I am, and always will be a horror game fanatic. There’s something thrilling, terrifying and just plain fun about playing horror games, be it psychological, gory or just your regular jump-scare riddled story. Having played a plethora of horror games, I’ve tried to narrow down my favourites into a list of 10, and whilst this may omit some stellar horror […]
I am, and always will be a horror game fanatic. There’s something thrilling, terrifying and just plain fun about playing horror games, be it psychological, gory or just your regular jump-scare riddled story. Having played a plethora of horror games, I’ve tried to narrow down my favourites into a list of 10, and whilst this may omit some stellar horror games, these have to be my current top 10 horror games I’ve ever played.
Edit: This was written before Phasmophobia became such a hit, and before I played it. This list comprises mostly of single player games, however Phasmophobia is well worth a look at if you have friends how play on PC.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
This has to be my current number one horror game of all time, and this is a golden example of what a remake for any game should be. Remakes and remasters are the hot new thing at the tail end of the last generation going into the new generation, and Capcom delivered us exactly what a remake should be. Capcom have given us a nostalgic piece that honours the original game, whilst updating and modernising it to the graphical and gameplay levels we love to see and expect from games today.
The atmosphere and immersion this game provides is unrivalled, with a level of detail akin to no other. The hyper-realism of the environment and zombies creates a chilling effect that leaves you jumping at every minor sound – this is definitely a game for headphones – or slight movement in your peripherals. The narrowed in torch beam leaves you desperate for a better view of your surroundings, adding to the sense of unease and fear.
Going back to the detail, the zombies are some of the best video game zombies ever made, with area specific damage show up on where you shoot them. This goes as far as allowing you to impair their movement by shooting off their legs below the knee, as permanently downing one can take one too many bullets.
The story and playtime are well worth the money, and considering you can now get this game at such a low price, it’s a bargain. Throw in the replay-ability factor of having the game’s story playable as both Leon and Claire and you’ve got a clear winner.
Until Dawn will always hold a special play in my heart, after biting the bullet and getting the game on release, I stayed up all night, finishing the game in one sitting, I can’t even remember if I had toilet breaks.
Following a group of rowdy adolescent characters, you go back to a lodge in the mountains isolated from the world for an annual party, however last time this happened things didn’t go so well.
Without spoiling much, you spend your time jumping between the different characters, taking control of their actions and choices which will ultimately affect the relationships between characters and how the story progresses.
With plenty of scares, lots of very stressful quick time events and an engaging narrative, Until Dawn will always be one of the best horror storytelling games out there.
The Last of Us
A modern classic, The Last of Us has and will continue to go down in history as one of the best games of previous generation, and the one before that too! The Last of Us zombies, including in the sequel (next on the list), are some of the most terrifying out there.
With a fantastic combat system and a limited variety of well thought out and designed weapons, this game makes you feel restricted in the best way possible, emulating the feel of a real postapocalyptic world.
Naughty Dog is a studio that prides itself on detail, and this is beyond evident in The Last of Us, providing for a truly unique and immersive experience.
The Last of Us Part 2
The sequel, The Last of Us Part 2, is honestly one of my favourite games released this year. Continuing on from The Last of Us, which was left slightly open ended, we’re immersed again in a world full of terrifying fungal zombies and chock full of rather evil people.
Playing as an older Ellie is something The Last of Us fans have wanted for a long, long time, and to finally have that opportunity is just as satisfying as you’d expect. Additionally to Ellie and other classic characters, new characters are introduced who are just as well fleshed out. You’ll be falling in and out of love with so many new characters.
Again, the detail and quality level of this game is unrivalled, the highly detailed motion capture makes cut scenes absorbingly cinematic and the environments are detailed to a remarkable extent.
The narrative of this game, and the way the story is told, has to be one of my favourite story’s ever told in gaming. Naughty Dog really hit the nail on the head with this one, and it was beyond a terrifying pleasure to play.
I am a huge fan of Arkane Studios, having played and thoroughly enjoyed the entire Dishonored franchise. When they announced Prey, I was beyond excited, and that excitement carried on all the way through this long and perilous game, along with a lot of meticulous planning and frustration.
You play as Morgan Yu (male or female, player choice) as you traverse the space station Talos I and figure out what on (not) earth has happened. Oh, and there are lots, I mean lots of terrifyingly strong aliens trying to kill you around every corner.
This game balances survival horror, action and great storytelling whilst also providing a hell of a challenge. Each encounter with any of the variety of aliens has to be meticulously planned, and there are many different ways to complete objectives which makes this game feel very personalised and repayable.
The design of this game is fantastic, from mimics that can literally mimic any inanimate object and then jump out at you with zero warning, to some of the best and most difficult anti-gravity physics I’ve experienced in a game. This game is one of the best survival horror experiences out there and is well worth a play, but be warned, it is not an easy one.
Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game that relies on stealth over combat, and requires a sharp mind, or sometimes a scream and charge if you find yourself lucky.
This game manages to capture the best that the Alien films had to offer, an intense turmoil and claustrophobic experience, all the whilst checking over your shoulder for the dreaded Alien itself.
With sporadic saves, constant threat (not just from the Alien either) and beautifully designed, cramped environments, this is definitely the game to play with headphones on and the lights off. Or maybe not, depending on how frightful you are.
Soma is another first-person survival horror that relies on observation and stealth, heavily relying on psychological horror to really mess with your mind.
Whilst this may seem very much like a walking sim where you have to avoid monsters, it is so much more than that. The story that Soma takes you on is rather mind bending and equally as terrifying, this game left me really uncomfortable in all the best ways possible, and I highly recommend people play for the story alone.
Resident Evil 7
This game was a big shock to a lot of Resident Evil fans, taking the franchise to a first-person view was a big and risky move by Capcom, but it really paid off.
Putting this game in first person really adds to the terrifying world Resident Evil 7 creates, and the move to focus on exploration and horror really brings the franchise back to its terrifying roots.
This game was released in VR too, and with it already being a terrifying game to play alone in the dark with headphones on, the addition of a VR options gave even horror veterans a reason to be scared.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
The creators of Until Dawn, Supermassive Games, came back with a punch in 2019 releasing Man of Medan, the first in an anthology series of horror games that follows the same design as Until Dawn with new stories exploring other aspects of the horror genre.
Man of Medan takes you out to sea with a group of friends who you’ll hate to love and love to hate as they traverse an abandoned ghost ship. Full of quick time events, fast narrative changing choices and fantastic scares, this game lives up to is older sibling in its ability to absorb you into the world, despite being a shorter experience.
A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Plague Tale: Innocence is grim tale that follows Amicia and Hugo, a young girl and her younger brother in 1300s France as it is invaded by the English. You control Amicia as you navigate what once was a peaceful place now ravaged by war in order to save the ever-ill Hugo.
Full of grim twists and unfortunate fates this game truly makes your skin crawl whilst toying with your emotions as you fight through the world when everything seems to be conspiring against these tough siblings.
I was gripped instantly by the beautiful environment and design of this game, and once the never-ending torment and twists take hold you’re in for a harrowing narrative treat.