I have just recently finished playing Until Dawn over on the other console that sits nicely under my TV. It was bloody terrifying and a great game. But as a result, I am now all horror-ed out for this year’s Halloween. For those of you yet to start this strange phenomenon of going out of our way to feel the adrenaline that only a sudden scare or fright can deliver, here are 5 of the best Xbox One games to play this Halloween.
It’s hard to believe that one of the last generation’s best games is approaching double figures in age, and with the recent upgraded collection combining Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and Bioshock: Infinite, you’d be forgiven for thinking that. But it now finds its way on the Xbox One, and is easily the scariest of the three within the collection.
It isn’t your typical horror game because the fear doesn’t necessarily come from being outnumbered and outgunned. You are constantly strapped up to the teeth whether it be with the starting wrench weapon, or the multitude of plasmids you acquire along the way. No, the fear in this game comes from the setting itself. Rapture is a horrible place full of bad lighting, Big Daddies, a supporting cast of absolute psychos (Sander Cohen still gives me nightmares) and the Splicers. The Splicers thirst for ADAM has mutated them in disgusting ways. But their mutations are just physical. Often they will be talking to themselves, alerting you they are nearby before a different, silent one, swoops down and slashes at you. And no matter how pre-emptive you are, there will always be one hidden in the shadows somewhere to jump out at you when you least expect it.
The Alien franchise has become a bit of a poisoned chalice: The first two films are some of the finest sci-fi films ever made, and quintessential Halloween viewing in our household. Even the third one isn’t too bad, at least when compared to Resurrection anyways. But the games have been a bit all over the place. Alien: Isolation looked at going back to where it all began.
In taking its influences from the Ridley Scott original, the game featured only a single Xenomorph, which is able to ratchet up the fear factor exponentially as you try and outsmart it using stealth, cover and your trusty motion tracker. When done well, even the beeps of the motion tracker are enough to instil fear into the player.
Let’s be honest here; the Alien creature is nothing but pure evil. Its only motive being to kill anything else, which just happens to be you in this case. And knowing that this incarnation of the titular creature cannot be killed causes the game to become one huge game of cat and mouse. The cat being a huge lion and the mouse being an African pygmy in terms of pure attack power. Couple all this with even more enemies out for your blood and you can kiss goodbye to a decent night’s sleep for a while after this one.
Horror may not be the first theme you may think of when you look at this year’s reboot, but the story is straight from the annals of time; a portal has been opened allowing the demons of Hell to invade a space station on Mars. Hardly family-friendly is it?
DOOM is a FPS where everything is cranked up to 11. It’s relentless in action just like any good horror is relentless in its scares. The demons are grotesque and the violence is gratuitous. It’s deserving of its place on this list because of the ‘glory kills’. These are melee attacks that not only kill the demons, leaving a pool of viscera where it once was, but are the easiest way to regain health. It puts the player in a tight spot where if they are low on health, their only option is to run out in to the open and clobber a demon. And it’s this risk and reward that keeps the game not only fast paced, but incredibly tense throughout, just like any good horror game should.
Dead Rising 3
Originally released back in 2013 and developed by Capcom, Dead Rising 3 was probably the Xbox One’s first big exclusive. With it came great anticipation; this time around you’re introduced to Nick Ramos, a young mechanic trying to escape Los Perdidos and the zombie hordes. Throughout the adventure, much like past Dead Rising games, you’ll not only be fighting the hordes of zombies but the many ‘psycho’ survivors as well.
Now, in any other game the player may find the idea of not only fighting off zombies, but human enemies as well, slightly daunting, but not in a Dead Rising game. Here you are given just the right game mechanics and tools to do the job, in this case the ability to use and customise pretty much any form of weapon you can think off. Garden rakes, boxing gloves, baseball bats, samurai swords and a different selection of guns. Not only that, but some of the customised weapons are pretty impressive and out there, with the Defiler (sledgehammer, fire axe) being a personal favourite.
What better way to celebrate Halloween than to fight off the zombie apocalypse, with an assortment of awesome weapons you made yourself?! Yes, Dead Rising 3 is an awesome way to spend the most spookiest day of the year, especially in anticipation for Dead Rising 4 releasing soon. Furthermore, should the night get a little too scary, you could always jump online and play some co-op with a buddy to help settle your nerves!
Costume Quest 2
If you’re looking for something more bite-sized to fit in to your Halloween goody bag of games then look no further than Double Fines Costume Quest 2, a quaint little RPG where all of those childhood costume fantasies get realised.
Released on the Xbox store as a downloadable title, Costume Quest 2 could have been considered a bit of a gamble by Double Fine Productions. Luckily it was anything but. Here we follow a group of young kids on Halloween with the task of saving all hallows eve from Dr. Orel White, the town’s dentist. He is using old magic to try and rid the world of Halloween and candy for all eternity.
Within Costume Quest, the main bulk of the gameplay consists of running around the town collecting bags of candy as currency from the various houses, and combating the various minions of Dentist Orel while doing so. Combat consists of a turn based system not too dissimilar than early Final Fantasy games, with the added ability to transform and use whatever costume’s ability you have equipped. These may include super hero costumes with the ability of super strength, or more out there and slightly silly costumes such as hot dogs and pie costumes.
Costume Quest should be in every gamers Halloween collection, with its quirky comic book style visuals, its fantastic gameplay, and fun story. It definitely shouldn’t be missed this Halloween – just remember to brush your teeth after snacking down on all the candy, yeah?
Honourable Mention – Outlast
Outlast should easily be on this list because it is terrifying. But quite frankly after seeing gameplay on Twitch, that was far too scary for me, so to play it would be a literal nightmare.
So there we have it. If you’re bored this Halloween and don’t fancy going out to scare the neighbours, then you could do worse than close your curtains, fire up your Xbox One and sit down with this little lot. Just don’t forget a blanket to hide under!
Written by both Ashley Howell and Richard Dobson