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Halloween Horror Game Thread From HELL No One Will Read (Because it's HAUNTED!!!)
#1
It's FRIDAY THE 13th, your UNLUCKY DAAAAAYYYY - and so, continuing my annual tradition from the old boards which I should probably stop and I think skipped last year anyway, here's the list of games I'm playing/have played/will play because Halloween.

Clock Tower 3
Rule of Rose
Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
Super Castlevania IV
Code Name S.T.E.A.M.
The Evil Within 2
Dracula X

Yes part of this is dictated by how I was able to get a hold off an SNES Classic. Somehow. Evil ritual, something something. SCAAAARRRYYYYY!!

The Evil Within 2 comes out today, which was some great marketing. The first one, which I played this time last year in fact, was a pretty good Best Of Mikami/Mikami's Response to Variants game, gameplay wise, with an interesting story set up. It seems like it's somewhat of a surprise it got a sequel, even though it apparently sold well enough to warrant it, I guess since initially people were pretty tepid towards it - it has an intentionally confusing approach to its story and doesn't explain a good chunk of its mechanics, which I think led to people thinking it was something it wasn't (mainly people stopping at "Oh you can throw bottles like The Last of Us, it's a rip off!!!") It's also pretty tight on supplies, which makes for a good challenge.

So I hope 2 here ends up being interesting.

I finished the top two titles on the list, which I should write a thing or two about. Rule of Rose especially is a reminder of that era where there was still a middle in Japanese game development, and there was experimental work on that level, which it would seem the combo of HD budgets and smartphones put an end to.
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#2
oh!!! that's why i went to the freaking anniversary party with the shirt freaking smashing my chest and when every people stoped to talk to me they toke a eternity and i just wanted to arrive home ._.
There's no heart without you
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#3
Yay. Too bad i dont currently have a horror game to play except that psplus thinguy amnesia collection.
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#4
I added Code Name S.T.E.A.M. to the list. I had been playing it anyway (slowly, sort of my weekly play), and it happens that I hit all the especially Halloween-y stuff this month, like meeting Scarecrow. Who has a jack-o'-lantern head in this and a trick or treat super. And then, of course, there's all the Lovecraft stuff.

I'll probably just make another thread about that when I'm done with it, but overall I've enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.

Also, I finished The Evil Within 2. Not as brave or clever as the first, but feels like a valiant effort to make a sequel at what I suspect was a lower budget - the semi-open world approach was a smart way of going about it.
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#5
Unsurprisingly my plans are getting rather derailed by Super Mario Odyssey (which is eye-wateringly great), so I should cover some of the stuff I played before I forget.

It seems that Clock Tower 3, Rule of Rose, and Haunting Ground often get grouped together, as they were PS2 survival horror titles not part of a "big" franchise (Resident Evil, Silent Hill, even Fatal Frame, etc). Clock Tower 3, probably categorized that way since it was the last of its series, plays very differently from its predecessors. It's basically a fixed camera Resident Evil/Alone in the Dark-esque game, and the later otherwise unaffiliated Haunting Ground is based on it.

Clock Tower 3 very much has that early PS2 feeling, of basking in 3D locale spectacle and kind of awkward, cludgy solutions to dealing with implementing doing different things - mechanics that are completely separate from each other. You get chased around by a big bad, and there are very blatantly marked "trap" areas to "kill" them with that put them off for a while, and there's boss fight mechanics that have a long explanation document the first time because it doesn't control like any other part of the game. On top of that, the story moves in a way that somewhat sabotages the "horror" feeling. The cutscenes were apparently directed by Kinji Fukasaku, a famed movie director, and this was one of the last things he did before he died. It seems like he must've had fun with it, as there's a lot of...overacted mocap goofing around.

It was worth a play, recalling some of the more charming aspects of PS2-era-ness, but it's merely decent at best and kinda not great as a "horror" title. I've never been that interested in being "scared" so much as the, uhh, zest of horror settings, as it were - but it definitely undercuts itself there.

I didn't play Haunting Ground recently, but I did a few years ago. It came out much later and obviously looks a lot better, but also has a more interesting setting. The mechanics from the previous game are present, with hiding, a fear system, etc, but all implemented much more smoothly and complement each other. Its biggest problem are some adventure game type "what the hell do they want me to do" places, so if you ever play it I would not be afraid to use an FAQ if you get really stuck and save yourself the trouble. This is all the kind of thing that was solved in years since pretty easily by pop up button prompts appearing near the fucking thing you're supposed to fucking use. Thanks, Resident Evil 4!
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#6
Rule of Rose, then.

It's probably most well known at this point for being one of the most expensive PS2 games. As mentioned before, it harkens back to that era where there were still plenty of Japanese middle to upper-middle tier games which experimented with themes and to some extent gameplay. I say "to some extent" because it still basically adheres to a framework, like so many of such games did at the time - in this case the typical fixed camera survival horror set up.

The setting at an orphanage / airship (which is it???) in 1920 is definitely an interesting one, and the vagueness of the story left people to speculate on concrete details, which has led to interesting theories. I don't know that it's all that ground breaking point-wise, as it still basically boils down to "a bunch of bad stuff happened", but ehh, it's interesting.

Another reason it ties into the aforementioned trinity: Haunting Ground is based on Clock Tower 3, and features a dog companion. Rule of Rose also has a dog, and it came out at around the same time - it seems it was a coincidence. The dog in HG is more of an action oriented helper who defends you against the bad guys, while the one here tracks items for you (and is not very helpful in combat). This basically just boils down to having the dog sometimes lead you where to go next.

Speaking of which, reminding me of the stupid mostly empty Kindergarten Cop school in Silent Hill 1, there is a lot of wandering empty hallways. This is mostly in the very beginning and the very end, where there is kind of a point to it, but it's an annoying way of getting the point across and I'm glad it seems we're collectively over such things by now. During most of the game, it means that if you go to any area that is even remotely off the beaten path, you will find nothing except maybe a crumpet or too (yes, crumpets, quite). This means soon enough you learn not to bother exploring beyond what the story wants you to do at a given moment, but sometimes you'll end up doing it on accident anyway and waste a bunch of time. If it was gonna be that way, they really might as well just lock doors for areas you're not supposed to go yet.

It also has the "clunky combat which might as well not be there" thing going on. It's fine.

Still, glad I played it, it was an experience.
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