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The Evil Within Might Be Too Terrifying To Be Entertaining

Disclaimer: There are no details in this article that break embargo rules.

Here's a question I've been struggling with for some time, basically ever since I played that "P.T." demo (the playable sample of Silent Hills): Is there such a thing as too scary in the world of interactive entertainment?

What we're hearing from those who have played The Evil Within - at this point, I'm one of them, but I won't be spilling any beans here - is somewhat concerning. I mean, it's survival/horror so it's supposed to be frightening. That's kinda the point. But when do we finally throw up our hands and go, "okay, you win, don't wanna play anymore." I love a challenge and I love great atmosphere. Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami is one of those horror masters who can elicit a big reaction from just about anyone. In other words, he's damn good at what he does.

Maybe too good.

There has to be a point where constant thrills and chills simply ceases to be entertaining. Fear is not normally a reaction we seek out or enjoy. The body and brain don't like to be scared. But of course, there's always this dark streak in everyone that reacts to the stimulus. They're scared but they get off on the rush it delivers and they actively seek the next rush. I'm just wondering what happens if their brain finally gives up and refuses to be terrified for the hundredth time in a row. And what will compel us to come back to the game after that point?

These are just psychological questions I've been pondering. Thought I'd toss them out there.

Related Game(s): The Evil Within

Tags: the evil within, horror games, survival horror

10/12/2014 10:34:07 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (25 posts)


SayWord
Sunday, October 12, 2014 @ 10:50:52 PM
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So what your saying is this game is actually scary? Can it be tuesday already? Jeez

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Corvo
Sunday, October 12, 2014 @ 11:10:22 PM
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I've never seen you talk about anything like this in the almost 3 years I've been visiting this site.

My hype meter just vanished and I am completely impatient now. Damnit Ben.

Too scary? That is....YES!!!!

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Draguss
Sunday, October 12, 2014 @ 11:16:23 PM
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I imagine it varies from person to person. I'll use myself for example. In general I like horror, I like scaring myself. But I'm a giant coward, I reach that point where I just can't keep going very early. I can deal with books and movies and let's plays, but in a game I just freeze up. It doesn't even have to be a really terrific horror game either.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, October 12, 2014 @ 11:18:27 PM
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Fear IS normally a reaction we seek out. We love rollercoasters and parachuting, extreme sports and dangerous speeds, scary movies, military combat, and the shock of a real paranormal experience (though you kinda wish those never happened afterward). The body and brain seek out fear like moths to flames. We need it.

If this game delivers that in the way you are saying it might then that's very very good. If the scares are good, well paced, and not repetitive then the endorphin/serotonin/adrenaline squirts our brains get should keep us coming back to the game like any thrill seeker.

Can someone get sick of that early? Desensitization. If you have the skill, I like to "make my own fun". Obviously nothing on a TV screen can actually scare me because it isn't real. However, if you can actively suspend disbelief and put yourself in the scenario like with the world you build in your head while reading a book, the horror becomes sufficiently realistic and at that point and you only create a mental break from it if the author/creator screws up and overdoes something or does something not in line with the rest of the game.

Excessive scares are good, gamers can just play in short bursts. Excessive canned scares are what you get sick of and that hurts a game.

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Killa Tequilla
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 12:25:56 AM

Nicely said. A agree. But I hate jump scares.

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souljah92
Sunday, October 12, 2014 @ 11:27:30 PM
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In the day and age where you can see videos of people getting decapitated or killed and just as gruesome ways, i doubt a video game is going to be too much for anyone, good to hear a decent horror game is finally on the horizon after god knows how long

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DemonNeno
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 12:35:50 AM
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I'm not sure if it's healthy to scare the shit out of ourselves, but it's definitely something thrill seekers want to experience. Not everyone wants it, but plenty of us enjoy the rush. In fact, desensitization to it helps us react better to real life scenarios... at the cost of us being different.

When I was an EMT, it really changed my thought process. Instead of getting all shook up by trauma, it slowed the world around me down. I can focus through trauma - probably get a few decent stitches in you without gauging my needle too deep/shallow.

It's important for us to desensitize ourselves to an extent, although the world around you dares to say the opposite. Your reflexes are more accurate and immediate, your decisions are far less crowded with panic, and ultimately may save your life or someone else's.

That said, horror is something that can potentially desensitize your human nature. Saving someone from a fire or surviving a horrible accident isn't the same as watching someone get slain or dismemebered. That kinda shit puts you in a bad place.

So, yes, there is such a thing as too much. Not because you can't handle it, but due to the fact that it can result in damaging the brain's ability to show remorse instead of sheer brutalitiy. It's all the guys that watched people blowing up in 'Nam that should tell you this. Watching women and children get raped and murdered. Watching humans stripped of their innocence for a purpose that simply will never justify it happening.

On the other hand, I really want to play the game now. Not ALL of us get desensitized to it, which is why not all of us become serial killers or nut jobs. Then again, you wouldn't know that your crazy...would you? DA-DA-DAAA!

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JackieBoy
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 3:37:49 AM
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If it turned to be more scarrier then P.T then I will pass. I couldn't handle P.T too much:)

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duomaxwell007
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 5:58:02 AM
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Umm those sound like GOOD things to me.. i LOVE the sound of tyhat... i havent jumped playing a game since 1999... Im dying to finally see that its still very possible

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Vivi_Gamer
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 6:53:24 AM
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Hmmm, well with my experience of Silent Hill 2 (Which I still regard the throne of horror games) it was all about the games atmosphere. The sinking fog layered over the town, the isolation I felt wandering the desolate streets and the odd but not visually gruesome characters you meet through out the game, which set of such an eerie vibe.

It was a game that got really under my skin. When I reached the Hospital in Silent Hill 2, I just couldn't play it. It was beyond fear, the dark and drab atmosphere was verging on depressing. I felt sad playing it and very edgy. It took me about 3 months to dare get past it. I have never felt a game effect me before so strongly as that game. But then there is also the brilliant writing, symbolism behind all the monsters and just so much more to Silent Hill 2 than I see in other horror games.

I look at The Evil Within and it just looks like its trying too hard to be grotesque. Jump scares just don't do it for me, I admit they work, but I just feel cheated and then loathe the gaming experience. I remember the regenrators in RE4 being truly scary, not know what to do as it chased me. Or what about RE3 Nemesis, having Nemesis appear at any given time, hearing "STAAAARRRSS!" sent a chilling rush up my body. Neither of them experiences were scary due to cheap boo tactics. It was the threat that scared me and how I lacked the offensive capability to take on the threat. I think being vulnerable is something we need to bring back into the horror genre. The action route it took last gen was all wrong, its not scary when I have a full arsenal of weapons to take on the threat as I know I have the upper hand. I'm not sure if Th Evil Within gives that position to the player of not, but it is certainly a game I am keeping an eye on.

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jagstatboy
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 8:21:52 AM
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"Fear is not normally a reaction we seek out or enjoy. The body and brain don't like to be scared. But of course, there's always this dark streak in everyone that reacts to the stimulus. They're scared but they get off on the rush it delivers and they actively seek the next rush."

You kind of contradict yourself here. People love to experience fear and get scared. Thrill rides, haunted houses, and horror movies prove it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 11:16:37 AM

That's some people. A lot of people - I'd even say most - have absolutely no interest in any of that. In fact, they hate it.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 3:22:08 PM

I've only met a few people that hate those kinds of things.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 6:22:59 PM

It's everyone I know, World. My parents, my girlfriend, most of my friends. They don't find being scared even remotely entertaining.

And there's a difference between a roller-coaster and some form of horror.

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Karosso
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 9:30:30 AM
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What? A scary survival horror game????
Maybe we've just been sissified with the last few attempts at action/horror.
I remember how trippy the original Silent Hill was... knife wielding demon babies, creepy zombie nurses, demonic rape(SH2). I think today's graphics might prove a bit too realistic for some to stomach tho...

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shaydey77
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 3:53:11 PM
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I remember playing one of the Resident Evil's years ago...walking along a corridor...clock ticking...looked at the clock...turned around and this massive orange and black spider was just in front of me. Scared the life out of me!...but oddly I enjoyed it as I just wasnt expecting it. It wasn't really a jump scare either as he was just walking towards me.

Regarding the evil within, not sure about it. Still need to pick up fifa and destiny first at some stage. I enjoy more competition with others for fun rather than being freaked out.

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surfer
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 4:05:07 PM
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For me, there is no such game as too scary. I personally love this genre but I can absolutely see people thinking a game goes too far.

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surfer
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 4:14:44 PM
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and all of this remains to be seen...could be just hype...curious to see actual reviews of this tomorrow...how scary it really is

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surfer
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 5:09:59 PM
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I hope it is half as scary and disturbing as Ben describes

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 6:23:53 PM
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I would like to clarify that I'm NOT actually describing the game in this article.

In fact, I daresay that the first two hours aren't even all that freaky. I was just using The Evil Within as the basis for a hypothetical question.

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surfer
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 7:07:00 PM

Looking forward to your review

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slugga_status
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 6:55:13 PM
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Last horror games that had me jumpy were RE2 and Silent Hill 2. It want so muchthe jump moments but the entire atmosphere brought a strong sense of immersion. Any game that can bring that back is a winner in my book no matter what.

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surfer
Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 7:20:14 PM
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I have a feeling there is too much "scary" hype for this game and it will be disappointing to some. I hope I am wrong.

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Rachet_JC_FTW
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 @ 5:53:07 AM
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its entriely poosible that it might be too scalry but maybe thats what some ppl want thats the vibe i'm getting from everyone

happy gaming

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Palpatations911
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 @ 2:58:04 PM
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This game runs too terribly to be worth buying. I wouldn't be happy if I was John Carmack. id tech 5 engine isn't even that great and it barely pulls 30 fps and is choppy on every platform including PC

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