The best horror games are one of the best ways to get your heart racing and your blood pumping during an otherwise relaxing evening at home. If you love horror movies, then horror gaming can take your fandom to the next level, immersing you in the action and ramping up the fear.
Over the years, horror games have become increasingly effective at unnerving and disturbing us, with phenomenal visuals and amazing ambiance. One of the most talked-about games of all time, Silent Hill PT, was a simple, fast-paced teaser for a horror game that never came out!
Horror games come in a range of different flavors, from jump-scare-laden adventure titles to puzzle games with complex boss battles. You can even find some phenomenal co-op and multi-player horror games out there, like Phasmaphobia or Left 4 Dead, if you’re worried about tackling the terror alone.
Today, we’re going to be listing some of the best horror games around right now if you’re looking for a slightly creepier style of fun.
1. Dead Space
When it comes to sheer ambiance, Dead Space is easily one of the best horror games of all time. Though it’s been around for quite a while now, the title still holds up to speculation pretty well. In fact, Dead Space actually announced an upcoming remake in the works for anyone who wants a more up-to-date space screamer. In this title, you play an engineer named Isaac Clarke, who accompanies a team of soldiers through a ship in space.
Once you arrive on the ship, however, the doors lock, and your team are overwhelmed by a group of grotesque, mutated human creatures. With the help of your trusty plasma-cutting tool, you need to figure out how to get back to safety while protecting yourself from the onslaught of creatures. The story is fantastic, and there are plenty of tense moments and jump scares to look forward to. Pro tip, just because you see a body on the floor, doesn’t mean it’s actually dead.
Another sci-fi-style horror game with some excellent reviews and ratings, Prey places you in a space station environment where horrific alien creatures attack you. Prey is a first-person shooter, so it does give you some great options to defend yourself as you’re working through the plot. However, there’s extra pressure on you in this game, as you’re tasked with not only protecting yourself but saving others along the way.
Prey has a fantastic DLC called “Mooncrash” worth checking out if you enjoy the game too. The DLC really ramps up the horror with randomization elements to keep you on your toes. However, even if you just play the vanilla game, you’re sure to encounter plenty of spooky moments. The storytelling in this title is particularly fantastic, and it’s sure to keep you interested as you fight off the alien swarm.
3. Alien: Isolation
One of the most immersive survival horror games to emerge in recent years, Alien: Isolation, places you in an atmospheric environment where you plan as Amanda Ripley, the daughter of the well-known protagonist from the Alien movies. After hearing your mother’s voice somewhere in space, you decide to go and check to see whether she’s really there. However, once you’re onboard the ship, you discover something isn’t quite right.
Part of what makes Alien: Isolation so scary is you have no way of really defending yourself against the creatures attacking you. The aim here isn’t to “fight off” the enemy but to hide and try to avoid being seen. All the while, as you’re searching through the ship, looking for answers, you’re keenly aware something is hunting you. Interestingly, the system actually uses AI to detect where the player is at all times and give hints to the antagonist.
4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
There are countless different Resident Evil games we could pick for our list of the best horror games of all time. In fact, if you want a truly phenomenal horror gaming experience, you could just go through the series one by one. However, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a particularly unique experience for beginners. This title flipped the script on previous action-packed shooters to give you a survival horror experience where you’re constantly struggling to survive.
In the game, you play as a normal guy named Ethan Winters, who is searching for his missing wife, who simply disappeared one day under mysterious circumstances. Eventually, you end up at a huge house in the middle of nowhere, where you encounter your wife, as well as a demented and somewhat terrifying family. The mutated characters will end up trying to murder you in a range of different ways, and survival definitely isn’t easy, so be prepared for a challenge.
5. Until Dawn
Until Dawn was a real game-changer for the horror landscape, the interactive experience is unique because it allows you to change the story and outcomes every time you play it. This is one of the few games in the horror world where you have full control over what happens. The decisions you make will determine whether everyone in your group dies, no one does, or you end up with something in between. Since the decisions you make are actually life or death, there’s a lot of tension to deal with.
In the story, you’re placed in an environment with a group of teenagers being terrorized by some kind of outside threat, prowling around their homes. As you progress through the story, you’ll need to make decisions about how to protect different characters. The game’s dialogue and other elements do have a few sketchy parts, but this is still one of the most worthwhile titles to add to your to-do list.
It’s hard to have an article listing the world’s best horror games without at least mentioning Outlast. Released nearly 10 years ago in 2013, the game places you into the shoes of a somewhat incompetent protagonist tasked with researching an asylum. Your character is a reporter who has heard some tips that there may be some unsavory things going on at the facility, so you decide to break in and check it out for yourself with the help of your trusty camcorder.
There’s absolutely no way to protect yourself from any incoming attacks in Outlast, as all you have is your camera. This camera is also the only source of light you’ll have in some places, so you’ll need to use it to navigate your surroundings, without drawing the attention of the inmates. Notably, your camera runs out of batteries pretty quickly, so you’ll have to make sure you’re constantly stocking up on loose cells, or you’ll end up lost in the dark.
One of the few “exclusive” titles included on our list, Bloodborne, was designed for the PS4 when it was first being released. It comes from the minds of the “FromSoftware” company, which also happens to be known for producing a range of extremely difficult and challenging titles. Bloodborne is no different, as it requires a serious level of skill and patience to master.
Bloodborne has you exploring the streets of a city rumored to have an elixir capable of curing any disease. However, when you get a blood transfusion, you find yourself thrown into a landscape where all of the citizens of the city have gone insane with blood lust. Not to mention, there are monsters roaming the streets, desperate to find and kill you. The atmosphere of the game is extremely dark and gritty, with some truly terrifying monsters to tackle. Despite the creepiness, it’s definitely a lot of fun to play, with plenty of action components and fights.
8. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Sure, we could talk about some of the more recent releases in the Amnesia franchise here, as they all are pretty fantastic at delivering massive levels of horror. However, when it comes to listing the best horror games of all time, it’s best to stick with the original. Amnesia was introduced in 2010 as one of the scariest titles you could access on Steam. The developers even suggested not playing for more than 15 minutes at a time to ensure you didn’t frighten yourself too much.
In the Dark Descent, you play as a man exploring an old castle, with letters and snippets of information to guide you along the way. You don’t have any weapons to protect yourself, so when you discover there is a monster hunting you in the dark, things get pretty terrifying. There are various puzzle elements to deal with during the game so you can secure your escape, and you need to keep a close eye on your sanity levels too. The challenge of the game, combined with its phenomenally tense moments, make it an absolute must-play.
9. Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF)
A cult sensation popular among virtually all ages today, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a game we couldn’t miss from our list of the best horror titles. Released back in 2014, this game has spawned a number of additional titles over the years, as well as a massive range of books and toys. The game is simple enough; you start off assuming the role of a part-time worker in a restaurant who’s responsible for making sure nothing bad happens on the night shift.
The job seems pretty straightforward until you discover the animatronic creatures within the restaurant can actually come to life and hunt you as you work. You have no way of protecting yourself from their clutches other than shutting the doors on either side of you from time to time. Since the doors rely on a power source, they can only stay closed for so long. This is a game that requires a decent amount of strategy, and the ability to handle jump scares pretty well.
10. Layers of Fear
Finally, layers of fear is a game that’s definitely worth checking out, either alone or with friends. Similar to Amnesia, it’s a title that focuses mainly on exploring an environment and putting the pieces of a rather complex puzzle together. You play as an artist who has gradually gone insane on his journey to produce the ultimate piece. As you move through the game, discovering pieces to add to your painting, you learn more about the life of the painter.
The story becomes increasingly darker and more depressing, veering into truly disturbing territory in some places. Aside from the horrific story, there are plenty of other factors designed to scare you throughout the title, including a fair share of jump scares. By the time you finish the game and the painting, you’ll be left with a completely different view on art.
The Best Horror Games to Play Today
Ultimately, the best horror games for your playlist will depend on what you like most about the horror genre. If you like being able to fight off enemies who attack you from all sides, then you might prefer something like Bloodborne. If you enjoy the idea of exploring a dangerous place while being completely defenseless, then you’re more likely to appreciate Layers of Fear or Amnesia.
The 10 options above are just some of our favorite horror games to come out in the last decade or so. If we’ve missed your top choice, make sure you share it with us in the comments below.
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