So, I discovered a horror game a few days ago that the rest of the world apparently found out about well before then. xD I'm referring to "Five Nights at Freddy's" or, more specifically, Markiplier's videos on the game. He claims that it's the scariest game in years and that its take on horror was new...I happen to disagree with him on both accounts.
The reason for this s simple: the game's core scare factor relies on jump-scares. Since when was the one fear element (that is more surprise than fear) that's used in pretty much every form of horror media considered "new"? Yes, the designs of the animatronics coming after you are very disturbing, but I feel that the designer could've made their game more creepy and truly frightening by having them do something a little more than jumping out and going "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!". In order to explain what I feel this "something more" could be, I feel I should deviate from the topic slightly.
Before watching these videos, I actually had to mentally prepare myself for an hour. This was unique, considering that I've trekked through some of the most terrifying games (at least, according to critics and some fans) without being phased much if at all. This was because of his choice of thumbnails for his videos, which instilled a sort of expectation and idea that legitimately terrified me before I even watched the vids. This idea was a simple one: interaction via live-action cutscenes.
Now, I'm sure the indi-developer that came up with the game probably had budget issues and couldn't hire voice actors or afford such unsettling fursuits to do any of this himself, but I know of three REALLY old games (all of them "point-and-click") that took a live-action approach and it worked surprisingly well, even if they weren't all that popular. So, perhaps I would've found it more terrifying if the animatronics got in the face of and interacted/conversed with the silent protagonist, maybe toy with him a bit in a childlike manner and/or have the eyes of the others light up and move slightly in the background before they take him to get forced into the suit, which you'd witness in first-person and all in live-action. This could potentially make it mind-numbing as well as keeping the jump-scares, while giving the characters personalities. Not to mention that, if done properly, it could give you nightmares for weeks - something a horror game hasn't done for me since Silent Hill 3 in my younger days.
He probably could've made it a variety, too, like a set of 10+ random interactions, unique to every character. These would change to a different set every night, making it more disturbingly playful as the nights progressed. Hell, the developer even could've make the designs deteriorate as well; making the characters' eyes and mouth bleed more and more as the player progressed to reference to the apparent lore regarding the animatronics doing this on stage (to the point that customers started complaining about it) and the kids whom went missing around the area.
Yeah, there's plenty that can be done to make the game more terrifying, innovative, and nightmare-fuel-ish. Just gotta dig deep into that dark bit of creativity.
Getting back to what the game is rather than it could be, however, I must admit that there is one aspect in this game that most of those in the horror franchise don't implement: total helplessness. Don't get me wrong, I know there are games like Outlast and such that pretty much make it impossible for you to fight back, but running away and hiding was always an option...often the only one you had. Thus, you were helpless, but not completely.
In this game, however, you can't run, they know exactly where you are, and it's only a matter of time before they get to you. In addition to this, you need to conserve power or else you'll lose all of your defenses and will just be sitting in the dark, unable to do anything and hoping to god that you can get to 6 AM without something jumping out at you. This can be viewed much like conserving ammo, as most "horror" games tend to provide less of it than official action ones do (for those who don't know, I tend to view horror games that give the player a weapon more like action games with creepy environments; there's no real fear to be had when you can just shoot at your problems or beat them to death with a lead pipe), especially in hard modes. Not exactly new, but it is a bit of a unique combination of these aspects.
So, yeah. It's hardly worthy of being entitled "scariest game in years" or delivering a new take on horror when all it delivers are jump-scares and creepy-looking characters with next to no personalities. Still, it does have quite a bit of potential. Perhaps the developer could update it with features like these if he were so inclined.
To clarify though, I haven't actually played the game myself. I don't think I even properly can, to be honest: I don't have a smartphone or tablet and my computer is just absolutely terrible when it comes to gaming. My best chances of playing it without god-awful lag are on the PS3 or 3DS and I don't think it's on either. My opinions are merely based upon watching a few videos on its gameplay, which, I'm sure, is a very different experience from actually playing it. It very often is, after all.