Imagine a video game where you are wandering the halls of a castle, the cellar of a creepy house, or spaceship where you have limited ammo to defend yourself from other threats as a strange creature stalks you and you can’t kill it. Here are your options: run until it loses sight of you or move quietly to avoid alerting it. Sometimes later on in the game, you’ll be able to kill it.
As gamers, we know what that’s like and those are the main aspects of survival horror games. A game genre that I really want to be able to explore and conquer, but I always feel like games like these are a challenge for me because I am used to playing games where I can meet the threat head on and shoot/slash it until it dies!
I want to play survival horror games because I love horror in general and I’ve seen some really good games under the genre that I want to check out.
I have beaten some survival horror games before such as F.E.A.R and Dead Space II, and yeah they don’t have the same gameplay theme as what I just mentioned earlier. They apply the genre in a different way. F.E.A.R (the first one only), sure you’ve got a typical arsenal of weapons from any shooter game, but it also deals with you being all by yourself against the Replica soldiers and other enemies, dark corridors, and unexpected life-threatening hallucinations. Dead Space II on the other hand requires you to keep your eyes and ears open as Necromorphs can attack without warning and the halls are tight. There can also be moments where they can grab and brutally kill you unless you rapidly press the button indicated to break free. You also have to conserve ammo by aiming for the limbs and inventory starts off as limited but can be upgraded later on.
Those are the only two survival horror games I have beaten, I have tried many times to beat the first Dead Space game, but have had trouble with some puzzles with hazardous obstacles that have caused me to rage quit more than once. Then there was Alien Isolation that I got more than halfway through but it wasn’t easy because stealth wasn’t something I excelled at. I got used to it eventually but I got to a part in the game where the story no longer interested me and there were so many damn androids that my strategy to sneak around them was less effective and I lacked ammunition to fend them off.
The tipping point came when I was about to go into the APOLLO Core and had to put all my weapons in a safe and down there were suited androids that I could probably distract with noisemakers but all that anxiety about how I was going to get past them, with minimal frustration built up until I said fuck it and decided to stop playing. So, as you can see, my rage quits had nothing to do with me being too scared, but they had to do with difficult obstacles instead that were just part of the gameplay.
Now there are other survival horror games catching my eye and I’m really eager to give the genre another chance. There are also other factors that are contributing such as developing crushes on certain characters from some of those games or general interest in other characters and the story.
So, I ask myself, how am I going to play these games and actually finish them? Sometimes I think I have to be heavily invested in the story to remain persistent if I get stuck at a boss fight, puzzle, or stalker moment; the last two being quite common in survival horror. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been able to watch horror films alone, even in theaters, and sleep in the dark the same night, and the games I’ve played so far did have parts that genuinely scared me.
Like, I will admit that the scariest part for me was when the Xenomorph was stalking me through the hospital as I was searching for Dr. Morley’s keycard, I kept crawling under stretchers, hiding in patient rooms and turning off the air purification systems to fill them with smoke to make it harder for it to see me. It was a slow and tedious process, but I managed to get out of there without dying once.
But, I don’t get so easily spooked to a point where I chicken out and can’t play/watch anymore. I’m brave enough to keep on trucking as one of my friends would often say to me when times are tough.
I guess I will never know until I try, all it will take is some patience and persistence. Frequent breaks may be required for me to think it through if I get stuck, so that I can return fresh after thinking it through. I’m not forcing myself to do this by the way, I’ve always wanted to get into more horror games. Maybe one day I’ll try to beat Alien Isolation again once I have more experience and have tried other games that I want to complete first under this genre.
Wish me luck at this.