Despite our weird obsession with horror movies, we have the tendency to avoid playing horror video games.
It’s probably because we know that the characters in these games might end up dying like any other stupid character in a typical horror film. Accidentally killing ourselves (or rather, our characters) is the last thing we’d want to be adding to our list of failures.
Oddly enough, we always feel the urge to play these games after watching popular gaming YouTubers like Markiplier‘s and PewDiePie‘s playthroughs. They may exaggerate on the creepiness of these games, but trust them when they say that some of them will scare you sh*tless.
If you’re not afraid of the dark, cool. Then you are ready to play some creepy horror video games that will give you the fright you’re looking for this Halloween – or at any time of the year, for that matter.
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, OS X
Most journalists do their work with a fire-burning passion. Passion is good, but if you’re a journalist, try not to be this journalist in “Outlast”.
This is a first-person survival horror video game that revolves around Miles Upshur, a freelance investigative journalist who decides it’d be a good idea to look into a remote asylum that is infested with homicidal patients. Did we also mention that Upshur goes to an asylum situated deep in the mountains of Lake County, Colorado…ALONE? *groans* Literally asking for trouble.
Equipped with only a night vision camcorder and a notebook, you are only required to move through this place and record everything down. And no, this game doesn’t allow you to perform combat so you can only either run or hide from whatever that is coming after you. Since this game takes place in a dark place, your camcorder is only your aid, but you should only switch it on at the right time as its batteries run out pretty quickly.
2. Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Network
“Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly” is yet another horror video game that requires players to use a camera to navigate through the game.
The story centres on Mio and Mayu, a pair of twin sisters who explore an abandoned village (bad idea, sisters!) and encounter a series of unexplainable paranormal activities. Players must use an antique camera called “Camera Obscura” to “take pictures of impossible things”.
The gameplay is slightly different from “Outlast” because the camera in this Japanese survival horror video game not only allows players to document supernatural phenomenons, but also using it as a weapon. The game would change from a third-person perspective to first-person when players are about to perform combat.
3. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, OnLive
Imagine this: You wake up in a strange room with little to no memory about yourself or your past. But for some reason, you remember your name, where you live, and the worst of all..that something is hunting you. In fact, you find a letter that tells you that you’re the one who wiped your own memory and you must murder a man.
Sounds like a horrible task for an amnesiac? Well, it is.
“Amnesia: The Dark Descent” is an award-winning survival horror video game created by Frictional Games. From a first-person perspective, you will play Daniel, an amnesiac who must hide and run from monsters in the dark. Similar to “Outlast”, you can’t perform combat and being in the dark all the time will make your character go mad.
Thus, you must find light sources to restore his sanity. But here’s the catch: Standing in a light source will make you more noticeable to monsters. As such, you must balance the amount of time you spend in light and in shadow.
4. Siren: Blood Curse
Platform: PlayStation 3
“Siren: Blood Curse” is the 3rd instalment of the “Siren” video game series. Though it’s a “reimagining” of the first “Siren” game, it is by far the scariest and the most intense instalment of the series.
The 3rd-person survival horror video game is split into 12 episodes. It introduces a new cast of interconnected characters ranging from an American high school student named Howard Wright to an American TV crew, who arrives in Japan searching for a lost village where supposedly human sacrifices and other occult situations take place. As the crew slowly approaches the cursed village, they stumble upon a ceremony where people are being killed and later find themselves being chased down by the undead known as the Shibito.
The game received generally favourable reviews from critics, with many praising its improved visuals and atmosphere-setting sounds. It managed to deliver the thrills and chills with its gameplay as well. If you want an experience in both gaming and horror, “Siren: Blood Curse” is well worth playing.
5. Cry of Fear
Platform: Microsoft Windows
“Cry of Fear” is a first-person survival horror game created by Team Psykskallar. It is originally a modification for a video game called “Half-Life”, but it is now a standalone product available on Steam.
In this game, the player controls Simon Henricksson, an amnesiac main protagonist who wakes up in an unknown alley after being hit by a car. As he looks around trying to find his way home, he will encounter strange and horrific creatures that will try to kill him. Thus, the player must navigate the city solving puzzles while fighting monsters to progress.
The game has a very limited inventory system and only 6 items can be carried at a time. However, the player can carry a light source and 2 weapons at a time. Depending on the player’s actions, the game can span 7 to 8 chapters and will have different endings.
6. The Last of Us
Platform: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
If you combine “28 Days Later”, “World War Z” and “The Road” into a video game, you will get “The Last of Us”. We still haven’t played this game yet, but we’ve seen how players become emotionally attached to it. It’s easy to understand why people would say that this game has one of the saddest video game endings ever.
“The Last of Us” is an action-adventure survival video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. In this game, the player controls Joel, a man tasked with escorting the young Ellie across a post-apocalyptic US to find “Fireflies”, a terrorist cell looking to synthesise a cure. Along the way, you will encounter zombie-like creatures that were infected by a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus.
The ending of “The Last of Us” is pretty depressing, but the game is considered as one of the greatest video games of all time by IGN, GamesRadar, and Business Insider. It was praised by many reviewers for its character development, story and subtext, visual and sound design, and depiction of female and LGBT characters too.
7. Until Dawn
Platform: PlayStation 4
While it’s not filled with tonnes of jump scares, “Until Dawn” is still a pretty messed up game that seems to poke fun at the cliché horror storyline.
Developed by Supermassive Games, the game is penned by horror legends Larry Fessenden (of “You’re Next” fame) and Graham Reznick (of “I Can See You” fame). It revolves around 8 teenagers who are stuck in a mountain called the Blackwood Pines a year after one of the character’s twin sisters died on the same mountain. While they await rescue, they encounter a mysterious man and some terrifying creatures that will either kill them or turn them into one of the creatures.
The gameplay is pretty simple, as it focused on exploration and discovering clues that will help players to piece together the mysteries of the mountain. It greatly emphasises on its “Butterfly Effect” system, where every decision that the character makes will determine their fate in the game. Thus, prepare for a few Quick Time Events (QTEs) and timed decisions that may cause you to make the wrong choice.
Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4
SOMA is probably the latest horror video game to be featured in this list. The science fiction survival horror video game, which was developed by Frictional Games, was released on 22nd September 2015.
From a first-person perspective, you will play protagonist Simon Jarrett who finds himself waking up in a seemingly abandoned underwater research facility called PATHOS-II. He has no knowledge of how he got there, but he later learns that he is in the year 2104, almost a decade he was involved in a fatal car crash that leaves his brain severely damaged.
According to Frictional Games co-founder Thomas Grip, the player would encounter “a number of strange creatures, each an embodiment of an aspect of our themes”. Instead of the conventional jump scares, elements of psychological horror are greatly utilised in this game. In a similar vein to the developer’s previous games, “SOMA” is a non-combat-oriented game that focused on puzzle-solving, exploration, and the use of stealth.
9. Dead Space
Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Even if you’re over the science fiction survival horror video game fad, “Dead Space” is still pretty terrifying.
In this game, the player controls Isaac Clarke, an engineer who is tasked on a routine mission to repair the communication array of Planet Cracker-class mining ship. He is on a mission of his own too, having received a cryptic message from a medical officer serving aboard an interstellar mining ship called the USG Ishimura. However, he’d later find himself fighting for survival in a hostile environment full of reanimated human corpses called Necromorphs.
And of course, “Dead Space” received widespread critical acclaim for its horrifying visuals and its deeply disturbing story. The combat system is vastly different from other gameplays, as it uses a strategic dismemberment combat system. The religious and sci-fi aspects of the game made it a truly great horror video game.
10. Silent Hill 2
Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Whether it’s a movie or a game, the sequel is usually worse than the original. The sequel to “Silent Hill”, however, begs to differ.
“Silent Hill 2” is widely recognised as one of the greatest video games of all time. It centres on James Sunderland, a man who comes to the town after receiving a letter from his dead wife Mary. He roams the town and meet some equally distressed characters. Along the way, he also meets central executioner antagonist Pyramid Head who stalks James every step of the way. Apparently, the executioner represents James’ wish to be punished for his wife’s death. The game features 6 different endings, all presented as equally possible.
Though many criticised it for its difficulty in using the controls, the game was met with generally positive reviews for its creepy atmosphere, twisted graphics, compelling storyline, and terrifying monster designs. It also touched on a few taboo topics such as murder, suicide, rape, and molestation.
- Alien: Isolation
- Resident Evil
- House of the Dead
- Alone in the Dark
- Five Nights at Freddy’s
- Affected: The Oculus Rift Horror Experience
We’ve probably missed out a few great horror games in the list above, so tell us, what are some favourite horror video games that you’d play this Halloween? Share with us in the comments box below.