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You know what really grinds my gears? Putting all “horror” games in the same box.
I had the pleasure of playing Resident Evil 7: Biohazard recently. What a game! Very interesting storyline, great graphics and I died in about 20 different ways in the first couple of hours of playing. I was chopped to pieces with a chainsaw, I bled out, and was beaten to death with a shovel. And that’s only the beginning! It was quite an experience - Capcom delivered on their promise - I almost peed my pants on several occasions.
I also recently played Layers of Fear and Blair Witch VR titles which is not surprising as I work at Incuvo, nevertheless both games managed to give me major creeps. I did not die in the game, but I almost passed from a heart attack in real life (damn you jump scares!).
A thought came to me, how can someone compare these games? They are missing the point of it all! The glass slipper won’t fit every princess, you know? Let’s make something clear...
One review reads “This isn’t scary at all for horror, Resident Evil is better, don’t bother with this game” while the next one says “It’s terrifying! I was scared the whole time. One of the best horror games available”. I think that this discrepancy shows that all players have different levels of comfort - they all want to feel fear but in different ways - and as game developers we should take this strongly into consideration.
Let’s take me for example! While I appreciate the Resident Evil series and Biohazard is legit scary, it is too much for me. As a member of a team producing games for VR, I enjoyed the mechanics and was amazed with this game. As a player, I felt frustrated, scared shitless, and there were times when I considered just sitting in a corner and weeping. I was not able to mentally last in this extremely tense environment for too long at a time. In Layers of Fear, on the other hand, I felt the tension, I felt watched, like the house is alive and out to get me but it wants to take its time torturing me, and that made me extremely jumpy and alert, but I did not want to put the goggles down.
Resident Evil and similar games focus on an immediate threat right in front of you - sort of like “One, two, Freddy is coming for you!”
Games in the Layers of Fear lane want to make you feel threatened at all times and build up that tension which explodes when you turn around and find out a monster is right behind you - like Hellraiser once said “Save your tears. I’ll reap your sorrow slowly. I have centuries to discover the things that make you whimper.”
The same genre, two different games, two absolutely different perceptions of fear. A lot depends on what kind of horror the game represents. Psychological or slasher for example. It all boils down to a personal preference and what kind of experience you are looking for. I personally want to experience fear, but I’d rather keep all my limbs. Do you prefer to be chased and die of gruesome deaths? Or do you prefer the more psychological game? Share your opinion with our team @incuvogames on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.