We’ve seen a ton of great games at The Game Awards, with some heavy hitters coming out of nowhere. We were spoiled for choice.
However, as a fan of scares, I noticed a lack of horror games, that is, until I saw the trailer for the survival and psychological horror game Post Trauma. In this, we can see a gentleman navigating what appears to be a forgotten and dilapidated subway system. During this journey there are cosmically horrific entities; tentacle monsters glued to walls, blood-filled corridors, and some sort of flesh-covered vegetation.
There’s also a playable demo available on itch.io, with a more recent demo coming to Steam soon, hopefully. The demo I watched was the older itch.io, and while there are certainly threads that match the horror seen in the trailer, I felt like something was missing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a walk in the park, but it also doesn’t seem as scary as it should be.
Long walks in the subway
If you need to get your steps up this is the game for you. The itch.io demo featured an awful lot of walking. Stumbling slowly through a strange and desolate subway is unnerving, but the lack of anomalous and terrifying encounters made me feel more like a lost tourist than someone trapped in a horror game.
The monsters that inhabit this subterranean space were sadly shy or made to be hit on the head with an axe. Anyway, I never felt threatened by them. There were also bloodied pentagrams or mannequins who felt they had to do more. Getting something out of a decrepit hand surrounded by a pentagram lost its horror when I found out they were glorified planks.
However, it wasn’t all bad. The absolute highlight was the camera angles. I love a good third-person horror game. They’re also incredibly fashionable with updates to Resident Evil Village bringing third-person and the upcoming Silent Hill 2 remake back to its third-person roots. But Post Trauma took this one to the next level. With fixed camera angles from different angles, it emphasizes the emptiness of this subway and the lack of choice you have as you wander through the corners, unsure of what’s in store for you.
Unfortunately, this was not enough to raise my blood pressure. While I appreciated the steady third-person camera angles, much of Post Trauma left me wondering if I wasn’t too dumb to get scared in psychological horror games anymore. The monsters, while grotesque, seemed bland, and the odd audio quickly became regular background noise for me.
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 serious Silent Hill 2 vibes. I hope they figure out what made that title so iconic. For me it had to be the constant and relentless feeling of fear.
The Silent Hill franchise may have some hits and misses, but we can all agree that the sound design and monsters in each game are something to admire or avoid depending on whether you’re a horror fan. To this day, the sound of Pyramid Head’s giant serrated sword still fills me with dread. This ruthless creature is one of the most profound and disturbing monsters I’ve 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 all the time, expecting to see his metal head emerge from the shadows or fog.
I can see Post Trauma trying to get around this, it uses some grotesque looking enemies and weird audio scattered throughout the demo, but it forgets one thing; it is consistency that creates fear.
From the very beginning of Silent Hill 2, the game captures why you need to connect a sound with a gruesome looking monster. This audio queue can be the difference between life and death. After finding this link, Silent Hill will play the rest of the game with you. It creates a masterful sense of dread.
It’s not good to hear weird noises and see random bizarre things, even if they’re hidden metaphors for your protagonist’s mental state. The game has to prove to you why it means business and why you should run for the hills as soon as you hear a certain sound, then constantly remind you who’s really in charge.
Fortunately, there is enough time for Post Trauma to capture this. As it is right now, with the great camera angles and location, I’m still hopeful that this horror game will join those holding me back. hidden in storage cupboards and which made me physically ill.