Why You Should Try Coming Back to Phasmophobia if You've Been Away for a While

Phasmophobia is a cooperative ghost hunting game from Kinetic Games, where you and three friends stumble around abandoned homes, schools, and asylums in order to identify mysterious ghostly presences. It became a huge hit on Twitch and gained a large following on Steam, topping out at a peak of 112,000 concurrent players during October of 2020. Since then, there has been a large drop-off in its player base, with its concurrent players dropping to around 29,000 last month and trending towards similar numbers for March. So why should you think about coming back to Phasmophobia?

This huge dip in players isn’t entirely unexpected. The game is still in early access, and the amount of content available just wasn’t enough for those who weren’t dedicated ghost hunters to stick around for —I personally put about 30 hours into Phasmophobia and, while I had a blast doing it, was certainly aching for more to do in the game.

Luckily, Kinetic Games have been working hard over the last few months, and there are a number of balance changes and updates that look to make the game feel fresh again.

coming back to phasmophobia item list

Quality of Life Changes

As with many games in alpha, Phasmophobia can be a little janky at times. In fact, it’s part of the game’s charm. Having said that, there are certain things that were less than charming that have now been touched up in recent updates. 

Select Your Difficulty

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you can now actually select the difficulty of each job from the main map. Previously, you were given a random selection to choose from and this could cause issues. Namely, if you were new to the game you could often only get more difficult options and when you had some hours under your belt, you may get stuck doing Intermediate hunts when you wanted to do Professional ones.

No More Button Mashing

For anyone that has played Phasmophobia, they’ll be aware of the joys of spam-clicking the little plus icon next to every item between missions to add it to the team’s equipment list. This got tedious fairly quickly. Luckily, you can now simply add the maximum amount with one click. This was one of the most frustrating aspects of the game, so this change may be the main reason I'll be coming back to Phasmophobia!

Be Gone, Dirty Water

If there was one objective that our group could never be bothered getting when we were heavily into Phasmophobia, it was the photograph of the sink full of dirty water. It appeared randomly during the course of a job, either right at the start, or when the ghost started hunting. Overall, it was a little too luck-based, and the developers have noted that and removed it as an objective. Dirty water will still appear in sinks though, as something to photograph to earn a little extra cash!

Item Balance

Phasmophobia certainly had a few balance issues. Many items were much too good, others were completely useless (I’m looking at you, Parabolic Microphone,) and certain aspects of the game were a pain to deal with. The developers have been taking on a lot of feedback from their player-base and have made some smart changes to help make the game feel a little more balanced.

Thermometer Changes

The Thermometer was always the go-to item if you were serious about trying to find the ghost. Often you were better off taking four Thermometers into a house to find the pesky spirit quickly, rather than bothering with an EMF Reader or some other piece of tech, because the Thermometer detected them much more consistently.

Now the Thermometer will update its temperature more slowly, has more variation in its temperature display, and rooms will start at variable temperatures, making distinguishing between a chilly room and an actual ghost a bit more challenging. On top of that, if the power is off, rooms in the buildings will drop to 5C (41F,) so you’ll have to keep your wits about you when searching around.

Parabolic Microphone Buffs

I made a point to call out the Parabolic Microphone earlier for how useless it was because they have actually made it quite a bit better. Instead of having a piddly 8 metre range, it can now hear sounds up to 30 metres! It can also detect things in a wider area, from 2 metres to 6. The Parabolic Microphone ignores some non-ghost-related sounds that it used to pick up as well, meaning you can be sure you actually heard a spook occurring and not just one of your compatriots stumbling around the darkened school grounds. Personally, I'm coming back to Phasmophobia just to use this item properly for the first time.

Increased Difficulty

Previously, once you understood the mechanics of the game, you could often speed around the house dumping equipment everywhere and making a bunch of noise and the ghost would never attack you. Not only did this make certain hunts a bit dull, but it could also cause problems getting objectives that require the ghost to attack.

With the last few updates, there has been a general increase in difficulty, making coming back to Phasmophobia a more interesting prospect for veteran ghost hunters.

Truly for Professionals

Professional difficulty has seen some specific changes that make it a truly challenging experience. For one, you won’t be told if the ghost responds to everyone, or if you have to be alone to use the Spirit Box. This means you will need to do a lot more trial and error work with the ghost in the beginning, letting them hunt you all the more!

Another big change for Professional difficulty is that the power will always be off when you first arrive at the job. With the ghost hunting you from the very beginning, you are going to have a wild ride trying to get the power back on during certain jobs.

Ghost AI Is Now Spookier

Sometimes, the ghost could be a bit slow, or a bit passive, or get stuck on one staircase and not really move very much at all. With a host of updates to the ghost AI in Phasmophobia though, the ghosts are much scarier.

A major change is that ghosts can now open doors and closets that players are hiding in. If this happens you will be forced to hold the door shut to stop them from killing you. One thing that has been added to Phasmophobia recently is that the ghost will now listen for player voices during a hunt and will head in that direction. Many seemed to think this was already a feature and were silent during hunts regardless, but it actually wasn’t in the game. Now that it is though, you better keep your mouth shut when there’s a demon stomping down the hallway.  

Ghosts have a number of other changes too. They’ll now shift aggression to other players during a hunt, rather than staying focused on just one. They also wander around areas more on every difficulty level and will actually search around in locations where players have been instead of choosing random ones.

Coming back to Phasmophobia is made all the more appealing now that the ghosts are actually scary again, as for a lot of people, getting surprised by the ghosts' actions was the main reason they enjoyed the game in the first place. 

coming back to phasmophobia prison

The Prison

If you haven’t played since the Prison map was added, then you should gather some friends and go ghost hunting as soon as you can. The map is not only a terrifying experience when you first try it out, but it continues to have interesting gameplay. This is mostly down to it being a medium-sized map with a layout that isn’t overly confusing. This puts it on par with the school in terms of difficulty and makes it much more enjoyable than the Asylum, which can often feel a little too large and uniform when trying to make long journeys back to the truck. 

Frankly, the Prison is a good enough reason for coming back to Phasmophobia and give it a shot if you haven't already, but with all of the other features on top of it, there is a good amount of content available now that wasn't a few months ago.

The Developers

Kinetic Games are one of those developers that really care about their game. You get the impression that even if the game hadn't blown up the way it did, they would be working just as hard to create a good player experience. The game's player base has certainly dropped since its impressive peaks in 2020, but the developers haven't lost heart, and neither should their players. The game is still a lot of fun with a group of friends and some of the new changes make it a lot more nuanced and interesting now that there have been some quality of life and balance changes.

If you've been pondering what to play with your gaming crew recently and keep coming up blank, why not try coming back to Phasmophobia? I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

For the full patch notes, head over to the Phasmophobia steam page HERE.

Have you tried coming back to Phasmophobia recently after a long hiatus? How noticeable did you find the changes? Let us know in the comments section or hit us up on Twitter! If you're looking for more articles on indie titles or even AAA ones, go check out our Games section HERE!

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