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Do you know what game dethroned DOOM4 from the top of my 'most anticipaced games' list? This one.

Made by Frictional Games, creators of Penumbra and Amnesia (The Dark Descent), 5 years in development. If you're excited about sophisticated horror games with heavy emphasis on the subject of consciousness, this one's for you.

Coming September 22nd for PC and PS4.

Now feast your eyes on 12min of gameplay:

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And here I was thinking this was thread about next step in SOPA/PIPA saga. Now that is real nightmare!

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Looks badass.

It reminds me of some other first person horror game that I saw a demo of sometime last year, but I'll be damned if I can remember the name of it. It also had robots in it.

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DoomUK said:

Looks badass.

It reminds me of some other first person horror game that I saw a demo of sometime last year, but I'll be damned if I can remember the name of it. It also had robots in it.


Routine?

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Wow Doom 3 looks good after all these years.

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Just saw this trailer earlier, the only mildly intriguing part is the robot who claims to be a human. The rest of it looked agonizingly boring. And like 10 times darker than Doom 3, without the pleasant aesthetics of it (what with all the garish colored lights in pure blackness). I was much more interested in this game before I saw this video than I am now, having seen it. Unless I happen to see something actually interesting from it later, I'm pretty sure I will skip playing it because holy fuck it looks dull. I'll probably just read some sort of plot summary after such a thing is written.

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So you're gonna base your opinion of the entire game based on the first 10 minutes of gameplay? Besides it's a horror game not an action game, if you want run and gun, Frictional isn't the company for you.

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This looks nice. There seem to be a few sci-fi, first-person horror games in the works lately.

When are game artists going to realize that almost no fluorescent lights emit anything resembling pure white?

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I just hope that

Spoiler

the potential plot twist isn't as glaringly obvious as it seems right now. If you want to know what I'm talking about :

Spoiler

the theme of a human consciousness being trapped inside a machine has been prominent since the early teasers, particulary in the Mockingbird video. In the world of SOMA it's possible not only that a consciousness might exist inside a machine but it can also simultaneously be in multiple vessels, like in the case of a Mockingbird. The being inside the machine is convinced it's in a human body due to their subjective perception, despite the fact that for an outside observer, they're a machine. You know where this is going: the main character is a consciousness inside a machine. He perceives himself as a human being (you can even see his arms in the video) but that's just his subjective perception. In addition, you can see digital artifacts in his vision (most noticable on light sources), suggesting his real 'eyes' are a camera of a machine. I hope I'm wrong or at least I hope this is not the main turning point of the story because if I have noticed it, then it must be really obvious.

_________________________________

I really like the aesthetics. I've never been a fan of old castles and stuff (like in The Dark Descent) and this goes back to a more tech focused world (like Penumbra). That just might be a Penumbra successor that I wanted to see.

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Antroid said:

Just saw this trailer earlier, the only mildly intriguing part is the robot who claims to be a human. The rest of it looked agonizingly boring. And like 10 times darker than Doom 3, without the pleasant aesthetics of it (what with all the garish colored lights in pure blackness). I was much more interested in this game before I saw this video than I am now, having seen it. Unless I happen to see something actually interesting from it later, I'm pretty sure I will skip playing it because holy fuck it looks dull. I'll probably just read some sort of plot summary after such a thing is written.


Fair enough if you don't like it but yeah, I also don't know what were you expecting. It's a horror game that is NOT primarily based around jumpscares. Exploration and stuff. It's exactly what it's supposed to be.

Also, you might want to check your monitor or something because this footage is definitively not 10x darker than DOOM 3.

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I'm sorry, it's just not doing it for me :/

looks like a step back in tech and really not all that spooky.

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Buckshot said:

looks like a step back in tech

I love it when people scramble for negative things to say about something they're just not into (which is fine btw).

If anything, it's a sidestep. Like most games, it's not mind-blowingly impressive on a technical level, but the visuals are good enough to convey the atmosphere that the developers envisioned. I personally think it looks great. I'll never get tired of gloomy industrial environments.

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DoomUK said:

I love it when people scramble for negative things to say about something they're just not into (which is fine btw).

If anything, it's a sidestep. Like most games, it's not mind-blowingly impressive on a technical level, but the visuals are good enough to convey the atmosphere that the developers envisioned. I personally think it looks great. I'll never get tired of gloomy industrial environments.


Maybe it's not so much a step back in tech as perhaps its just not enough detail/realism/darkness that I would expect for a game that's trying to pull off horror.

Was kind of the same way I felt about Alien Isolation... it felt "off" for what it was trying to be at times, like maybe they used the wrong engine or just didn't detail it to match the horror theme they were aiming for.

I see it happen in so many games... like all those silly cell-shaded games (ala borderlands) that would have been that much better had they not gone with cell-shading for the game world. I was never really sure if they did it purely from aesthetic design standpoint, performance reasons, or just being lazy to shortcut a game to market.

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This kind of bloody and dark atmosphere would be even more terrifying if the mapspace wasn't linear throughout the whole game. I think that is a fat chance, you have to take what you can get from modern games. If they can pull off a horrifying atmosphere, it is possible to forgive the fact you are on a railroad track.

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TheCupboard said:

If they can pull off a horrifying atmosphere, it is possible to forgive the fact you are on a railroad track.

And forget. I didn't even think about this problem when I was playing Alien Isolation, though I did a lot of backtracking when I was looking for the Nostromo logs which made the game feel a lot less linear than it actually was. Being constantly stalked by the Xeno also helped.

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Looks better than Amnesia graphically.

For me graphics/detail/realism != scary. LSD Dream emulator is some of the scariest shit ever to me and it looks like a 32X game.

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General Rainbow Bacon said:

So you're gonna base your opinion of the entire game based on the first 10 minutes of gameplay? Besides it's a horror game not an action game, if you want run and gun, Frictional isn't the company for you.

Who said anything about run and gun? Way to assume. I wanted something atmospheric, with some interesting environments, like it looked like it was going to have before. Instead they chose to show something that looks like a bad parody of Doom 3 and seems to play exactly the same as before - puzzles are fine and everything, but running away from blind idiots they make their "monsters" to be is, by now, worthy of an eye-roll. That robot in the trailer was not scary in the slightest, and didn't even seem menacing - it had a fucking searchlight to indicate where it would see you! There was absolutely nothing even remotely scary in the entire video. And yes, if they release a gameplay trailer hoping to impress or interest people, I'm going to base my opinion on it, assuming that it is at least slightly representative of the entire game. It's either that, or the people who chose what to show are idiots.

Touchdown said:

Fair enough if you don't like it but yeah, I also don't know what were you expecting. It's a horror game that is NOT primarily based around jumpscares. Exploration and stuff. It's exactly what it's supposed to be.

Also, you might want to check your monitor or something because this footage is definitively not 10x darker than DOOM 3.

I was expecting something engaging. Their previous stuff showed promise of interesting environments. This crap is just pitch blackness with some gaudy colored lights, and classic (and cliche by now) square metal panel floors, metal railings, metal pipes, cables&monitors, and all that jazz.
And yes my monitor is a bit dark, but surely it would affect this video and Doom 3 equally. The environment in the video definitely appeared to be waaaaay more stingy with the lighting than Doom 3, which was ridiculed for it's darkness back in the day. Especially when the guy was trying to hide from the robot again in the end, it was almost absolute blackness in there. What's there to even explore in this tar pit? I struggle to think of a less interesting environment to explore.
I think it's kind of embarassing when your game wants to do atmosphere while looking worse than a 2004 game that did the same kind of environment leagues better.

I'll wait and see if there's videos of more interesting places later. This video was just nothing. And don't assume I want, like, action or jumpscares or something. I value atmosphere in a game quite a lot. That video did not show a game that posesses any sort of interesting atmosphere.

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Yeah, to be honest the atmosphere was sort of bland to me as well.

When the big bad robot showed up, I was more interested in trying to figure out if it's noises were distorted curses or not. To be perfectly fair, I imagine the searchlight would be there to help it see in the dark.

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Well I sat down and watched it rather than judging it on the first 30 seconds. I still stand firm that its Doom 3 without weapons and I think that's what people are looking for now. Atmosphere over shooty-bang-bang. Avoiding a few things and running rather than killing them.

Another metallic space atmospheric game where you need to flip switches, check dead bodies and turn on and off power. Oh sign me up! Where do they ever get the ideas from? Having Big Daddy chasing you is a nice touch too.

The game looks awesome I'll admit, but so did Doom 3 and still does and yet people crap all over that.

I will admit that its interesting having robots as people and the the engaging conversation. I'd play it, because its so similar to a lot of other things I've played. Watching the live action trailers kind of ruins the surprise of robots as people. This many live action trailers also gets away from the game and makes me worry about their priorities.

As for Amnesia, I feel like the only person that didn't care for it. I spend my real life hiding from monsters with guns (Chicago), I want that power fantasy of killing them. GTA games are popular for a reason.

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I was never really sure if they did it purely from aesthetic design standpoint, performance reasons, or just being lazy to shortcut a game to market.


In the Borderlands series it has to be an aesthetic choice, you get a huge performance increase by removing the cel-shading filter through config files.

As for Amnesia, I feel like the only person that didn't care for it.


Didn't like it either. The game worked for me up until the moment you see the first monster (walking one, not those invisible water demons). That monster just looked ridiculous. Plus you die, what then...? Start from the previous checkpoint. Immersion shattered.

They had all this tension building up over the first two hours, only to be ruined in one encounter. I'm not convinced traditional linear saves mesh well with no combat horror games. Trial and error is acceptable for games presenting mechanical challenges, where trying to figure out the underlying systems is part of the fun, and players can suspend their disbelief and disattach such challenges from the story.

On the other hand, a game that is all about atmosphere should do a better job at hiding its tricks. In Amnesia not only getting killed by that monster takes you out of the experience, once you come back to the same part you have no means to defend yourself. You can run, you can jump, you can hide in a closet; but you can't punch or kick or throw an object at the monster, making the whole thing feel even more contrived and artificial.

Their earlier Penumbra games seemed better on that front, flawed as they may be on other levels. You could swing weapons and attack stuff. It was terribly inefficient, but the option was there. It's a significant change IMHO. "This is hopeless, this monster is impervious to everything I can do!" vs "whoop dee doo, I can't punch stuff because game designers decided my character didn't have that ability... VIDEO GAMES!".

Not to say you have to have combat... It's the lack of combat combined with a linear progression.

Interestingly enough if you google "SOMA video game death" they seem to be aware of the issue, there's dev interviews floating around on the topic.

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Postponing death is good you can have enemies that get close, but never close enough. Otherwise there's Mario death where you don't die for a few levels. That's what gets you hooked.

But you become a robot after death right? It seems familiar, I just can't place it.

I like the end of the article: For more on SOMA, which is headed to PlayStation 4 and Windows PC in 2014. So is it out or did it fall behind? Not that I'm making fun of a time table or anything. The article mentioned it was inspired by Alien Isolation. So instead of android humans they're robot humans.

The concern I have was in another trailer, what I'll call the brain trailer. It gets shocked you get hurt, so fans were nitpicking it so devs to the rescue to explain its not your brain.

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Phml said:

You could swing weapons and attack stuff. It was terribly inefficient, but the option was there. It's a significant change IMHO. "This is hopeless, this monster is impervious to everything I can do!" vs "whoop dee doo, I can't punch stuff because game designers decided my character didn't have that ability... VIDEO GAMES!".


I completely agree with this. I even just brought a very similar point up with a friend who also linked me to this trailer. I think that when you have an option to fight, but are also very, very weak, it's much more tense than when there's no option. When there's no option, it's clear as day what you need to do, what's expected of you (run away), and you can be sure that the devs always give you a way to escape. When you have an option to fight but know that you'll probably lose anyway, there's no such certainty and potential encounters with monsters are much more of a looming menace, increasing tension a lot. At least that's been my experience.

I also agree that games such as Amnesia are really only spooky until you encounter the monster(s) for the first time. I haven't played the original amnesia but I've played other games with similar ideas. You only fear the unknown. Once you see the monster, either run away from it successfully or die a couple times, the monsters become a mundane game mechanic and nothing more. Doesn't help that, unless I'm mistaken, Amnesia does something insane like remove the monster that has killed you from the level or whatever.

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I've been browsing through the criticism in this thread and I have to say wow... Except for the death mechanic in Amnesia I disagree with EVERYTHING that's been said here. I don't even feel like discussing it because it'd take way too much effort. I guess it's another one of those moments when my opinions are a polar opposite of (almost) everyone else's.

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Touchdown said:

I guess it's another one of those moments when my opinions are a polar opposite of (almost) everyone else's.

I know how that feels, bro... props for being like 100 times more chill about it than I usually am, though :D

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Let me tell you something about horror games: As soon as you know it's a horror game (or movie) it loses half of its scare capacity because part of what makes a horror game/movie good is the element of surprise.

One of the few games that managed to scare me was The Dark Mod (or as I like to call it, Thief 4). There is an extremely good level called Falkbridge Monastery that has very ominous atmosphere and is labyrinthine. Of course, since the game was taking place during the night I expected it to be a bit moody but as I progressed through the level I felt more and more uneasy, until I came across a very dimly lit room with a moving shadow and strange noises. I hesitated to enter because I knew something very bad was there (and how vulnerable I was). My memories are pretty vague (aside from what the scene made me feel) but I think the door slammed and that was followed by a loud sound. What the shadow proved to be was a rocking baby cradle with a bloody spear in the middle. It really freaked me out PRECICELY because I didn't expect the game to scare me. The game is called Dark Mod (or Thief) but what made the level SO effective was the fact that I didn't know about the horror elements.

So no matter how polished and how original they try to be the developers are still known for Amnesia so people already know that they are going to try and scare them. I love horror but I expect nothing more than great atmosphere TBH and is why I sincerely doubt the new Silent Hill could have been scary.

What I would really like to see is a game that starts out normal for a quarter or half of the game and then strange things start happening all of a sudden but the game SHOULDN'T be marketed as a horror game and they shouldn't make it obvious in the beginning.

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DooM_RO said:

Let me tell you something about horror games: As soon as you know it's a horror game (or movie) it loses half of its scare capacity because part of what makes a horror game/movie good is the element of surprise.

What I would really like to see is a game that starts out normal for a quarter or half of the game and then strange things start happening all of a sudden but the game SHOULDN'T be marketed as a horror game and they shouldn't make it obvious in the beginning.

The problem is, not everybody likes horror and not everybody wants to play such games / watch such movies. To allow people to find what they like and convince them to try it out, the genre should be labeled correctly. Then some kind of expectation is inevitable, of course. But I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, even for atmosphere-oriented games / movies. That said, I don't like horror genre.

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To me horror has always been about the oppressive atmosphere, not being scared. Very often when you're 'scared', it really is nothing more than a fear of being startled by a loud noise. You're not scared because the horror is good but because you expect something sudden to happen. That is not what I'm after.

Interestingly, when I play Penumbra (especially Black Plague) or Amnesia (The Dark Descent) I still feel the tension even though I know everything about those games. In Amnesia for instance, I know exactly which locations are completely safe... yet my imagination moves past the systemic knowledge and somehow brings the original terror back in.

Another thing is that more often than not the most terrifying things for me are concepts and ideas, not monsters. I know I've mentioned it to Antroid at some point. There are certain things (especially in Penumbra but also in Amnesia) that on the basic level are nothing more than ideas that present no 'actual threat' to my ingame avatar... yet those are the things that seep under my skin and make me think. And to me the best horror is when the thought alone is disturbing because it has a lasting effect. It's not a 'cool sequence' that you get used to, it's something that let's the imagination do its work.

That's one of the reasons I don't like the new breed of the so called horror (both in movies and games) that is all about jumpscares. With SOMA I do not wonder whether a monster will be scary. I wonder about the concepts behind the events and characters. Because in the end that's what's gonna (hopefully) provide the lasting effects of the horror.

Antroid said:

I know how that feels, bro... props for being like 100 times more chill about it than I usually am, though :D


Heh, truth to be told, a part of me wants to try and go through every little point and counter it. :) Maybe I'll adress some of them later but I just don't feel like doing it right now.

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For some reason, the aesthetics look awfully similar to Doom 3 with a small hint of Alien: Isolation thrown in.

Either way, consider me interested. This also reminds me, I still haven't finished Amnesia: The Dark Descent...

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