Action and horror doesn’t always go hand and hand because developers throw in more action than horror. Not saying that they aren’t allowed to, but when your expectations is to be scared in a video game, chances are you might be left in disappointment. However, there have been games, many generations before our time that gave us the privilege to have action in a horror themed game (since Castlevania) . The usage of vampires and other horror themed monsters to be easily destroyed by the player which somehow creates the fun aspect of the game. Though they may suck in the horror department, but they didn’t fail with the rest of the part of the game like gameplay, graphics, and sound. Though our expectations maybe too high for most of us gamers, the one crucial part of the very game (no matter what genre it is) is simply the gameplay and these are the horror games that succeeds in that department.
Number 10. – Alice: The Madness Returns
I understand that no one would ever say that this is a survival horror game, it’s an action-adventure title. However, I cannot ignore any of the design choices of this game where it truly fits the horror genre. I like the fact that this game is so much better than the original America McGee’s Alice and it stayed true to the disturbing nature of from the Wonderland book that its based on. As for the gameplay, it’s really a lot of fun where you can slash and destroy as many enemies as possible while seeing some of the most disturbing levels and enemy designs in any game. However, what ruined the whole experience for me at many times is the fact that the action and enemies can be so cluttered that it becomes too much for any of us to try beat this game and it get very repetitive. The rest of the game, from the platforming, to the puzzle solving, mini games, and adventuring, it was all done successfully!
Number 9. – Medievil
Here’s a gem that only real Playstation fans remembers. It took a lot of supernatural environments and turn it into an action-adventure of its kind. The very atmosphere felt like Tim Burton’s classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas, but being able to slash every monster in sight, it was enjoyable. Now I must admit that MediEvil has certainly gotten a little stale over the years, especially after it was given a fresh coat of icing with the release of its remake, MediEvil Resurrection, just a couple years ago. Its humor may helps give it a decent sense of style, but too many of its mechanics and design elements hold it back from being an engaging experience.
Number 8. – Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening
It’s funny that people consider the Devil May Cry series is a horror game when in actuality, they’re a 3D beat ’em up sub-genre, called hack and slash games. Whatever the case, it’s a fun action game nonetheless. Devil May Cry 3 is a great comeback to the series after the awful installment known as Devil May Cry 2. Everything that we loved from the original returns to the series in its full glory. The controls, the balanced gameplay, varied level designs, and wild combat and gameplay it all remained here. The only thing I wished the game could do is to actually have a consistent aspect of different combat challenges that does feel very repetitive at times. Other than that, this game is a lot of fun!
Number 7. – Resident Evil 4
I do have a serious grudge about all the changes this game did for the whole franchise and for survival horror (if you can even call it that) in general, but I won’t lie and tell you that I did have a lot of fun with this game. Though I was vastly disappointed with the games, horror the physics and shooting mechanics and even the combat is absolutely fun. You can really feel the impact when you shoot at any enemy and you can still feel more of it when you upgrade the weapons. The reason why this game is low on the list, is not because of the lack of horror itself (remember I’m throwing that rule out the window for this list), is because there are just so many very annoying aspects of the game like protecting Ashley, playing as Ashley, the sewer monster, taking out two El Gigantes in the chamber, random quick time events, and especially the tedious puzzles. These are all of the reasons that I stated that I feel that this game is very overrated.
Number 6. – Dead Rising
With sandbox game (or open-world games) you can mix it with any genre you wish. Who would of thought that mixing a zombie apocalypse with sandbox could be the most fun experience any person can play. There are just more than enough zombies in the mall to kill off and so many creative ways to do it. As you continuously accomplish each mission and kill as many enemies, you’ll realize how much of a badass Frank West really is. It took every zombie cliche from movies (and other horror flicks) and just has a lot of fun with them. This is the Capcom franchise that should be allowed to do all of this crazy stuff, not Resident Evil! If you can get over the antiquated save system and the fact that Dead Rising is nothing more than homage to all the B-movie zombie flicks of yester-year complete with laughable and corny acting and plot and buckets full of gore, it’s a great time to be had. If all that sounds like positives to you, then you are going to freaking love this game.
Number 5. – Legacy of Kain: Defiance
This has to be one of the best vampire video games, if not the best of its kind. For the longest time, the series has been either Kain’s adventure or Raziel, but to make a great finale with the two character, they managed to put a brilliant cross-over finale. It’s one of those games where we play two separate characters individually, and the game tells a nonlinear story. I love the fact that they also changed the gameplay from the previous games where it felt more like Devil May Cry. And unlike Devil May Cry, the story is so epic and well written that it all fit perfectly together in this cross-over. Best of all, the plotline for finally resolves many questions that previous installments had left unanswered, as well as being able to play as both Raziel and Kain and the new combat system revolving around various combos and spells. For everything that this game has done, no doubt that Defiance has to be the best game of the Legacy of Kain series!
Number 4. – Dead Space 2
If you’re squeamish, then this could possibly be the most disturbing game for you. As for me who has seen a lot of violence, this is more of an action game. Lots of people would love to say that “Dead Space is just Resident Evil 4 in space,” however what the Dead Space series does more successfully than the current Resident Evil games is to staying consistent with the scares. Though the series uses blood and gore as the selling point to scare people, it’s the very nature of hopelessness in space and the many necromorphs need to kill that makes Dead Space 2 such a haunting experience. I favor for Dead Space 2’s level design much more because it has more creative and has varied locations that shows that inside a spaceship can look more than what we all already seen like churches, nursery, etc. This is what makes this experience not only more like a breath of fresh air each section of the game, but also stick out some horror.
Number 3. – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
We all thought that there will never be a game like Super Metroid, since the game didn’t sold successfully upon its release and it looked like Nintendo gave up the franchise. But along came Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that proves otherwise and created the sub-genre called “Metroidvania.” Konami took the side-scrolling idea to its fullest in this title. The game’s enormous maps, huge range of weapons, constant enemies, and excellent balance all still puts this squarely on the all-time list, no questions asked. Every section of the game has a different enemy variety, different challenge, so many secret to behold, so many different ways to attack and destroy your opponents, but all the same Castlevania appeal. With legendary graphics, a terrific soundtrack and perfectly tuned gameplay, SOTN is a fantastic experience regardless of era or age. A true masterpiece in every sense of the word.
Number 2. – The Suffering
The standard in the traditional survival horror is that you have to have bad controls to play a horror game otherwise the game would be too easy and not scary. Along came The Suffering to prove otherwise. This third-person shooter horror game is completely twisted. Putting us in a haunted prison is one creative concept of a horror game, but what’s just as scary as the monsters is the character that you’re playing as. That’s very rare for me to say that because most of the time the character we play as is the victim. You play as Torque has been convicted and sentenced to death for murdering his ex-wife and two children, although he claims to have blacked out at the time this happened and cannot remember anything. But that happens to be his very curse because he turns into a beast living within him that’s driving him insane. Balancing the revolution of sadistic monsters and finding out what really happen to Torque, leaves a hopeless world where despair’s only foe is raw, unnatural selection that canvases every corner of the prison. Blood smeared wall, wielding cries for help, and a bunch of hallucinations keeps you on edge throughout; is there anything more scarier than a haunted prison?
Number 1. – Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines
No doubt in my mind is this action-RPG’s going to be number 1. Based on the table-top RPG with the same name, never have I felt that a game needs as many replay values to get the full experience. Right from the get-go you have multiple species of vampires that all have their powers and abilities and pros and cons, so many quests and side-quests that have decisions that really changes the experience, and unbelievable experience that no other video game since could ever match up to this game’s quality. The beginning of this game feels like a traditional vampire adventure where you have to not let vampires to be known to the public, but the game becomes so hardcore and mature when you have missions that involve vampire gang wars, inspecting various murders and satanic rituals, a creepy haunted house, and even investigate a snuff film… holy shit! You can really tell that the developers had their heart into it and if only Activision didn’t rush all those who worked on this game to be released on the same date that Half-Life 2 was released, it would have been a much better game and it would have had more copies sold. I love the fact that not once did I have to worry about how many enemies I have to kill, but how many objectives I need to succeed in order to gain an upgrade for a power and ability. These are some of the reasons I wished RPG’s today could follow and it took the right steps into role-playing in a video game.
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