of different games. I suspect I’ll pick up a F.E.A.R. title or two for him tonight. He’s a huge fan of shooters, so this is right up his alley. I borrowed the first F.E.A.R. from a friend years ago when I first bought my Xbox 360. Decent game as I recall, but I never got around to trying the others.
I have played a couple of Resident Evils and Silent Hills over the years, and around this time last year I got to take my first crack at the creepy PC game Amnesia. Still, for me the best horror series has been Fatal Frame. It never gained popularity quite like some of the above titles, and I have been extremely disappointed that none of the games have made it to the current console generation (a spiritual successor – pun intended – was the poorly received Spirit Camera game for the 3DS, which I haven’t played yet. There was also a Wii title for the series that never released outside of Japan, where this series has a much bigger following than other regions it seems).
The game centers around characters and supernatural events like you would expect, with a strong Japanese setting and characters that really work well to compliment a storyline that uses a fairly unique mechanic. Instead of wielding guns or knives to fight zombies or pyramid heads, you use a special camera to weaken and ‘capture’ the spirits you encounter. So while there is a projectile weapon type of mechanic in play, what I always found creepy about it was that bringing up the camera puts you into a first person view. That makes the combat and the sense of immersion considerably more intense.
Games like this could deliver some exceptional production values on the current gen – or even next-gen systems I think. Sound and video could really make these games even scarier – but for some reason the series has been neglected in favor of games like Resident Evil, which has become a shooter with some occasional shock scares built in here and there. This is a series my wife actually enjoyed – sitting down to watch me play it for hours on end as we trudged through some pretty dark storyline material.
So when this time of the year rolls around and people start to inevitably ask: what’s your favorite scary game? I always reply with the Fatal Frame series. What about you? What is your favorite Halloween or scary game? Take care and have a fun, safe Halloween!