By – Mike Bezek
I remember the good old days of gaming horror. You know, those sepia-toned halcyon days where the ambiance of every horror title wasn’t spoiled by being ruthlessly spammed on YouTube as a Let’s Play/Pretend to be scared shill. Honestly, if I see one more Amnesia or Nightmare House video with aggrandized reactions, I may get very violent; stabby, even. The surging popularity of scary titles in recent years had resulted in homogenized experiences where jump scares and gameplay-focus has diluted the most important factor: Writing.
Utilizing live-action story sequences that stitch the games twisted tale together, Huntsman: The Orphanage has a unique twist to a genre obsessed with the dark tinge of red. Rather than forcing needless gore on the player, Huntsman is devoid of blood, or violence for that matter. Shadowshifters has risen above the standard trope of blood, guts and physical violence in their title and placed psychological terror in its place. Unless you suffer from hemophobia, seeing gallons of blood slosh along the floor, or spout from a severed digital artery wouldn’t make you look up from your morning Apple Dapples. Mainly because Apple Dapples are delicious, but also because these previously shocking scenarios are now antiquated.
Huntsman looks to be picking up the reigns of Amnesias legacy by providing the player with context instead of raw stimuli. A horror game should not simply about jump scares and scratches upon a rickety violin, but rather crafting an atmosphere so plausible that once it enters your psyche, you are inconsolable. While the obvious focus on the avian plague doctor’s mask in the art for the game may mean the title centers on a “sickness”, there are so many good things going for The Orphange that it becomes a non-issue.
You can check out all of the details on Steam Greenlight, where Huntsman is enjoying much acclaim. Give it a little push, but not too harsh, OK?