What makes and breaks a Survival Horror game Page 2

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  • neilka 10 May 2013 22:57:19 15,848 posts
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    Skeggerino?
    The Skeggmeister?!
    El Skeggero?!?

    A map is like comparing velocity and speed.

  • sirtacos 11 May 2013 00:02:13 7,273 posts
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    .

    Edited by sirtacos at 08:12:46 11-05-2013
  • Breach 11 May 2013 21:58:52 68 posts
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    The original Resident Evil, and to some degree back when i first played Doom in about 1992 on a pc.

    These games provided the sort of tension that made you very fucking scared to open that door, or walk around that corner.

    That, to me, is the best way to do horror in videogame form.

    I think pacing and audio are very important to create this kind of tension/atmosphere.

    Edited by Breach at 22:03:46 11-05-2013
  • SomaticSense 12 May 2013 01:03:54 8,157 posts
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    Full playthroughs of both Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill: Homecoming should glean all you need to know regarding what makes a survival horror suceed (the former) or fail (the latter).

    Both games have very similar themes (Homecoming's devs were blatantly trying to bottle the lightning of Silent Hill 2's success by borderline copying it), but yet ended up as polar opposties due to a misunderstanding of the way every mechanic and design decision melded together to create a masterpiece.

    For that reason, a disection of both games would make for the quintessential examination of why a horror game suceeds or fails.
  • angeltreats 12 May 2013 07:55:22 2,602 posts
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    SomaticSense wrote:
    Full playthroughs of both Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill: Homecoming should glean all you need to know regarding what makes a survival horror suceed (the former) or fail (the latter).

    Both games have very similar themes (Homecoming's devs were blatantly trying to bottle the lightning of Silent Hill 2's success by borderline copying it), but yet ended up as polar opposties due to a misunderstanding of the way every mechanic and design decision melded together to create a masterpiece.

    For that reason, a disection of both games would make for the quintessential examination of why a horror game suceeds or fails.
    This, except with the addition of Silent Hill 1. And Silent Hill 1/2/3's controls and camera should be copied by every other survival horror.

    And most importantly, NO ESCORT MISSIONS. Nobody wants to protect Sherrie Birkin/Ashley/any other annoying teenager from getting slashed to pieces by their mutated father. It's not tense or scary, it's just a cheap way to pad out the game and delay you getting to the good bis. Ashley ruined Resi 4 for me.
  • Skeggers 13 May 2013 13:24:07 10 posts
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    I really wish I knew what you guys were all talking about, but alas.
  • Hurdu 13 May 2013 13:24:22 11 posts
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    @FogHeart Thank you very much, That comment alone will be a massive help.
  • Hurdu 13 May 2013 13:26:58 11 posts
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    @SomaticSense I have actually been playing Silent Hill 2 recently.
  • Dr_Mech 13 May 2013 20:52:44 1,018 posts
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    FogHeart wrote:
    It's also important to have certain places in the game where the player can feel safe. In Dead Space it's the tram, and the elevators. In Resident Evil it's the save rooms with their melancholic music. You need a contrast, a place where the player can 'let go' of their tension, otherwise they get burned out and can't keep feeling 'on edge'.
    You can betray this once and only once in a game, let the player build up a feeling of safety in those locations then once have them become unsafe. This leaves the player wary for the next couple of save rooms but then they can settle back in to being safe or better yet, save this moment to quite close to the end of the game when the tension should be at a knife edge.

    Constant obvious jump scares would be the bane of modern survival horror games and modern horror movies in general, keep one or two but let the atmosphere speak for itself, the less jump scares, the more effective they are when used.

    Doom 3 lost a lot of the scare factor due to the obvious use of monster closets to the point where it became utterly predictable when you were going to get jumped.
  • DrStrangelove 13 May 2013 20:55:48 3,699 posts
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    EA.
  • DrStrangelove 13 May 2013 20:58:32 3,699 posts
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    @Dr_Mech

    I think Doom 3's problem was that it was torn between survival horror and oldschool action. It did it fairly well, I still think it was a good game, but it wasn't really an oldschool shooter, and it wasn't really a survival horror game either. For survival horror, it was too shooty and too predictable, for an oldschool shooter, it was too much focused on darkness and shock/horror moments. It didn't do either particularly well.

    Edited by DrStrangelove at 21:14:40 13-05-2013
  • Dr_Mech 13 May 2013 21:06:30 1,018 posts
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    It is quite interesting since I own the 'Making of Doom 3' book that reading through the original proof of the story it was a lot more focused on the horror elements than the action.

    I'm guessing that they decided to sacrifice the Horror elements for more action setpieces due to them being worried they would alienate their fans and as you said, they lost a lot by kind of half-assing both.
  • DrStrangelove 13 May 2013 21:13:31 3,699 posts
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    Almost sounds like "dumb shooting" fan Carmack had a say in it again. That really worked well in Doom 1&2, but Doom 3 really didn't feel like it knew what it wanted to be.

    edit: sidenote: early concepts of Doom were of an action-RPG, as were early concepts of Quake. Quake 1 in particular shows with its darkness and horror soundtrack that it may have been intended to be something else than a pure shooter.

    Funny enough, Doom and Quake nailed it as long as they remained pure shooters, it wasn't until the "less shooty" Doom 3 that things got messed up. Maybe Carmack was right all along.

    Edited by DrStrangelove at 21:18:08 13-05-2013
  • Dr_Mech 14 May 2013 00:11:36 1,018 posts
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    Hmm one of the other things that is probably killing the Survival Horror genre is the CoD generation. Nothing against you if you like CoD BUT the general audience that the game appeals to don't want slow, tense games with scarce ammo. They seem to want empowering macho fantasies about being that one space marine/regular solider who stops an army of aliens/foreigners from doing something evil.

    This has become the audience triple A game developers aim despite the fact those kind of players usually buy two games a year CoD and 'sports game: year of release' (whether its Fifa, Madden etc.).

    EA and Capcom seem to love doing this, I don't think any one of their succesful horror games hasn't been converted into 'bland action shooter with very few horror elements'.

    Yes this is a whole lot of generalising.
  • DrStrangelove 14 May 2013 00:26:28 3,699 posts
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    @Dr_Mech

    I'm not a survival horror fan, but I certainly feel that way about Mass Effect. If Dead Space has turned into generic shooter as much as ME did, which it did from what I read, I can understand. EA seems to be especially ambitious there.

    On one hand, I think Dead Space and Mass Effect players liked those games for what they were, not for being CoD or GoW, but if they reached a larger audience with that, they may be depressingly right with their strategy.
  • Hurdu 14 May 2013 12:45:51 11 posts
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    @DrStrangelove I couldn't agree more, The best example of this is in horror genre being to being Capcom's spiral of self destruction on my beloved Resident Evil franchise after Shinji Mikami left (Can't wait to see more on 'The Evil Within'), the problem with the powerhouse publishers is that they have too much influence on the game and keep trying to push everything into the action genre to pick up some extra sales, shame, but recently there has been a spike in interest in horror for small companies and indie developers which I am loving, however I am always going to be a Resi fan at the end of the day, I just love the IP so much, even though Resident Evil 6, was for the most part, devoid of horror I enjoyed it very much, however Revelations has shown that Capcom still do posses the potential to bring RE back to its roots.
  • minusblindfold 14 May 2013 14:31:05 27 posts
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    I think sound design is a pretty big factor in a good survival horror. Dead Space has a superb atmosphere as a result. I also like the sound in the outdoor sections of the early RE's...
    As said before isolation is essential and modern survival horror is suffering with the inclusion of co-op/multiplayer. Lastly i think the fear of the unknown was silent hill 2's best trick. i.e. walking down the stairs to find a freshly knocked over wheelchair (w.t.f. mate?!)
    There is a big gap in the market for a decent survival horror game...
  • Frwazzles 14 May 2013 17:18:36 2 posts
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    How the enemies will spawn in the same looking place.

    You just don't get scared when you see the same door on multiple levels do the same sequence of an enemy jumping out at you.
  • Dr_Mech 14 May 2013 19:39:03 1,018 posts
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    Probably the best Horror games I've played have all had moments of utter helplessness (is that a word?) in them.

    Amnesia is based entirely around this premise obviously but Cthulhu: Dark corners of the Earth really pulled it off spectacularly with the segment where you're chased through the hotel by the mob of villagers, forcing yourself to throw things infront of doors to slow them down.

    Kind of a shame the game peaked early with that segment though, it was still a decent game just...felt it lost the way after that.

    Edited by Dr_Mech at 19:39:46 14-05-2013
  • Darth_Flibble 15 May 2013 18:30:23 1,666 posts
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    Good thread

    I hate how survival horror has become shooters as the gamers who only play stuff like COD or battlefield demand these games become a lot more shooting (or the publishers change it and fuck up want the developers want to do)

    Also its very frustrating when certain gamers uses excuses to defend the move to more shooting like: "Do want the same game as dead space 1 and 2?? they have done scary, its not scary any more!!!!11111 herp derp" All lazy excuses by gamers who can't make an argument and just wanted to play a shooter, gunning down waves of necromorphs


    There is nothing wrong with a bit of action and shooting by the industry is bi-polar, its either no weapons or resident evil 6
  • Hurdu 20 May 2013 07:59:01 11 posts
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    @Darth_Flibble Yeah, a lot of Horror games seem to take much enjoyment in ruining themselves just to pick up some sales, It is unfortunate that this could happen to a Genre that is so drastically different to Horror, However with all these new Indie Horror titles coming out, They may return to their roots, like with RE: Revelations which is supposedly really good, Will have to buy it at some time.
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