Top Survival Horror Games of All Time
First off, I of course need to outline that this is opinion. Clearly I am not hosting debates or researching metascore/income made by these games. None of that matters to me. What matters to me are the five big points: Atmosphere, Music/Sound Effects, Gameplay, Story and Graphic Design. Notice how I say Graphic Design and not Graphics. I do not award good graphics if they don't ADD to the gameplay or the overall atmosphere of the game. I would rather play the original Alone In The Dark trilogy on DosBox for the rest of my life rather than play more of these "trendy survival horror" games. Basically, action games with zombies and other generic creatures, along with a full arsenal of weapons where you would need the back of a Jeep in order to carry all of the gear with you throughout the game.
I also am not ordering these games, I might do a Top 10 list at some point, but basically I am just rating what I have played from my favourite genre of games. I am also going to go back through the years and find games I never played and keep in mind the year they were made. I missed what seem to be some popular games, but at the time never seemed interested in them for various reasons.
To start this off I am going to review (probably) my all time favourite game.
Silent Hill 3 (PS2, Xbox, PC) 2003
The Silent Hill series has been my favourite series since I played Silent Hill 2 back in 2001. Yes, I started playing on the PS2 because I did not know about this series until after the second game had been released. Had I not been recommended the game by someone I regard as having good taste in games, I might not have found the best survival horror series of all time. If you are a semi-intelligent and a very imaginative person who reads into this series a lot more than just playing the games, you cannot even begin to compare it to anything. You can point out references of inspiration which were clearly utilized to make the series to great, but there is nothing that meets this caliber of thoughtfulness when it comes to game design as a whole.
To start off, we have one of the greatest music composers of all time, Akira Yamaoka, a huge part of Team Silent who creates the most horrific auditory atmosphere of all time. In fact, Team Silent is almost like one mind with all the necessary tools needed to make a video game perfect and capable of utilizing 100% of it's capacity. Everything in this game goes perfectly together, the music is what you would expect to hear in the environments. The monsters are exactly what you would expect to find in the world of Silent Hill. The relation of psychology and symbolism to everything from the protagonist to the other corresponding elements of visual and auditory medium are unlike any I have found in any form of media. This series is one that has completely impacted the way I look at all forms of art, literature and even certain aspects of life itself.
In order to really give this a fair rating I am going to have to break it into my 5 big categories, otherwise I will ramble onto too many different topics involved with this game and the series, and this will turn into more of a rant than anything.
Atmosphere: As I already mentioned, everything in this game works together perfectly to make the most incredibly horrific atmosphere of any other game out there. Of course to be a true critic, I need to compare Silent Hill 3 to it's predecessor. Silent Hill 2's protagonist had to deal with a lot more people through the course of the game, and although there were more people, it made me feel more anxious and alone as I played it. The game made you feel completely distant from the other people by making them seem like beings of the town itself. Silent Hill 3 uses a very small cast of characters to make up the entire game. From a quick count in my head I can think of five people throughout the eight hour experience (assuming you are reading everything, and it's your first time playing) and these characters do make up a very seemingly conspiratorial environment for Heather (the protagonist). With the beginning of the game starting right in the depths of darkness in a nightmare, it causes you to start the game in an already negative mood. This causes the first normal seeming person you meet to already cause you to think "this guy is bad news, thank God she's telling him off". Off the bat, I had a fairly distant, but morbid sort of mental connection with Heather. I am a very introspective person as well, and generally don't let anyone into my personal space or make direct contact with me due to having quite a low expectation of other people's ability to make me feel some sort of connection with them whether it be social or professional.
To Be Continued...