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Visage: The Scariest PC Game Ever Made?

mondblut

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The Ravenloft games. And any other RPG with permanent level or stat draining. Especially when you don't notice when it happened immediately. Weeks of investment, lost... :negative:
 

Zarniwoop

TESTOSTERONIC As Fuck™
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Shadorwun: Hong Kong
The first Penumbra was the scariest. Not Overture and its 2 sequels, the O.G. "tech demo" one. Best played in a dark room with headphones.

The world's first Brick Shitting Simulator.
 

wishbonetail

Learned
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Oct 18, 2021
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533
Hey you watch your fuckin mouth when you talk about SOMA. That game is second to none in storytelling and having believably lived in environments. That game is smarter than your grandma and it isn't purely focused on being scary like the other games in this thread. It's far more focused on it's themes. Frictional just threw a few monsters in there because they probably felt like they had to, being the Amnesia guys. It's one of the best games of it's decade.
SOMA was pretty boring to play but I had a blast watching it on Utube. It would've been a good movie.
 
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It was totally empty of NPC's IIRC, except for a couple of wolves that your character can't kill.

I liked it a lot.

But I never played Requiem or the new mod Necrologue.

Penumbra as a whole was basically a tech demo for Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

What Amnesia did better than Visage was create a more satisfying ending.

The "good" ending for Visage...

blocks off most accessible areas of the house with various debris (e.g. boxes, etc.), forcing you on a one way path whereas previously the whole house was unlocked after finishing the three main chapters. After Dwayne completes the mirror mask, he walks towards a white light and you can see a silhouette of his family waiting for him. No stretch of imagination could allow for the people he just murdered to immediately accept him back into their open arms. Then, the game immediately cuts to a shitty aerial view of mountains, with birds flying in the near distance as some lame music plays and the credits roll.
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Rebirth were both subbed out and are much shittier as a result.

I really hope Frictional gets their act together because they haven't released a good game since SOMA.

They were my favorite indie developer ever, their games are interactive digital artwork IMO.
 
Last edited:

SumDrunkGuy

Arcane
Shitposter
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Feb 2, 2015
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6,489
Go play Darkwood or Tormented Souls (not to mention all the classics like RE or SH).

Hey that game you mentioned, Darkwood, it's on sale for $5.99 (special edition is $6.29). Is it worth it? Also how much stuff does the special edition add?

Oh the special edition just comes with the soundtrack and a background theme. Lame.
 
Last edited:

Semiurge

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In this thread I will name the scariest PC game I have ever played, followed by why I believe so, as well as include a couple honorable mentions.

But before that, let's examine what causes us fear in a gaming setting. Shock or "jump" scares are simply not enough to creep the living shit out of me. A game also needs to possess an overall atmosphere of dread, which stems from both story and soundtrack. Good graphics simply cannot override a lack of atmosphere. A game's story doesn't necessarily have to be innovative to be scary, there are plenty of movies and games that work within genre conventions yet function as a montage of "best of" moments. A great example of this in horror films is The Conjuring franchise. The original Conjuring borrowed the best parts of possession films and rolled them into one seamless viewing experience that I felt was truly frightening (if you like this movie as much as I do, I highly recommend 'The Demonologist,' a non-fiction book about the careers of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren).

So, what is the scariest PC game I've ever played? VISAGE, which was released in 2020. The game's graphics are extremely dated, by at least a decade if not more. Certain parts of the game are woefully incomplete, such as a total lack of hand animations and brain dead character models that seem shoved in at the last minute to make the release deadline. There is also the blatant problem of repetitiveness. Flickering lights and exploding bulbs lend some initial tension yet are a total pain in the ass by the time the credits roll. 90% of the game takes place in the main character's home, and even with it's labyrinth passages and entire areas that can only be unlocked through playing each individual chapter, it gets monotonous very quickly. The ending is awfully generic and doesn't make sense within the context of the story, yet it doesn't sink the game due to its relative brevity. It's also worth mentioning that Visage shamelessly rips off Cry of Fear, as well as P.T. and Silent Hill in general. Ironically, it's also these flaws and general lack of polish that help Visage standout in comparison to other PC horror games released by established studios with much larger budgets.



Now onto what Visage gets right... For starters, the opening sequence establishes a serious sense of dread that sets it apart from every other horror game I have ever played. The main character suffers a nervous breakdown and shoots his whole family before turning the gun on himself. All of this is shown using the in-game engine, and while not impressive from a visual standpoint whatsoever, sets the tone for everything that follows. Our playable character, Dwayne Anderson, wakes up in a puddle of blood, and stumbles into the afterlife via a limbo version of his mortal home. He's now trapped in a house bursting with paranormal activity, revealed through individual chapters where Dwayne must relive horrifying elements from the lives of previous residents. He accomplishes this solely through solving puzzles, as Visage features no combat at all. This might be a turn-off to gamers who lack the patience that puzzle-based walking sims require.

When I first started playing Visage, I uninstalled it after an uninspiring first hour. I figured the entire game would play out within the physical structure of Dwayne's house itself. It wasn't until I gave the game a chance that the extremely well-done nightmarescapes revealed themselves and are arguably what the game does best. These parallel dimensions filled with oversized crucifixes, monsters lacking fully formed faces, as well as several outdoor representations of the game's real world, create a serious ominous diversity. This constant mental bludgeoning takes a toll on Dwayne's fragile sanity: if he stays in the dark for too long or gets attacked by one of the game's demonic specters, he "dies" or restarts from an earlier checkpoint since Dwayne is in fact, already dead. The only way to make progress is to solve each chapter's puzzles, which I found very challenging, even as a veteran player of these types of games.



Not every character arc works. For example, the way Rakan dispatches Dwayne once he has him in his clutches is laughably stupid. The eyes for Dolores' character model don't match her actions (neither do the eyes of Dwayne's wife and two children shortly before he shoots them in the game's intro). Lucy's Demon, the game's most shocking jump scare, is a bland combination of Wolverine-like claws with the face of a porcelain doll. The game's best chapter is by far the Mirror Mask and can't be accessed until the three previous-resident’s chapters are completed. This chapter is also undoubtedly the most difficult and required a walkthrough for me to beat it. I'm not sure what collecting all the matryoshka dolls accomplishes; I was never able to do so during my first playthrough.

The soundtrack for Visage is minimalist yet foreboding. Three tracks stand out to me above the others: “Phantom,” “Waiting Room from Hell,” and "333," which reminds me of the opening track of John Carpenter's The Thing. Further small touches, such as a common Kit-Cat Klock and the number 333 which Dwayne encounters all throughout the game, accentuate the original score. The crushed cigarette butts and smashed beer cans are lifted straight from P.T., and paint a realistic picture of Dwayne’s mental collapse. Overall, I rank Visage as the scariest PC game I have ever played, even with its repetitive gameplay and unfinished visual assets.

IGN ran a poll of The Twelve Best Horror Games on PC at the beginning of 2022, and Visage towers above the competition, nabbing 50% of the votes out of 600+ participants:

Untitled.jpg
Coming in at second place is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, another puzzle-based waking sim featuring a sanity meter and absolutely zero combat. Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Visage were both developed by indie gaming studios, an aspect I believe makes for excellent gaming since they are created by actual people with their own individual tastes and ideas rather than large teams working to appease the demands of corporate overseers. Indie gaming studios are also typically not afraid to experiment, something AAA titles tend to steer away from.

Beyond Amnesia: The Dark Descent is Dead Space, a game so excellently crafted that it could be adapted into a great horror film in its’ own right. Dead Space contains a gripping story, original combat, numerous jump scares, and a terrifying setting that alternates between a claustrophobic space shuttle and the pitch black void, zero-gravity, and silence of outer space. However, because Dead Space is a AAA title from EA, it also suffers from much of the same problems as other blockbuster horror shooters such as Doom 3, mainly its overall sterileness that detracts from its true creepy potential.

Now that I’ve shared what PC game I feel is scariest, please post what game you consider to be so and why.


What the fuck kind list doesn't include Dark Corners of the Earth, the Penumbra series or especially Monolith's opus magnum - Condemned: Criminal Origins?

It was totally empty of NPC's IIRC, except for a couple of wolves that your character can't kill.

You can kill some later near the frozen underground lake, if you picked up the tins of meat jerky at the beginning...
 

Spukrian

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SOMA was pretty boring to play but I had a blast watching it on Utube. It would've been a good movie.
They made a SOMA movie, I didn't like it. It's a prequel to the game. You can find it on Youtube in parts, unfortunately not in chronological order. There's a fan edit that has the correct order but I don't feel like watching it again. Search for SOMA Transmission.
 

Spukrian

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It was totally empty of NPC's IIRC, except for a couple of wolves that your character can't kill.

You can kill some later near the frozen underground lake, if you picked up the tins of meat jerky at the beginning...

There are several more ways to kill wolves in Penumbra. Smack them with the hammer or the pick axe, throw dynamite at them or if you're feeling lucky you can smack a gas canister and throw that. If you're very patient, I guess you could smack them with the broom (it has greater range) or throw rocks at them.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Messages
3,810
In this thread I will name the scariest PC game I have ever played, followed by why I believe so, as well as include a couple honorable mentions.

But before that, let's examine what causes us fear in a gaming setting. Shock or "jump" scares are simply not enough to creep the living shit out of me. A game also needs to possess an overall atmosphere of dread, which stems from both story and soundtrack. Good graphics simply cannot override a lack of atmosphere. A game's story doesn't necessarily have to be innovative to be scary, there are plenty of movies and games that work within genre conventions yet function as a montage of "best of" moments. A great example of this in horror films is The Conjuring franchise. The original Conjuring borrowed the best parts of possession films and rolled them into one seamless viewing experience that I felt was truly frightening (if you like this movie as much as I do, I highly recommend 'The Demonologist,' a non-fiction book about the careers of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren).

So, what is the scariest PC game I've ever played? VISAGE, which was released in 2020. The game's graphics are extremely dated, by at least a decade if not more. Certain parts of the game are woefully incomplete, such as a total lack of hand animations and brain dead character models that seem shoved in at the last minute to make the release deadline. There is also the blatant problem of repetitiveness. Flickering lights and exploding bulbs lend some initial tension yet are a total pain in the ass by the time the credits roll. 90% of the game takes place in the main character's home, and even with it's labyrinth passages and entire areas that can only be unlocked through playing each individual chapter, it gets monotonous very quickly. The ending is awfully generic and doesn't make sense within the context of the story, yet it doesn't sink the game due to its relative brevity. It's also worth mentioning that Visage shamelessly rips off Cry of Fear, as well as P.T. and Silent Hill in general. Ironically, it's also these flaws and general lack of polish that help Visage standout in comparison to other PC horror games released by established studios with much larger budgets.



Now onto what Visage gets right... For starters, the opening sequence establishes a serious sense of dread that sets it apart from every other horror game I have ever played. The main character suffers a nervous breakdown and shoots his whole family before turning the gun on himself. All of this is shown using the in-game engine, and while not impressive from a visual standpoint whatsoever, sets the tone for everything that follows. Our playable character, Dwayne Anderson, wakes up in a puddle of blood, and stumbles into the afterlife via a limbo version of his mortal home. He's now trapped in a house bursting with paranormal activity, revealed through individual chapters where Dwayne must relive horrifying elements from the lives of previous residents. He accomplishes this solely through solving puzzles, as Visage features no combat at all. This might be a turn-off to gamers who lack the patience that puzzle-based walking sims require.

When I first started playing Visage, I uninstalled it after an uninspiring first hour. I figured the entire game would play out within the physical structure of Dwayne's house itself. It wasn't until I gave the game a chance that the extremely well-done nightmarescapes revealed themselves and are arguably what the game does best. These parallel dimensions filled with oversized crucifixes, monsters lacking fully formed faces, as well as several outdoor representations of the game's real world, create a serious ominous diversity. This constant mental bludgeoning takes a toll on Dwayne's fragile sanity: if he stays in the dark for too long or gets attacked by one of the game's demonic specters, he "dies" or restarts from an earlier checkpoint since Dwayne is in fact, already dead. The only way to make progress is to solve each chapter's puzzles, which I found very challenging, even as a veteran player of these types of games.



Not every character arc works. For example, the way Rakan dispatches Dwayne once he has him in his clutches is laughably stupid. The eyes for Dolores' character model don't match her actions (neither do the eyes of Dwayne's wife and two children shortly before he shoots them in the game's intro). Lucy's Demon, the game's most shocking jump scare, is a bland combination of Wolverine-like claws with the face of a porcelain doll. The game's best chapter is by far the Mirror Mask and can't be accessed until the three previous-resident’s chapters are completed. This chapter is also undoubtedly the most difficult and required a walkthrough for me to beat it. I'm not sure what collecting all the matryoshka dolls accomplishes; I was never able to do so during my first playthrough.

The soundtrack for Visage is minimalist yet foreboding. Three tracks stand out to me above the others: “Phantom,” “Waiting Room from Hell,” and "333," which reminds me of the opening track of John Carpenter's The Thing. Further small touches, such as a common Kit-Cat Klock and the number 333 which Dwayne encounters all throughout the game, accentuate the original score. The crushed cigarette butts and smashed beer cans are lifted straight from P.T., and paint a realistic picture of Dwayne’s mental collapse. Overall, I rank Visage as the scariest PC game I have ever played, even with its repetitive gameplay and unfinished visual assets.

IGN ran a poll of The Twelve Best Horror Games on PC at the beginning of 2022, and Visage towers above the competition, nabbing 50% of the votes out of 600+ participants:

Untitled.jpg
Coming in at second place is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, another puzzle-based waking sim featuring a sanity meter and absolutely zero combat. Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Visage were both developed by indie gaming studios, an aspect I believe makes for excellent gaming since they are created by actual people with their own individual tastes and ideas rather than large teams working to appease the demands of corporate overseers. Indie gaming studios are also typically not afraid to experiment, something AAA titles tend to steer away from.

Beyond Amnesia: The Dark Descent is Dead Space, a game so excellently crafted that it could be adapted into a great horror film in its’ own right. Dead Space contains a gripping story, original combat, numerous jump scares, and a terrifying setting that alternates between a claustrophobic space shuttle and the pitch black void, zero-gravity, and silence of outer space. However, because Dead Space is a AAA title from EA, it also suffers from much of the same problems as other blockbuster horror shooters such as Doom 3, mainly its overall sterileness that detracts from its true creepy potential.

Now that I’ve shared what PC game I feel is scariest, please post what game you consider to be so and why.


What the fuck kind list doesn't include Dark Corners of the Earth, the Penumbra series or especially Monolith's opus magnum - Condemned: Criminal Origins?


After Visage, the two other games I mention in my OP are subjective.
 

SumDrunkGuy

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Currently playing Layers of Fear 2 and it's painfully boring. I think I might be over this cinematic crap. It was probably a mistake to play something like this immediately after Tormented Souls.

How much gameplay does Visage have? Does it at least have combat in some shape or form? Does it have any survival elements?
 
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Messages
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condemned: criminal origins probably for me

Great game, I played it about 8-10 years ago in windowed mode on my shitty Intel PC that was built in 2002.

Currently playing Layers of Fear 2 and it's painfully boring. I think I might be over this cinematic crap. It was probably a mistake to play something like this immediately after Tormented Souls.

How much gameplay does Visage have? Does it at least have combat in some shape or form? Does it have any survival elements?

Visage took me about 15 hours, and I completed everything except collect 2/10 remaining matryoshka dolls.

There is no combat at all, but the entire game revolves around collecting scarce resources (psych meds, candles, lighters, lightbulbs) which you can use or drop as needed (they also respawn).

Some quest items (sledgehammer, axe, camera) can be stored in storage lockers, others are used once to progress through the game.

The puzzles in Visage and quickly decreasing sanity meter combine to make it a pretty tough game to beat, I would say it's noticeably tougher than both RE7 and the first Amnesia.

PS > I booted up the first Layers of Fear last night and quickly uninstalled it because it gave me a watered-down Amnesia vibe... No thanks, I prefer the latter.
 

Nano

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The first Penumbra was the scariest. Not Overture and its 2 sequels, the O.G. "tech demo" one. Best played in a dark room with headphones.

The world's first Brick Shitting Simulator.
No idea what the fuck they were thinking not using that four-legged monster in the main series.
 

SumDrunkGuy

Arcane
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Joined
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Messages
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Visage took me about 15 hours, and I completed everything except collect 2/10 remaining matryoshka dolls.

There is no combat at all, but the entire game revolves around collecting scarce resources (psych meds, candles, lighters, lightbulbs) which you can use or drop as needed (they also respawn).

Some quest items (sledgehammer, axe, camera) can be stored in storage lockers, others are used once to progress through the game.

The puzzles in Visage and quickly decreasing sanity meter combine to make it a pretty tough game to beat, I would say it's noticeably tougher than both RE7 and the first Amnesia.

PS > I booted up the first Layers of Fear last night and quickly uninstalled it because it gave me a watered-down Amnesia vibe... No thanks, I prefer the latter.

Well it definitely sounds more interesting than this shit heap. I think I enjoyed the original Layers of Fear back in 2016 because the visual trickery it used felt pretty unique at the time and I dug how surreal it was. A game like that is a one time deal though and something tells me if I played it now I'd be loathing it just as much as I am the sequel.

It's funny you call it watered down Amnesia because I was thinking that exact same thing about LoF2. There's actual monsters that chase you and kill you in this one but it doesn't seem to have any sort of stealth mechanics. You just encounter ghost monster thing in narrow hallway, turn around, and run from it until the script ends the chase. It's pretty fuckin lame. There's also been some "puzzles" but the answer is always within 5 feet of them and in big bold lettering.
 

Zarniwoop

TESTOSTERONIC As Fuck™
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Shadorwun: Hong Kong

It was totally empty of NPC's IIRC, except for a couple of wolves that your character can't kill.

I liked it a lot.

But I never played Requiem or the new mod Necrologue.

Penumbra as a whole was basically a tech demo for Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

What Amnesia did better than Visage was create a more satisfying ending.

The "good" ending for Visage...

blocks off most accessible areas of the house with various debris (e.g. boxes, etc.), forcing you on a one way path whereas previously the whole house was unlocked after finishing the three main chapters. After Dwayne completes the mirror mask, he walks towards a white light and you can see a silhouette of his family waiting for him. No stretch of imagination could allow for the people he just murdered to immediately accept him back into their open arms. Then, the game immediately cuts to a shitty aerial view of mountains, with birds flying in the near distance as some lame music plays and the credits roll.
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs and Rebirth were both subbed out and are much shittier as a result.

I really hope Frictional gets their act together because they haven't released a good game since SOMA.

They were my favorite indie developer ever, their games are interactive digital artwork IMO.

Requiem is some weird puzzle shit, it's not even the same genre.

Overture and Black Plague are the real games.
 
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I'm sorry but anyone who names a non-vr game just doesn't know shit

Even the most naive horror vr game is miles scarier than your average Penumbra or P.T

I played almost all known flat horror games, but can't play more than 30 min games like Cosmodread, or any passthrough games (the ones that spawn zombies and other shit in your fucking house)

"VR" headsets are toilet and always will be (discussed at length elsewhere). However perhaps you have a point here. The only way I see them fitting in is obscure niches like these jump scare environments where they actually would add something to the experience.
 

Semiurge

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Smack them with the hammer or the pick axe, throw dynamite at them or if you're feeling lucky you can smack a gas canister and throw that. If you're very patient, I guess you could smack them with the broom (it has greater range) or throw rocks at them.

I think I tried to use some objects in melee, but the game clearly isn't designed for that. Rapid mouse maneuvers might be more difficult to pull off if you have vertical sync disabled, which I did back then. It was suicide. Using dynamite sticks on enemies while you're in a cave system seems counterintuitive, in a real-world sense as well as game, and you need at least one of them for progressing.
 
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Well it definitely sounds more interesting than this shit heap. I think I enjoyed the original Layers of Fear back in 2016 because the visual trickery it used felt pretty unique at the time and I dug how surreal it was. A game like that is a one time deal though and something tells me if I played it now I'd be loathing it just as much as I am the sequel.

It's funny you call it watered down Amnesia because I was thinking that exact same thing about LoF2. There's actual monsters that chase you and kill you in this one but it doesn't seem to have any sort of stealth mechanics. You just encounter ghost monster thing in narrow hallway, turn around, and run from it until the script ends the chase. It's pretty fuckin lame. There's also been some "puzzles" but the answer is always within 5 feet of them and in big bold lettering.

Visage features NPC's that rush you and get in your face, much like the monster in Layers of Fear did when I watched some gameplay videos.

The demon in Lucy's chapter, though not scary visually, made me jump every time it rushed me... I'm not big on jump scares at all, but this one got to me.

But don't go in expecting a super-polished experience, Visage is jank for sure, I'm not surprised it was review bombed by audiences on Metacritic (it received an 81/67% split).

I played a rough PC port of P.T. right after beating Visage, and I would have liked it more had it not taken place in some stupid looping hallway, like a horror game version of Source Code or The Edge of Tomorrow.

For whatever reason, Visage made me reflect on the main character's psychology during my entire playthrough, even though not much is revealed about him.

The sanity meter bottoms out really fast, and when it does, prepare to get rushed by that chapter's stalker.

Lucy's demon and the tar guy (final VHS chapter) move so quick it's almost impossible to outrun them, Rakan and Dolores are way slower and it's easy to outrun their chase script, especially Rakan--a handicapped guy on crutches, LOL.

Requiem is some weird puzzle shit, it's not even the same genre.

Overture and Black Plague are the real games.

Never got around to playing Requiem or the newer Penumbra: Necrologue total conversion for Amnesia.

Frictional Games is a very special developer, unique in a sea of mediocrity, both for their excellent ability to create intriguing, unique settings and organic physics that pull you into the story.
 
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I'm sorry but anyone who names a non-vr game just doesn't know shit

Even the most naive horror vr game is miles scarier than your average Penumbra or P.T

I played almost all known flat horror games, but can't play more than 30 min games like Cosmodread, or any passthrough games (the ones that spawn zombies and other shit in your fucking house)

"VR" headsets are toilet and always will be (discussed at length elsewhere). However perhaps you have a point here. The only way I see them fitting in is obscure niches like these jump scare environments where they actually would add something to the experience.

Seriously, nobody has played The Exorcist: Legion VR???

No fucking movie has ever come close to being as scary as The Exorcist.

The movie's simple, single room setting, and story pitting good VS evil still sets it apart to this day.

I mean what other possession movies have been as vulgar, visceral, and graphic?

Hereditary was cool, but it didn't show enough IMO... Insidious totally fucked up the ending... The Conjuring was great too, but it's still not The Exorcist (Valak was badass in The Conjuring 2, but the scenes are too brightly lit to be scary).
 
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I hate the term "jumpscare" because it has nothing to do with actual fear. When you experience a jumpscare you're not scared, you're surprised. Two completely different things. Also, it's the simplest and laziest trick in the book, making casuals believe they're playing something scary.
Visage, Outlast, SOMA and other horror themed walking sims feel like those spooky amusement park rides created to scare 10-year-olds and girls...
It can feel like a nightmare, which is probably the closest you can get to "scary" with a videogame. Adults don't get scared fighting monsters lol, if anything survival horror fits that last description more.
 

Freedos

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Even if it's not flawless, Visage is faaaaaar better than Bloober Team games. Even thinking about horror walking simulator games, Devotion is miles better than any Layers of Fear game. Hell, there are LOTs of indie horror games faaaar better than Bloober Team games.
 

Spukrian

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I think I tried to use some objects in melee, but the game clearly isn't designed for that. Rapid mouse maneuvers might be more difficult to pull off if you have vertical sync disabled, which I did back then. It was suicide. Using dynamite sticks on enemies while you're in a cave system seems counterintuitive, in a real-world sense as well as game, and you need at least one of them for progressing.
Yes, they deliberately made combat clunky to discourage players from engaging in it. But it's possible to learn and "git gud" at it. This however made Frictional very upset, so they didn't include any weapons in the sequels.

Hmm, I don't remember any place requiring throwing dynamite. Where was this?
 

Semiurge

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Someone once nearly lost an eye trying that on the wife. At its core, the jumpscare is aimed at trying to trigger a sudden fight or flight response, and some people respond to this by fighting. Trying to scare the wrong person can actually be very dangerous. You could lose an eye that way.

Some people are married to animals like that?

Hmm, I don't remember any place requiring throwing dynamite. Where was this?

Didn't you need to open a passageway with them, or was there already a TNT charge in place? Seems like you may be right, it would be questionable level design to make it possible to get permanently stuck, even for a "smart" survival sim.
 
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