Hide and Shriek is a multiplayer online horror game, in which you face one opponent in the attempts to scare the pants off of them. From the creators of The Secret World and The Park, Funcom has presented another game from the world they have created where every myth and legend has come to life and people fight to keep those secrets hidden. The Secret World has been something I followed from the very early days when it was just a website with a hieroglyphic countdown and followed (Occasionally helping) with the Alternate Reality Games that helped unveil the clues to the world. It is by far my favourite MMO out there and anything set in the world always peaks my interest, so when I got the chance to play as a student from Innsmouth Academy, I was completely ready for it.
When I first looked at Hide and Shriek, I was more interested in the lore than anything else, it is set in The Secret World an MMORPG where every myth and legend has come to life, one of the most prominent aspects is the relations to H.P.Lovecraft and his stories. This is evident in Kingsmouth and the use of Innsmouth Academy (As well as the great Cthulian like creatures that you come across) and in Hide and Shriek you play as a student from said school or as a rival student from Little Springs High. When I first opened the game I was met with beautiful graphics and subtle magical like music, which definitely set the atmosphere for the paranormal. Due to my eagerness and traditional gamer style, I didn’t look at the instructions on how to play and just hoped into a game, with a friend I was currently in an online call with, eager to dish out some scares.
As my opponent knows, I love jump scares and I love to scare people in real life with this tactic, often just standing around doors and jumping out, to watch them get a fright. I’d be giggling for at least five minutes after and this was a great way to be able to do this at long distance. However, I was unprepared and my opponent had taken the time to read the instructions. Once in the game I was astounded by the level of detail, the number of objects that were in the room, I wanted to just wander about and look around, but I had a feeling my opponent wouldn’t give me the chance to do this. It was a shame because as far as I know you can’t just load a custom game and wander around the map for a bit and due to the urgency of the timer, it made it quite difficult to fully appreciate the level of detail going into the map.
It was pretty easy to figure out what I had to collect, as when the game starts it lets you know to scare your opponent by shrieking at them three times in a row to score an instant victory or tricking them to score points, which you can also do by collecting orbs of your colour and taking them to your altar. So it was pretty basic, to trick your opponent you collected runes that are randomly generated for the map you are playing at the time and you get a choice of five different runes on a map, you use these runes to create spells and cast them on the floor, on objects or on the opponent. You can combine the runes to create more complex spells and because of this, it means that every time you play, you will most likely get different spells to cast every game.
Personally, I wasn’t scared when it started it because there were no tension building aspects, I was in a school that was actually well lit and although my opponent was invisible and out to scare me, I was pretty relaxed. Which wasn’t a problem, I hadn’t expected any tension building techniques, I was just here for some cheap but hilarious jump scares and honestly, I was pretty cocky, I wasn’t scared because I didn’t think my opponent would get the jump on me, boy was I wrong. Completely destroying my confidence I was caught in trap after trap, after trap, some would fling me to the other side of the room, others teleporting me to different dimensions and some were skeletons that just popped up to say “Hi”. Then out of nowhere I suddenly had a skull screaming in my face and I had the fright of a lifetime, in the call I can hear my opponent giggling at my horror and I was more determined than ever to find them and scare them back. I could hear the occasional trap that they had set off and I was getting ready to give them a fright, but then again, there it was that same skull. You’d think seeing it again wouldn’t be too bad, nope, I was just as scared the second time it popped up. That was it, I was seeking revenge.
Opting for the more stealthy attack, I bided my time, I knew there was a count down, but I didn’t care. Revenge was in the air and I was going to taste it. In the hall, I saw the alters spawn and I saw the ominous red glow of my opponents alter, just sitting there and an idea crept into my head. Sitting right next to the alter, I knew what I was going to do and I just had to wait. Then there they were, I couldn’t see them, but I could see the little red orb they held, taking it to their alter for points, now I had to line up the shot, I couldn’t miss. I pressed space bar and never has a scare felt so good. I heard their horror at my own shriek and I was content. Sweet, sweet revenge. Then the timer ran out, I had lost of course, but it was so much fun to just wait for that one scare, I wasn’t too bothered about losing.
Once the game was over we both were awarded experience which led to a level up, each level up you unlock more things to customize your shriek, adding flaming eyes or horns or any number of different things to make your shriek stand out, there was even a humours section to have your shriek be either Hillary or Trump. However, be careful when you preview your shriek, that’s my only warning.
Whilst this game was extremely fun to play, I have a feeling it is a novelty item, I don’t think it is something people could sit down and play for hours and hours, in one session and the replay comes from two things. One is the fact that you can gain experience to unlock customizations, which is a drive for some players. Two you play it just for a bit of fun to scare your friends. I haven’t played it without being a call with my opponent as I don’t think it would be much fun, most of the humour and excitement that kept us going was the fact that we could hear the reactions of the opponent. Without the startled screams of getting your revenge, I wouldn’t have found it as pleasing.