Review: Is Phasmophobia a Good Horror Game in 2023?
Last Updated on January 26, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
I love games that can get my heart pounding and goosebumps popping. And thanks to my teenagers, I was introduced to Phasmophobia. But how good of a horror game is it and should you buy it from Steam?
I normally don’t review games that are in Early Access. I prefer to wait until they are generally complete. However, this game warrants a special look.
Unfortunately, that just means I’ll have to come back to this post often to update and rewrite any changes.
Hence why I don’t usually review Early Access titles.
What is Phasmophobia on Steam?
So, Phasmophobia is actually the fear of ghosts. But as a game, it’s pitting your wits against a variety of haunts to determine which is infesting the location.
If you’re not quick, though, the haunt will take you to the afterlife.
You’re armed with a wide assortment of tools to discover what kind of a haunt you’re currently investigating. And there are more than just the traditional poltergeists you’re facing against.
You could also be pitted against a variety of demons and other mystical creatures.
Whether you’re going in solo or have a team of paranormal investigators at your disposal, it’s a game that will challenge your mental fortitude and courage.
I know it scares the piss out of me on a regular basis.
What Can You Expect from Phasmophobia (currently)?
As I said, I don’t normally review games that are Early Access. That’s because the developers can change so much according to how it plays and performs on various computer and console platforms.
However, it’s one of my favorites and I wanted to get as many people aware of this fright-fest as possible. Besides, the more interest a title has, the more likely developers will continue working on a finished product.
So, what can you currently expect from Phasmophobia?
For starters, it’s a great multiplayer game for Steam friends. Using your in-game radios adds a whole new layer of play and fear because of the surrounding environment. I’ll explain that in a moment.
At any rate, you can investigate locations on your own or have up to four players in a single session. It’s a great game to get a few friends together late on a Halloween night.
In fact, my oldest son and I tangled with spirits, demons, and ghosts on Halloween of 2021.
Lots of Tools to Choose From
When you pass missions, you’re awarded in-game cash that you can use to buy more equipment. So, the more you play, the more you can add to your arsenal.
Flashlights, cameras, trap cams, EMF detectors, candles, smudge sticks, and more are available to identify the haunt or to combat it directly…if possible.
Personally, I enjoy setting up video cameras and trap cams. Then, I’ll often take it easy in the van while monitoring the feeds for activity.
Hey, it’s not easy sitting in the van safe and sound while your team puts themselves at risk.
Expanding Locations to Investigate
In the beginning, there weren’t a lot of different locales to investigate. Although, the randomness factor made it a different adventure every time we played.
However, the list of locations is expanded quite a bit thanks to the efforts of the developer.
I like the cabin and the asylum maps, myself. And the school is massive, should you decide to go for a gameplay session that could last a couple of hours.
Not Easily Predictable
I would have thought Phasmophobia would have been more predictable with the haunts, especially in the beginning when there weren’t very many locations.
However, the game surprises me every time as situations, rooms, haunts, and experiences differ every time we load it up.
The game already had a capacity for longevity due to its randomized engine. However, the developers keep adding more to the game which takes it even further.
This is one of those games where you can easily chew up a massive amount of time just exploring each location on the list.
Some Sound Issues, But Not Often
Sometimes I’ll have an issue with sound or mic control in-game. This was extremely apparent when using apps like Voice Meeter Banana while streaming. At one point, I spent an hour trying to come up with a combination of settings that worked.
However, I only had that problem once, and Phasmophobia hasn’t given me a sound problem since. Though, I did stop using Voice Meeter as I now have an Elgato Wave 3, which gives me separate channels for voice chat.
Though, I often have to adjust my volume when in multiplayer because it is simply too loud. I’m not sure if that’s something in my own settings or a problem with the game. I’m fairly sure it’s my settings.
Something else I need to point out is sometimes chat doesn’t work in the lobby. Of course, it’s been a while since this has happened and the developer may have fixed this issue.
Gets the Heart Racing
The entire purpose of my buying the game was to have something that I can react to on camera. What better method to drive some interest in viewership than watching me pee myself.
Phasmophobia is one of the few games I have that gets the adrenaline pumping and the heart racing. The sound quality while investigating the house is simply amazing, and the effects really tap into the fear of the unknown.
It’s unnerving when you hear footsteps pounding the floor behind you as a demon rushes your location. Or, perhaps you’re standing in one spot monitoring the temperature when something whispers in your ear.
Yeah, it sends chills down my spine every time.
The Haunts Can Hear You
The reason why you don’t want to rely on something like Discord when playing Phasmophobia is because of the in-game voice recognition. In that, I mean that the haunts can “hear” when you’re talking to each other.
In fact, during the Halloween stream, I couldn’t move because the demon wouldn’t leave me alone while I was hiding. Come to find out, it’s because I was active on my radio.
It creates a sense of realism to the gameplay and greatly amplifies the fear factor. Especially if you’re trapped in the house by yourself with all of the doors locked so you can’t escape.
Developer Is Constantly Working on Phasmophobia
The biggest reason why I decided to write this review is because the developer shows regular attention to the game. It’s not one of those, “eh, it’s playable, here you go” type of situations.
In reality, Kinetic Games goes to great lengths to add more to the overall experience and continues to produce an amazing title for those interested in horror games.
As I am writing this, there was a recent update a couple of weeks ago to improve the cursed possessions and items addition.
Phasmophobia is VR Ready on Steam
If you want to add another layer of fear to the game, Phasmophobia is available for VR systems. According to the Steam page, it is ready for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.
This also works for the Oculus Quest 2 for those who have the wireless VR headset.
However, we’ve found that some Steam games experience a bit of lag when using the Oculus Quest 2. This has to do with WiFi connection and computer processing power.
If you have a fast wireless connection and a decent computer system, you shouldn’t have much of a problem.
You can also plug the Oculus into your computer directly using a USB cable to play. This would free up the lag you might experience through WiFi connections. However, it will limit your movement unless you have a long cable on hand.
Should You Buy the Early Access Version of the Game?
At the time of this post, Phasmophobia is only $13.99 on the Steam storefront. And for 14 bucks, you get quite an amazingly planned out game. I could easily see this one selling for at least $20.
Usually, I am a bit reserved when it comes to Early Access games, and for good reason. I’ve been burned a few times in the past. But sometimes, there is just a game that strikes all the right chords for what I’m looking for in a title.
I can say unequivocally, Phasmophobia is definitely one such game.
If you have a few extra bucks and love investigating the paranormal, I’d say buy it for yourself and a few of your friends. It’s one of those games you can play for hours without getting bored.
Well, at least that’s how it works for us.
What Game Gives You the Shudders?
While I’m not an adrenaline junkie per se, I do like titles that can easily trigger goosebumps. And there have been a few situations in Phasmophobia when I thought I was going to wet myself.
I am eager to see what Kinetic Games has in store in the future, and I’m looking forward to another Halloween stream!
What is the best horror game you’ve come across on Steam?
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