horror video games
In "Call of Cthulhu," users are taken on a journey filled with PTSD and disturbing images. (Image via Steam)
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horror video games
In "Call of Cthulhu," users are taken on a journey filled with PTSD and disturbing images. (Image via Steam)

It’s been a good year for scary video games.

As 2018 begins to wind down, it’s important to reflect on what made the year so special (or scary). For any gamers out there who are into horror video games, 2018 was definitely a huge year for you.

Although many new horror video games have been released over the past 10 months, four in particular stood out to me as being the most involved and suspenseful.

1. Call of Cthulhu

Based on the 1981 table-top game “Call of Cthulhu,” the video game version incorporates first-person and survival-horror gameplay, allowing users to explore a semi-open-ended game. What this means is that, throughout the game, players will be presented with a choice for their next move. For example, if a player comes to a crossroad (literally or figuratively), they have the opportunity to decide if they want to go with choice A or choice B. These frequent decisions throughout the game ultimately end up giving the player a personalized version of the game and the game’s ending.

The game begins when a famous painter named Sarah Hawkins and her family die in a house fire on a remote island called Darkwater. The police blame Sarah for the fire, claiming she was mentally unstable. Sarah’s father thinks otherwise; however, no one will listen to him, so as a last resort he visits private detective Edward Pierce — that’s you. The player takes on the role of Edward Pierce and is responsible for finding clues at the crime scene to deduct what really happened the night Sarah Hawkins and her family died in the fire.

2. Metro Exodus

“Metro Exodus” is the third horror video game in a post-apocalyptic shooter series based on the novels of Dmitry Glukhovsky. The player explores the shattered ruins of dead Moscow and embarks on a continent-spanning adventure across post-apocalyptic Russia. The game spans an entire year, giving the player a chance to experience spring, summer, fall and winter.

The game begins as the main character, the player, tries to escort his friends and family to a safe place within the decimated country. This journey is done by train, always facing danger. At the beginning of the game, a group of bandits ambush the train and the player is sent to do repairs.

The graphics in “Metro Exodus” are beyond realistic. Looking at the game is quite literally like looking at the clearest image you’ve ever seen. This game is also somewhat open-ended, giving players the chance to determine their fate. Kudos to the producers!

3. Resident Evil 2

In “Resident Evil 2,” players are given the opportunity to choose between two characters: Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy. The choice between the two characters does not affect the outcome of the game. It starts out with the character’s first day as a rookie cop being interrupted by a zombie outbreak. The zombies infiltrate the police department, but the character obviously is one of the officers spared. As the character meanders his way through the destroyed police department, littered with the bodies of dead officers, he discovers the zombies.

This is a horror video game of survival in which mysterious groans, unnerving music and heavy shadows give players frights around every corner. Battles between the character and zombies take place in tight, dark corridors, each one feeling as though it could be the last. Much like any horror game, “Resident Evil 2” contains a lot of gore. In one scene, players see a cop chopped completely in half.

This game has only been offered in demo versions so far, and is expected to be released at the end of December this year or early January 2019.

4. The Last of Us: Part 2

“The Last of Us: Part 2” is an extension of the original game, featuring the same main character, Ellie, continuing to try to survive in post-apocalyptic Seattle. The game opens up with a tender scene of friendship, which quickly jumps to a scene of Ellie with her knife in a man’s throat. From here on out, the game is mostly gore, which is to be expected from games of this genre.

The post-apocalyptic world contains a society of tribal cults, infection and military oppression. While the violence of the game may be disturbing to some, the game’s intensity and storytelling talent are truly remarkable. Much like “Metro Exodus,” the graphics are nothing short of excellent.

If any of you have ever watched “Westworld,” you’ll find it interesting to note that “The Last of Us: Part 2” is actually co-written by one of the show’s writers.

Horror video games have truly left their mark on 2018, leaving players everywhere anticipating what could possibly top them in 2019. Happy gaming!

Writer Profile

Anastasia Cottone

St. Bonaventure University

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