Phasmophobia opened the door for an entirely new genre of gaming. One that pit players against the worst of the spirit realm. Ghost hunting games have become a craze, with Steam titles seemingly released monthly, and Ghost Watchers is one of the latest in this budding genre. Though it borrows a lot from the flagship title that started this all, developer Renderise clearly aimed to rectify some of Phasmophobia’s shortcomings.
The concept is very similar – the titular watchers arrive on the scene of an active haunting in a truck filled to the brim with equipment. The staples are still there, including an EMF meter, thermometer, cameras, and flashlights (though the designs are far more elaborate than we’ve previously seen). This time around, players are equipped with equipment designed specifically to combat and tick off the ghost. Three types of salt, silver and gold bombs, crosses, Christ statues, holy water, and some tools that would make Zak Bagans blush all aim to protect from frequent attacks. The catch? Not every tool works against every type of ghost.
Whereas Phasmophobia has a journal full of ghost types, Ghost Watchers simplifies things down to a handful. What differs are the ghost’s attributes, such as whether it’s calm or angry and ancient or young. These traits determine how to both protect from the spirit and ultimately capture it. That’s right, Ghost Watchers is a bit of a misnomer as you’re not just here to observe. Sitting at the head of your truck is an advanced device used to trap the ghost once it’s been weakened. And though trapping isn’t required before leaving the site, it does yield a decent amount of experience and money.
But before you can trap a ghost, you have to know how to weaken it. To know how to weaken it, you have to know everything about it. This is where your base-level ghost hunting equipment comes into play. You’ll scour the location with your EMF meter, radio, UV light, Ouija board, voodoo doll, and more to collect evidence and fill in the blanks. Gathering evidence in Ghost Watchers is a bit complicated as the ghost isn’t bound to one room and some tools, like the particle counter, require you to stay near the ghost while it calculates data. With the ghost constantly on the move and obnoxiously capable of dragging you to different parts of the house without warning, things can get a little dicey very quickly.
I only played the game’s single-player, which is identical to the multiplayer (just lonelier), and can say that gathering every bit of evidence on your own can be a nightmare. During one hunt at the police station, I followed a gas mask-wearing ghost child around for far too long just to catch a footprint with the UV light. You may be able to get away with not gathering every bit of evidence once you’re more familiar with the game and ghost patterns, but you’re always going to be gambling using the wrong protection device and not having the proper steps to capture the spirit.
There’s no room for error in Ghost Watchers, especially if you’re not a fan of jump scares and random noise spikes. Whereas Phasmophobia was a little more subtle with its scares, Ghost Watchers is not shy. Renderise falls just short of Phasmo’s atmosphere, and instead relies more on jump scares and an overly present ghost to keep players on edge. You’re going to see more of the apparition as it roams the house, occasionally materializing to give a quick fright. It’s definitely eerie watching the ghost float around, but you almost get used to its presence after a while. Of course, it helps that there’s a sound cue every time it materializes.
Ghost Watchers changes up the hunting mechanic a bit, swapping out the game of hide ‘n seek from Phasmo for something a little more perilous. If you’re caught inside when the hunt ends, unless you’re carrying the right protective item or have salt or a bomb, the ghost is going to pop up onto your screen and kill you. Again, this is startling the first two times it happens, but it’s bound to happen so frequently that it loses its impact. While in Phasmophobia you’re never really guaranteed to see the ghost, Ghost Watchers goes out of its way to make sure the creepy models of each haunt type don’t go to waste.
Still in early access, there is plenty of room for Ghost Watchers to grow, and some indications in the Training area suggest more ghosts are planned. For now, though, it’s a fun twist on a familiar formula with the potential to be something truly terrifying and challenging. As it stands, it’s easy to get accustomed to the ghost’s attacks, and the bevy of protective items minimizes the threat. In the many games I played, the one time I died was because of a game glitch, and after the first two games, I never felt like I was in any real danger.
Ghost Watchers shows promise of being the game that surpasses Phasmophobia in every way. But as it stands, it’s definitely a somewhat unique take on the genre that fans of Phasmo should give a try.
I grew up during the rise of PC gaming in the 90s and stuck with it well into adulthood. So, it’s safe to say I have nearly 30 years of “office chair” experience. I can also confidently say in those two-plus decades, the ratio of comfortable to uncomfortable chairs has been wildly misproportioned. Maybe it’s been my body, as a slightly bulky individual with terrible posture, but every chair I’ve owned, be it luxury plush leather or lower-end gaming, has left me living off heat packs and the dream of something better. Then I was offered the opportunity to explore a brand I’d been eyeing up for a while but hadn’t pulled the trigger on yet.
EwinRacing gaming chairs have long been on my radar, but the last time I replaced my most recent disaster-on-wheels, I opted for a budget-friendly option – a green MUZII gaming chair. It served its purpose for a short spell, but wear and tear were evident within the first six months and discomfort didn’t take long to set in. Before I even sat in the Ewin Champion Series gaming chair, which sports a vibrant lime green I tend to gravitate toward, I could see the difference between the two.
Right out of the box, EwinRacing’s Champion Series chair already looks like a beast. Everything was packed with the product in mind, and nothing was missing or damaged. The chair is so easy to put together that I’d say it took about the same time to unpack that it did to finish. You don’t have to fish for screws as they’re already where they’re needed to secure each durable piece. Sure, it seems strange to have to completely undo a screw just to put it back seconds later, but I appreciated not having to dig for hardware.
EwinRacing’s build is drastically better than any chair I’ve owned, with a metal five-star wheelbase and metal frame, durable polyurethane casters (sporting a matching green wheel center), and “high density separated foaming” throughout the backrest, seat, and included pillows. When set next to the MUZII, the heavy-duty gaming chair was noticeably bulkier with what must be at least double the padding. This leads to a slighter higher seat and broader backing, which posed a minor problem when it came to adjusting at my desk. However, it wasn’t the chair that was the issue. It was the terrible posture I had grown accustomed to. Set at the right angle – and you have between 85 to 155 degrees to choose from – the EwinRacing chair promotes better alignment and has me sitting upright rather than slouching. My chair sits at a straight 90 degrees, and it has done wonders for any lower back pain I’d been having recently.
The Champion Series chair features multiple points of adjustment, some you’ll find on most chairs. The back angle and height adjustment are smooth and function well, allowing you to customize your comfort on the fly. There’s also a standard tilt lock that keeps you from leaning back and falling asleep – which you’re bound to do. What I didn’t expect were the 4D armrests. Sure, the surprisingly soft but firm rests can be raised or lowered as needed, but they can also be extended forward and shifted outward to best fit most body types. It sounds like a small addition, but when you spend hours in a chair, you’ll come to appreciate those little touches.
One point of contention I’ve been having – and really the only so far – has been the headrest pillow. It’s not positioned properly. Okay, maybe I’d also put a little extra padding in the lumbar support pillow, but it at least lands where it’s supposed to. The headrest is pretty low, and with the chair’s design, there’s no good way to prop it up. At 5’10”, the pillow comes up to the middle of my neck. And it’s too recessed back to really provide any neck support.
With the luck I’ve had with chairs, I really expected to have way more to say about how EwinRacing could improve its Champion Series heavy-duty gaming chair, but this is one of the best green gaming chairs I’ve used. There’s plenty of support, I’m not lacking in lounging angles, my arms are always resting comfortably, my back is well supported, and the overall look and build are well above what I’m used to.
Want to jump into a Champion Series chair or any of EwinRacing’s line of comfortable gaming chairs? Do so with 20% off using code “HauntedPixel.”
This morning marked the start of Summer Game Fest ‘22, a now-annual event where AAA and indie developers showcase their latest and greatest reveals, trailers, and announcements. For players, there is no shortage of thrilling news to come out of Summer Game Fest, but this year, horror gamers may have been the real winners.
Coming off the heels of an already exciting few weeks that gave us release dates for The Callisto Protocol, the Resident Evil 4 remake, and the Dead Space remake, Summer Game Fest kicked things off with several selections sure to make any horror fan giddy.
We have the full breakdown of the show’s foray into horror, including a deeper look at some known titles and a few notable reveals.
Aliens: Dark Descent
Summer Game Fest kicked off with quite the surprise – a new Aliens game from Tindalos Interactive, the studio behind Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. Dark Descent is a squad-based single-player strategic adventure that sends Colonial Marines to the Moon Lethe to combat a xenomorphic threat.
Players will control their squad and combat aliens and humans alike, changing their approach based on the scenario. Beef your squad with unique classes, level up marines to make them more formidable soldiers, and equip them with the latest in anti-xenomorph weaponry.
Dark Descent already looks like a unique Aliens experience, swapping out the frantic first-person firefight for something a little slower-paced, meticulous, and strategic. There’s no set released date yet, but Tindalos is aiming for a 2023 launch on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
The Callisto Protocol
We’ve been watching for progress on The Callisto Protocol since that brutally gruesome trailer dropped at the 2020 Game Awards. In the past week, we were treated to a better look at the title, with a trailer at Sony’s State of Play that showcased characters, monsters, and environments.During Summer Game Fest, we finally got a good look at gameplay with a brief snippet of Josh Duhamel as protagonist Jacob Lee.
Let’s just get out of the way that, yes, it does look a lot like Dead Space. That’s because the creator of Visceral’s space body horror title, Glen Schofield, is spearheading Callisto with some of Dead Space’s original team. This is clearly the sequel or remake that Schofield and company never had the chance to work on, thanks to Visceral’s closure after Dead Space 3.
The gameplay video gives us a glimpse of Jacob’s arsenal, which includes a punchy space pistol and the ability to grab and toss enemies with what appears to be a special glove. The Callisto Protocol will also feature melee combat, a dodge mechanic, and environmental kills. Because Schofield and company are a little twisted, there will also be many creative and grizzly ways for Jacob to die.
The Callisto Protocol is slated for a December 2, 2022, release date.
The Last of Us Part I
Rumors of a The Last of Us remake were confirmed technically before Summer Game Fest started, thanks to a PlayStation Direct. Dubbed The Last of Us Part I, the remake is being built from the ground up, utilizing modern gameplay and controls for an accessible experience that hopes to bridge the gap between the die-hard fans and gamers that couldn’t get quite get into it.
Releasing on the PS5 and PC, this is more than just a remaster. While it is looking primarily like a scene-for-scene remake, likely with the Left Behind DLC integrated into the core narrative, Part I is mechanically and visually a whole new game.
The Last of Us Part I is launching on September 2, 2022, and will retail for a painful $69.99. On the one hand, we understand the improved fidelity will be worth full retail price. On the other, if you’ve played the original, the remaster, or both, another $70 is a steep ask for a thematically identical experience.
The Last of Us Multiplayer
There really isn’t much to say about The Last of Us’ mysterious multiplayer mode, save that Neil Druckmann noted it will be quite large and have its own built-in story. Does that mean the whole concept of Factions, the popular multiplayer mode attached to the first game, is scrapped? We’re thinking not. If anything, all of the behind-the-scenes rewards and punishments of survivors joining your faction or leaving will happen in real-time.
While we didn’t get much of anything, we did get this concept art, suggesting the scope and scale of the finished product.
Indie studio Fallen Leaf is pulling no punches when it comes to its sci-fi horror title, Fort Solis. How do we know? Because it spent quite a bit on securing award-winning voice actors, Troy Baker (The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite, Arkham Origins) and Roger Clark (Red Dead Redemption 2, Bac 4 Blood).
Fort Solis follows medical officer Wyatt Taylor (Baker) and maintenance engineer Jack Leary (Clark), two workers at the Martian mining post who quite frequently butt heads. Of course, as things start to go wrong, the two either need to overcome their differences or succumb to the dangers plaguing the facility.
Baker and Clark took the stage during Summer Game Fest and provided some insight into Fort Solis, which is being developed on Unreal Engine 5 (UE5). Baker described the game as a “tight thriller,” so players should expect a slow-burn horror experience with a deep and engaging narrative.
Fallen Leaf provided no release date for Fort Solis but did confirm a Steam release when it does launch.
Layers of Fears
Layers of Fear was one of those psychedelic horror thrillers that either sucked you in completely or bored you to tears. Its sequel, Layers of Fear 2, was pretty much the same. So, we expect that Layers of Fears will cater to the same crowd as, according to developer Bloober Team, it’s being built on the “foundations of Layers of Fear, Layers of Fear: Inheritance, and Layers of Fear 2.”
Don’t get it twisted, though. Layers of Fears is its own game, featuring an all-new narrative and improved visuals thanks to UE5. The game keeps with the first-person view and continues to focus on themes of artistic obsession. How it will differ much from other entries is still mostly unknown, especially since Bloober is hinting that the game will serve as a sort of remastered collection while delivering something new.
“Our plan was to recreate the games, but we didn’t want to make it a simple collection of two remastered games,” Bloober CEO Piotr Babieno explained in a press release. What that means, we’re still waiting to find out. Unfortunately, it may be a while until more layers are pulled off this spooky digital enigma.
Currently, there is no release date for Layers of Fears.
First announced back in November 2012, Routine was expected to land on Steam in spring 2013. Whatever happened, we’re glad to see that Lunar Software didn’t give up on its sci-fi horror. Quite the opposite, actually, as the team rebuilt it from the ground up.
Players are sent to a Lunar base where, you guessed it, everything goes awry. The aesthetics are very Alien as the game takes on the appearance of the future a la the 1980s, but it lends to the eeriness of the entire experience.
The trailer below doesn’t give away much, but we know there’s going to be a lot of running, hiding, and hacking. Routine still doesn’t have a release date but is scheduled for launch on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.