Getting Some Play: Gearing up for Halloween

Playing Scared

Halloween is nearly upon us, and you know what that means: ’tis the season to overindulge in horror games. While this year’s crop may not be the best (Resident Evil 6 released earlier in the month to rather lackluster reviews), don’t let that stop you from busting out the classics.

Amnesia: the Dark Descent is arguably one of the finest “pure” horror games of this generation, and it’s a very affordable thrill at $19.99 on Steam. Of course, you can also avail yourself to the esteemed “modern” Resident Evil games (4 and 5, specifically), the excellent Dead Space titles if you like a little sci-fi with your screams, and a classic Silent Hill or two (2 is still the best) for pure survival horror bliss.

I must say, I also got some inspiration from a recent piece at Kill Screen, wherein the author lists games that actually spooked him. The usual suspects aren’t on the list, and he makes mention of the terrifying Fatal Frame series. Good stuff, all around.

For those who want to get into the spirit – but thrills and chills aren’t really your bag, Costume Quest is undeniably the most charming Halloween-themed game of all time. Sticking with Developer Double Fine, Brutal Legend makes for great Halloween gaming as well, with its goofy heavy metal/fantasy theme and kick-ass costume ideas.


The heaviest month of 2012 (so far) just keeps coming. First up, we have Dance Central 3 on October 16 for the Kinect. I’ll be honest: The Dance Central games are the reason we own a Kinect in my house, and we just can’t get enough dance lessons. If 3 is as good as its predecessors, we’ll be adding this one to our “embarrassing party games” library faster than you can say “vogue.”

Also on the 16, James Bond returns in 007 Legends for the 360, PS3 and PC. Last year’s Goldeneye 007: Reloaded was actually my favorite FPS of the year (and the 2010 Wii version was a winner before it), so I expect good things.

Of course, if you like your FPS action bigger and badder, Doom 3 BFG Edition is also dropping on the 16, for the HD consoles and PC.

Finally, the 16 offers RockSmith: Guitar and Bass (for those who want to learn real-life instruments) for the 360, PS3 and PC, as well as Silent Hill: Book of Memories and Ragnarok Odyssey on the PS Vita.

If that one day doesn’t decimate your wallet, there’s plenty more: the 17 sees the release of Ravaged – a very cool looking PC shooter — while the 21 will play host to Skylanders Giants, available for all of the consoles and the 3DS.

On October 23, a trio of hardcore games arrives. First up is Medal of Honor: Warfighter for 360, PS3 and PC. Next, the sexy-looking Forza: Horizon will arrive on 360. Finally, we have Street Fighter X Tekken on the PS Vita. There’s also Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz on PS Vita and the underlooked Zero’s Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward on Vita and 3DS.

On the 28, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask returns the beloved puzzle series to the 3DS.

The very last days of the month will come with a new edition of this column, but keep your eyes peeled for Assassin’s Creed 3 for the HD consoles and PC (and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation on the Vita) on the 30, along with Need for Speed: Most Wanted, LEGO Lord of the Rings, Okami HD and the possibly awesome Nike + Kinect Training fitness game. Hey, we need to keep in shape after gorging on Halloween candy, after all.