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What's the most atmospheric game you've played?

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12 hours ago, Hylian said:

The start of Link to the Past, where you head out into the rain, through the sewers and into the castle dungeon.

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This.

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33 minutes ago, Stanley said:

This.

This game had such a profound effect on me. It was probably the first big story game I ever got into, aged about 10. I remember my older brother got it and I didn't know anything about Zelda really. My only experience had been the game and watch handheld. The start of it just completely gripped me and I couldn't believe that such an amazing world could exist in a computer game. It's a cliche, but it started a life long love affair with gaming and particularly Nintendo games. To this day it's one of my all time favourites.

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1 hour ago, Hylian said:

This game had such a profound effect on me. It was probably the first big story game I ever got into, aged about 10. I remember my older brother got it and I didn't know anything about Zelda really. My only experience had been the game and watch handheld. The start of it just completely gripped me and I couldn't believe that such an amazing world could exist in a computer game. It's a cliche, but it started a life long love affair with gaming and particularly Nintendo games. To this day it's one of my all time favourites.

 

:wub:

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1 hour ago, Hylian said:

This game had such a profound effect on me. It was probably the first big story game I ever got into, aged about 10. I remember my older brother got it and I didn't know anything about Zelda really. My only experience had been the game and watch handheld. The start of it just completely gripped me and I couldn't believe that such an amazing world could exist in a computer game. It's a cliche, but it started a life long love affair with gaming and particularly Nintendo games. To this day it's one of my all time favourites.

Same here, I was older but it stopped me in my tracks, I had no idea games like this existed or could exist before I played it. There is basically before and after Zelda for me.

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I think Dead Space takes it for me. I'd play it in the dark with headphones and it was completely thrilling and completely terrifying, way beyond any movie I've watched. I could only play it in 30 minute chunks and on a couple of occasions I actually fell off my chair. I was pretty much like a YouTuber but without being filmed.

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I got to play through Planescape Torment for the first time last year. The graphics look like an old photograph covered in coffee, the voice lines sound like they were recorded using a tin can, and your guy runs around like he's shat himself. And somehow, I absolutely loved the atmosphere, and found it on par with any modern RPG. It's just all so inescapably grim. Like, literally you can't even die properly, so you just have to press forward through this smelly city until it's finally over. 

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A lot of good ones here, but for me an interesting choice that hasn't been mentioned would be Papers, Please.   Although on second thoughts, maybe I'm mixing immersion with atmosphere.   But there's something about Papers, Please that just consumes my attention while playing it.  It feels bleak and terrifying and a bit funny all at once. 

 

Top stuff. 

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Freedom Wars (Vita) actually has a strong atmosphere for a videogame, in that the gameplay and the premise go hand-in-hand and you're not just admiring pretty backdrops or narrative flavour. Part of the premise is that civilians live under a brutal totalitarian law, and that people are given million-year sentences for merely existing. However, the "best" part of this law comes from the privileges and penalties. In the game you get penalised - with more years added to your sentence - for breaking your rights, and at the beginning of the game you don't have the right to do basic things like run in the hub world, sit down, speak to members of the opposite sex, lie down to sleep, and other gameplay interactions. The penalties forcibly limit your desire to experiment in the gameworld (unless you don't care about an extended sentence) - and that sounds like crap... but you're a criminal in a fucked-up totalitarian society so it works perfectly. There's a genuine sense of oppression that other games can only hint at - even HL2 stopped bugging you to pick up stray cans after the opening minutes.

 

The soundtrack's nice (but no masterpiece), the visuals are fine, but if we're talking about atmosphere delivered through gameplay and interaction, those beginning moments in FW are really interesting.

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Super Metroid. 

 

SM really got me with its dark atmosphere when I returned to it last year on my SNES Mini. I’ve played the first two prime games and those are equally as excellent but I’ve had Fusion on my GBM and I’ve Just stopped playing it every time I’ve started. SM felt like it got the atmosphere right and the music is excellent. I’d also written up some info on my thoughts in the games completed thread and highlighted a lot of things that this game relates to with Resident Evil and it surprised me how much I noticed that felt Capcom were inspired from. There’s a song in SM which almost fits perfectly over a track in RE when played at the same time. The plant boss one. Yeah both games have plant bosses and snake bosses that do the hiding in holes thing, not to mention doors that become a focus point between areas. SM also has a good sense of isolation from everything else. The sunken ship is one of those great places that gives off a great atmosphere before you hit up the electricity. 

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Yeah Super Metroid has oodles of atmosphere, I remember being completely gripped and just couldn't stop playing it, think I completed it in just a couple of days - absolutely loved the dark and foreboding atmosphere.

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The very first Silent Hill for me. I know subsequent games improved on the formula (and 2 was a masterpiece) but goddamn that school, with creepy baby things which shriek and the industrial noise soundtrack.

 

 

I also loved the transitions between our world and the "dark" with the air raid sirens ringing in your ears. Genuinely atmospheric and scary as fuck, especially when playing in an empty house on your own in the dead of night.

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Oh god those air raid sirens. 

 

Is there a decent way to replay silent hill 2 these days? Like a PC version? 

 

I'd really like to play 4 again too

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1 minute ago, robdood said:

Oh god those air raid sirens. 

 

Is there a decent way to replay silent hill 2 these days? Like a PC version? 

2 and 3 are on the 360 Silent Hill Collection which are backwards compatible on the Bone. They're not great ports, though. But I think that's the only way you can play them on current consoles. Don't know about the PC versions. 

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The Resident Evil 2 remake would be the best recent example. 

 

Doom 2016

Uncharted series 

Metroid Prime 

Arkham Series 

 

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We've covered most I'd suggest immediately (Ico, SoTC, RE:make, Tomb Raider 1 :wub: etc) so I'm going to pick a few alternates..

Operation Flashpoint
Even at the time it was a bit of a haphazard looking game, with some rather poor models, textures, hilarious voices and dodgy sprites.. but the experience of being in that world tied all that together and gave it a unique feel. A stealthy approach suddenly caught out in the search lights, alarm blazing and tracers filling the night. A carefully directed approach to the outskirts of a ruined village only for a tank squadron to roll over the nearest hill, the elation as backup arrives in the form of an Apache gunship cannon ripping through the air above.. it had a magic about it. 

Burning Rangers

This game is pretty much all atmosphere! No soundtrack – just you, the environment, and lots of fire. 

Panzer Dragoon Saga

A totally unique world dripping with style, aided by fabulous music and inventive game dynamics.

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

Who can forget the beaches of Normandy or the raid on Trondheim as experienced through this game? Quiet moments built tension wonderfully. I'm sure it'd feel ancient and limited now but when it was released it really put you there in a way no other game had done before.

Jet Set Radio

I just loved being in Tokyo-to, what can I say. I was my best self!

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+1 for Demon's Souls.

 

The Tower of Latria alone seals it. Even the Nexus would put it way up there.

 

This is a question that gets kind of redefined by VR though; I'm assuming VR stuff is out of the running. 

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The original Dungeon Master.. 

Creeping round the seemingly endless corridors, terrified of what lay in the dark..

 

jpg

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For all the flaws with the combat and its politics, Bioshock Infinite still has some of the best environmental storytelling out there. 

 

This was also great:

 

 

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Whilst I could easily write about many older titles that really resonated with me in some way, I think the most atmospheric game I've played is "State of Decay 2." I'm a staunch fan of this game and the title that came before it. I really do like the game world and the attention to detail paid to the whole production design of the world. Playing with headphones really is 'the gold standard' here.

 

Crawling around in the moonlight, walking quietly through the long grass, slowly climbing over garden or chain link fences on the hunt for resources and trying to avoid zombie trouble. Some of the audio creates a physical reaction in me - the curdling howl of a nearby Feral suddenly makes my heart beat really fast. Is there a hiding spot nearby? Should I sprint to the petrol station and try to make it to the rooftop ladder?

 

Exploring abandoned houses with the torchlight, trawling through strewn living rooms and kitchens. Very very atmospheric. I know the Map so well it really does feel like a real actual place that I've visited. Plus Unreal Engine's amazing use of Materials on everything. I was crouched (for my life) in the kitchen of the  "Swine and Bovine" fast food restaurant in Spencer Hills - and I saw the distorted reflection of my character in the brushed stainless steel of a splashback wall. As someone who was known to be quite captivated by the visuals of an unexpanded VIC-20 back in the early Eighties - seeing this really reminded me just how far games have come in thirty years.

 

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Beneath A Steel Sky. Showing my age maybe and I know it was basically a Blade Runner homage throughout, but got to be one of the best written games of all time. Blew my mind when I was a kid, genuinely. 

 

 

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Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, as much for the music as the game - I still listen to the brilliant Amon Tobin soundtrack.

 

 

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Agree with the lonely mysterious worlds of original Tomb Raider and Metroid Prime as already mentioned. Plus the music!

 

Another one I really like is Eternal Darkness with its brooding Lovecraftian storytelling via the Tome (made from skin and bone) spanning millennia. It's very well done. 

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