Death. Despair. Dread. Sorrow. Lonesomeness. No Halloween is complete without a visit from the Souls games.
Its Halloween season and what’s a better series of games of this generation to give you scares, than the ‘Souls’ games?
People carry vastly different opinions on what makes video games scary. The reason why games such as ‘Amnesia the dark descent’ where control is mostly taken away from the player, are not scary for a long time is due to the fact that we as humans are not scared after being on a constant stress point for a lengthy period of time. When I play Amnesia and I am just trying to gather light and travel quickly, not able to affect the world around me, I stop getting scared after the first half hour.
We need to be able to affect the world around us in order for us to care and connect with it, the ‘Souls’ games let you do just that. When you are in a doomed world where the handful of people you can trust are all trying to gather their humanity, the presence of threat can scare because the absence of those people would not only affect you gameplay by not being able to barter with you, but you would personally feel lonely without them.
Being able to affect their lives in a fatal way is beautiful because the horrors managed to turn me into the nicest person towards these people. I cared for them just as they cared for my character. It built a relationship with those characters not present in most of today’s games.
Demon’s and Dark Souls have given me some of the most genuine scares ever. The games manage to trap you in areas where death and lack of sunlight drive you crazy, making you want to escape and when you really try to escape, the game throw the most horrifying beings towards you. Having a massive creature lurk when you’re barely surviving smashes the feeling of hopelessness into you. Having the ability to fight and be able to kill it (if done properly) propels the difficulty over the previously mentioned, Amnesia. This is because you have the power to affect the world and fight back but because it’s done with so much difficulty, it makes you cower in fear.
Trying to retrieve your lost souls (the currency used in the Souls games) by going back to the blood-soaked spot of your last death can give genuine video game scares due to the absolute urgency to stay alive.
Whilst people question whether the gambling of the souls makes the game scary or plainly frustrating is more dependent on personal taste, I believe it’s the former.
Leaving the video game elemental scares behind, the scenery alone is absolutely creepy. Having mental asylums that link to satanic churches with biblical witch demons is absolutely terrifying. Walking through that asylum listening to the moans and cries of all the tormented hollow slaves leaves an impression deeply ingrained into your mind. Perceiving what’s around you will lead you to ask deep questions, exposing you to themes not so common in video games.
An example is in the mental asylum, why were these tormented slaves worshipping this Demon Witch with her Bible? Did they believe she would free them, ending up in a state of constant limbo and torcher, leaving them so weak and pitiful that they don’t even attack you most of the time, dying in one hit if you choose to attack them and further push the weaker of them around?
Walking through these areas and worlds for the prolonged periods will have effects; depression seeps into you and you would want to leave as fast as you can. This is a genuine scare and the reason I constantly use the word genuine is because the game did not script an event with over-the-top horrific creatures.
Don’t get me wrong, Demon’s and Dark Souls have some creatures that are horrifying, that make my hair stand on end, especially because they sneak up on you, hide in traps (which you would fall into and most of all) -- they look horrendous. However, things like the aforementioned mental asylum in which deep concepts are shown, leave a larger and ever lasting impact on your mind. Something the other horror games like Amnesia could not do for me. Amnesia feels like a scripted game with nice ideas but doesn’t provide the real scares that the Souls games do. It’s reminiscent of the way the Silent Hill games could leave an everlasting impression whereas quick scripted experiences like Fear could not.
Nevertheless its Halloween season, you want a quick scare whilst the clear breeze of Halloween is still brewing and for that, games like Amnesia and Slender are brilliant. They are the perfect muffins when you need a snack. Especially after having a meal of the ‘Souls’ games. Demon’s and Dark can take a long time to get to. But never go for a meal if you don’t want to wait for the time it takes to cook it, you’ll end up binge eating and ruining your appetite anyways.
Position: Staff Writer
Why hello there, my names Ali but you can call me The Geeky Penguin if you so please. Raised with a SEGA genesis controller in between my hands I have been gaming for as long as I can remember.