There are all kinds of horror games out there. Psychological horror, horror that relies on jump scares, body horror — video games have toyed with every fact the genre’s got. But to be truly scary, to honestly terrify? That’s not easy. In fact, the scariest video game of 2016 might … actually come out in 2017.
That’s not to say there haven’t been genuinely spooky releases this year. 7 Days to Die finally came out of Early Access, Inside picked up thematically picked up where Limbo left off, and there’s honestly any number of smaller indie titles that can attest to the crown. But there’s nothing that really gets the blood going, that raises the hair on the back of the neck, like the Outlast 2 demo.
Though it was initially expected to drop in Fall 2016 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the game’s since been pushed to Q1 2017. Which is perfectly fine. Considering what it looks like, the product that the company is cooking up will be worth the wait. Here’s how developer Red Barrels describes the game:
You are Blake Langermann, a cameraman working with your wife, Lynn. The two of you are investigative journalists willing to take risks and dig deep to uncover the stories no one else will dare touch. You’re following a trail of clues that started with the seemingly impossible murder of a pregnant woman known only as Jane Doe. The investigation has lead you miles into the Arizona desert, to a darkness so deep that no one could shed light upon it, and a corruption so profound that going mad may be the only sane thing to do.
“But Rollin,” you might be thinking, “why are you pointing to a game that’s slated to come out in 2017 as the scariest game of 2016?” The short answer is: The recently released demo is spookier than any full game that’s been released this year. And it’s only available for a limited time, giving it that special bit of intrigue to make it all the more enticing. Eventually, it’ll just be gone. (It’s unclear whether the demo is representative of the full game, a slice of said full game, or is something else altogether. Demos are weird.)
If our endorsement, and everything preceding these words, doesn’t do it for you, here’s our very own Nicholas Bashore on his experience with the demo:
Photos via Red Barrels
It was obvious very quickly that the demo feels nearly identical to its predecessor — using detailed atmosphere complimented by well-placed audio queues and jump scares to keep players on their toes. This time, Red Barrels has a more dynamic approach to level design that mixes moments from Outlast’s tried-and-true formula with a more open and chaotic approach to encounters.