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Seven Modern Survival Horror Classics

Written by: E. Thomas

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Since its formal introduction to the gaming world with the release of the 1996 classic, Resident Evil, the survival horror genre has transformed drastically. For better or for worse, modern horror games are rarely more than third person shooters with paper-thin horror trappings, peppered with jump scares in a cheap attempt to frighten the player. However, all is not lost. We have compiled a small list of recent games that put the horror back in survival horror.

ZombiU - Nintendo Wii U:

A launch title for the Wii U console, ZombiU is unique both inside and out of the horror genre due to its implementation of the Wii U GamePad. Players can access their inventory in real time through the controller’s touchscreen, making for a surprisingly tense experience. Every attempt to pull out an item or weapon could be your last, especially since your player character will die permanently if they are attacked, forcing you to take on the role of another survivor in the zombie apocalypse. Memorable, innovative, and just a wee bit campy, ZombiU is an excellent addition to the Wii U game library.

Slender: The Arrival - PC & Mac:

Love it or hate it, the original Slender took the Internet by storm over the course of the summer of 2012. Spawning a resurgence of on-screen scarecams and a veritable avalanche of copycats, Slender was a simple exercise in horror that managed to resonate with the online gaming crowd. In response, Slender: The Arrival was created, acting as both a remake and a sequel of the original. Longer, prettier, and richly plotted, Slender: The Arrival exists as evidence that jump scares can work with the right amount of tension and atmosphere.

Year Walk - iOS:

Revolving around the ancient Swedish tradition of “year walking” – travelling alone through a thick forest on a certain night of the year in order to receive a vision of the future – “Year Walk” is a horror-puzzle game that makes several references to Swedish mythology. Controlled in the first person, players must survive the year walk by solving puzzles and steering clear of numerous (and frightening!) mythological creatures. Though the touch controls might not be for everyone, “Year Walk” is an innovative take on portable gaming.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs - PC & Mac:

As the sequel to the 2010 hit, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs had big shoes to fill. Set primarily in London of 1899, the game utilizes several interlocking storylines, primarily that of Oswald Mandus, a wealthy butcher and industrialist. When his young twin sons are captured by a man known only as the Engineer, he sets out to rescue them from the belly of the “Machine”. Featuring a disturbing plot and some truly horrific atmosphere, Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs lives up to its namesake.

DayZ - Steam:

Originally based on a fan mod for the game ARMA 2, DayZ has since expanded into its own fully fledged game. Like ZombiU, DayZ is built primarily around survival, rather than action. Players can explore a massive, decaying world where the walking dead reign, as well as join friends online to enjoy some zombie killing together.

SCP: Containment Breach - PC:

This strange entry in survival horror history is based on stories from the SCP Wiki, a community-driven site where users can submit their own original sci-fi and horror stories built around strange objects or creatures that must be kept in containment. The game features some of the most horrific stories, such as that of a living statue that can only move when it is not being looked at, a nice tribute to a recent Doctor Who episode. SCP: Containment Breach stars a test subject who happens to be unlucky enough to become involved in a breach at the containment facility. Featuring several unique and frightening monsters, this game is perfect for both fans of the original SCP stories and the survival horror genre.

Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut - PS3, Steam & PC:

The original Deadly Premonition was a massive sleeper hit. Filled to the brim with bizarre humor, quirky characters, and a surprisingly well plotted murder mystery, it managed to find a dedicated audience despite its rather small advertising campaign. Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut is the same Deadly Premonition we all know and love, but includes a few nifty extras for all to enjoy. Featuring new costumes and items, as well as several new cutscenes, Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut is a must-buy for any survival horror fan.