Phasmophobia: The New Popular Horror Game

With the recent rise in popularity, the ghost hunting horror game Phasmophobia has made significant number in sales while being in the early access stage. (Photo Courtesy of Steam)

With the recent rise in popularity, the ghost hunting horror game Phasmophobia has made significant number in sales while being in the early access stage. (Photo Courtesy of Steam)

     The cooperative psychological horror game, Phasmophobia (the fear of ghosts), has caused a great deal of traction as streamers and other gamers on several platforms such as Youtube and Twitch have brought their attention to the game since its mid-September release this year. As the Halloween season rolls around, it can be challenging battling a pandemic by trying to stay safe while also wanting to have fun. It is difficult to get in touch with friends, but with video games such as this, it becomes less of a problem.

     In the game, there are many jumpscares. So it is recommended that the game is played by those who know what they are getting into. Calling this game “horror” is no exaggeration, as there are graphic images, noises, and flashes that throw the players off guard. When playing with friends, this is what makes it fun, the fearful and tense atmosphere shared amongst players. The game does a great job of making you feel immersed in the scenario. You can speak to the ghosts, and they will talk back if you use the proper tools, as if you were on Buzzfeed Unsolved.

     When it comes to playing the game, the main goal is to determine what type of ghost is on the map. These maps range from houses to asylums. In this game, the more you play, the more experience points you get, which leads to leveling up, which is a concept similar to most games. More things can be unlocked as you progress, such as equipment, locations, and other playable levels, which vary in difficulty between amateur, intermediate, and professional. Phasmophobia differs from other games in that it keeps you focused on completing tasks as the atmosphere creates a feeling of doom. This atmosphere is created by the absence of music and, instead, a chilling sound of emptiness. There are sudden noises like doors closing or opening, footsteps, and others which vary depending on the map.   These unexpected noises contribute to the fear you’ll feel while playing.

     There is also a currency system that rewards the player for every mission completed.  The cash prize varies on which type of map you have completed, and as you level up, you can reach bigger plans with greater difficulty. 

The difficulty is determined by the grace period, or how long you have to prepare before the round fully starts.  When the grace period is over, the ghost begins to haunt. Some ghosts pass through walls, and can even possess players. This all depends on how much you agitate the ghost. When the haunting moment is occurring, it is best to find somewhere to hide and turn off your flashlight and anything else that could bring attention to yourself, as this could lead to your ghastly downfall. 

     The game provides an excellent player experience. The designers include a Doppler effect in the sound design, so as you approach the source of noise it will gradually get louder. This immersion is amplified through the voice communication feature, which allows you to better locate and interact with friends and teammates playing simultaneously.

     The graphics resemble the early “realistic” style of the 2000s to 2010s, like games such as Garry’s Mod and GTA V. While the graphics reflect this older feel, the use of vocal communication is a playable feature resembles more recent games like those of the Call of Duty series. 

     When playing,  movement is controlled through the familiar options of the WASD keys or the arrow keys. To look around, you will have to use a mouse.  While there is no running in this horror game, the best you have is speed walking by pressing down the shift key, but this adds to the fear since some ghosts are faster than others. 

     The game was released last month as early access. This means that in due time, the price of the game is sure to rise with a full release. A price increase is also likely as the game gains more popularity over time; It is available on Steam, currently for $13.99. The game also has many server options, as you can play in North America, Europe, Asia, and other continents. 

     Horror games are common to play around October, but this does not mean Phasmophobia is exclusively a Fall game. Since it has no real end goal, the game has great replayability, and will likely last a long time– especially considering it only just released a month ago. There is still much more to come, such as the planned release of new maps and other player requests. Replayability is improved through the wide variety of ghosts, materials, evidence, locations, and difficulty, all of which can be mixed and matched. It requires you to depend on your fellow players to complete a goal and communicate well. If you are looking for an alternative to leaving the house this Halloween, I highly recommend trying this game. It is a fun alternative to parties and trick-or-treating for this Halloween season that ensures you stay safe.