Phasmophobia’s beta branch is still the scariest way to play

It’s Friday evening here, which means it’s almost time to shuffle off the clock and pack up my ghost hunting gear. That’s right, the resident Phasmophobia-liker is here to tell you what’s new and why you should be playing the early access ghost hunting sim’s even earlier access version. I now have nearly 50 hours clocked on Phasmophobia and its beta branch can still scare me to tears.

Phasmophobia has been getting pretty regular updates since it launched last September, from the addition of the prison map to smarter ghost AI and other improvements. But the real action is on the game’s beta branch where changes and bug fixes come in almost daily.

Already this week, there have been four beta branch updates with changes such as “The ghost will now leave fingerprint evidence when opening doors in a hunt” and “alive players will now lose 15 sanity each time a player dies”. Ghosts get more clever more quickly than I can keep up.

For instance, sometime in January ghosts got better at tracking you down while they’re hunting (that scary phase where your flashlight blinks and the ghost might actually kill you). At the time, I did notice that they gave chase longer, but I managed to overlook the change where they’d begin opening closet doors to find you.

Here is me encountering that ability for the first time (a month later) earlier this week.

I’m pretty sure you can tell I’m panicking even without the sound, but if you appreciate tearful Phasmo encounters, here’s that version.

Phasmophobia’s ghosts have always been capable of surprising me with their finicky and often janky AI. On the beta branch, that effect is compounded by the routine incremental changes that add up to constant surprises. I play Phasmophobia about twice a week and generally keep an eye on the Discord server for patch notes, but I still get tripped up on occasion.

Someday, Phasmophobia will likely get a full release. Its systems will be better understood. Wikis may be maintained. It won’t update as frequently because no developer could or should keep up the pace at which it currently evolves. That’s what makes its current state of constant flux such a treat. If you have the nerve for it, you should definitely be playing Phasmophobia’s beta branch where there’s new horror in every update.

Phasmophobia is still in early access over on Steam and was one of RPS’s favorite games of 2020.

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