We saw a lot of great games at The Game Awards, including some big hits that came out of the blue. We were spoiled for choice.
However, as a horror fan, I noticed a lack of horror games, that is until I saw the trailer for the survival and psychology game Post Trauma. In this video, we can see a gentleman navigating what appears to be a forgotten and crumbling subway system. On this journey, cosmically terrifying beings appear; tentacled monsters stuck to the walls, blood-filled corridors, and some vegetation covered in flesh.
There is also a playable demo available on itch.io, and a newer demo will hopefully be coming to Steam soon. The demo I was looking at was an older version of itch.io, and while there are definitely plots to match the horror seen in the trailer, I felt something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a walk in the park, but it doesn’t feel as scary as it should either.
Long walks in the subway
If you need to raise your steps, this game is for you. The itch.io demo contained a hell of a lot of walking. Slowly stumbling around in a strange and abandoned subway is annoying, but the lack of abnormal and scary encounters made me feel like a lost tourist, not someone trapped in a horror movie.
The monsters that inhabited this subterranean space were either woefully timid or made for axe-hitting them over the head. Either way, I never felt threatened by them. There were also bloody pentagrams and mannequins who wanted to do more. Retrieving something from a crumbling pentagram-encircled hand lost its horror once I realized it was glorified shelves.
However, it wasn’t all bad. The absolute highlight was the camera angles. I love a good third person horror movie. They’re also hugely in vogue with Resident Evil Village updates enabling third-person play and the upcoming Silent Hill 2 remake that returns to its third-person roots. But Post Trauma took it to the next level. With fixed camera angles from different angles, it highlights the emptiness of this subway and the lack of agency you have as you wander around curves unsure of what lies ahead.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to raise my blood pressure. While I appreciated the solid third-person camera angles, most of the post-trauma left me wondering if I wasn’t too stupid to be afraid of psychological horrors anymore. The monsters, while grotesque, felt bland, and the strange sound quickly became mere background noise for me.
The silent killer
While this is just an early demo and trailer, I think I know where Raw Fury is trying to take Post Trauma; I’m getting some serious Silent Hill 2 vibes. I hope they find out what made this title so iconic. For me, it must have been a constant and constant feeling of fear.
The Silent Hill series may have a few hits and misses, but we can all agree that the soundtrack and monsters in every game are something to admire or avoid, depending on whether or not you’re a horror fan. To this day, the sound of Pyramid Head’s giant serrated sword sliding across concrete floors still fills me with fear. This merciless creature is one of the most powerful and disturbing monsters I have encountered. The only thing worse than seeing him right in front of you was not knowing where he was. I felt myself looking over my shoulder the whole time, expecting to see his metal head emerging from shadow or mist.
I see Post Trauma trying to figure it out, using some grotesque-looking enemies and a weird sound scattered throughout the demo, but it forgets one thing; it is consistency that creates fear.
From the outset, Silent Hill 2 sets out why you need to combine sound with a scary-looking monster. This audio queue could be the difference between life and death. After finding that link, Silent Hill spends the rest of the game playing with you. Creates a masterful sense of horror.
It’s no good hearing strange sounds and seeing bizarre things at random, even if they’re disguised metaphors for your character’s mental state. The game has to prove to you why it means business and why you have to start running for the hills as soon as you hear a certain sound and then constantly remind you who’s really in charge.
Fortunately, Post Trauma has plenty of time to accomplish this. In its current state, with great camera angles and localization, I still have high hopes that this horror game will join the ranks of those that stick with me hiding in storage cabinets and making me physically sick.