With each Dead Space and Resident Evil 4 launching throughout the first quarter, it was clear that 2023 was going to be a powerful yr for horror remakes. But what we maybe wouldn’t have counted on because the yr started was that this was going to be a stellar 12 months for the horror style as an entire. It’s been such a very good yr for it, actually, that we needed to give it its personal award class.
There have been so many nice horror video games this yr, spanning quite a few totally different sub-genres and studio sizes. As beforehand talked about, it’s been a implausible yr for remakes, proving the classics might be as related right now of their revitalised kinds as they had been once they first arrived within the 2000s. But it’s additionally been a interval of splendidly experimental indies which have discovered model new methods to shake us up. World of Horror fueled our nightmares with photos drawn in Microsoft Paint (critically!), whereas Dredge had us desperately wishing for an even bigger boat as a Lovecraftian nightmare unspooled its tentacles beneath our hull. Meanwhile, we lastly received a worthy religious successor to Alien: Isolation in Frictional’s terrifying Amnesia: The Bunker.
But what did the IGN staff assume was the easiest horror sport of 2023? Here’s how the voting panned out.
Runners-Up: Sons of the Forest and World of Horror
Tied with 2.4% of the vote every are Sons of the Forest and World of Horror. Both are from smaller studios (the latter is definitely largely the work of a single developer), however that didn’t cease them from taking Steam by storm.
The long-awaited sequel to one of the vital revered survival video games of all time, Sons of the Forest builds on its predecessors strengths to create a chilling journey right into a cannibal-infested woodland. The crafting core of the unique has been overhauled with rather more life like constructing animations that improve the immersion; for example, you now should snap branches in two to create firewood, or bodily minimize home windows out of picket partitions utilizing an axe. But it is the adaptive AI that basically makes Sons of the Forest what it’s; the freaky cannibals of the island react to your presence in plausible methods. Every enemy has their very own needs and desires, and so their behaviour is exclusive to them. That makes each interplay unpredictable – will the mutant peering from the undergrowth run in concern, or be the very last item you see because it tears you limb from limb?
The worlds of Junji Ito and H.P. Lovecraft mix in World of Horror, maybe essentially the most unsettling of all of the horror video games launched this yr. A roguelite RPG with turn-based fight, it’s immediately recognisable because of its distinctive black-and-white ‘1-bit’ artwork that depicts stomach-turning monstrosities. The apocalypse looms, so you will need to discover a fictitious model of Shiokawa, Japan within the Eighties and try to halt the outdated gods’ plans. You’ll see that journey by means of the eyes of 14 totally different characters, with every of their tales having a number of endings based mostly in your selections. Despite its easy, manga-influenced 2D design, this can be a sprawling, multi-layered nightmare. It’s all of the work of only a handful of individuals – developer Paweł Koźmiński, author Cassandra Khaw, and musicians ArcOfDream and Qwesta. And with its artwork solely put collectively in MS Paint, it is an ideal instance of how greatness can bloom from even essentially the most humble instruments.
Runner-Up: Dead Space
Claiming 7.1% of the vote is EA Motive’s achieved remake of Dead Space, which took us again to the blood-drenched metal corridors of the USG Ishimura. One of essentially the most technically spectacular video games of the yr, it combines intricately detailed environments, astonishing lighting, and terrifying sound design to create a sci-fi haunted home that drips with oppressive ambiance.
While the moment-to-moment of Dead Space is essentially unchanged from the unique, Motive’s refined adjustments assist not simply modernise the sport, however improve its biggest achievements. That’s true of most of the sport’s mechanical components – the way in which your weapons ‘peel’ enemies aside is a splatterhouse triumph – however we’d be remiss to overlook the changes to Isaac Clarke himself. Previously a silent protagonist, the remake provides Isaac a voice and persona. This helps anchor the stranded engineer on the earth and make his story of survival towards all odds much more traumatic. I suppose it’s solely within the horror style the place we are able to say that’s truly a very good factor.
Runner-Up: Resident Evil 4
When 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake proved a necessary horror masterpiece, followers unsurprisingly began asking for Leon Kennedy’s adventures in Spain to get the identical remedy. They didn’t have to attend lengthy, and this yr’s Resident Evil 4 remake is each bit the luxurious recreation that individuals hoped for.
While the distinction between authentic and remake isn’t fairly as drastic for Resident Evil 4 as its predecessors, there’s nonetheless an enormous improve right here; this can be a grotesquely stunning, atmospheric journey with snappy fight and clean exploration. It embraces the winding stage design of the unique and gives all types of alleyways, corridors, and stairways to poke round for secrets and techniques, treasures, and scares in. And, after all, it gleefully performs round with the unique sport’s esoteric roster of villains, from the doll-like Salazar to the depth of cult chief Saddler.
It did abandon a few of the 2005 authentic’s goofy charms, although, and leaned extra on the gory chills of the sequence’ trendy output. That makes for a scarier interpretation of the story, however one which’s not fairly as off-the-wall as its supply materials. Perhaps that’s the rationale behind Resi 4 coming in second place, with 23.8% of the vote. Our winner, although, is full of its personal model of comedy that makes it essentially the most out-there horror we’ve performed in years…
Winner: Alan Wake 2
IGN’s employees overwhelmingly selected Alan Wake 2 as their greatest horror sport of the yr, with Remedy’s Lynchian survival horror taking 64.3% of the vote. It is a wild trip, laced with laugh-aloud Finnish humour, astonishing musical numbers, and a proverb-quoting janitor. But, as you’d think about from its profitable standing, it’s additionally an astonishingly scary journey into the clutches of murderous cults and the depths of a supernatural, New York-shaped jail. In reality, it’s in all probability the closest any studio has come to capturing the fear of Silent Hill in fairly a while.
On the floor, Alan Wake 2 appears like Resident Evil, however past that acquainted over-the-shoulder perspective is a sport with unmatched imaginative and prescient. Its assured route, utilizing all method of visible and audio tips, drags you right into a creepy world that provides sudden surprises in each chapter. Its parallel tales, chronicling the lives of FBI agent Saga Anderson and haunted novelist Alan Wake, is each pulpy and literary, relishing in style tropes because it tells a genuinely emotional, thought-provoking story. We waited 13 years for Remedy to get a second probability and proceed Alan’s story, and it was price each second of endurance. It’s the studio’s most artistic, suave work so far, and one of the best horror sport of 2023.
- Dredge, Amnesia
- The Bunker
- Killer Frequency