It’s almost the end of October, but it’s not too late to check out some horror-themed games that will keep you chilled ever after Halloween month has come and gone. The two biggest titles that have hit this October are familiar to longtime games, with one being a familiar return to a fan favourite franchise, while the other is an upgrade to a heralded classic of the horror genre.
First up is Back 4 Blood, which is an unofficial sequel to the Left 4 Dead games that had players taking on hordes of the undead plus other souped-up monsters. As per the blurb:
Developed by Turtle Rock Studios, creators of the fan-favourite Left 4 Dead franchise, Back 4 Blood is a best-in-class cooperative first-person zombie shooter featuring thrilling, dynamic moment-to-moment gameplay and highly variable, customizable action to keep players coming back for more.
I played Left 4 Dead years and years ago when I had an Xbox 360, but I never spent too much time with it. However, as I’ve been diving into Back 4 Blood, I’ve been reminded of just how much fun it is to team up with other players and plaster the undead with bullets and Molotov cocktails. Co-op play is the main feature for Back 4 Blood, though I’ve also been slowly making my way through the single-player mode as well. If you’re not going trick or treating with the kids this Halloween, or need to burn off some energy with them following their candy indulgence, you’ll definitely find it taking on zombies of all sorts here.
Also making its return to consoles is the beloved Alan Wake Remastered. The original arrived on the Xbox 360 back in 2010 and was an immediate favourite thanks to its unique, television-esque storyline and the fact that playing as writer Wake made me think I was controlling a Stephen King character…or even Stephen King, himself. Or was that just me?
Here’s the blurb on the remastered release from Remedy:
In this award-winning cinematic action-thriller, troubled author Alan Wake embarks on a desperate search for his missing wife, Alice. Following her mysterious disappearance from the Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls, he discovers pages of a horror story he has supposedly written, but he has no memory of.
Wake is soon forced to question his sanity, as page by page, the story comes true before his eyes: a hostile presence of supernatural darkness is taking over everyone it finds, turning them against him. He has no choice but to confront the forces of darkness armed only with his flashlight, a handgun and what remains of his shredded mind. His nightmarish journey to find answers to the mind-bending mystery he faces will lead him into the terrifying depths of the night.
Alan Wake Remastered offers the complete experience, with the main game and its two-story expansions – The Signal and The Writer – in stunning new 4K visuals. The tense, episodic story is packed with unexpected twists, heart-stopping cliffhangers, and intense bursts of combat where it takes more than bullets to banish the darkness. The game’s cutscenes, quirky cast of characters, and the majestic Pacific Northwest vistas have been enhanced for an experience that delivers as much on its visual impact as its unnerving atmosphere.
Alan Wake Remastered is like Stephen King meets David Lynch (come on, anything remotely spooky set in the Pacific Northwest is going to get the Lynch comparison). The game hasn’t been rebuilt from the ground up and has removed the product placements that were found in the original, but the licensed music remains, and the visuals have received a significant upgrade. Though original an Xbox 360 exclusive, Alan Wake Remastered is available on PlayStation 4/5 as well, giving veterans and newcomers alike a chance to explore a legitimate horror game classic on a Sony console for the first time.
Alan Wake Remastered is certainly not a hang-out with your kid’s experience. Instead, you’ll want to wait until they’re in bed and you can sit on the couch, lights turned off so that you can immerse yourself in Bright Falls and a game that’s finally available for next-gen players.
So, before Halloween is gone for another year, find time to check out two essential pieces of horror gaming, both that combine previous eras with what gamers today are looking for in the genre.