Early access game releases are hit and miss. Often studios would use the early access phase as free quality assurance, counting on players to find bugs and identify gameplay flaws. Not all games opt for early access, but some games who do manage to benefit in a big way from the exposure and feedback. The Forest is a game that comes to mind for this, and now the highly anticipated Baldur’s Gate 3 is available for early access as well, and generating lots of buzz through it.
For players, the big question is always, is it worth it to pay for early access, or should you rather wait for the full release? We’ll help you navigate the pros and cons to figure out if Phasmophobia is worth playing in early access.
Phasmophobia is an extremely unique game, early access or not. There isn’t a fully fleshed out experience like Phasmophobia aside from a few games that are either smaller in scale, or also in the early access stage. Ghost hunting isn’t the easiest premise to succeed with, and there aren’t a lot of major hits aside from Luigi’s Mansion and Fatal Frame.
That said, Phasmophobia nails it. If ghosts, jump scares, and garbage mid-2000’s ghost hunting shows are your thing, Phasmophobia is definitely a game you should play.
Even in early access form, Phasmophobia really hits all the different aspects of the genre it needs to hit. It’s constantly tense, the ghosts have their own strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, and the character models are creepy beyond belief. The only time players feel safe is during the setup timer stage, and hiding in the truck.
While hunts lose some of their tensions after half a dozen games, it’s still a jolt of adrenaline knowing that you have to go hide, turn off your flashlight, and to shut your mouth in voice chat. You feel immersed in the game, and the need to hide feels more urgent than it has any right to in a game.
It’s tough to fault a game for putting itself out there, but there are obviously risks involved in releasing a game that is not yet fully finished – and lacks the online infrastructure to support a massive playerbase right off the bat. To the credit of Kinetic Games, they were only anticipating 500-player servers, max. The fanfare and success wasn’t anything they could’ve predicted. In reaction to the success of Phasmophobia‘s early access, the developers are adding extra staff to tackle the game’s many bugs.
As far as feeling like a natural and fluid game, Phasmophobia lacks a certain grace. The players glide rather than feel like they’re walking. Character models are a little too flexible, and items aren’t always the most forgiving to place. Putting a camera on a tripod needs a tutorial on its own. It’s not difficult to imagine the studio fixing these little annoyances, but it’ll take some time. Which is I guess why we are in early access.
Is Phasmophobia worth buying in early access?
The short answer is: yes. Phasmophobia offers a very unique and decently executed take on the ghost hunter horror niche, and is a great game to queue up in with friends. It’s worth the modest price. The game oozes potential, and has a very welcoming community Discord which encourages player feedback.
If ghost hunting is your thing, Phasmophobia is a blast. And if it isn’t, you still might have some great times with it.