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Because not all gamers are created equal in their play styles. Some of you actually like sneaking around monsters and not barreling through them like a bull in a bull shop. Yes, that made sense. What one gamer hates about a certain horror game trope, others might love and vice versa. So let's go over some of those tropes here today in classic countdown clickbait condition.
5. Hide in the cupboard/under the bed/in the fridge!
Amnesia: The Dark Descent revolutionized survival horror in a way, because it gave you the option of being a coward and hiding in things instead of bludgeoning freakazoid monsters with nail planks and kitchen utensils. Outlast was easily the most harrowing, because not only did you have only a night-vision camera, stuff to hide in/under, and your own toxic stupidity for staying in a haunted asylum, the monsters were humanoid and naked... I'll leave you to imagine the specifics. It hardly worked anyway, because why would it? It's a bed, isn't it the average person/monster's intuition to look under it? But I'm not here to wax philosophic about that.
Over the years, horror games have become a rehash of Outlast and Amnesia, turning them into mere hiding simulators. I don't want to pay $40 to $70 to play hide-n-seek, game developers. I could easily get the same experience by kidnapping some homeless people, giving them bath salts, and making them find me. Oh wait, that's just enslavement with different steps, isn't it? Well, there go my Halloween plans.
4. The Ugly and the Unkillable
I tend to get massive satisfaction from assuring that everything in a room is dead before continuing on, which is why my last five therapists didn't pan out so well. So, when I'm being hounded by Bulletproof McTitaniumSkull, I am not satisfied, I'm scared out of my wits. But there are only a handful of unkillable baddies that do this trope service. The Nemesis from its Resident Evil title of the same name was daunting because PS1 games were far less forgiving in terms of save points. And of course, everyone's favorite triangular muscley man, Pyramid Head, makes sure he has your undivided attention and possibly your divided cardiac organs on a pike.
But there are games that don't do this well. When it becomes a try-hard affair to add a big and unbeatable foe just to try to be like the cool kids. The Evil Within does this shamelessly, even having two Safeheads appear in the same exact fashion the two Pyramid Heads did at the end of Silent Hill 2. You're not allowed to sit with us, Safehead. Maybe shave the corners and you'll be cool enough to sit at the Round Table of Polygonal Guilt Beasts.
3. Pursuers in the Sewers
Eugh, why have we got to go in the sewers? There's poop down there and probably crack-addicted rats! But you don't get a choice in video games. Well, of course, you could just turn the game off and not get any farther, but that's what quitters do. So, down into the dark and damp. Hold your nose, it's not going to get better anytime soon.
Why do sewer levels tend to be the most tedious? Usually, protagonists have to take sewers in horror games because other sensible ways are blocked off or lost in another dimension. Take Harry Mason in Silent Hill 1 for example, the roads have been sucked into the hellish void and he has to go through the sewers twice to get to where he needs to be. Though, his daughter in the third game has it even worse, because the walls of the sewer are bleeding and giving her headaches for some reason (on Hard Mode, anyway). It's cramped, it's dark, and noises echo, scaring you senseless.
What makes traversing sewers even worse? Invisible Satan bugs! Resident Evil 4 introduced the Novistadors, a flying plagued mosquito that has chameleon abilities and makes horrible buzzing noises. The entirety of Resident Evil 7 is practically a sewer level, since demented mold creatures literally spawn off the walls. Even non-horror titles incorporate sewers into their main objectives. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim had insufferable sewer sections, some were required in order to get into the Thieves Guild. Dishonored depended on sewer sections so a stealth character could sneak to their objectives. In conclusions, sewers suck, but are necessary. But if you need to get somewhere to do shady shit, it's best to Uber or hijack a vagabond and piggyback ride him to the crack house. What am I on about? OH, right.
2. Hopeless and Weaponless
I'm talking about games where you had weapons at one point, but now you don't. To be suddenly zapped of your ability to fend off monsters, they might as well cut off your hands. Accompanying this is almost always mandatory stealth, my least favorite type of stealth. Because most likely an action-oriented game is going to have absolute garbage stealth mechanics, for example The Last of Us, that section at the airport where you have to get past a battalion of Clickers. It doesn't help that you have both Tess and Ellie getting in your way. You can't just kill the Clickers, because they swarm to one spot in a horde and their bites are instant-kills. So, yeah we have weapons, but they're useless, so I'm counting it.
An infamous example is from... wait for it... Silent Hill 2! Because it uses one of the more symbolic, yet incredulous versions of this trope. At the hotel, this is an elevator you have to use to get to a lower level, but there's a weight limit. Sorry, wheelchaired staff. But for James to get down there, we have to dump our entire inventory onto a convenient shelf. However, you'll notice that you can get on the lift with Mary's photo and envelope. Make of that what you will. Afterwards, we can get on the lift and go down to get a quest item. But there are a couple of Mannequins (leggy creatures), but James can just shove his way through. He can make his way back, pick up his items, go back after those Mannequins annnnnd... they're gone. Wouldn't be surprised if the lower level wasn't even real, the game just wanted to be a troll.
1. Press X to break immersion.
If it's one genre quicktime events should not be in, it's horror games. Why would you want to remind people you're trying to scare by reminding them they're playing a game? Seems like at the cutting edge of virtual reality, we could do away with immersion-breaking QTEs. But don't give game devs too many ideas. They'll probably be making us do jumping jacks to get out of chokeholds next. "Do the nay-nay to reload shotgun!" Okay, maybe not that ridiculous.
Are there people that like QTEs in anything? Please tell me so I can get you the help you need. Why can't horror games play more like RPGs, like Bloodborne for instance? You don't need to incorporate button-bashing to fit in with the AAA popular crowd. Being a popular game shouldn't be the ultimate goal with a horror title. Not everybody likes to play horror games and that's fine. People have different tastes, some just hate being scared. Focus on making a good horror game for people that love to play horror games.