The premise of Phasmophobia, the debut horror game from Kinetic Games, is simple – we become a ghost hunter (sort of like Ed and Lorraine Warren), whose task is to investigate haunted places, locate the bogeys hiding in them and assess what type of supernatural entities are we dealing with, based on the evidence collected during an investigation. This game isn't about catching ghosts like in Ghostbusters, though – you just have to identify the threat and then... make it out alive. So it seems this game is quite original, unlike anything else we've played. And that's just the beginning.
One of the main goals of evaluating every haunted place, a job you can select from the menu of available missions (there are a few of them so far), is to determine what entity dwells in a given location. To do that, you need to get three pieces of evidence of the existence of the paranormal being. How to collect them? By exploring the haunted locations, of course. At our disposal there's typical hardware of any ghost hunter – magnetic field detectors, thermometers, motion and infrared sensors, and a ton of other things that you will irreversibly lose if you die.
Each combination of evidence is characteristic of different types of creatures, and there are as many as twelve types of them in the game at the moment – from poltergeists (they can be identified with radio wavelengths enabling making contact with the afterlife, prints, and the so-called ghost orbs visible via night vision), to predatory demons (apart from radio contact they also leave a mark in a special notebook – e.g. writing "die, die, die" or "run" – and significantly lower the temperature). First, however, you should – using the above-mentioned gadgets – locate the favorite spot of the given entity (sometimes it's a room, sometimes a corridor, sometimes a basement, each time selected randomly), and then make it reveal itself. And here, we come to the most interesting thing about this production, which is the use of a microphone.
That's right. The microphone is a very important tool, pretty much mandatory in Phasmophobia, used for communicating with the ghosts. On paper, this sounds abstract, but as we move between different rooms, we can summon the ghost by uttering its name in voice chat, or encouraging it increase activity with ready voice commands such as "give us a sign.".
Sometimes, nothing happens – especially when we ask about the wrong thing or do it in the wrong room – and sometimes, virtual Paranormal Activity blows up in your face, doors and cabinets slam open, objects start whizzing by, and the light starts to blink frantically (or just goes out – depending on the spirit's whim). These situations can give you a heart attack – especially when you sneak into an abandoned place and summon a ghost to suddenly hear footsteps next to you... despite your team mate sitting at the back, in a van (which is a base of operations of sorts, allowing you to monitor the cameras set around, for example).
That's right. It's a game that will give the creeps even to the most seasoned horror players – as long as they observe the game's recommendations in terms of the number of people in a given location. On maps for two ghost hunters, you can still play a four-person game, but people tend to crack up in those games, making it amusing, but not very creepy. However, if we observe the suggested limit, the immersion becomes much cleared, similarly to playing on larger maps (including an abandoned high school) in a team four, when, willy-nilly, you have to split...