There’s a certain art to making audiences genuinely fearful of the story you’re trying to tell them. Some could argue that it’s a lost art in some regards, particularly when it comes to the evolution of horror video games. Games like the revolutionary Resident Evil and genre-bending Half-Life were narratively groundbreaking in the ‘90s, but now? Not so much.
Unfortunately, since then, what we’ve mostly seen are watered down takes on those classics – albeit with some updated gameplay mechanics.
But story-wise, games such as The Evil Within and Alien: Isolation haven’t really brought anything new to the table. For the most part, they feel like retreads of what’s already been done before – ultimately making for a predictable storytelling experience.
Creepy possessed girl? Check. Monster-ridden space station? Check. Sinister conspiracy? Check. Rarely does a modern day horror game stray from this overly tried and tested (and tired) formula.
However, not all hope is lost when it comes to horror games operating outside of the conventional realm. Games such as Outlast and P.T. have showcased just how much scarier video games could be if they took risks every now and then when it comes to storytelling. Even the kooky, quirky, and downright ridiculous Deadly Premonition was more adventurous than most modern day horror games.
From a psychological standpoint, most people are afraid of the unknown – it’s just a shame that most games in the genre are so “knowable” that scares become a trivial dime a dozen.
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