5 Unique Horror Games To Look Forward To
I can't wait for the inevitable announcement of Resident Evil 6. But with so many horror games coming out, I wanted to take a look at the five most unique takes on the genre outside of the mainstays that are coming up. I'm talking about games that really try to do something different within the confines of horror games. The best horror relies less on graphic violence and more on an atmosphere of terror, probing the psyche, needling under the surface to engender tremendous discomfort that bursts loose and induces sleeplessness, or worse, sweaty night terrors. Is it because they suggest a truth none of us like to countenance? These five games all demand attention in one way or another.
AMY (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
Vulnerability is one of the key elements of horror. If a hero is too strong, there's nothing to fear. Amy takes an interesting twist on weakness. The heroine, Lana, is infected by a plague and will turn into a zombie over time. Her primary mission, in Ico-fashion, is to escort the titular 8-year old, Amy, safely out of the city. Although Amy is verbally impaired and partially autistic, she also has the mysterious ability to keep the zombie virus from completely consuming Lana. This mechanic plays a key role in the game. For example, players can exploit turning into a zombie to move among the undead without being victim to them. Visually, Lana has pale skin textures and bulbous veins that reflect the transformation on the cellular level. Her skin deteriorates in front of your eyes, and there are even voices in her head. Not much more information is available on the game, but the little we've been teased with seems like this title from Vector Cell and Lexis Numerique, AMY, will be one to watch out for.
Army Corps of Hell (PS Vita)
Playing as the King of Hell who needs to reclaim his throne, Army Corps of Hell from Square-Enix and Entersphere for the PS Vita looks to be part Pikmin, part Dungeon Keeper, and all exhilarating chaos. The King has been burnt to crisp and his last chance for salvation is a goblin army of 100 he can hurtle, toss, and launch at obstacles and enemies. If the goblins were worried about unemployment during the economic crisis, they need not worry any longer. Assemble new equipment, play multiplayer with friends, and decimate the horrors that await in this version of hell. Heavy metal rocks in the background and gory bashing of foes abounds in every fiery corner. I don’t know whether to laugh or shake in fear.
Lollipop Chainsaw (PS3, Xbox 360)
In the 80s, the formula for horror / slasher films always had tons of bloody violence and a beautiful girl or two (usually in the shower) who would scream a lot and get killed. Lollipop Chainsaw spins the formula around and gives us a cheerleader named Juliet as a kick-ass heroine. This is Suda 51 at his best, with a poppy twist to survival horror that involves pompoms and chainsaws. Horror films bring out the worst of the subconscious and prey on the terrors that lurk under the veneer of civility. Do you have nightmares of high school? Put them to rest in this chance for a high school reunion with the caricatured monsters of the undead. For a more lengthy preview of Lollipop Chainsaw, you can click here!
Yakuza: Dead Souls (PS3)
Kazuma Kiryu is back! The Yakuza series has always been one of my favorites, not just for the open-world elements and intriguing story, but for introducing Western audiences to some of the odder aspects of Japanese nightlife. And now, in Yakuza: Dead Souls, the entire game is infested with zombies. The streets of Kamurocho have been taken over by the undead, and since the army has failed to fight them off, loyal Japanese gangsters must team up to vanquish the brainless flesh-eaters. Goro Majima, Ryuji Goda, and Shun Akiyama (all series' regulars) join, wielding super complex machine guns to shower the ghouls with bullets. Will there be karaoke and hostess bars (I've seen the one-eyed Majima singing J-pop)? Will there be strange fetish clubs as detailed in our 13 Strangest Moments In Gaming? Can Yakuza initiate zombies as bodyguards? We'll see!
The Darkness II (PS3, Xbox 360)
The Darkness II puts us back in the shoes of Jackie Estacado. What makes this first-person shooter really stand out is quad-wielding. That means you can use the 'Darkness' to rip out the hearts of foes and make their lives a living nightmare. The tentacles brutally destroy enemies and with plenty of upgrades available, the gameplay introduces a lot of variety in the power-ups. Against you is the cult of the Brotherhood, using Light to dispel the shadowy evil that has consumed Jackie. The game puts 'struggling with yourself' in a whole new shade of black and white.
Halloween is coming up and the new season of The Walking Dead has started. It's a good time for horror fans. At the same time, the prevalence of the apocalypse and the rendering of society into an undead army can't help but bring up further questions about the worst fears of society. Where are we heading? Well, at least for this week, it's back to the TV with millions of others to watch zombies as my brain goes into a state of enraptured zombiehood.
He has been working in film and games for over a decade. On his off time, he likes to travel the world. His short story collection, Watering Heaven, was just published by Signal 8 Press.
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