Horror games are the underappreciated children of the video gaming community. For such a niche genre, only a few hardcore fans only really binge up collecting these types of games on their shelves. Why, you ask? Well, from my understanding people don’t generally like being scared. They’d much rather watch someone else get scared on Youtube instead.
If you’re like me, and you have an appreciation for horror, then why not take a look at some good horror games to play? Halloween is just right around the corner after all. What better way to celebrate the holiday than with some fear?
Full disclosure: I’m not the type to like horror games that rely overly on jumpscares to facilitate horror. Jumpscares, at least to me, are a cheap way to arouse “fear” in someone. And I say “fear” in quotations, because chances are you’re more really startled than scared. Would you really be scared at your own surprise birthday party?
As such, I won’t be listing games here that are too much on the jumpscare scale of horror. If those are more of your thing, it’s best for you to know what kind of list you’re getting into. The entries on this list are my recommendations and in no way do I intend to demean another game by not mentioning it here.
Unfortunately, there’s not really many horror games releasing this October, besides Call of Cthulhu which I’m very much looking forward to. All games listed are ones I’ve personally played.
The Evil Within
So this game received relatively mixed results. Some criticized it for its bad voice acting, terrible story, or characters that we just couldn’t attach ourselves to. And some criticized for being a glitchy mess of a game. Yet, it’s still worth playing.
Personally, The Evil Within–both the first game and its sequel–are my all time favorite horror games of the survival horror genre. Sure, it has its flaws and anyone can definitely notice them but it is still a solid survival horror experience.
True to the survival horror genre, you aren’t some defenseless wimp who can only run and hide as grotesque creatures come after him. But it can often feel like that at times due to the tough nature of your enemies and seemingly low supply of ammunition. The Evil Within 1 & 2 has you scavenging for items and ammo out of desperation for the next encounter. And even then, an abundant supply isn’t always enough to get you through. You will die in this game…a lot.
Right from the get go, you’ll notice that The Evil Within shares many similarities with Resident Evil 4: over-the-shoulder view, grotesque enemies, and combat mechanics that can feel quite similar. The main aspect of horror when it comes to The Evil Within relies on a slow steady buildup, a rising panic, and very limited supplies. If you want to survive in this game, then moving fast is a must. You have to be a quick thinker to decide which enemies to invade and have good decision-making skills so you don’t foolishly waste supplies you could use for later.
If you really are a fan of the survival horror genre like I am, then chances are, you’ve probably already played both games. But it is still worth a mention on this list however, as I do plan on playing it again as October comes to a close.
There are many things I remember about Dead Space. Mostly about how it is unfinished. Visceral Games have sadly been long since disbanded thanks to EA’s serial killing of video game developers. So the thought of having Dead Space 4 is a pipe dream.
Dead Space does have quite a few jumpscares. I know I mentioned that I really hated jumpscares and won’t be listing them in here, but I do feel that Dead Space is far more than just jumpscares galore. The horror of Dead Space relies on its claustrophobic environments. Imaging being in a hallway with not much space to move, then having some necromorph or two suddenly burst out a pipe. You can run but that would be leaving your back open to two or more fast undead space freaks. Even in the more open-ended areas of Dead Space, there’s not usually much places to move.
The game is also trying really hard to kill you. From its environments to its enemies, there are at least five things in each room that can kill Isaac Clarke. There are also quite a ton of gory death animations for the space engineer. So it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
If you’re fan of movies like The Event Horizon then Dead Space and its sequels should be right up your alley. Too bad EA killed it. Nobody even heard Visceral Games scream. Which is sad, because they actually had good plans for Dead Space 4.
Friday The 13th: The Game
Okay, okay, bear with me here. If you’re seeing this as the third on the list, I probably already lost your interest. But I just wanted to take a break from the horror to input this here because I got the game on PS Plus and I’ve been having some crazy fun with it.
More goofy and stupid than scary, Friday the 13th The Game is good fun. The game has you either trying to survive Jason’s onslaught or killing the other camp counselors as Jason yourself. A lot of horror games have you trying to survive the horror, but few actually let you play as the horror itself. Though like I said, there’s nothing really horrific about this game. It’s just flat-out goofy fun.
As the counselors, you have three ways of escape: by car, by boat, or by calling the police. None of these are really easy options but working together is your best bet. It is also possible to kill Jason but I’ve never actually seen that happen and unless your team is fully cooperating don’t even bother.
As Jason, you have to kill the camp counselors before time runs out. And the big guy kills them in pretty horrific and brutal ways albeit rather over-the-top. As Jason, you are practically and overpowered tank with supernatural powers. You move slow but you have abilities that make you unstoppable and you’re practically unkillable until certain very rare conditions have been met.
But there are some drawbacks I’ve experienced. Matchmaking is terrible and I have to sometimes wait for more than 10 minutes only to not even get a room. Also quite a few people online are kind of dicks…but that’s not really the game’s fault. Some controls are also unresponsive with me trying to quickly barricade the door only for my character to just stand there while I’m holding down the X button.
There is, however, a lot of love put into this game. I could tell that the developers themselves were huge fans of Friday the 13th and it’s a shame to see what they could’ve done if they hadn’t been hit with the lawsuit from Victor Miller.
Overall, the game is far from scary but it’s really worth trying out if you’re into having some fun.
Resident Evil 7
So previous Resident Evil games have always been balancing that fine line between horror and action. At least, they did before Resident Evil 4 and 5 came in and it took a nosedive to quickly becoming one of the most Michael Bay survival horror games ever made. It was almost as if Capcom didn’t know what they wanted Resident Evil to be anymore.
Then came the 7th numbered installment in the game. If you’re already familiar with the Resident Evil franchise, then you’d know that each installment was always in third person (except for that one other PS1 game we don’t talk about). Resident Evil 7 is the first numbered installment in the series to feature complete first person mode. This was done for the purpose of putting you up close and personal with the horrors of biological hazards created by an evil pharmaceutical company experiment gone wrong.
Resident Evil 7 is far from subtle. The horror aspect relies on gross out scares and gore to really make the player feel uncomfortable. This game really isn’t shy in showing just how grotesque the insides of the human body can be. If you’re a person who’s easily grossed out, then you may want to avoid this game. Then again, people who play horror games should already have a strong stomach by now.
Speaking of Resident Evil 7, I can recommend the 4th installment. If only because of its legendary status among survival-horror fans which influenced the direction of many games today. Although Resident Evil 4 is more Michael Bay than Tobe Hooper.
Here’s a horror game that’s unlike any other on this list. Are you fond of Visual Novels? The Letter is more of an anime-esque horror game that doesn’t really have any actual gameplay besides clicking and the occasional quick-time-events. So if that’s not your thing, you may want to back out.
What The Letter does offer however is a classic story inspired by other horror movies such as The Ring and Ju-on: The Grudge. With what it misses from its gameplay, it makes up for its interesting story and cast. There’s truly some horrifying things in this game. Though there are a handful of jumpscares which I should warn you.
The Letter does offer you branching paths for each choice that you make so there’s a lot of replay value into it. Characters are also fully voice acted and animated so you know there’s a lot of effort put into this game by its developer, Yangyang Mobile.
I’m sure there are other horror games out there worth mentioning but if listed them off then I’m practically just listing off every other horror game I’ve ever played. I’ve played my fair share of the survival horror genre–some good, some not so good. And like always, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me that any of the above are worth playing. But these are the games that are at the top of my list when it comes to the horror genre.
If you think a horror game deserves to be on this list, I wouldn’t mind knowing what game it was. And please do tell why.