“Phasmophobia” brings real fear to gaming

If it’s scares you’re looking for, “Phasmophobia” delivers

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“Phasmophobia” has terrifying ghosts who can hunt and attempt to kill players, and the only ways to survive are to run or hide. (Screenshot of gameplay)

Nick Subia, Staff Writer

For those of us whose Halloween plans have been sidelined by the pandemic, an alternate form of home-based entertainment is essential for celebrating the season. While horror video games have historically fallen short in the scare factor, “Phasmophobia” doesn’t disappoint.

Released in September, “Phasmophobia” is a four-player co-op horror game available on PC, where players search various haunted locations for paranormal activity. With a seemingly endless variety of jump scares and creepy visuals and sounds, “Phasmophobia” leaves players with bone-chilling trepidation for hours after they finish playing. Though it was originally designed for virtual reality, which creates a far more immersive and realistic experience, “Phasmophobia” is also available for traditional PC gameplay.

“Phasmophobia” was developed by Kinetic Games, a new indie game studio that focuses on virtual reality gaming. Although I haven’t personally played this game in VR, I can imagine the extreme fear it might induce, as the traditional method of play is creepy enough.

When a player starts the game, they can choose to join a server with other players, or play alone, which is a far more terrifying experience. At this point, players get to choose from a range of ghost hunting items including flashlights, thermometers for reading temperature changes, and EMF readers that show levels of ghost activity, to name a few. The goal of the game is to gather three pieces of evidence to identify what type of ghost is haunting the location, but it is rare for this to occur without at least a few instances of terror by way of the ghost whispering in player’s ears, turning lights on and off, and even appearing out of thin air and attacking.

On the surface, this game might not sound like it would be very scary, but upon entering a haunted location you hear a low-pitched machine-like hum that would make the bravest of individuals feel uneasy. As you walk through a location the floors often creak and create the feeling that you aren’t alone or safe.

The one downside to “Phasmophobia” is that there are a decent amount of graphics glitches and strange flaws in the coding. However, the developers are working on fixing these bugs with updates and encourage players to report any glitches or faults in the game.

Even after having a little less than 24 hours of gameplay under my belt, this game still manages to make my heart race. The pure fear that I have felt from playing “Phasmophobia” exceeds anything I have experienced with any game or movie. If you are looking for a good old-fashioned blood-curdling scare this Halloween season, you can purchase “Phasmophobia” for $13.99 on the popular free PC gaming platform Steam.