Is Visage the Scariest Video Game of All Time? (Possible Spoilers)


Lyla Boretz, Reporter

Often called the spiritual successor of P.T., Visage is a first-person survival horror game that’s currently being developed by SadSquare Studio. It’s coming out in February of 2019, and while the full version might not be available yet, players can get early access on Steam for about $25.

Visage is set in an old house with a nasty history that’s up to the protagonist, Dwayne, to slowly uncover. As he explores the house, he relives each death that happened in the house first hand. These sudden visions are known as the “visage,” and every single visage brings Dwayne closer to the truth. The only problem? Someone, or something, doesn’t want that happening.

The beginning of the game is a gruesome prologue that shows an unnamed family in the process of a murder-suicide. The first-person point of view is presumed to belong to the father, not Dwayne, so it’s possible that this is a visage. After the final death, the screen goes black and “Visage” flashes across the screen in bold silver letters before fading away. Dwayne wakes up in a puddle of dark liquid and limps out the door, which slams shut behind him. This is where the player gains control.

If they go straight, the phone on the wall opens a voicemail from the neighbor, Rose. This is how the player learns the protagonist’s name. Rose reveals that Dwayne hasn’t “left the house in three weeks” and asks if everything is okay. After the phone hangs up, the player can explore the house, minus a few doors that need a key.

As the game progresses, more and more abnormal things start to happen. Every time the character is put in a stressful situation, like seeing paranormal activity, their sanity, indicated by a black and white brain on the bottom left of the screen, goes down. If their sanity reaches zero, they die. To prevent this, the player must take pills scattered around the house. Different pills have different effects, like anxiety medication and “anti-stress”. Staying in brightly lit places or using a candle while exploring also keeps sanity in place.

Sanity also affects the amount of paranormal activity, since ghosts and demons feed off negative energy like fear. As Dwayne’s sanity goes down, more and more entities appear. If a demon attacks him, he dies. Pretty original, right?

For the most part, no. Visage is just a mutant baby of P.T., Amnesia, and Allison Road. However, the elements incorporated into Visage are the most successful ones. It’s an effective use of inspiration.

Something I really loved about Visage was the music and graphics; they obviously had a lot of work and effort put into them. The way the music subtly played in the back, just loud enough to make the player uncomfortable was amazing. Also, It would flare up a few seconds before the scare instead of right before, leaving the player with a false sense of relief until they proceeded to come face to face with a terrifying ghoul in the closet. The graphics were pristine, almost realistic. They used real portraits for the pictures standing on tables and dressers. Again, a subtle touch that’s enough to invoke discomfort.

Speaking of subtle, the plot is minimal and allows for a lot of freedom. While other people like story-heavy games, I personally prefer having a more unique playing experience. It is what SadSquare claims to give, after all.

Another thing I liked was the progression of the game. As the player’s sanity inevitably decreases, the scares go from light bulbs shattering to full on ghosts in the hallway. It builds up tension and overall makes the game scarier to play.

I think my only complaint would be fact that the player is completely defenseless. I know that it’s survival-horror and weapons really take away from the feeling of not being in control but even Amnesia allows the player to throw items and distract monsters. Also, small household items like screwdrivers or kitchen knives would give the game a more realistic feel and add more excitement.

In conclusion, Visage is an amazing game that toys with your emotions and sends adrenaline running through your veins. Over-the-top graphics with a fear-invoking soundtrack combine to make, you guessed it, the scariest video game of all time.

At least when it finally comes out.