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13 video games to play during Halloween in 2021 – The Dallas Morning News

Video games

It’s the spookiest time of the year, and if you’re not out trick-or-treating with a child or out at a costume party, there’s a good chance you’re at home looking for some scary movies, shows or books to entertain you. But instead of yelling at your TV to tell a character not to open that door or not to go down into the dark basement, you should consider taking control and making your own decisions with some spooky video games.

The games below, listed in alphabetical order, are recent releases (all came out within the last year) to play when the lights go down. They’re not all “horror” games, but they’re at least a bit spooky.

Back 4 Blood

Some Halloween activities, like haunted houses, are best experienced with friends. While you can play Back 4 Blood alone (with AI companions) or with strangers, it is best experienced with buddies. And good news if you and your buddies are subscribed to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service: You have access to the game already and don’t need to buy it.

Back 4 Blood, a spiritual successor to the hit multiplayer game Left 4 Dead, tasks a team of four players with escaping the horrors of a zombie apocalypse. Different playable characters come equipped with their own strengths and weaknesses, so cooperation will be the biggest component to your survival. Well, that and some good guns.

Available on PC, Xbox and PlayStation.

Cozy Grove

OK, so Cozy Grove most likely won’t scare you. It’s far more likely to charm you. But this list needed some more family-friendly options, and there’s a twist about this game’s island setting: It’s haunted.

Cozy Grove is often brought up as an alternative to Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, and it’s an apt comparison. In it, you’ll meet a variety of colorful characters, craft items, go fishing and do other cutesy things. There are just also ghosts, that’s all. The game takes place on a real 24-hour clock (so if it’s morning in real life, it’s morning in the game), which has encouraged many players to make it part of their daily routine. It’s a good option if you’re looking for something cozy to curl up with.

Available on PC, Switch, Xbox, PlayStation and iOS (via Apple Arcade)

Death’s Door

For some people (or, more accurately, some crows), reaping souls is just a job. In Death’s Door, it’s a job that involves fighting foes with a sword and bow, as well as some exploration reminiscent of a Zelda game.

Though death is a constant theme, there are elements of Death’s Door that are humorous (leaning into the idea of reaping souls as an actual career, for example), and the art of the surrounding environment can even be beautiful. This combination has led some to compare the game to a Studio Ghibli film like Spirited Away, though it can still be fairly grim (not to mention challenging).

Available on PC and Xbox.

Diablo II: Resurrected

If you’re worried about demons running amok on All Hallows’ Eve, you could spend your night hunting down the lord of demons, Diablo.

Diablo II, originally released for computers in 2000, is highly regarded as a classic role-playing game. Like Diablo himself, the game has been resurrected and remastered with better visuals and modern conveniences, and it has been brought to consoles for the first time ever. That said, it’s still a game that shows its age in many ways (the console controls, while usable, are not as smooth as those of Diablo III, for example), but it can still provide many hours of monster slaying fun, even decades later.

Available on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation.

Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

If you saw Doki Doki Literature Club on a store shelf, you would understandably assume that it is a generic anime-inspired visual novel about high school girls. That is until you start the game and see the disclaimer: “This game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed.”

Indeed, this game is disturbing in large part because its psychological horror themes (which involve sensitive topics like depression and suicide) are so at odds with the art style and with the story’s setup. The game, which is played almost entirely through simple text prompts, begins cheerfully before subverting your expectations and playing with your head.

There is a free version of the game available online, but the newer Plus version adds new content and is the only version available on consoles.

Available on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation.

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights

A young girl is seemingly the only survivor after her kingdom was destroyed by “the rain of death.” Her only protection is the spirit of a blighted knight who is willing to fight at her side. In Ender Lilies, a 2D sides-crolling game reminiscent of classic Castlevania adventures, you must explore the ruins of your kingdom in an attempt to purify the lands, recruiting other spirits to fight with you along the way.

Available on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation.

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water

Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, there’s something inherently scary about photographs claiming to capture paranormal activity. A ghastly face in a corner, eyes appearing in a window of a house that should be abandoned — it’s creepy stuff. Which is part of what makes the Fatal Frame series so fascinating, drawing more on its kindred Eastern horror stories like Ju-on and Ringu than Western classics like Friday the 13th.

Unlike most other survival horror games, you don’t shoot Fatal Frame’s antagonists with a gun. You shoot them with a camera. In fact, the game forces you to look its horrors dead in the eye to get a good photo for greater odds of trapping the malevolent spirits on film. The series has been on a too-long hiatus and has rarely been given proper credit in America, but its latest entry, 2015′s Maiden of Black Water, has been remastered and set free from its Nintendo Wii U exclusivity. The game follows three protagonists who each find themselves on the fictional Hikami Mountain, a place of supposed spiritual significance. This unfortunately isn’t the series’ best game, but it’s the one most easily accessible for most people to play today.

Available on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation.

Inscryption

From the beginning, Inscryption toys with you. It begins with a character off-screen saying, “It’s time to figure out what’s on this thing,” as if you’ve just dug this game out of a stranger’s attic. Then it doesn’t let you start a new game but instead forces you to “continue” one. When you do, you find yourself in a very creepy cabin, sitting across from a very creepy pair of eyes.

The bulk of Inscryption is an enjoyable card game, albeit one with grim requirements about sacrificing creature cards in order to play new cards from your hand. As you play, however, you start to discover that the cabin itself is filled with escape room-like puzzles for you to solve, and nothing is quite as it initially seems.

Available on PC.

Jupiter Hell

What happens when you take the explosive, high-speed action of Doom and slow it way down, making it more thoughtful and strategic? You get Jupiter Hell, a turn-based action game in which you shoot your way through demons in space. Like the first-person shooter series that inspired it, you have access to plenty of high-powered weaponry, but the monsters you’re fighting will not move until you do, giving you a moment to breathe and think about how to deal with the horrific situation you’re in.

Available on PC.

Little Nightmares II

Some things can unsettle you just by the way they look. Little Nightmares II is one of those experiences. The art style, while well-executed, is haunting. You play as a tiny character in a world of giants (compared to you, at least), scrambling across an environment that was not built for someone your size. From this perspective, everything around you can be a threat, but you will get through by solving puzzles and using your brain, not brawn.

Little Nightmares II is a game all about atmosphere, and it succeeds in part by keeping everything mysterious. While it is technically a prequel to its predecessor, either game can be enjoyed on its own.

Available on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation.

The Medium

The Medium’s main character has a special skill: She can see into the spirit world, which is lined up parallel to our own reality. The game has its own special skill: You can play in both realities at once. To progress in this psychological horror game, you will often need to solve puzzles by interacting with one world in a way that influences the other, uncovering secrets along the way.

Available on PC, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.

Metroid Dread

If you want a sense of foreboding and tension without the blood and guts, you can go with a game that has “dread” right in the title.

The Metroid series, while not known for horror, has always drawn some comparisons to the Alien movie series. Both feature a woman protagonist, both deal with a rare and deadly species of alien, and both deliver on a great, lonely atmosphere.

Metroid Dread most likely won’t keep you up at night (unless you just can’t stop playing, which was the case for me), but it does invoke a sense of foreboding in a new enemy called an EMMI, a robot that will quietly hunt you, tirelessly chasing you if you’re spotted and destroying you easily if you’re caught.

The rest of the game, though, is a stellar 2D space adventure full of action and exploration. It’s well worth playing even when Halloween is over.

Available on Switch.

Resident Evil Village

One of the most popular zombie-related video games of all time (not to mention the movie series it spawned), Resident Evil is a reliable mainstay for the spooky season. Village, the eighth game in the mainline series, puts things in a first-person perspective for the second time, but don’t assume this is suddenly Call of Duty. Village is still all about atmosphere and a fair amount of puzzle solving (with, yes, some good action thrown in), as well as some sequences in which the best course of action isn’t fighting, it’s running.

For longtime fans, Village is a wonderful blend of Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 7. For newcomers, all you really need to know is that this time around you won’t be facing shambling, slow-walking zombies as much as you’ll be going toe-to-toe with monsters more akin to werewolves and even vampires.

Available on PC, Xbox and PlayStation.

Source: https://www.dallasnews.com/arts-entertainment/pop-culture/2021/10/28/get-spooked-with-these-13-video-games-perfect-for-halloween/

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