Both of these games have quite a few things in common, with scares, co-op, and humorous happenings being what punctuates moment to moment gameplay. However, one must rule above the other, so let us discuss Lethal Company vs Phasmophobia: which is better?
Before we continue, let’s break down each game so we can better understand how one could be better than the other.
Phasmophobia, released in September 2020, is a game where you role play as a ghost hunter. This experience goes fairly deep into what a ghost hunter may experience out in the field. Aside from whether or not ghosts are real, Phasmophobia has crafted a game that feels very immersive and is suitably slow to match. The environmental tension this game conveys matches the spooky factor when the ghost becomes more active.
But you aren’t a completely defenseless hunter of spirits, no, you have dozens of different advanced tools to help detect where and what the ghost is. Because that’s the game, finding out what the ghost is for the customer who owns the place you and your friends are slowly trudging through. Completing each map’s objectives levels you up and earns you more money. Thus, allowing you to take on harder versions of each map where the ghost is active sooner and more aggressive. Phasmo has some legs and replayability in that regard.
Games are always more fun with friends and Phasmo isn’t any different! Especially when you and your buds decide to hop into this well-reviewed thriller while in VR thanks to its native VR support.
Lethal Company is an entirely different beast altogether while also being much newer as a release. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and that can be gleamed from the very stylized and somewhat simplistic art style and graphics. Additionally, the entire loop of the game revolves around being a very replaceable worker exploring abandoned moon facilities while trying to make enough profits to keep corporate from forcefully ejecting you into space.
While the facilities you and your friends will visit don’t have ghosts, there are still plenty of deadly creatures that make themselves known the more time you spend hunting for junk to sell. Additionally, one could argue that Lethal Company has a higher focus on co-op play with how difficult the game can be when going in alone. If you let your guard done even once, a monster can easily one-shot you.
Finally, if you fail to meet the profit quota required of you then the run is over, and the only persistence between runs are potential cosmetic items you can buy with profit left over after buying zap guns, flashlights, and teleporters.
Now let’s compare each game against each other through multiple categories!
In terms of sheer horror, both games successfully reach that peak of fright where you will do anything to run back to the safety of your truck/ship to rid yourself the fear of the unknown that will jump out at you. That said, eventually both games lose some of that scare factor once the mechanics become more familiar and predictable. Whether or not that’s good is up to you, but Lethal Company with its goofy visuals tends to become far less scary over time.
The winner here in terms of consistent creepiness certainly goes to Phasmophobia with its creepy audio and spooky ghosts.
When it comes to visuals, Phasmophobia wins with the lighting and texture work that went into making most areas in the game fairly photo realistic. Meanwhile, Lethal Company wins hands down in the style department with its unique blend of cell shading and low poly environmental design. With that said, Lethal Company can be surprisingly immersive as the last person alive slowly hauling the last bit of scrap needed back to the ship.
It’s really close, but Lethal Company wins due to its unique visuals and equally dreadful atmosphere.
Now, while both games have elements of randomness, Lethal Company has the most random elements. This is because the houses in Phasmophobia aren’t randomized nearly as much as Lethal Company’s abandoned facilities and mansions. The inside is laid out different every time with multiple levels, multiple random locked and open doors, and multiple monster spawns. You never know what you’re going to run into for sure and that keeps things fresh longer.
Lethal Company wins this one since the facility insides and monsters can be quite unpredictable.
Then there’s the progression, where Phasmophobia wins out with its long-term goals, and post-match leveling. Even if your entire team dies during a haunting, you still get to keep all the gear you’ve bought over the entirety of your time ghost hunting. Meanwhile, Lethal Company’s cosmetic items are the only thing that survives being jettisoned in space. The game just doesn’t stand up to Phasmophobia’s three years of content and item development for players to progress through.
Next is the co-op and fun aspect of each game, categories where both games excel but only one triumphs. And that one goes to Lethal Company.
Because there are more ways to actually co-op in Lethal Company. Sure, both games allow people to hang out in the truck/ship and monitor what those are doing inside. However, only Lethal Company allows those in the ship to actively help people actively on the inside. They can do this by unlocking doors and disabling traps by observing codes seen on monitor and typing them into the Terminal.
Winner: Lethal Company
Combine that level of co-op with the game’s humor around these elements and the fast-paced nature of the gameplay and looting and you have a co-op game that tends to be more fun, more often—and even more fun to watch while you’re dead. And with the scare factor being reduced more in Lethal Company, the hilarious elements are given room to shine for more players more often.
Ultimately, I feel the win belongs to Lethal Company by a small margin. It’s done so much in all the right ways at launch as a co-op game that it’s crazy to imagine all the ways to die hilariously if given the same development time Phasmophobia has been given.