You won’t be scared if you’re angry

 Critique, Survival Horror  Comments Off on You won’t be scared if you’re angry
Oct 202010

As I have mentioned before, I think Fatal Frame II is the scariest anything ever made by anyone. I’m unashamed to admit that the game terrified me, and literally gave me nightmares, as a full-grown adult. So, it was with some degree of trepidation that I picked up the disc for Fatal Frame III and placed it in my wheezing old PS2. True to form, I found a lot of the game to be genuinely frightening, but a funny thing happened on the way to the dark, decrepit mansion haunted by the tormented souls of the damned. I found that [Read more…]

Storytelling in Silent Hill

 Critique, Survival Horror  Comments Off on Storytelling in Silent Hill
Jan 192010

My review of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories went up last week at, and I really regret that I had to pan it. The game had some good ideas buried in it, but the overall experience was just miserable, oscillating wildly between deadly boredom and screaming frustration. I covered most of the gameplay issues I had in the review, but I only lightly touched on the positives and negatives of the game’s storytelling. My reason for this is that it’s difficult to talk about what’s really going on in the story without revealing the game’s central twist. I think it’s [Read more…]

Nov 202009

Although it uses conventional horror tropes, Condemned: Criminal Origins takes an unusual approach for a survival horror game. Survival horror often generates tension through resource scarcity, limiting the player’s ability to fight or heal himself, but because of its melee combat focus Condemned is necessarily limited in this respect. The relatively plentiful checkpoints mean that the player usually isn’t punished excessively for failure. Yet Condemned is a frightening, tense game because it artfully keeps the player from knowing what is coming next. Condemned has a significant advantage when it comes to generating fear because of its visceral combat. While a [Read more…]

Oct 102009

Final Status: Game completed on Normal difficulty, some levels replayed on Hard. Put This on Your Box: It’s like Civil War medicine… in space! Most Intriguing Idea: Converting a third-person precision-shooting horror experience into a first-person precision-based rail shooter. Best Design Decision: Working the kinesis and stasis tools into the railshooter experience. Worst Design Decision: Long, pattern-based boss monster battles that devolved into tedious chores. Summary: Dead Space: Extraction is a prequel to Dead Space, which I found to be more interesting than Silent Hill: Homecoming, but hit some low points that eventually drove me off. Extraction introduces this story [Read more…]