Genre Opinion- Survival Horror

November 8, 2016

My opinion on survival horror as a genre is that it greatly captures the intensity that games can be built to have. Its one of the most engaging types of games and though the horror element may not be my favorite, I know it captures the player's attention and really changes the whole experience. I think that in the last 5 years horror has shot up as a genre once again and games like Amnesia were a great catalyst for this.

 

A "good game" in the survival horror genre is one that is able to do what I listed above. As long as the player feels this strain that keeps them enlisted on the game then the better it is. The survival aspect can come into play in games such as 7 Days to Die and Dead Rising where the player is trying to stay alive in the world to the best of their ability.

 

I think that the best examples of the survival horror genre are ones such as Amnesia the Dark Decent, PT, Fatal Frame, and 7 Days to Die. Each of these games offers a slightly different type of experience that the horror and survival element each shows in different waves.

 

PT is a good example of giving a limited amount of game to play while still continuing to be extremely creepy. Its one of those games you only get to experience once due to how little content there is, but that unknowing element is one of the scariest parts to the game.

 

Amnesia the Dark Descent is a great example of a horror game that wants to grab you and not let you go. It makes all of your actions feel important. Making leaving doors open a scary concept as something may be charging towards you, but at the same time opening them each time may lead to something bad.

 

Fatal Frame has one of the things I hate more than anything in a game, being rushed. However in Fatal Frame it works in the favor of being horror. If the player hangs around too long ghosts will come, and they will kill you. This makes every action and backtracking an absolute nightmare. You fear that you're going the wrong way and creating more time for the ghosts to spawn. Its terrifying.

 

Finally 7 Days to Die is not necessarily scary, however you feel powerless to the zombies and when you try and fight them you will likely die from a horde. This leads to taking your time about everything and planning ahead and being quick in a bad situation is a key element.

 

The worst examples of survival horror games are ones that become dated. Sadly I'm looking at the original Resident Evils. Today they are still beloved, but the type of horror they are has become desensitized to us. This means that it isn't scary. Which leads to the ultimate paradox of making the new Resident Evils "scary" like the original, when it isn't even scary today. There are plenty of elements such as Resident Evils hopelessness and the risks of saving that could be reignited, but those died out with the obligatory lives system. Don't get me wrong, plenty of games continue to use these elements. However as times have changed they've become less common and less proper for general audiences.

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