The Horror Dilemma

The issue of maintaining a terror filled atmosphere is drained when you know what to expect from the upcoming horrors.

By Grayshadow, Posted 28 Feb 2013

I absolutely love horror movies, games, and books. The tension and anticipation of not knowing what is about to happen creates a thrilling jolt of fear and excitement that some love and others hate. One of the most difficult changes developers in this genre face is not just creating tense experience but maintaining it over the course of multiple titles. Seeing great titles such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Dead Space changed into new variations in order to support sales is difficult but understandable. Zombies and Necromorphs used to have me checking every corner and kept my weapon was ready, but now they’re targets waiting to be disposed of. This is in no way the developers fault, when you see something frightening for the first time it can be shocking but once you know the creature and become accustomed to fighting or seeing it that feeling you initially felt fades. I’m not disappointed that Dead Space 3 or Resident Evil 6 didn’t deliver the same horror experience I had in pervious installments in the franchise, time has drained the fear from them.

Since Resident Evil 4 the legendary franchise has seen a sudden transfer from survival-horror into action. With the release of Resident Evil 5, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, and Resident Evil 6 it was clear that Capcom was attempting to capture the attention of action junkies as well as attempting to keep fans of the franchise happy. People complained and reviews hammered away at the legendary series being unable to capture either form correctly. However it they attempted to create these games with the same mechanics of the original Resident Evil games would’ve it been scary? I doubt that if Resident Evil 5 utilized the same mechanics of the previous game that I would’ve been at the edge of my seat, unsure that an enemy was about to come blasting through the walls. I know most of them are probably going to charge me with either lethal weapons or bare fists, just aim and shoot.

Dead Space faces the same issues. When I first entered the USG Ishimura I was aware of the upcoming threat but I had no idea what these creatures were. I activated the power and was forced to flee into an elevator while a Necromorph attempted to stab Isaac in the face. When I thought I was safe that exciting feeling faded only to be reignited as the Necromorph forced the elevator doors open and was immediately crushed by the closing impact. This remained one of my favorite moments in within the survival-horror franchise and each event that followed afterwards delivered similar moments of tension. Unknowing what different types of these things exist or in what ways they can butcher Isaac added to the fun.

The single-player use the same creatures but built on the idea of insanity, allowing for delightful battles between Isaac and his sanity. I wasn’t worried about the Necromorphs, even the new ones, because I knew what to expect from them. It was having Isaac’s guilt slowly ripe him apart that allowed the same momentum from the first game to continue. Now with two games filled with Necromorph killing, how do you keep the same enticing gameplay while adding fresh material? Dead Space 3 attempted to incorporateed both worlds by including a combat heavy cooperative option and a solo option for veteran players. But I still have to cut through the same enemies that use the same tactics and have little room for sneak attacks. Without something to keep it fresh, like Dead Space 2’s battle between reality and hallucinations, I felt that I was just plowing myself through hundreds of these deformed creatures without so much as a jolt of fear.  

Try not to judge developers for attempting new ideas, especially in horror games. The issue of maintaining a terror filled atmosphere is drained when you know what to expect from the upcoming horrors. Knowing how certain creatures act allows the viewer to prepare for the threat and prone to react. I cannot blame developers for trying new concepts by combining other popular elements, fighting the creatures of Silent Hill does get old after a while. I like that they try and fortify the original concepts while looking for fresh mechanics, but unfortunately due to time and exposure I doubt I’ll find Zombies, Necromorphs, or even Jason frightening ever again.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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  • @Grayshadow while i agree with you that developers should try new things and what not, i will disagree with those 2 titles in particular. Even with the new action mechanics implemented in RE5, and RE6, they could have made an excellent horror game. Leon's campaign (everything before china) was very much survival horror and specially because of the lack of ammo and health made it very nice. I was waiting for something to pop out at every corner of the campus. Campus and cemetery were very very well done. However, emo chris's campaign and jakes and sherry's campaign just felt like i was playing gears of wars but with normal weapons and no suit of armor. and the quick time events...oh the quick time events. the only real challenge was the amount of enemies and the lack of healing items. I will however give extreme, but extreme praise to the ubber improved partner system. better AI and wont die -_- (damn you sheba)
    On Dead Space 3 though, even if you are used to them, a well placed necromorph will scare the heck out of you. which was what the first game had. first game you didnt have an ubber abundance of ammo until much later in the game, and even then you try to conserve ammo. and the enemies pop out of unexpected places. In this one, you know they are going to pop out not next to you, but somewhere infront of you lined up to take a barrage of bullets to make your life easier. the lighting, setting and story telling wasnt that great as the first 2, it felt like they were trying to milk something that should have been resolved already. The games were good, but i really felt like i was playing them because i had already started them.
    Posted Apr 25, 2013


General Information

Dead Space 3


Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Developer(s): Visceral Games
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Sci-Fi, Action
Release Date: 2013-02-05

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