Penumbra: Black Plague Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Penumbra: Black Plague RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Frictional Releases More Creepy Teasers for Its Upcoming Horror Game https://www.gameskinny.com/3q001/frictional-releases-more-creepy-teasers-for-its-upcoming-horror-game https://www.gameskinny.com/3q001/frictional-releases-more-creepy-teasers-for-its-upcoming-horror-game Thu, 05 Mar 2020 12:56:54 -0500 Ty Arthur

Frictional Games is at it again, teasing an upcoming new horror game with four brief video clips as part of an augmented reality experience.

If you missed the first two, you can check out Box 52, Tape 16 and  Box 7, Reel 2, Partial Success over here first to see the tone and themes that kicked off the ARG puzzle hunt earlier this year.

Those clips previously showed off some odd rocks, followed by a black screen with screams. In this latest batch, things are a bit clearer; a group of spelunkers is shown uncovering some disturbing things deep underground.

Box 12, Recent Acquisitions, shown below, shows a spelunker reading a barely-legible letter. Thankfully, Frictional's included a description: 

Recovered 12/5/2018, via source S576a. Salzburg, site TBD. Document retrieval failed, investigation commissioned.

There is an itching behind my eyes. As if a beetle burrows there, in the folds of my brain, boring its way in, mandibles tearing at grey matter. As if a gnarled finger has been pushed into my skull, a broken fingernail working into my thoughts. I want to reach in with a needle to scratch it. Or perhaps a piece of wire. Through the tear-duct, threading through the lacrimal canal.

Thread-like black worms swim in my eyes. When I think about them they are agitated and start to thrash around. They know I am scared. And it makes them worse.

If I hold myself still. If I easy my mind, if I empty my head and try not to be afraid of... Then the itching fades to the tickling of a feather. I've tried filling myself with the notes of a song, or the colours of a beautiful picture, but it doesn't work.

Only emptiness gives me any

I wish I had my gun.

Then there's Box 17, Card 9, where some people in a cave or mine shaft find something very, very unpleasant. As with the other videos, there's also an accompanying description: 

Recovered 12/2/2013 via source S118. Manila envelope marked "Ivry - Edouard et Thérèse" in blue ink.

A third video is titled Box 11, Recent Acquisitions. It's a clip that's a bit more cryptic, just showing someone listening to humming and singing on a radio:

Recovered 3/3/2017, website acquisition. Private workshop, Saint-Denis, Paris. Cover note: "Qu'avec cette vieille radio et qu'en cet endroit précis." (Translation: "Only with that old radio and only in this precise location.")

The Box 12, Recent Acquisitions (Card 3) features a twisted stick figure totem and a ring, which the guy in the video should most definitely not put on his finger:

Recovered 13/7/2018, via source S576a. Algeciras, worksite, ex-warehouse - prev. owners Ortiz Marin (until 2004), GPDS (1997-2004), Estrella del Sur (1973-1995), Sterling Shipping Company (1942?-1973).

The fourth clip is Box 11, Recent Acquisitions (Card 15), shows someone reaching a destination with a compass that goes wild and may indicate we are nearing the end of this rabbit hole (maybe?):

Recovered 12/2/2016, website acquisition. Saint-Jérôme, Quebec. Recovery team dispatched, could not locate site or anomaly.

What do you think is coming next from Frictional Games, and what do you make of the more recent date in the final video clip?

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for official news on the next horror title from the developers of Amnesia, Penumbra, and SOMA

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6 Indie Horror Games Worth Revisiting (or Discovering for the First Time) https://www.gameskinny.com/907h1/6-indie-horror-games-worth-revisiting-or-discovering-for-the-first-time https://www.gameskinny.com/907h1/6-indie-horror-games-worth-revisiting-or-discovering-for-the-first-time Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:16:48 -0500 Nutmeg95

Revisiting games can be an enjoyable experience, especially if it's been a long time since you’ve played them. Horror games have their own charm for revisiting after enough time has passed and you may not quite remember what’s around the next corner. Whether you’ve played these six games before or are discovering them for the first time, they’re worth the visit. 

http://www.penumbragame.com/media.phpImage Courtesy of Frictional Games

Penumbra: Overture (PC, Mac, and Linux)

All three games of the Penumbra trilogy are enjoyable on their own, but they are especially good when played together. Created by Frictional Games before Amnesia and Soma, these aren’t as long as full-length games and are more episodic. Released in 2007 as the first of the trilogy, Penumbra: Overture follows protagonist Philip as he goes to Greenland after receiving a letter from his father, who was presumed dead. The majority of the game takes place in an abandoned mine. The halls are dark, and Philip isn’t alone in the mine. There are several tools throughout the game that can be used as weapons. You can either evade the enemies or attack them head-on. The story is intriguing, and journal pages found throughout the mine reveal more of what happened there.

http://www.penumbragame.com/media.phpImage Courtesy of Frictional Games 

Penumbra: Black Plague (PC, Mac, and Linux)

This sequel to Overture came out in 2008. It picks up where Overture left off and continues the story well. In this one, there are no weapons, encouraging the player to use stealth or to run. Objects can be thrown to briefly distract the enemy but seem to do no damage. Penumbra: Black Plague has more tension than Overture due to the lack of weapons and the setting. As with the previous game, journal entries reveal more about the setting. The end of this game can stand on its own as the end of the series, or the story can continue with Requiem.

http://www.penumbragame.com/media.phpImage Courtesy of Frictional Games

Penumbra: Requiem (PC, Mac, and Linux)

Penumbra: Requiem was released in 2008 as an expansion to Black Plague. This one is more enjoyable when played after the first two games. On its own, it has a few flaws, but overall it's worth playing at least once after the first two games. Requiem departs from the gameplay of the previous games, trading stealth for puzzles. The puzzles are fun to figure out but can be frustrating at times. The game has some tension, but not as much as Overture or Black Plague

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DreadOut (PC, Linux, and Mac)

DreadOut was released in 2014 by Digital Happiness. It has similarities to Fatal Frame, but differs and isn’t a repeat. Linda, the main character, fights ghosts with a camera. The ghosts are from Indonesian mythology, and the game is set in the Indonesian jungle. The setting and the ghosts create a refreshing setting for a horror game; it isn’t the usual asylum or haunted house, and the original setting makes it hard to guess what will happen next. The story is well-done, and the lore of the ghosts that are discovered throughout the game adds to the game nicely. The controls can take getting used to, but it’s well worth it. This game too has an excellent soundtrack.

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DreadOut: Keepers of the Dark (PC)

Released as a standalone DLC to DreadOut in 2016, Keepers of the Dark varies from DreadOut while keeping the overall tone of the original game. The main setting is different from DreadOut, but settings from the original game are revisited, along with several new ones. The game is set before the ending of the original game and explains some of what happens during DreadOut. Keepers of the Dark is a series of boss fights of varying difficulty, and while not all of them have to be defeated to reach the ending, in order to fully finish the game, all of them must be defeated. Some of the fights are frustrating, but for the most part, that makes them more satisfying to get past. While not as good as the original game, Keepers of The Dark is worth playing and adds further background to the original game. 

http://nightschoolstudio.com/oxenfree/ Image Courtesy of Night School Studio

Oxenfree (PC, Linux, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch)

Released in 2016 by Night School Studio, Oxenfree is the only game on this list to be released on consoles. The game follows a protagonist named Alex who, along with her friends, goes to an island for the night where things take an unexpected turn. The animations and setting of the game are beautifully rendered, and the soundtrack adds well to the mood of the game. Throughout the game, the player decides what Alex says during conversations. She can even not say anything. These choices change the outcome of the game. The story is surprising, and the game is memorable.

These six games have all the characteristics of a good horror game: tension over what's around the next corner, a good story, and music that sets the mood. A good horror game is enjoyable any time of year.

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent free on Steam; until 9/16 at 10 AM Pacific https://www.gameskinny.com/rcysf/amnesia-the-dark-descent-free-on-steam-until-916-at-10-am-pacific https://www.gameskinny.com/rcysf/amnesia-the-dark-descent-free-on-steam-until-916-at-10-am-pacific Tue, 15 Sep 2015 19:54:37 -0400 Courtney Gamache

The "Overwhelmingly Positive" horror-survival-adventure game developed by Frictional games called, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a free addition to your Steam library until September 16th at 10 AM Pacific. The reasoning behind the free game is a large Frictional Games Sale that is taking place until September 18th. Complete list of games on Sale

Among the Frictional Games Sale are five complete games that are on sale for up to 80% off, including upcoming game release, SOMA. Below is the full list:

Is it worth getting Amnesia: The Dark Descent?

In this first person survival horror game, the goal is to not only survive but also escape with your (Daniel's) wits in-tact. This difficult task is posed upon the gamer by questioning every move that you make; from standing in the light of your lantern to walking in the abyss of darkness. Find out how far the human mind can stretch in a game where insanity is a large possibility from the trials that an eerie castle possesses, along with the inhabitants that are inside. 

So of course the game is worth it. Not only is Amnesia: The Dark Descent competely free and entirely yours once you "purchase" the free game; but you can play it at your leisure and take the needed breaks that the intense game requires. Do you plan on adding the free game to your library? Have you played Amnesia: The Dark Descent before? Share your thoughts below on the horror-survival-adventure game.

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Top 5 horror game developers https://www.gameskinny.com/wz2vo/top-5-horror-game-developers https://www.gameskinny.com/wz2vo/top-5-horror-game-developers Sun, 06 Sep 2015 06:16:58 -0400 Review Yobo

It's a dark and rainy evening, there are a handful of people on the couch, a pizza on the table, and a great horror game on the big screen - that recipe spells one heck of a good night for anyone fond of scary games.

But what are the best horror games, and who are their makers? It can be difficult make your way through the minefield that is the market of modern horrors and find the true gems. But I'm here to help by putting forward my favorite developers and their best franchises.

These will not be games that operate solely on cheap jump scares. This list contains games that use more elaborate terror and deliver an intriguing and satisfying storyline.

5. Grasshopper Manufacture

 

This Japanese icon shows the Western players what they're missing. They're responsible for a series that has made top horror lists around the globe - Fatal Frame. This game takes you to some really dark and unsettling places, then makes you watch the approaching monstrosities as it snaps your anxious nerves - one frame at a time.

Grasshopper started with the PS2 game Killer7, but later ventured to make various games, including a game inspired by Franz Kafka - Shadows of The Damned. While they never made any games for the PC platform, they certainly make our list of top horror game developers, due to unique storyline ideas and level designs that make your skin crawl.

4. Visceral Games

I can't make a list of horror game developers if I don't mention the makers of Dead Space. Dead Space is a sci-fi shooter that will challenge your senses with a butt-load of dark atmosphere, intense in-game scenes, and goring monsters.

3. Red Barrels

Red Barrels is responsible for Outlast. This game takes you through the dark hallways of a mental care facility, where horrifying experiments have taken place. The terrifying level designs and stealth/run-for-your-life scenes make this game a prime choice for anyone looking to enjoy their weekend hiding under a bed.

2. Monolith Productions

If you have played F.E.A.R. already, you don't need an explanation for this entry. But Monolith Productions has worked on many more excellent games. They started out with a classic, for crying out loud. In 1997, they made Blood - Doom's creepy and disturbing cousin, if you can imagine such a thing. It was a hit - a bloody marvelous game.

They went on to make many other games, including an Aliens vs. Predators sequel. However, to me, the next piece of gold they struck was the F.E.A.R. series.

F.E.A.R. combines a fast-paced shooter with a horrifying exploration and puzzle game experience. However, the real reason people soil their living room leather while playing this game is a terrifying little girl named Alma. She is the protagonist of the series - a possessed child with supernatural powers and an ingenious evil character that will make you lose your breath a couple of times throughout the game.


The essence of F.E.A.R.'s excellence is this - it manages to be puzzling without being boring, and on top of that it manages to instantaneously switch the player from being the ultimate gun blasting hero to a trouser-soiling toddler, desperately looking for ESCape.

1. Frictional Games

 

This development team has been striking horror gold ever since they launched the Penumbra series. Their second brilliant idea was Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Its excellence was eye-watering and spawned a whole new series of games that Frictional Games is still working on today. All of their newest games are certainly well worth your time and will provide you with outstanding horror sensations.

But now let's briefly look back on our personal favorite, one of Frictional Games' originals - the Penumbra series. The first Penumbra was a knee-shaking puzzle game, where you get tormented by a crazy guy named Red. On top of that, some mutated rottweilers chase you through the dark tunnels of a secret underground base.

The second game enhanced your struggle by adding some disease-riddled scientists that haunt you with flashlight beams, while your character develops schizophrenia. It had fantastic level design, in-game scenes, and a thought-provoking and mysterious ending.

 

The third Penumbra game went away from the horror genre and focused primarily on physics puzzles and atmospheric level design. It was a kind of a letdown, but Frictional Games more than made up for it by putting you in the shoes of Daniel and setting you loose in the bewilderingly beautiful and horrendous chambers of Amnesia: The Dark Decent.

Frictional Games finishes off our list of five favorite developers. If you are looking for awesome horror games, this is where a majority of the magic happens.

Of course, there are other great developers not mentioned here, comment below with your suggestions and they will be sure to receive future praise. We hope you enjoy these games!

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10 Scary Games That Aren't Slender or Outlast https://www.gameskinny.com/zq28m/10-scary-games-that-arent-slender-or-outlast https://www.gameskinny.com/zq28m/10-scary-games-that-arent-slender-or-outlast Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:09:55 -0400 Katy Hollingsworth

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Fatal Frame is probably the first Camera Obscura games developed. Known as Project Zero in Europe, Fatal Frame has been one of the most well-received horror games to date. Obviously, given age, the graphics will vary from title to title, but Fatal Frame 4 was the best selling of the series in Japan.

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Fatal Frame follows a young girl as she searches for her brother in a mansion--upon discovering that she's locked inside, she must use an old antique camera to escape. 

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Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly focuses on twin sisters as they happen across an old village and an ancient ritual that damns one sister. 

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Fatal Frame III: The Tormented shows a young photographer who ends up taking a picture of her dead fiance in a mansion; she then has recurring dreams that turn into nightmares. This installment touches on previous characters and events in the first two games.

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Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse was developed for Wii in 2008. Three kidnapping survivors return to the location of their kidnaps to remember what happened.

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  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 8
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  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 10
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Unfortunately, these titles are only available on Playstation and Nintendo consoles.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/edb5f14604cefc85e4b88d9db27f9693.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/edb5f14604cefc85e4b88d9db27f9693.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3390","description":"

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is an extremely underground (well, probably not so much anymore) Korean game that was never developed for the West. You'll have to download a modded version in order to play in English. 

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Because of the game's current state (read: abandoned), it's free to download straight from the developer, meaning no pirating! Just be sure to grab the English version unless you want to change your PC to Korean.

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White Day: A Labyrinth Named School was deemed one of the scariest games of all time--or would have been, had it been released in the West. Some of the mods have actually toned the game down due to complaints that it was too scary to complete.

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You play a young Korean student who transfers to a new school, and immediately falls in love with a fellow classmate who happens to lose her diary. As White Day (one of Korea's romantic holidays) is upon him, the protagonist sneaks in to the school at night to plant her diary and chocolates in her locker. Little does he know that the school is about to turn into a never-ending horror house.

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  • Jump Scare Rating: 10
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  • Environmental Scare Rating: 9
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White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is only available through download on the official developer site or through a mod community. Download with caution!

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5540f62c9f6cbcc3f763963aafe5f46b.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5540f62c9f6cbcc3f763963aafe5f46b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3389","description":"

Metro 2033 is a survival horror game (that uses the music from 28 Days Later in this trailer, strangely enough) from 2010. 

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After nuclear war, Russians have taken to using metro tunnels and stations to survive underground. Artyom, one of the first born in the metro, must get help for his station as strange creatures start to invade. But is that all they're after? Are they the only enemies to watch out for?

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One year later, in Metro: Last Light, Artyom faces enemies in both the creatures and humans, as two factions fight for dominance and resources. 

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Though both are heavier on the action side, they still have interesting survival horror aspects to them.

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  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 6
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  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 7
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Both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light are available on Steam.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/32dc8f1f79bcf59cbbd782514b6ea22b.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/32dc8f1f79bcf59cbbd782514b6ea22b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3388","description":"

Developed by the same studio that brought us Amnesia, Penumbra is an older project that many claim to actually be scarier than Amnesia. I'll leave that up to you.

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All three games follow the same protagonist and exist in the same universe. The gamer plays as Philip in Overture, who firstly receives a letter from his supposedly dead father after the passing of his mother; then, Black Plague follows the ending of the first game into a new installment as an email sent by Philip to a friend; Requiem finishes up the series as Philip writes "Kill Them All."

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  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 8
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  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 8
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All three games are available on Steam.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/d9479aebb068bf54bcd17bb38c3119cd.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/d9479aebb068bf54bcd17bb38c3119cd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3384","description":"

The F.E.A.R franchise is obviously a given. Just look at the name. The older installments will have weaker graphics, but the latest, F.E.A.R 3, was very well done.

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Much in the way of Dead Space and Amnesia, the plot unfolds gradually as you progress through the game. As part of the First Encounter Assault Recon, you're tasked with dealing in paranormal threats--like this one. While your mission is to kill the villain, who is using telepathically controlled soldiers to evade escape, you constantly come face to face with a little girl named Alma; or, at least, a hallucination of her. Maybe.

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  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 9
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  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 8
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All F.E.A.R. games can be found on Steam.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0883712fa0659486e7a3f52d06a8cc2f.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/0883712fa0659486e7a3f52d06a8cc2f.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3383","description":"

The Silent Hill  franchise, while varying in quality (in my opinion), is an excellent option for gamers looking for a scare. Obviously, the graphics quality will improve as you move down the line (the first was made in 1999), but the experiences they offer are definitely one of a kind.

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Silent Hill focuses on a different player character from installment to installment...

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  • a man looking for a missing loved one (the first and second, Homecoming)
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  • a teenager tied to a cult (the third)
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  • a man locked in his apartment (the Room)
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  • a man who saves a girl from a burning building (Origins)
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  • a prisoner stranded on Silent Hill (Downpour)
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Shattered Memories is more of a redo of the first game and isn't an actual installment in the series; The HD Collection is a rerelease of the second and third titles; Book of Memories was developed for Vita and was the first to explore Silent Hill from a bird's eye view, and to include multiplayer.

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Hint: The movies are not adequate replacements for the games. Especially the second film.

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  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 8
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  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 9
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Silent Hill: Homecoming is the only title available on Steam. The rest (nine titles total) can be found on Amazon for PC, PS/2/3/Portable, and Xbox 360.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/8de7e35b531f808e27048b85b6eba22f.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/8de7e35b531f808e27048b85b6eba22f.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3382","description":"

Dead Space is a personal favorite of mine. The first one is one of the best horror games I've played, complete with a pretty deep story. The graphics are very neat and polished, though they've aged.

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Isaac, the protagonist, is quested with boarding the Ishimura to repair its communications after the ship comes in contact with an alien artifact. Terror ensues.

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I didn't particularly enjoy the second or third installments, so this rating is only for the first title.

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  • Jump Scare Rating: 10
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  • Environmental Scare Rating: 9
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Dead Space and 2 are available on Steam; Dead Space 3 is available on Origin. Both sequels are placed in the original Dead Space universe, and the third introduces a multiplayer feature.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/a312563c1d1cbdf48dfa5f0722f9e0c8.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/a312563c1d1cbdf48dfa5f0722f9e0c8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3381","description":"

More of a classic and one that won't wow you on its graphics, System Shock 2 (1999) is one of the first games that really explored the FPS genre in terms of survival horror.

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You play the role of a lone soldier trying to quell a genetic infection that has completely destroyed the inhabitants of Von Braun and Rickenbacker. Included in your gameplay experience are zombies and a rogue AI named Shodan.

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Developed by Ken Levine, Bioshock is supposed to be the spiritual successor to System Shock 2. Raise your hand if you'd like to see a true next-gen reboot.

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  • Jump Scare Rating: 8
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  • Environmental Scare Rating: 8
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System Shock 2 is available on Steam and most online retailers.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/163d172d86afefc78c60e4df33aacb16.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/163d172d86afefc78c60e4df33aacb16.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3380","description":"

SCP Containment Breach is a free game that you can download here. The idea is that you're a participant in the SCP Containment Facility, which holds strange anomalies and entities that threaten "the normality of the world."

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The graphics aren't splendid, but they'll do; there are also a couple of minor glitches that you may run in to given that it's in a pretty early build. The voice-acting however is pretty good.

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There are some interesting mechanics at play, as you can see above. Plus bonus Day9 corgi costume.

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  • Jump Scare Rating: 9
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  • Environmental Scare Rating: 6
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SCP Containment Breach can be downloaded for free at the link above.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5ec4a1e71f7368ade5b1f9abe7214807.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/5ec4a1e71f7368ade5b1f9abe7214807.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"3379","description":"

An old one, but a good one. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a great game that uses the environment to scare you and keep you tense throughout the whole game. Just as you're getting comfortable in an area, you discover you're not alone.

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The graphics are a little older and certainly aren't next-gen, but the hours of wandering around this creepy castle are well worth it--especially once things start to fall in to place in terms of plot and Daniel's past.

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  • Jump Scare Rating (things that jump out and scare you): 7
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  • Environmental Scare Rating (the need to pee your pants from walking around): 9
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This game is available on PC on Steam.

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War of the Horror Games: Outlast VS Amnesia https://www.gameskinny.com/ddxzp/war-of-the-horror-games-outlast-vs-amnesia https://www.gameskinny.com/ddxzp/war-of-the-horror-games-outlast-vs-amnesia Thu, 29 Aug 2013 16:45:35 -0400 Reilly C.

Anyone else ready for some more survival horror games coming over the horizon?

Well get ready for the beginning of September because two awesome horror games are coming out on the 4th and then 10th.

Let's get the obvious one out of the way and talk a little about Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

We all know Amnesia: Dark Decent mostly for every human with a YouTube channel doing a let's play of it.  It was a well made survival horror game from the makers of the Penumbra series which showed in the gameplay.  In fact, that was the reason I got psyched for that game in the first place.  If you have never played any of the Penumbra games and you love Amnesia, GO PLAY THEM.

That aside, not a WHOLE ton is known about the story of this game then the brief description on their site.  This seems pretty close to what the first game did with you, the character and player, not understanding the situation you are in and piecing together things as you go.  Of course it is going to have some interesting twists and turns in the story but what I really want to see is the environments and settings that this game will be taking place in, just like the one pictured below.

Running through ankle-deep blood and gore down a metal tunnel projecting my every move and gasp in all directions as my pursuer closes the distance squealing with an unbridled joy.  Ah, what horrors await me...

Next is Outlast which is coming out a week before A Machine for Pigs.  This one we know more about.

You play Miles Upshur who is a video journalist who is out for a story and finds himself in the Colorado mountain's breaking into an old asylum.  This asylum is no ordinary place though.  With a history of having some of the most mentally unstable people and doctors that were former Nazi's, some odd experiments happened here and now you are stuck there with the left overs...

Spooky right?  Not exactly a riveting or original tale but it tells the tale it needs to justify some amazing looking fast paced gameplay with some awesome camera effects. Hopefully this will come out polished and based upon the Red Barrels crew's resumes, I think it is in good hands.

We will see who provides the scarier experience soon with both coming out this upcoming month with Outlast on Sept. 4th and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs on Sept. 10th.

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Proof: Gameplay is More Important Than Graphics https://www.gameskinny.com/njq5j/proof-gameplay-is-more-important-than-graphics https://www.gameskinny.com/njq5j/proof-gameplay-is-more-important-than-graphics Mon, 22 Jul 2013 10:56:19 -0400 Vrothgarr

In the world of modern, large-scale game development, absolute photorealism and similarly immersive environments seem to be the overall goal. The gameplay doesn’t seem to change at that same pace (The Last of Us notwithstanding), but that’s always been a major factor in the eternal struggle in video games: graphics vs. gameplay. Is one better? Which is the bigger driver of sales? Does anyone really care? Well, if history can tell us anything, it’s that high quality gameplay will always outlast high quality graphics, even if it doesn’t outsell it.

So, let’s break it down! I’m not a huge fan of “Top 5” lists, so instead here are a few general categories that will hopefully settle the issue once and for all (it won’t) of why graphics may be a vital element in a game, but cannot measure up to much of anything besides great art design without the core mechanics of gameplay to stand upon.



Indie (Braid, LIMBO, Organ Trail)

Everyone's a Game Developer

Today’s DIY approach to the indie development scene has proven a great many things about what it takes to make a great gaming experience. That is to say, gameplay wins over graphics every time. But the graphics are becoming less a way to communicate the style, story and gameplay, and more an artful co-star of the gameplay itself. In these instances, however, this is usually because the developers and players alike know full well that the graphics do not have to be realistic or expensive (in terms of time or money).

In fact, experiences like Braid or LIMBO were made perfect by their aesthetic appeal. This isn’t just small indie hope, either; LIMBO was one of BAFTA’s top 10 titles for award selection in 2011, alongside the likes of Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. The entire industry at large now recognizes just how graphics of simple gray, black and white can stand strong and proud alongside the ever-increasing photorealism of triple-A titles.

This game (above) was nominated by these guys (below) in 2011 for Artistic Achievement, Gameplay, Use of Audio, Best Game, and the GAME Award (voted for by the public). They were beaten out by triple-A titles in every category.

Developing the Balance

As indie development tends to lend itself quite easily to the artsy approach, this seems like a match made in heaven. What was once seen as a flaw in indie games is now its main attraction. What’s more, we’re reaching a ceiling of photorealism in the bigger scenes that is a clear indicator of what good art direction and cinematography can do for a game, and what it can’t do. Organ Trail, for instance, is of such low quality on purpose, harkening back to its inspiration. It’s all about intention, and focusing on what is needed to perfectly communicate the designer’s vision.

Whereas just about every great game in ages past was created by a team of artists, programmers and sound experts, a good amount of today’s most well received titles were built from the ground up by a handful of developers, if that. As such, lo-fi graphics (sometimes presented as an intentional retro-nostalgia) are more commonly matched with modern game design sensibilities. The end result is a huge community of games where sprites and code are freely shared as a simple means to a much more complex and beautiful end. This freedom from the restraints of high levels of realism allows for a great breadth of creativity and open design.

Antithesis

Dust: An Elysian Tail is the exact opposite of this, destroying much of my point here in general. Save for some elements of the narrative design and score, this much loved indie title was crafted solely by one man, Dean Dodrill. And so it is with indie graphics, which are vastly important, though not on a sliding scale from realistic to blocky. The gameplay still reigns supreme, but indie standards allow for an artistic, hand-drawn approach rarely seen outside of the community.

Old School (Goldeneye, Final Fantasy, Super Smash Bros., Dragon’s Lair)

Time, Stand Still

One of the best litmus tests for good gameplay is in its longevity. In the realm of triple-A development, or in any realm for that matter, titles that see sales or even competitive play decades after their release are a very rare sight. Highly polished repeats like Call of Duty might outsell, but they tend to be replaced by a successor within a short matter of months at which point the multiplayer servers empty out and the poor thing is put out of its misery save for a handful of hardcore fans and perhaps a nostalgic replay of the campaign.

There’s not a 90s kid around who wouldn’t love the opportunity to remember how terrible they are at Goldeneye. The frantic pacing, the great level design, the punches flying into your friends' arms from left and right. But, even in the 64-bit era, Bond, James Bond still had a rather flat and blocky appearance. Superman 64 isn’t remembered as one of the worst video games of all time because of what we see now as blocky graphics and poor visuals. Yet, Super Smash Bros., which was just as blocky, still sees competitive play to this day. Cartridges sell online and in specialty retailers for more than a pretty penny.

These weren't bad graphics.

These are just better.

Every Star Had Its Chance to Shine

There’s a huge difference between bad graphics and old graphics, however, and to judge these by today’s standards won’t result in much progress. Final Fantasy VII had great graphics, though that’s no longer the case as we’ve seen so much more from the franchise. That said, the critical approval seems to diminish as the Final Fantasy franchise grows in numbers. Hell, they just rebuilt XIV from the ground up solely because of the horrific gameplay, despite on-par graphics. FFX-2, oddly enough, turned many off through its “girly” aesthetics (despite intelligent political drama, well crafted characters and story, and a positive critical reception). What’s more, the Dressphere was one of the finest combat and RPG systems in the franchise. Still, how many times have Final Fantasy’s 1-5 been remade, renamed, rebranded, and resold to the tune of millions in profits? Aesthetics do have a huge part to play in presenting the game, but rarely do they influence the game itself so far as to redeem poor gameplay and shoddy mechanics.

This retro aesthetic cross-pollinates with the realm of indie games quite often. When a new indie game might have 16- or 32-bit graphics because of the lack of time, artists or ability, it is often placed in the category of “new retro” to gain value from a player’s previous experience and nostalgia.

Antithesis

Let’s close this section by again negating exactly what I’m trying to say. Dragon’s Lair still holds up as an absolute classic. Here is a game that hasn’t lost an ounce of its aesthetic appeal. Cartoonish aesthetics often flourish for just this reason, and tend to stand up to time very well. The animation is still quite dated, but it is of no less quality for its age. Graphics will deteriorate if they’re presented in a style that relies on then-current technology instead of timeless design.

Was this any less scary for the chunky graphics? They weren't chunky a few years ago...

Horrific & Atmospheric (Penumbra, Resident Evil, Bioshock)

Scream Like a Man

Mechanics in these games are absolutely essential. The immersion required to keep a good horror feel going can easily be broken by bad controls, camera failures or poor level design. More than anything, these games rely on believable worlds communicated by good graphics, not the good graphics alone. We’ve all been scared by good games of yesteryear, and they accomplished this without 1080p.

Penumbra and Amnesia certainly stand out as the most frightening and disturbing experiences in gaming today. Yet, their graphics are relatively sub par compared to other titles released in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Anyone who beat these games with clean drawers is a liar or a sociopath, or they just weren’t doing it right. Simple mechanics like requiring the player to physically pull back the mouse as they opened doors or chests, as well as the sanity mechanics, provided huge amounts of immersion and realism that have nothing to do with the graphics. I hope that one day we’re able to experience Amnesia through the Oculus Rift, so that I can play for five minutes and say goodbye to ever sleeping again.

8-bit Bioshock Image, Courtesy ZePoink

Fear and Loathing in Rapture

Bioshock is one of a kind in terms of environment having an impact on the player. But, how much of this impact was derived from high resolution enemies, and how much was derived from superbly crafted story, brilliant world design and other elements that have nothing to do directly with the level of the graphics? So long as the graphics are at a level where the player can see what’s what, Bioshock would have revolutionized our standards even if it had been a SNES title. We would all still be longing to see it in the modern 3D presentation, but it wouldn’t have been of any less quality. It’s certainly true that the level of detail elevates the immersion and atmosphere by leaps and bounds, but these other elements matter more.


Text (Zork, DragonRealms, King of Dragon Pass)

Roll for adjective!

Here’s an easy way to settle this: games without graphics! From the classics like Zork to modern MUDs, these are to video games what books are to movies. Your imagination has no budget to consider, no hardware restraints, no limits whatsoever. Though far from the top sellers in any category, text-based adventures are beloved by many, if only as a thing of the past. Some newer takes on the text-based game do include visuals, but these would fall more into the category of art, maps and information rather than what we think of as “graphics”. King of Dragon Pass, for instance, does have a graphical interface, which greatly enhances what would otherwise be a black and white wall of text. Yet, the entirety of the game revolves around presenting scenarios and decisions to the player, and then proceeding accordingly from there.

Nonetheless, many text-based games of every variety still appear from time to time. They’re a niche selection, but beloved all the same. Adventure games, strategy, MMOs, world-building; everything but shooters, really. These titles truly distill what it means to be a game: to accomplish something, to progress and to build, to enjoy ourselves and find immersion in interesting new worlds. Some of today’s most popular games don’t even utilize a screen, only a pencil and a couple of dice.


So We've Resolved Nothing... Hooray!

To quote my good friend Scott Johnson, "So, how were the grAYphics?"

The game is in the gameplay. The rest are just the tools that let us experience. Graphics simply communicate what, who and where we are in the system of the game. This is vital information, and can be the single largest factor in our enjoyment, but if the core of the game isn’t there, beauty means far less, almost nothing.

So where do we end up? Where this discussion always ends. Great gameplay can easily be ruined by horrific gameplay and camera. The two aren’t exactly the same, clearly: good gameplay with bad graphics can succeed, whereas the opposite cannot. Yet, art and aesthetic can turn a good game into a great one, and can be used as an integral element of the overall package. Both are necessary, for any experience, in any format, on any platform, from any era.

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Gaming's Five Trippiest Dream Sequences https://www.gameskinny.com/icsnr/gamings-five-trippiest-dream-sequences https://www.gameskinny.com/icsnr/gamings-five-trippiest-dream-sequences Fri, 21 Jun 2013 12:56:40 -0400 Alan Bradley

Some of gaming's most memorable moments happen when developers are given the opportunity to go a little mad. When you take designers' imaginations off the leash, the result is often a fever dream highlight reel of the bizarre, and shows off what's possible in a medium where absolutely everything is virtual and there are none of those annoying constraints of the physical world. In a way, video games are like dreams, dreams that exist in the collective consciousness, and so it's not surprising that the dreams inside video games are often so completely batty. We've plucked out the best of the best, graded on originality, cleverness, and sheer surreality.

5. Metal Gear Solid 4

One of the coolest moments of the last numbered Metal Gear Solid happens when a weathered, ancient Snake starts to drift off on a transport chopper. Players are transported back to Shadow Moses, site of the original MGS, and play through a sequence in the style of the original game, complete with original PlayStation-era graphics.

The sequence ends with Snake snapping awake, his face transforming from low res-polygons to modern textures, young Snake aging before our eyes. Not only is the sequence a great nostalgia piece and top-shelf fan service, it's also a welcome reminder of how far the series has come in terms of advanced graphics and logical controls.

4. Catherine

Catherine is novel in that all its gameplay takes place inside of protagonist Vincent's slumbering subconscious, and it is a bizarre and terrifying place. To start, in the nightmare landscape of his guilt-adled mind Vincent is perpetually in his underwear and sporting a pair of ram's horns, a marker of his infidelity. The other young men he encounters all appear as sheep, often with random articles of human clothing, and to escape Vincent has to scale massive towers of blocks. But that's only the tip of the surreal iceberg that is Catherine's dream world.

The true genius/madness of these twisted dreamscapes are the bosses, who reflect some of the real world crises Vincent is grappling with. There's the giant, warped flesh monster The Immoral Beast, signifying Vincent's lack of control over his own libido; the Doom Bride, a psychotic version of Vincent's girlfriend Katherine in a tattered wedding dress and wielding a giant, blood stained knife; and, of course, the giant zombie baby, a hellish representation of Vincent's fear of fatherhood that looks like it would prefer chewing human flesh to the pacifier currently planted in its distended mouth.

3. Penumbra: Black Plague

It's no surprise that the creators of Amnesia: the Dark Descent can sculpt out a killer dream sequence, and the one in Penumbra: Black Plague is a banger. Though the entire Penumbra series is like a bad trip in some ways, this dream sequence, with its human arm lanterns, river of blood, and black void replete with rusty chains manages to stand out from the general atmosphere of darkness and insanity. Of course, after all the horrors our "hero" Philip has been exposed to, it's a wonder he ever sleeps at all.

2. Max Payne

The infamous dream sequences from the original Max Payne alternate from whacky, fourth-wall breaking humor to dark reminders of the violent death of Max's family at the hands of hopped-up junkies. Max's guilt and pathos are amped up by way of an overturned crib defaced with blood, and the voice of Max's wife calling out to him, alternately accusing him or pleading for help.

Interlaced through these dark moments are breaks where Max realizes he's the star of a graphic novel (the game's cutscenes are comic book pages) or a character in a video game, haunted by speech "hanging in the air like balloons" or the sensation of someone controlling his every move. The narrative style and thick atmosphere of the Max Payne franchise makes it ripe for this sort of trippy treatment, and Remedy has proven that they're expert at toying with and subverting their own fiction.


1. Killer 7

Killer 7 really ups the ante to earn the top slot on our list: the entire game is a protracted dream sequence, a blood-drenched, psychadelic ode to broken psyches. Gore raining from the heavens, day-glo color cycling "people" who disintegrate into clouds of particolored globules, luchador assassins: Killer 7 is like a smorgasborg of uniquely Japanese madness.

Even the mechanics reflect the surreal, hyperviolent texture of the world of Killer 7; the female assassin, for instance, can slash her wrists and spray arterial blood everywhere to reveal secret doors and hidden passages. Killer 7 is the king of video games as hallucinogenic experiences, and the entire game has a crazed, dream like quality that makes it wholly unique and totally insane.

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