Liam Ferguson discusses the scariest game he’s ever played
Horror games are fantastic. It's a genre that is suited perfectly to gaming, allowing for creepy experiences that are more immersive than any other art form. So, when a horror game really hits its mark, it’s truly bone chilling. Whether you’re looking for a tie-in to your favourite movie franchise, like Alien: Isolation, something wholly original like Silent Hill, or a cutesie premise with a dark twist like Doki Doki Literature Club, there’s something for every horror fan. But today, I’m going to talk about the scariest game I have ever played, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
Resident Evil is one of gaming's most iconic franchises, with 8 core titles, a plethora of spin-offs and many botched attempts at turning it into a just as recognisable movie series. But with 7, developers Capcom found themselves at a crossroads. At this point, the franchise was starting to wear thin on people, with titles not hitting the same way they used to critically and commercially. The survival horror roots of Resident Evil had been seemingly abandoned in favour of a more action heavy approach, until Resident Evil 7 brought them back in full swing. It is easily one of the scariest games ever created, and one of the franchise’s best offerings.
Paying clear homage to slasher franchise The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Resident Evil 7 follows Ethan ‘wife-guy’ Winters, taken hostage by the mysteriously terrifying Baker family in the swamplands of Louisiana after he drives up to try and find his missing wife.
A focal point of terror within Resident Evil 7 is the fact that it is played from the first-person perspective, breaking in tradition for the franchise. This allows the player to truly sink into Ethan’s shoes and feel closer to the horrifying experience than ever before, especially with the addition of a PlayStation VR mode for those who have the headset (and the stomach for it.) The series is brought back to its survival horror roots here, with an array of puzzles to solve while evading capture from various creatures. Boss battles are intense and gratifying action set-pieces that often require some thought, with each member of the deranged Baker family displaying themselves as several different types of monsters.
The game also features excellent sound design, which brings the eerie nature of the swampland, in which the majority of the title is set, to life. There’s a constant promise of danger in the sound as each window could suddenly shatter into a terrifying jump-scare of a woman contorting herself like a spider, a swarm of killer insects, or a simple gust of wind meant to keep the player on their toes. Each haunting crevice of the map fills the player’s headphones with dread, with the lack of knowledge toward what is around every corner.
In short, Resident Evil 7 is guaranteed to scare your socks off this Halloween season if you have never played it. It’s an inviting welcome point into one of the best franchises around, while also celebrating what came before it for those in the know.