Phasmophobia Is Taking Horror To New Levels With Party-Play And Voice Recognition

Phasmophobia Is Taking Horror To New Levels With Party-Play And Voice Recognition
Credit: vrgamecritic via YouTube

October is good for a few things: pumpkin-spiced ribs, enjoying coffee on the porch, watching the leaves slowly change from green to orange, and scaring yourself to the point that you develop a deeply-rooted trauma that fundamentally alters your personality until you get the sweet release of death.

We’re most interested in the last thing: horror games typically enjoy a big resurgence during the spooky month of October, and if you’re the type that watches Twitch regularly than you’ve likely stumbled across a newly-minted gem that is still in Early Access called Phasmophobia.

Phasmophobia tasks players in parties up to four members to go into specific areas and hunt ghosts. You can do so with a VR system or with a standard PC, but your microphone is necessary as is muting Discord.

In Phasmophobia, the game listens to your speech on communications, whether in proximity chat (only audible by those around you) of radio chat, which comes with a sharp buzz and crackle. Communicating to make it out of the haunts is imperative, sending information about what you’ve found regarding the haunting spirit is necessary as players will need to select found evidence to determine what type of spirit is doing the haunting.

Incite the spirit too much, and they’ll begin haunting the party and murdering them, closing doors to trap members while scaring the heck out of everyone with audio cues and flickering lights.

They also listen to your speech: you can ask the spirit questions and request that you show them a sign of their presence; stating to your team members that you’re scared, however, or that everyone should run, will ramp up the horrors further as the game uses those contextual clues to know when players are starting to get a bit shaky.

It’s a brilliant idea that is currently, very noticeably, in the Early Access program. Once you’ve found three clues of how the spirit interacts, you mark it in a journal and simply leave the area with the remaining members of the party, leaving much to be desired in terms of any concluding climax.

It’s typical to leave an area without having a fleshed-out experience, feeling more that you’ve wandered around aimlessly for the past 30 minutes than actually interacting with an intelligent AI that just wants to horrify you.

There are also times when everything happens to work together and you become horrified: your radio ceases to function, you’re too far from your friends, and your flashlight begins flickering which lets you know that the spirit is eager to have you join them in their sorrows while thuds begin echoing frighteningly close to your hiding spot.

If you’re looking for a new experience within the realms of horror, and don’t mind a few bugs that could make you rip your hair out, you could do far worse than Phasmophobia for your October spooks with some friends. Just don’t forget the crucifix.