What We’re Playing – April 20
The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames – specifically horror games, it seems! Here are a few games we’ve been playing away from the office this week.
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Make no mistake, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record is largely the same zombie-slaying experience from 2010, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold any value. It’s another case of Capcom re-releasing a game that, while utterly pointless if you own a copy of Dead Rising 2, is an experience if you haven’t tried it yet. Killing zombies with the most insane amount of weapons possible is just one of those simple stress-relieving activities that proves to be so invaluable. You won’t play Dead Rising 2: Off the Record as much as your typical triple A titles, but it’s a lot like enjoying a greasy hamburger: when it’s ingested at the right moment, it’s the most satisfying thing imaginable.
Silent Hill: Downpour
Silent Hill: Downpour is not the train wreck I had presumed it might be. I’ve played about 3 and half hours of it so far and I’m genuinely enthused to play more of it – something I couldn’t say about the thoroughly mediocre Homecoming. What’s pulled me into Downpour is its slightly differentiated approach to Silent Hill. Though the beginning of Murphy’s journey is plodding and tries to mimic the early franchise titles, arriving in Silent Hill proper has kicked my exploration lust into high gear. Though I think it’s a bit misleading to label Downpour‘s version of the iconic town a true open world, developer Vatra has given the player a significantly larger, less linear locale to explore. You’ll still find more locked/boarded-up houses and collapsed roadways than not, but the feeling is less claustrophobic. That may sound like a bad thing in a horror title, but it frees Downpour to have its own unique identity – just like the underrated Shattered Memories. And that’s a step in the right direction for the franchise, considering Konami no longer develops it internally and Akira Yamaoka has moved on.
Silent Hill: Origins
A long time ago, I played the first Silent Hill game. It was a turning point for what I expected in video games, as it was the first game that genuinely scared me. It wasn’t the monsters, though they helped. It wasn’t the combat system keeping me on edge. It was the town of Silent Hill. It’s an incredible place. While there’s never any particular sense that safety exists, there’s always the divide that separates bad from worse. The fog from the darkness. When the first game was made they created a town that, by itself, resonates fear so intensely that even amateurs can develop a game that utilizes it.
And by amateurs, I’m talking about the developers of Silent Hill: Origins. It’s a story nobody really cared to ask about with a protagonist who really has no reason to be there. Combat, like usual, is bad, but this time it seems like they’re even borrowing elements from Dead Rising considering how ridiculous some of the weapons are. Like the toaster. Why am I beating up nurse demons with a toaster? And then there’s the dynamic between the world of fog and the world of darkness. Before you were forced between one or the other. In this game you elect to enter or leave the dark world at your leisure in order to solve puzzles. Puzzles that usually involve finding an item and placing an item.
And yet, when I run through the halls of the dark world I can still feel that fear, that dread of, not what might lurk around the next corner, but rather of the time I might have to spend in this nightmarish world. One step into the dark manifestation of Silent Hill is all it takes for my own personal sanity meter to slowly diminish. Even with a game in the hands of such amateurs.