Phasmophobia is far from the same game you played in 2020, and now is the perfect time to get back into it

 Phasmophobia character posing for camera
Phasmophobia character posing for camera

For the past few weeks, I've been playing Phasmophobia with my pals almost every single night. No no, don't panic, you haven't somehow time-travelled three years back to 2020. It really is 2023, and I'm totally in love with Kinetic Games' indie ghosthunting hit once more.

It's not the same game you played back in 2020, or even a year ago. August update 'Ascension' has given the game a huge progression overhaul, resetting everybody's levels and mixing up how equipment works. Each tool has three tiers now, and the lower level stuff is pretty crap. Getting access to the good stuff requires levelling up and investing a significant amount of money into upgrading which, if you're anything like my ghostbusting crew, is gonna take a while if you keep dying and guessing the wrong ghost. Thankfully, this has only made my ghost-hunting misadventures more terrifying.

Spooky scary spirits

The last time I played Phasmophobia was in February 2022, and I'd gotten the formula down pretty well by that point. The game was still fun, but figuring out which ghost I was dealing with had become a trivial task across most levels.

The last few weeks, however? Hoo, boy. Repeatedly screaming "How old are you?!" down a rickety old spirit box, or invading my monitor's personal space as I squint to see if my cheap-ass thermometer is reading at 1 degree or -1 degree. I am a ghost investigating noob once more, karting bloodthirsty spirits around coffee tables while I frantically try to decipher their behaviour before I meet my untimely demise. Am I dying a lot? Yes, but am I having fun? So much.

Someone stuck in the wall in Phasmophobia.
Someone stuck in the wall in Phasmophobia.

It's not the only cool update I missed out on, either. I've been introduced to my new favourite cursed object: the humble monkey paw. I play with a pack of absolute goblin friends, so of course the second we found the paw it was game over for all of us.

It's exactly what you think it is—call out a particular wish and it'll come true, but at a cost. Want to learn a bit of knowledge about the ghost? Cool! But now everyone is muffled and you can barely see in front of you, sorry. One of your crew died? Just wish for them to be revived… and hope you survive the 50% chance to die yourself.

Phasmophobia has always been an absolute blast, but now it feels fun in a more challenging way. Kinetic Games has done a lot in the last three years. Ghosts are way smarter with how they hunt now, checking hiding spots you've previously run off to—even if you can still kind of cheese them out by looping them around furniture. All equipment feels considerably more viable, too, like using salt to try and get UV footprints if a ghost is a tad hesitant to go putting their fingerprints all over the place. The DOTS projector also received a nice overhaul in the Ascension update, making it more consistent and interactive.

It's the most I've enjoyed gaming with my pals in a hot minute, and I forgot how ripe for shenanigans Phasmophobia truly is. Playing voodoo doll roulette instead of doing any actual hunting, playing marco polo with the oujia board, trying to instigate by insulting the ghost, initiating an event and getting a friend killed because of it. It's still the same goofy game at heart, and I'm so happy that never changed.

If you've been stuck for something to do with your friend in Discord lately, maybe try reinstalling Phasmophobia and giving it another go. It's even more worth its cheap price tag than it was back in 2020. Besides, it's Halloween soon. 'Tis the season.