Silent Hill Downpour Review

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Just watched my first and probably last Jimquisition, on Konami. Could have saved some time on my earlier post had I watched it first and made reference to it as it pretty well sums up the state of Konami these days. Lucky Downpour wasn't developed by Konami at least.

[quote="Char-Nobyl" post="6.358856.14169217

What did players do in Amnesia when they encountered the monsters? They ran the hell away, that's what. The monsters remained scary and felt unstoppable because players had absolutely no reason to stop and see if they could actually be stopped. It helped that there were no combat mechanics, but if you've got multiple terrors from your deepest nightmares bearing down on you, and all you have is a knife or, hell, even if you have a gun, your first instinct is to flee. Why should a horror game say otherwise? "Facing your fears" is probably the most quoted method of overcoming fears, and horror games that force combat are effectively destroying the scary elements of your foes while trying to make them scary.

The easiest way to make someone afraid of something is to let them keep running from it.

.[/quote]

I agree with you on everything pretty much, except for this bit. See, I'm one of the few horror gamers that thinks that for all it's potental, Amnesia was a poorly designed turd that failed for largely this reason. To be honest the point I'm making is about how combat needs to be a viable option but needs to be balanced by the atmosphere and the options present for this to work. Amnesia is as big a failure as horror games that routinely force combat because its not an option and makes the need to flee or hide exclusively something that breaks immersion, it pretty much turns the game into a giant forced stealth section every time a monster shows up, and that's just as bad.

See, the thing to understand is that humans are the most efficient predators on our planet. We dominate the world because we're aggressive, highly intelligent(a dumb human is smarter than pretty much any animal out there), and we have opposable thumbs to make and use tools. We aren't the strongest or the fastest but those advantages make us nearly unstoppable. For all the situations people die in, people also tend to surprise in incredibly hostile situations despite the odds civilization teaches us to believe in because people generally don't realize what horrendously nasty creatures we are when you get down to it. Heck, you even have little kids surviving in the wilderness for years purely on instinct.

The point here is that we do run away, the fight or flight reflex includes "flight" for a reason, but we also don't tend to leave things that are dangeorus to us alone, being smart tool users when we run into something we can't beat, we set traps for it, or create things to give us an edge. This is how humans have been taking down vastly more powerful creatures on a physical level since the dawn of time.

The problem with Amnesia is that running away makes sense in some cases, but even if I can't outmuscle the monster, in certain situations there is a lot I am going to be able to do, and in that game (as far as I played it) and a few others it occured to me that the situation was getting stupid because there were plenty of things I should have been able to do with the enviroment or what I had on hand that would have made life alot easier.

It's one thing when there are no oppertunities present, but quite another when I'm say sitting on lamp oil and matches and am left with perfect oppertunities to light some annoying creature up like a torch, or heck... just to drop really heavy things on them.

This is why I think the type of monster is important, and why in some cases it doesn't work. In Amnesia your enemy for most of it basically amounts to some big, ugly, mook, that is apparently as dumb as a rock and doesn't exactly have any superhuman senses or anything. Okay greanted, your not going to win a dust up with a club, a makeshift spear, or whatever else, but if I push say a 400 pound crate off an edge using a lever onto it's head, or cover it, or say close a barred door and lock it so it cant get through, say "over here" douse it with lamp oil trough the bars and toss a match on it and laugh... yeah that would work, and makes a lot more sense than simply hiding constantly once you know for sure it's out there. Since there only seems to be one real monster for a good part of the game, think about how much easier and much logical things would be if you just took it out.

Now granted, there might be some very good reasons why this wouldn't work, depending on it's exact capabilities, but there is no knowlege I have for most of the game that explains why I wouldn't try.

Even in horror where your a relatively ordinary guy, I tend to frame it in the sense of what I would do in real life, and by "real life" I'm talking about what I can actually do (where I'm sub-average now actually) as opposed to some nerd fantasy. See, I will run away from something that scares the crap out of me, and might not go looking for something obviously more dangerous than I am with an improvised weapon, but will I take an oppertunity to turn the tables on it? Would I set a trap for something stalking me? Hell yes. Even as I'm running or hiding I'm going to be thinking about ways to get rid of that thing, and given an oppertunity that seems viable I'm going to take it.

Immersion can be broken by making the character too ineffective and incapable of action to be believed, and that can ruin taking horror seriously, just as bad as simply walking around and pwning everything that gets in your way with improbable levels of superhuman fighting abillity.

A Silent Hill game not developed by the original team, that isn't scary.

Boy, who couldn't have seen that coming?

WMDogma:
Silent Hill Downpour Review

Bring an umbrella.

Read Full Article

I have been trained to believe that EVERY corpse in EVERY game I play will rise up and try to eat my face so I'm somewhat dissapointed that Vatra thought that was a viable scare tactic.

Thanks for the review Paul! I've been eagerly awaiting this game, however my anticipation was laced with a certain amount of hesitation. I'm sorry to hear it's just not the game Silent Hill fans have been waiting for. Still, it sounds better than Homecoming and in my books that's certainly a good thing.

Doclector:
Y'know, I'm that desperate for survival horror that I might pick it up anyway.

If Konami ever ships a decent amount of copies to the UK. I haven't seen it ANYWHERE, and I could swear it was meant to be out by now.

And it really does look like alan wake. Seriously, watch the video again, and at the end, say "My name's alan wake, and I'm a writer." Fits right in, don't it?

Amazon.co.uk says that it's out tomorrow (30th March) for the UK. I've been watching that date for a while now, especially after its release was delayed from October last year.

So ummm, why does this game look to be set in Alan Wake's Pacific North West when the town of Silent Hill is purportedly located somewhere in Maine, New England?

Casual Shinji:
A Silent Hill game not developed by the original team, that isn't scary.

Boy, who couldn't have seen that coming?

Scary is subjective, just because he didn't find it scary doesn't mean it isn't. I personally found some moments genuinely unnerving

Proverbial Jon:

WMDogma:
Silent Hill Downpour Review

Bring an umbrella.

Read Full Article

I have been trained to believe that EVERY corpse in EVERY game I play will rise up and try to eat my face so I'm somewhat dissapointed that Vatra thought that was a viable scare tactic.

Thanks for the review Paul! I've been eagerly awaiting this game, however my anticipation was laced with a certain amount of hesitation. I'm sorry to hear it's just not the game Silent Hill fans have been waiting for. Still, it sounds better than Homecoming and in my books that's certainly a good thing.

Doclector:
Y'know, I'm that desperate for survival horror that I might pick it up anyway.

If Konami ever ships a decent amount of copies to the UK. I haven't seen it ANYWHERE, and I could swear it was meant to be out by now.

And it really does look like alan wake. Seriously, watch the video again, and at the end, say "My name's alan wake, and I'm a writer." Fits right in, don't it?

Amazon.co.uk says that it's out tomorrow (30th March) for the UK. I've been watching that date for a while now, especially after its release was delayed from October last year.

So ummm, why does this game look to be set in Alan Wake's Pacific North West when the town of Silent Hill is purportedly located somewhere in Maine, New England?

I never knew silent hill was located there (although I did notice it looks siginifcantly different to the other games)...What the hell is it with maine!? Stephen King seems to bring some unholy event upon it a few times every year, and now I find out it's home to silent gorram hill!?

Doclector:
I never knew silent hill was located there (although I did notice it looks siginifcantly different to the other games)...What the hell is it with maine!? Stephen King seems to bring some unholy event upon it a few times every year, and now I find out it's home to silent gorram hill!?

I'm not sure how official the location is, but according to the Silent Hill Wiki there is a fair amount of evidence that suggests the town is located in that area. Most recent examples are that a bus in Downpour has a Maine license plate and there is a road sign bearing the Interstate 95 logo. If Silent Hill was not in Maine before, Vatra have made sure it is now.

I think the Stephen King references are intentional as there were streets in the original Silent Hill games that references him and his works. Although the reason why he is constantly referred to in horror games baffles me. As far as horror goes his books aren't all that good.

Proverbial Jon:

Doclector:
I never knew silent hill was located there (although I did notice it looks siginifcantly different to the other games)...What the hell is it with maine!? Stephen King seems to bring some unholy event upon it a few times every year, and now I find out it's home to silent gorram hill!?

I'm not sure how official the location is, but according to the Silent Hill Wiki there is a fair amount of evidence that suggests the town is located in that area. Most recent examples are that a bus in Downpour has a Maine license plate and there is a road sign bearing the Interstate 95 logo. If Silent Hill was not in Maine before, Vatra have made sure it is now.

I think the Stephen King references are intentional as there were streets in the original Silent Hill games that references him and his works. Although the reason why he is constantly referred to in horror games baffles me. As far as horror goes his books aren't all that good.

...Get out.

I kid...but you are a terrible person. I think he's referenced in so many horror games is because if you're doing writing on a horror game, chances are you probably read some of his books. Whether he's good or not is irrelevant (but he is good...DON'T QUESTION ME, DAMMIT!) he's popular, which means we're gonna be seeing a lot of king inspired horror writers, like in the generation of horror writers where Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe's influence was everywhere.

Mikeyfell:

WMDogma:
snip

You know what grinds my gears?
When people say "Unless you're a diehard fan of "X", you won't like it."

That is one of the most nonsensical sentiments I could think of.
Honestly won't fans of the series or genera have a HIGHER standard for the medium? Not a LOWER one?

Why do you think that because I enjoy (and have presumably played better) games like this that I will be more likely to enjoy this mediocre one?

It's just food for thought when considering the diction you're going to use in your next review.

Because if you don't already give a crap this won't be the game to make you?

Grey Day for Elcia:
I think the survival horror genre is all one big failure. How can pixels ever be scary? No amount of atmosphere or monster closets can change the fact you are sitting on your lounge, holding a controller and playing a video game. You aren't in the game, it's not real and it all goes away with the flick of a switch. You can be as immersed as you like, but you are always controlling an avatar in a digital world that holds no harm for you; you don't feel the hits, you don't feel the cold, or the wind, you don't live in that world and you know none of it is ever going to happen.

/rant

OT: Silent Hill gets a lot of praise for the early games (really only 2 and 3) but I've never understood it. Sure, 3 had a great story--one of the best I've heard or experienced in any media, even--but the controls were shit, the camera sucked, the art was cliche, the voice acting was horrendous. These aren't things that save a video game from not sucking. Tell the best story in the world, but do it while punching me in the face and you will fail to keep my attention for long.

Not surprised they are still failing.

So unless something is happening to you, personally, you can't feel fear? Not really trying to argue here, just trying to understand. What makes a game avatar different from a film character?

(There are controlled psychological studies that show how much feeling and emotion we can transfer to/from avatars, and it's a lot. Of course, you can choose to remain detached,
but it's not like it's impossible.)

It boils down to a simple but sad fact; Japan is infamously good at horror, America is infamously bad. Silent Hill was good while it lasted, and while it was in the right hands, but now it just needs to die.

I have to agree with most of those points, although I think that the ending is overall well written

I don't know why, but when I saw this game, I couldn't help but think of a really cool mechanic.

What if every enemy in the game represented a victim that Murphy had killed (not outright stated, of course, it would be discovered as the game progresses), and certain weapons would be more effective against specific enemies. And those specific weapons were the murder weapons that Murphy used for those victims. Like, a blonde woman creepy monster thing would be easily killed with a chair, or a child-like monster would be taken out easily by a kitchen knife. Would be quite tragic if the story centered on how the murderer tries to make up for his wickedness in the past, but it keeps coming back to haunt him.

Of course, I highly doubt the developers were smart enough to even present as semi-comprehensible story at all.

So, my name is James Murphy. both names are silent hill main protagonists. also, from what you can tell by my username (and gamertag, and email...) 27 is my number. it haunts and follows me, and it's also the first two numbers of Murphy's prison number on his jumpsuit...

i think silent hill wants to kill me.

(captcha agrees: face the music) which is even creepier if you follow this train of thought.

music comes from a radio, in silent hill, the monsters (representative of personal demons) make the radio make sound. "music" face the music=face the demons.

tautologico:

Grey Day for Elcia:
I think the survival horror genre is all one big failure. How can pixels ever be scary? No amount of atmosphere or monster closets can change the fact you are sitting on your lounge, holding a controller and playing a video game. You aren't in the game, it's not real and it all goes away with the flick of a switch. You can be as immersed as you like, but you are always controlling an avatar in a digital world that holds no harm for you; you don't feel the hits, you don't feel the cold, or the wind, you don't live in that world and you know none of it is ever going to happen.

/rant

OT: Silent Hill gets a lot of praise for the early games (really only 2 and 3) but I've never understood it. Sure, 3 had a great story--one of the best I've heard or experienced in any media, even--but the controls were shit, the camera sucked, the art was cliche, the voice acting was horrendous. These aren't things that save a video game from not sucking. Tell the best story in the world, but do it while punching me in the face and you will fail to keep my attention for long.

Not surprised they are still failing.

So unless something is happening to you, personally, you can't feel fear? Not really trying to argue here, just trying to understand. What makes a game avatar different from a film character?

(There are controlled psychological studies that show how much feeling and emotion we can transfer to/from avatars, and it's a lot. Of course, you can choose to remain detached,
but it's not like it's impossible.)

But if it's not actually happening to you, what's there to fear? Even if I'm really immersed into a game and the setting, nothing that happens inside the game can happen to me.

We're all different and I know people are scared by horror movies (kind of obvious) but I've just personally never understood it. It's ironic, really, given that I have a crippling anxiety disorder, lol.

martyrdrebel27:
So, my name is James Murphy. both names are silent hill main protagonists. also, from what you can tell by my username (and gamertag, and email...) 27 is my number. it haunts and follows me, and it's also the first two numbers of Murphy's prison number on his jumpsuit...

i think silent hill wants to kill me.

(captcha agrees: face the music) which is even creepier if you follow this train of thought.

music comes from a radio, in silent hill, the monsters (representative of personal demons) make the radio make sound. "music" face the music=face the demons.

I think you're looking at that way too deep, lol.

Char-Nobyl:
Most SH protagonists have a very understandable reason for remaining in the town, whether it's lost family or simple despair, though nothing physical is stopping them from leaving.

I dunno about you, but I aint hanging around in Silent Hill by choice. Fuck my dead wife >_>

Also: the fact the roads are all massive craters now kinda traps you in. And the fog walls.

Abandon4093:
Alan Wake was the best Silent Hill game since 3.

Wow. That was the best summary I have ever read.

In fact, anyone who has played Downpour will realize that it kind of feels like they were fans of Alan Wake.

Therumancer:
[quote="Char-Nobyl" post="6.358856.14169217

What did players do in Amnesia when they encountered the monsters? They ran the hell away, that's what. The monsters remained scary and felt unstoppable because players had absolutely no reason to stop and see if they could actually be stopped. It helped that there were no combat mechanics, but if you've got multiple terrors from your deepest nightmares bearing down on you, and all you have is a knife or, hell, even if you have a gun, your first instinct is to flee. Why should a horror game say otherwise? "Facing your fears" is probably the most quoted method of overcoming fears, and horror games that force combat are effectively destroying the scary elements of your foes while trying to make them scary.

The easiest way to make someone afraid of something is to let them keep running from it.

.[/quote]

I agree with you on everything pretty much, except for this bit. See, I'm one of the few horror gamers that thinks that for all it's potental, Amnesia was a poorly designed turd that failed for largely this reason. To be honest the point I'm making is about how combat needs to be a viable option but needs to be balanced by the atmosphere and the options present for this to work. Amnesia is as big a failure as horror games that routinely force combat because its not an option and makes the need to flee or hide exclusively something that breaks immersion, it pretty much turns the game into a giant forced stealth section every time a monster shows up, and that's just as bad.

See, the thing to understand is that humans are the most efficient predators on our planet. We dominate the world because we're aggressive, highly intelligent(a dumb human is smarter than pretty much any animal out there), and we have opposable thumbs to make and use tools. We aren't the strongest or the fastest but those advantages make us nearly unstoppable. For all the situations people die in, people also tend to surprise in incredibly hostile situations despite the odds civilization teaches us to believe in because people generally don't realize what horrendously nasty creatures we are when you get down to it. Heck, you even have little kids surviving in the wilderness for years purely on instinct.

The point here is that we do run away, the fight or flight reflex includes "flight" for a reason, but we also don't tend to leave things that are dangeorus to us alone, being smart tool users when we run into something we can't beat, we set traps for it, or create things to give us an edge. This is how humans have been taking down vastly more powerful creatures on a physical level since the dawn of time.

The problem with Amnesia is that running away makes sense in some cases, but even if I can't outmuscle the monster, in certain situations there is a lot I am going to be able to do, and in that game (as far as I played it) and a few others it occured to me that the situation was getting stupid because there were plenty of things I should have been able to do with the enviroment or what I had on hand that would have made life alot easier.

It's one thing when there are no oppertunities present, but quite another when I'm say sitting on lamp oil and matches and am left with perfect oppertunities to light some annoying creature up like a torch, or heck... just to drop really heavy things on them.

This is why I think the type of monster is important, and why in some cases it doesn't work. In Amnesia your enemy for most of it basically amounts to some big, ugly, mook, that is apparently as dumb as a rock and doesn't exactly have any superhuman senses or anything. Okay greanted, your not going to win a dust up with a club, a makeshift spear, or whatever else, but if I push say a 400 pound crate off an edge using a lever onto it's head, or cover it, or say close a barred door and lock it so it cant get through, say "over here" douse it with lamp oil trough the bars and toss a match on it and laugh... yeah that would work, and makes a lot more sense than simply hiding constantly once you know for sure it's out there. Since there only seems to be one real monster for a good part of the game, think about how much easier and much logical things would be if you just took it out.

Now granted, there might be some very good reasons why this wouldn't work, depending on it's exact capabilities, but there is no knowlege I have for most of the game that explains why I wouldn't try.

Even in horror where your a relatively ordinary guy, I tend to frame it in the sense of what I would do in real life, and by "real life" I'm talking about what I can actually do (where I'm sub-average now actually) as opposed to some nerd fantasy. See, I will run away from something that scares the crap out of me, and might not go looking for something obviously more dangerous than I am with an improvised weapon, but will I take an oppertunity to turn the tables on it? Would I set a trap for something stalking me? Hell yes. Even as I'm running or hiding I'm going to be thinking about ways to get rid of that thing, and given an oppertunity that seems viable I'm going to take it.

Immersion can be broken by making the character too ineffective and incapable of action to be believed, and that can ruin taking horror seriously, just as bad as simply walking around and pwning everything that gets in your way with improbable levels of superhuman fighting abillity.

I'm pretty much like you. I didn't find the game scary because there was no real risk. When you died you just respawned somewhere else with all the items you possessed when you kicked it. So after the initial 'bwah wtf is that?' the creatures became a bit monotonous. You had noooo way of defending yourself, and while that should have made it scarier, it ended up being a very repetitive game.

'Oh, big scary thing. Better run into this room and hide behind that box... again.'

It takes a lot to scare me anyway, but the lack of risk really killed that game for me. Especially when you found out that the insanity mechanic was pretty much just aesthetic. I did about 90% of that game without using the lamp.

It's almost as if the game was telling you that you should be scared instead of actually scaring you.

I literally just had a night at a mates house where 4 of us took turns playing through the game on the big screen with the lights off etc. And eventually they told me to stop playing because I wasn't jumping and screaming when a creature popped out of nowhere. And I didn't use the lamp etc.

Once you've figured out that there's no real reason not to just run past the thing and make a break for the door. It becomes a little boring. For both player and audience apparently.

Grey Day for Elcia:

Char-Nobyl:
Most SH protagonists have a very understandable reason for remaining in the town, whether it's lost family or simple despair, though nothing physical is stopping them from leaving.

I dunno about you, but I aint hanging around in Silent Hill by choice. Fuck my dead wife >_>

Also: the fact the roads are all massive craters now kinda traps you in. And the fog walls.

But those are barriers to keep the players in. From a narrative standpoint, James didn't need any of that. Physical walls exist to be climbed. But walls built with your own mind? Those are 'built' to be avoided.

Therumancer:
I agree with you on everything pretty much, except for this bit. See, I'm one of the few horror gamers that thinks that for all it's potental, Amnesia was a poorly designed turd that failed for largely this reason. To be honest the point I'm making is about how combat needs to be a viable option but needs to be balanced by the atmosphere and the options present for this to work. Amnesia is as big a failure as horror games that routinely force combat because its not an option and makes the need to flee or hide exclusively something that breaks immersion, it pretty much turns the game into a giant forced stealth section every time a monster shows up, and that's just as bad.

Erm...I don't really understand what you're trying to say here. Is it that Amnesia's biggest failure was the complete lack of a combat option, rather than having one that was realistic given the setting?

If that's the case, sure, the latter would be nice, but what would you do with it? Can the monster be damaged? Does it have a massive yet nonetheless finite healthbar? If it gets stuck on a crate or something, and the player takes the hour or so of cherry-tapping to kill it, what then? Do they just walk through the rest of the game undaunted? It's a problem especially when there's one monster to worry about, because the odds of a glitch/exploit/whatever that lets your feeble attack eventually kill it go up exponentially.

Therumancer:
See, the thing to understand is that humans are the most efficient predators on our planet. We dominate the world because we're aggressive, highly intelligent(a dumb human is smarter than pretty much any animal out there), and we have opposable thumbs to make and use tools. We aren't the strongest or the fastest but those advantages make us nearly unstoppable.

I'm gonna stop you there and add a few things to the list of 'human survival assets.' Yes, opposable thumbs are a big one. And intelligence is another. In fact, that's the reason why human babies take comparatively so long to mature when put alongside other animals (the brain/head needs time to grow, and if it did so in the womb, it would require that the birth canal be cripplingly large). We've also got remarkably efficient bodies given the potential strength output and required energy consuption.

But we're also really good at acting in groups. Civilization is pretty much just large groups of humans clustered together for the sake of survival, and it's why we all (with few exceptions) always like being in populated areas. And similarly, the ability to socialize actually lets us override basic survival instincts for...well, for no good reason, quite a bit of the time. But that's the glory of it: we're so intelligent that we can do unbelievably stupid things that most animals would never even consider.

So as a result...we have some good stuff going for us, but our main asset is other humans.

Therumancer:
For all the situations people die in, people also tend to surprise in incredibly hostile situations despite the odds civilization teaches us to believe in because people generally don't realize what horrendously nasty creatures we are when you get down to it. Heck, you even have little kids surviving in the wilderness for years purely on instinct.

I'm not so sure about that last one. That's stretching it a bit.

Therumancer:
The point here is that we do run away, the fight or flight reflex includes "flight" for a reason, but we also don't tend to leave things that are dangeorus to us alone, being smart tool users when we run into something we can't beat, we set traps for it, or create things to give us an edge. This is how humans have been taking down vastly more powerful creatures on a physical level since the dawn of time.

...not really, no. You're thinking of the conclusion of Predator. Our ability to survive is more akin to a group of early homo-sapiens surrounding a mammoth and killing it with crude spears.

Therumancer:
The problem with Amnesia is that running away makes sense in some cases, but even if I can't outmuscle the monster, in certain situations there is a lot I am going to be able to do, and in that game (as far as I played it) and a few others it occured to me that the situation was getting stupid because there were plenty of things I should have been able to do with the enviroment or what I had on hand that would have made life alot easier.

I can almost guarantee that what you're about to propose would've gotten you killed. Just a hunch, though.

Therumancer:
It's one thing when there are no oppertunities present, but quite another when I'm say sitting on lamp oil and matches and am left with perfect oppertunities to light some annoying creature up like a torch,

And how do you propose you'd do that? Lamp oil is a precious commodity, for one thing, so you'd essentially be committing suicide if you used so much of it on a gamble that the horrible flesh-thing that's stalking you is vulnerable to fire, because then you have no real portable light.

Not only that, but how would you set it alight? You make it sound like "Lamp and matches equals firebomb," but it really doesn't. How would you soak the monster in lamp oil? And even if you manage to get enough on it, do you trust yourself to fumble with a book of matches and get one lit before it disembowels you?

Therumancer:
or heck... just to drop really heavy things on them.

This was a monster that routinely smashed through doors that were several inches of iron-reinforced wood. It didn't force the lock, or even rip the door off the hinges: it shattered the door into splinters.

Mate, unless you've got a truck-mounted cement mixer and the ability to dump the entire load onto it, you aren't going to stop it with anything lying around a distended castle.

Therumancer:
This is why I think the type of monster is important, and why in some cases it doesn't work. In Amnesia your enemy for most of it basically amounts to some big, ugly, mook, that is apparently as dumb as a rock and doesn't exactly have any superhuman senses or anything. Okay greanted, your not going to win a dust up with a club, a makeshift spear, or whatever else, but if I push say a 400 pound crate off an edge using a lever onto it's head,

Again: turning several inches of iron-backed wood into splinters.

Therumancer:
or cover it, or say close a barred door and lock it so it cant get through,

Aga...or just see above.

Therumancer:
say "over here" douse it with lamp oil trough the bars and toss a match on it and laugh...

A few questions:

1) How would you douse it in lamp oil? Do you have a bucket filled with the stuff that you can just throw at it, or what? And, on a similar note...

2) Where did you get all this lamp oil? It was a pretty rare commodity in the game, and a bucket of the stuff is going to take quite a bit of scrounging to find, made only longer and more dangerous by the fact that you don't have a lamp to help you.

3) Do you know much about the creature itself? Because as it stands, fire is a pretty shitty way to kill someone/something. Burn victims look as horrible as they do because it's rarely the fire that kills you: it's the lack of oxygen. You suffocate long before you'd die from the burning itself, hence why people can survive with a body covered with third-degree burns.

4) Have you ever thrown a match before? Because they don't have much weight behind them. So they're rather hard to reliably toss at anything that's more than a couple feet away (and therefore within grabbing distance).

5) Do you know how much lamp oil it would take to reliably kill a regular person by immolation, much less a highly-durable monster of unknown nature? A lot. Probably even more than that bucket I mentioned earlier.

But either way, the plan is pretty well shot once you realize that it would take a veritable bank-vault door with a convenient hole in it to keep the monster back while still letting you throw stuff at it, and too much lamp oil for you to lug around and reliably dump on it.

Therumancer:
yeah that would work, and makes a lot more sense than simply hiding constantly once you know for sure it's out there. Since there only seems to be one real monster for a good part of the game, think about how much easier and much logical things would be if you just took it out. Now granted, there might be some very good reasons why this wouldn't work, depending on it's exact capabilities, but there is no knowlege I have for most of the game that explains why I wouldn't try.

Sure there is. Fleeing gives you a strong chance of survival. Confronting the creature (whose nature you don't understand, and whose physical capabilities are far beyond your own) will likely result in your death, and any dawdling to rig crude traps and whatnot will rapidly increase your chances of getting caught and killed.

Therumancer:
Even in horror where your a relatively ordinary guy, I tend to frame it in the sense of what I would do in real life, and by "real life" I'm talking about what I can actually do (where I'm sub-average now actually) as opposed to some nerd fantasy. See, I will run away from something that scares the crap out of me, and might not go looking for something obviously more dangerous than I am with an improvised weapon, but will I take an oppertunity to turn the tables on it? Would I set a trap for something stalking me? Hell yes. Even as I'm running or hiding I'm going to be thinking about ways to get rid of that thing, and given an oppertunity that seems viable I'm going to take it.

Then consider it from this point of view: whenever one of these 'opportunities' presents itself, you have two options: continue to flee, or take the chance. You have no reason to believe that taking the chance will stop the creature, or even slow it down, and every second you waste on it is another second that you didn't spend putting more distance between you and it.

You think that you're considering this objectively, and not (as you put it) as some sort of "nerd fantasy"? Then stop thinking that you're MacGyver. Your plan required a few jerrycans of oil you don't have, a flamethrower you'll never find, and a door that will undoubtedly leave you trapped and waiting to die if you screw up. Oh, and that's another thing: locking yourself in a room with a horrible monster outside and no real ventilation system? Not a great time to set stuff on fire. I can guarantee that it's got a hardier constitution than you, and you'll probably die of smoke inhalation long before it does.

Therumancer:
Immersion can be broken by making the character too ineffective and incapable of action to be believed, and that can ruin taking horror seriously, just as bad as simply walking around and pwning everything that gets in your way with improbable levels of superhuman fighting abillity.

A well-designed horror game should be able to be beaten on a single playthrough by a skilled player without any deaths. If I were designing a game based on the desires you set above, I would include every single one of those options as things you can do in-game.

But there would be one catch: if you die, you're done. Game over. No checkpoint, no regression to the start of the chapter, no nothing. You die, you go back to the 'start' screen. Because I welcome the sort of free-thinking that you're proposing. I think plenty of situations could be defused in ways similar to what you proposed. But I want players to go into the game with as great an investment in their survival as possible.

Mind you, this is in a hypothetical ideal where control error isn't an issue, environments provide as much versatility of action, etc. But the point is that if you think you can light the unknown horror on fire and kill it, by all means, try. But you'd better be willing to deal with the consequences, or at least have an escape planned.

Abandon4093:
I'm pretty much like you. I didn't find the game scary because there was no real risk. When you died you just respawned somewhere else with all the items you possessed when you kicked it. So after the initial 'bwah wtf is that?' the creatures became a bit monotonous. You had noooo way of defending yourself, and while that should have made it scarier, it ended up being a very repetitive game.

'Oh, big scary thing. Better run into this room and hide behind that box... again.'

It takes a lot to scare me anyway, but the lack of risk really killed that game for me. Especially when you found out that the insanity mechanic was pretty much just aesthetic. I did about 90% of that game without using the lamp.

It's almost as if the game was telling you that you should be scared instead of actually scaring you.

I literally just had a night at a mates house where 4 of us took turns playing through the game on the big screen with the lights off etc. And eventually they told me to stop playing because I wasn't jumping and screaming when a creature popped out of nowhere. And I didn't use the lamp etc.

Once you've figured out that there's no real reason not to just run past the thing and make a break for the door. It becomes a little boring. For both player and audience apparently.

Hm. Sounds like the latter part of my other response can work for you, as well. Getting players invested in survival and whatnot.

Char-Nobyl:

Abandon4093:
I'm pretty much like you. I didn't find the game scary because there was no real risk. When you died you just respawned somewhere else with all the items you possessed when you kicked it. So after the initial 'bwah wtf is that?' the creatures became a bit monotonous. You had noooo way of defending yourself, and while that should have made it scarier, it ended up being a very repetitive game.

'Oh, big scary thing. Better run into this room and hide behind that box... again.'

It takes a lot to scare me anyway, but the lack of risk really killed that game for me. Especially when you found out that the insanity mechanic was pretty much just aesthetic. I did about 90% of that game without using the lamp.

It's almost as if the game was telling you that you should be scared instead of actually scaring you.

I literally just had a night at a mates house where 4 of us took turns playing through the game on the big screen with the lights off etc. And eventually they told me to stop playing because I wasn't jumping and screaming when a creature popped out of nowhere. And I didn't use the lamp etc.

Once you've figured out that there's no real reason not to just run past the thing and make a break for the door. It becomes a little boring. For both player and audience apparently.

A well-designed horror game should be able to be beaten on a single playthrough by a skilled player without any deaths. If I were designing a game based on the desires you set above, I would include every single one of those options as things you can do in-game.

But there would be one catch: if you die, you're done. Game over. No checkpoint, no regression to the start of the chapter, no nothing. You die, you go back to the 'start' screen. Because I welcome the sort of free-thinking that you're proposing. I think plenty of situations could be defused in ways similar to what you proposed. But I want players to go into the game with as great an investment in their survival as possible.

Mind you, this is in a hypothetical ideal where control error isn't an issue, environments provide as much versatility of action, etc. But the point is that if you think you can light the unknown horror on fire and kill it, by all means, try. But you'd better be willing to deal with the consequences, or at least have an escape planned.

I do like that, adds believability and real risk on a few levels. But I have to admit I avoid 1 death = restart games like the plague. I often get sloppy after a longish playthrough and end up dying in some hilarious misshap. I'd be so pissed if I'd played through the entire game just to fall off a ledge at the end.

Abandon4093:
I do like that, adds believability and real risk on a few levels. But I have to admit I avoid 1 death = restart games like the plague. I often get sloppy after a longish playthrough and end up dying in some hilarious misshap. I'd be so pissed if I'd played through the entire game just to fall off a ledge at the end.

Very true. I know that this is just a hypothetical ideal, and would require (for successful implementation) that player control of their character be basically seamless. The idea is to simulate the player being put in this situation, and I don't think any player would accidentally walk off a ledge if they were actually present to see the world around them.

Grey Day for Elcia:
I think the survival horror genre is all one big failure. How can pixels ever be scary? No amount of atmosphere or monster closets can change the fact you are sitting on your lounge, holding a controller and playing a video game. You aren't in the game, it's not real and it all goes away with the flick of a switch. You can be as immersed as you like, but you are always controlling an avatar in a digital world that holds no harm for you; you don't feel the hits, you don't feel the cold, or the wind, you don't live in that world and you know none of it is ever going to happen.

Sorry, mate, but if all that's true, you're the unpleasable minority. Games, films, and books are all stuff that falls under those categories, and frankly, I pity you if you can't enjoy them for it.

Char-Nobyl:

Therumancer:
Immersion can be broken by making the character too ineffective and incapable of action to be believed, and that can ruin taking horror seriously, just as bad as simply walking around and pwning everything that gets in your way with improbable levels of superhuman fighting abillity.

A well-designed horror game should be able to be beaten on a single playthrough by a skilled player without any deaths. If I were designing a game based on the desires you set above, I would include every single one of those options as things you can do in-game.

But there would be one catch: if you die, you're done. Game over. No checkpoint, no regression to the start of the chapter, no nothing. You die, you go back to the 'start' screen. Because I welcome the sort of free-thinking that you're proposing. I think plenty of situations could be defused in ways similar to what you proposed. But I want players to go into the game with as great an investment in their survival as possible.

Mind you, this is in a hypothetical ideal where control error isn't an issue, environments provide as much versatility of action, etc. But the point is that if you think you can light the unknown horror on fire and kill it, by all means, try. But you'd better be willing to deal with the consequences, or at least have an escape planned.

Wow, mega-snip.

I'll say this much, we'll have to disagree on a lot of the specifics, but your basically assigning the monster traits it doesn't definatly possess. Sure it smashes through doors and stuff, but so does a bear, and I see no real reason to believe it's in any way invulnerable to fire, as far as dousing it in lamp oil I guess it comes down to your priorities, sure the lamp oil is a limited resource, but getting rid of the monster also removes a lot of the threat to the enviroment as you point out. Besides there are also other ways you could wind up generating light in thet enviroment if you put your mind to it. Heck, you could carry some of those candles you light up periodically around with you if nothing else, and plenty of them are in a form that would realistically be portable.

What's more, just because something focusing on a door can smash it, does not mean that it's going to survive having say a 400 pound crate dropped on it's head. The skull generally can't take that kind of impact. As big and nasty as it is I'd have a hard time seeing that one because the creature is physically there, basically if it has a physical form it can be broken by enough force, and from what I've seen that would be sufficient.

The movie "Predator" (which isn't exactly what I was thinking of to be honest) does actually provide a pretty good example. As Piers Anthony once put it, a smart cave man can beat a dumb space man fairly easily, and to some extent that's a movie version of some of the things that have happened in his books.

That said, what your describing for a game would work, assuming it was set up correctly. I could actually see a horror-themed Roguelike with a huge array of options as such games generally provide. Honestly now that I think of it, I'm surprised it hasn't been done before.

Therumancer:
Wow, mega-snip.

I'll say this much, we'll have to disagree on a lot of the specifics, but your basically assigning the monster traits it doesn't definatly possess. Sure it smashes through doors and stuff, but so does a bear,

...the doors are, on a very rough average, about four inches thick and banded with metal, presumably iron. This creature is not much taller than you, nor is it a hulking, musclebound monster. Yet it still has the ability to smash the aforementioned doors to splinters. Could even a fully-grown grizzly match that?

Therumancer:
and I see no real reason to believe it's in any way invulnerable to fire,

And I have no reason to believe that it isn't animated by magic, and thus effectively immune to the main killing aspect of setting something on fire (depriving it of oxygen).

Therumancer:
as far as dousing it in lamp oil I guess it comes down to your priorities, sure the lamp oil is a limited resource, but getting rid of the monster also removes a lot of the threat to the enviroment as you point out.

Yes, but it also requires that you risk considerable resources, not to mention your life on a gamble that is just that: a gamble. I can think of any number of reasons the plan would fail, and a considerable number of them would also result in your death. Way I see it, it just isn't worth it.

Therumancer:
Besides there are also other ways you could wind up generating light in thet enviroment if you put your mind to it. Heck, you could carry some of those candles you light up periodically around with you if nothing else, and plenty of them are in a form that would realistically be portable.

All of which are one-use items, unlike the lamp. That's the main appeal of the lamp: you can refill it rather than needing to replace it as you would with a torch, candle, etc.

Therumancer:
What's more, just because something focusing on a door can smash it, does not mean that it's going to survive having say a 400 pound crate dropped on it's head. The skull generally can't take that kind of impact.

Three details:

1) You're using the human skull as a point of reference. This thing isn't human.

2) It's a 400 pound crate, not a 400 pound spear. You'll only be getting a fraction of that weight into a direct hit if you're lucky.

3) How did you rig this 400 pound crate, again? Because you mentioned a lever for tipping it off...something. But no mention of what that thing is it'll be sitting on top of, how you'll be up there with it, how you'll reliably tip it in a timely manner, and how you'll get it up there in the first place.

Therumancer:
As big and nasty as it is I'd have a hard time seeing that one because the creature is physically there, basically if it has a physical form it can be broken by enough force, and from what I've seen that would be sufficient.

Ah, right. I'd forgotten that. See, I only had to take an introductory course in magically animated constructs, so flesh-golems weren't in the syllabus. And that's assuming that it was a man-made creature anyway, seeing as I didn't take the correspondence course on summoning demons either.

Sarcasm aside, do you see my point? You're assuming that something that, by all rights, should not be alive, much less be capable of such astonishing feats of strength, is limited by the assumed limitations of its physical appearance.

Therumancer:
The movie "Predator" (which isn't exactly what I was thinking of to be honest) does actually provide a pretty good example. As Piers Anthony once put it, a smart cave man can beat a dumb space man fairly easily, and to some extent that's a movie version of some of the things that have happened in his books.

Except that the protagonist of Predator was basically Rambo as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. And the main reason he was able to beat the thing was because he figured out its limitations while it was in the process of butchering his squad. You don't have any of those luxuries in Amnesia.

Therumancer:
That said, what your describing for a game would work, assuming it was set up correctly. I could actually see a horror-themed Roguelike with a huge array of options as such games generally provide. Honestly now that I think of it, I'm surprised it hasn't been done before.

Meh. I can see countless pitfalls, mostly because it more or less requires a perfect link between the player and their in-game character. Without that (and plenty of other things), player death can be attributed to things other than the player's deliberate action, which defeats the game's purpose and serves only to alienate players.

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