Phasmophobia is an early access game that went live late last year. You can play alone or team up (which is the way to go) to investigate a haunting. There are 8 different maps and three different difficulty settings. After you pick one, you will be randomly assigned a ghost and investigate.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward but fun. You have various tools such as a spirit box, EMF reader, UV flashlight, etc. You can only carry so much equipment yourself, hence part of the reason it helps have a team. The ghost will typically hang out in one area, which you’ll have to track down then set up.
There are 12 varieties of ghosts, and each one will only interact with certain equipment. For instance, the Spirit will do ghostwriting, leave fingerprints, and will talk with you via the spirit box. Whereas the Banshee will show up on the EMF reader, leave fingerprints as well, and also do freezing temperatures. So there is cross-over with the different types of ghosts, but no type will share all three with another.
While investigating, the ghosts can go into hunt mode. It can be random, or you can trigger this depending on how you interact. There are a few things that can stop a hunt, but mostly you will spend the hunts running and hiding. If a ghost catches you while hunting, you will die.
What really sells this experience is the use of the mic. You speak to your teammates via walkie talkie’s using either local or global audio, but for the ghost, the mic is always hot. This means that when you get scared and run away if you are noisy in your mic, the ghost will use that to find you. It will also react to specific words and phrases, for instance, saying the word “scared” out loud is a big no-no. This adds an extra layer to the game and also really heightens the fear, at least for me. There is nothing quite like having to run and hide but also keep yourself quiet while you do so.
It really is an interesting experience, and frankly, the game is a lot of fun. The fear factor does go down over time, but it’s still delightful with the right group and will manage to shock you every once in a while, even after you adjust.
The lack of maps is a bit disappointing, but it is, after all, still in early access. There is also some fine-tuning needed on a few things. For instance, the Asylum map can be a bit disappointing as it is so large that you can be stuck in it for a while without actually experiencing anything.
I am hard-pressed to recommend early access games. I feel many developers kind of use that status to never have to fully fix things and ride the “early access” thing for far too long. However, in this case, I really do recommend it. The game is fun, has relatively few issues as far as bugs and the like, and is worth supporting. I am excited to see what’s to come and have really enjoyed the experience thus far.
Also, shout out to New Mexico and the New Mexico map, lol.
Note- There is a VR mode, but I have not tried it and have no real plans to, so I do not have thoughts to include on that.