Weekend Hot Topic: Best ever survival horror game

Readers discuss their favourite survival horror games, as well as the ones they’re looking forward to the most in the future.

With Halloween almost here, we wanted to know what you think is the best survival horror of the present day and what you think may be the best in the future, especially given the recent explosion in new titles and remakes.

We got a good mix of classics and future titles, with Dead Space getting more mentions than it has in previous years, thanks to the upcoming remake and spiritual sequel The Callisto Protocol.

Two horrible games
For me, the best horror game will always be Silent Hill 2. Sure, it’s scary but that’s barely half the story. There’s a deep sense of unease and wrongness the game generates, that shouldn’t be possible for such an old title, but its atmosphere is so much thicker than the fog of its famous town.

There’s real meaning to everything that happens in the game, even when it seems dreamlike and surreal. The monsters aren’t just random and ugly-looking for the sake of it, they’ve been created, within the story of the game, specifically to torture the main character and everything that happens is specific to him and what he’s done to make himself feel guilty and become drawn to that terrible town.

I’m hopeful that the remake can make the game more approachable for modern audiences, but I admit I’m dubious, as I have little faith in Bloober Team or the trailer. But unlike in Silent Hill, hope springs eternal.

The most fun horror game, though, that’ll always be Resident Evil 4. It’s not very scary at all but it’s an amazing action horror game that I would’ve thought impossible to remake for the modern day. Everything so far suggests Capcom has nailed it though and I can’t wait to play it next spring.

Possible successor
Probably my favourite survival horror would be Dead Space 2. I just loved that game, except for the final third, which in most horror games and films will be a let-down by the ending. In Dead Space 2’s case the ending was fine but the lead up to it was a forced rush to the final boss.

As for a game that might equal or surpass it, hmmm, perhaps The Callisto Protocol. I’ve only seen the initial trailer, but it looked disturbing enough and similar enough to Dead Space to be a spin-off or spiritual sequel. I’ll more than likely not get it til; Christmas or after, if it gets released and not delayed, but more space zombies? Yes please.

Honourable mention. I was going to pick Dead Rising but it’s more of a sandpit-play-mess-around and you’re never really in trouble of dying, in fact I’m not sure I’ve ever died in this game.

No survivors
I’ve not really played that many survival horror games, not sure why as gothic and horrific imagery appeals to me but I guess I need my sleep and spending the night dealing with Alma isn’t going to help me get 40 winks. In my limited experience with the genre there is one game that stands out as the best: Dead Rising.

The series has taken some turns with each game being less and less about survival and more about killing zombies in as ridiculous a way as possible, but that first game managed something special with its survival elements coming, not from being weak (by the end of the game Frank is a tank), but by having a limited supply of weapons and food.

I love the tense situations that occur when you’re down to one baseball bat, no orange juice, and you’ve got to choose between soldering onto the next location or smashing up garbage cans in the hope of finding something edible – made tenser still by the love-it-or-hate-it save system.

With all the revivals of older survival horror IPs recently, I hope we get some kind of revival for the series, preferably one that takes its queues from the first survival-focused game. In the meantime, I might finally give Resident Evil 4 a go, since I’ve been meaning to play it since 2010 but never got round to it.

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Underwater horror
I am going to cheat. I’m not going to lie. Survival games to me usually are the horror, regardless of their setting or them trying to be scary or not.

I also despise horror movies, same old nonsense churned out for 50 years. I find shelling peas more entertaining than someone or something trying it’s best to scare me.

So come Halloween or a Hot Topic like this and I struggle to be enthused. Last ‘scary’ game I played was probably Resident Evil 4.

So I’m gonna give you my best survival game, that at times, was a bit scary, maybe.

Subnautica! It’s survival isn’t it? The exploration of the depths was nerve racking despite the cartoony art style. I was more interested by what I’d find in the depths of an alien oceans than a basement of a mansion or corporate headquarters. The sounds, the tension, the discovery, it was excellent.

I tried my best to contribute to the Hot Topic but I am Scrooge for Halloween time.

I think the best survival horror game that I completed has to be Resident Evil 4. That game had great action and true moments of dread. Although that’s my best horror game it’s not the scariest nor is it my favourite. The scariest horror game is P.T. but as some may not consider that a game. I’d give the consolation to Aliens Versus Predator (1999) on PC.

Playing the game as a marine with headphones was one of the most frightening video game experiences I’ve ever had and I never was able to finish it. One encounter with a facehugger and I had to quit the game. My favourite horror game is Returnal, to me those suicide drones was pure dread for my nerves, made me anxious and made me panic on those encounters.

A horror game I’d like to play in the future is the Silent Hill 2 remake. I’m looking forward to that game more than any other horror game that is upcoming. I didn’t appreciate the Silent Hill games in their original release dates.

Although I believe VR is the best new way to play horror video games.

Also, I do find games with spiders as horror, especially if you have a phobia. I hope most games in future have a phobia warning, which I think some games do.
Matt Riddle

Uninteractive horror
I don’t play much survival horror because I’m a wimp. I tend to watch someone else play them on YouTube! From what I have played my favourite survival horror would probably be Dead Space 2 or Resident Evil Village and that’s just because of how cinematic they felt. Both games were exciting – not just full of constant dread.

From the games that I have watched I would say The Forest looked like a fantastic survival horror with a unique story and world to explore… the sequel looks even better.

Waking dream
Alan Wake is one of my all-time favourites regardless of what people thought overall. It has the locations, the story, and art style.

Exploring mountaintops, forests, outpost stations, lumberyards, and rural villages; meeting the unique and unusual characters, and taking on enemies with a gun and flashlight, are definitely good ideas which are pulled off with satisfaction.

Of course, loving series like The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Wayward Pines, it certainly puts one into mind of these great shows and living them out in some way. There are excellent storytelling ideas in the narrative, whilst taking you to one forestry alpine setting to the next.

It has a good soundtrack, along with some very well developed, surreal and fun characters. Just when there is a shiny ray of sunlight breaking through the light disappears and the night attacks you and away you go, as even inanimate motors and other mechanical instruments come alive to crush you, along with the other cursed humans helping these contraptions out.

Played this game more than once and would love to play it again in the near future, just to enjoy the awesome cut scenes and chill out with the good folks of Bright Falls in my favourite state of Washington. Can never get enough of Alan Wake’s dreamlike story immersion and that’s for sure.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

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