10 Iconic Horror Video Games All Fans of Horror Must Play
There is something therapeutic about getting scared out of your wits. If you can relate to that sentiment, you must be a fan of horror! And what better way is there to enjoy that chilling sense of dread creeping up your spine than by getting thrown into the thick of things? That’s right — that is where horror video games shine. That is why we have decided to share with you a list of ten best horror video games that will leave you screaming like the protagonists of every Saw movie!
Even if you don’t consider yourself a gamer, playing these horror games is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that every fan of horror should experience. Games offer an entirely new perspective on horror and much better immersion than movies and books since you are in complete control of your fate. And that is likely what makes horror games so compelling!
Choosing between our picks was challenging, but we decided to select titles from a wide variety of horror genres and publishers (you’ll find both indie and AAA titles here). That is why we’re sure you’ll find a game you could play and enjoy regardless of your skill level as a gamer!
One more thing before we start — our picks are in no particular order, so don’t get the impression we’ve put your favorite game too low or another too high. The primary criteria we looked at when making this list were:
- Fear factor (duh).
- Type of game (we wanted to include a mix of both action horror and survival horror games).
- The impact on the horror genre.
- Personal bias & nostalgia (after all, we are human too).
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to our list!
10 Best Horror Video Games All Fans of Horror Should Add to Their Bucket Lists
Here are our picks for the ten best horror video games all horror enthusiasts should play:
1 .Alien: Isolation
2. Until Dawn
3. SCP — Containment Breach
4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
5. Slender: The Eight Pages
6. Left 4 Dead
8. The Evil Within
10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Let’s get into these games in more detail!
1. Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly)
For all the fans of the iconic Alien movie and the deadly Xenomorphs, this is a perfect game for you! Alien: Isolation is a masterpiece that is so much more than a traditional survival horror game. You play as Amandy Ripley and try to escape the space station Sevastopol while being hunted by a giant Xenomorph!
This game takes the survival horror genre to the next level as it gets everything right — the pacing, the fear factor, the storyline, and even gives you a short-lived sense of security by providing you with a few weapons here and there to fend the Xenomorph off.
But likely the best part of Alien: Isolation is the game’s replayability. This title features an adaptive, learning A.I. for the Xenomorph. That means the Alien will behave differently as the game progresses. Your stalker will learn from your playstyle and adapt to it, bringing the challenge to the next level. Also, that kind of smart A.I. ensures no playthrough of this game will be the same!
If you are a fan of Sci-Fi horror, Alien: Isolation is a must-play.
2. Until Dawn (Supermassive Games)
Until Dawn is a PS4-exclusive storytelling masterpiece! This horror game took the world by storm when it came out in 2015 for its nail-biting, cinematic gameplay. Until Dawn is unlike traditional horror games and more closely resembles an interactive film rather than a video game.
The game follows a group of teenagers who return to a remote cabin after their friend had mysteriously died a few years before in the hopes of getting over the tragic loss. Without spoiling the game in any way, you can imagine what happens next. Pairing up a bunch of teenagers with a remote mountain cabin is the embodiment of a horror scenario waiting to happen!
This game will prove an excellent choice for people looking for a narrative-driven experience since the gameplay itself doesn’t require much, if any, mechanical expertise and mostly revolves around the choices you make. If you’ve ever played any of the Telltale games, you know precisely what we mean!
Do note that there is no turning back — once you’ve made a choice, it’s permanent. Whether everyone survives or dies is entirely up to you, so choose wisely!
3. SCP — Containment Breach (Joonas Rikkonen)
Here we have a fan-made game based on the incredible world of SCPs. If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi and horror and have never heard of the SCP wiki, change that! There is an entire community dedicated to coming up with various anomalies, monsters, and supernatural beings called SCPs. These can range from anything as harmless as a rubber duck toy with teleportation abilities to planet-sized beasts or world-ending scenarios.
This fan-made game was created in a traditional survival horror style. The protagonist gets caught amidst a containment breach, which leads to many of these creatures freeing themselves. The game features some of the most infamous SCPs like SCP-173, SCP-106, SCP-096, SCP-079, and many more.
SCP: Containment Breach’s procedurally generated levels make every new playthrough an entirely fresh experience. That ensures you’re unlikely to get bored any time soon! We wholeheartedly recommend you pay a visit to the SCP wiki and give this game a try — you won’t regret it!
Note: There is also a Unity remake of this game titled SCP: Unity. This version is still in its early development stages, but it’s worth keeping an eye on!
4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (Capcom)
This game is one of the finest installments in the classic horror game franchise, the Resident Evil Series. All fans of the original RE games will adore this game since it goes back to the franchise’s roots. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard manages to strike all the right chords and simulates a perfect blend of an action-packed shooter and a horror experience.
The protagonist, Ethan Winters, goes searching for his missing wife and eventually reaches the Baker house. Just like in a traditional horror scenario, everything goes awry when he arrives… But that’s when the real fun (horror) begins!
If you’re a fan of blasting monsters with a shotgun or burning them to a cinder with a flamethrower, this game is perfect for you! RE7 is a game all fans of the series must own and is an excellent beginners’ introduction to the franchise. Oh, and if you do try it, a sequel is due in 2021, so you have plenty to look forward to!
5. Slender: The Eight Pages (Parsec Productions)
Saying that this indie horror game is exceptional is an understatement. Despite its low-budget build and simplistic gameplay, Slender: The Eight Pages is an unprecedented horror experience. Everything from the sounds and music to the dim-lit atmosphere and sense of impending doom is what makes this game a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
So what’s the premise of this ingenious game? You (the player) are lost in a dark forest with nothing but a flashlight and have a task to collect eight pages from random locations around the map. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Try doing that while being stalked by a tall, faceless creature you can’t look at unless you have a death wish! And did we mention that the Slenderman becomes more and more aggressive the more pages you collect? And what about the fact that your character walks as slowly as an 80-year-old grandma with a walking cane? You get the point…
The above reasons aren’t the only ones that ensured this game became a part of the horror gaming history. Slender: The Eight Pages was based on the then-mostly-unknown Slenderman mythos, which exploded after its debut. In the years after its release, hundreds, if not thousands, of similar Slenderman games dominated the online horror gaming landscape. That is why this game that started it all is well-deserving of a spot on our list!
6. Left 4 Dead 2 (Valve)
This game is a sequel to the incredibly successful zombie co-op shooter Left 4 Dead and is still hugely popular to date! If you’re a fan of action-packed zombie games or just want a horror game you can play with your friends, this title is perfect for you.
Left 4 Dead 2 has you play as a team of four while trying to fight your way through massive waves of the undead. The game is fast-paced, has a wide variety of enemies with different special abilities, and has an active online community.
This game doesn’t refrain from graphic content, so if a zombie shooter game is your cup of tea, you’re sure to have hundreds of hours of fun with your friends!
7. Darkwood (Acid Wizard Studio)
This indie top-down horror game is an unusual but jaw-dropping experience that will suit both lovers of action-packed and story-driven horror. The game’s protagonist wakes up in a strange, dark forest filled with all kinds of crazy creatures and… people? If you could call them people.
The game’s goal is to explore the forest during the day and look for a way out while meeting lots of weird, funky characters. But when the night falls, that’s when the real horrors come out! That is why you will have to bunker up in your base during the night to survive.
For all fans of exploration-based storytelling, this game is a real gem! Players will be left baffled at what is going on for a large portion of the game, only learning more about their character and the world they’re in toward the end. Oh, and let’s not forget that every choice that you make in-game will have a lasting impact on the future of your playthrough!
If you enjoy in-depth but mysterious storytelling, a wide array of interesting characters, and a spine-chilling horror experience, we wholeheartedly recommend you play Darkwood! The game just got officially released a few months ago, so now is the perfect time to get it!
8. The Evil Within (Tango Gameworks)
If you are a fan of the Resident Evil franchise, this game is perfect for you! The Evil Within takes the foundations that RE had set and builds upon them, creating a unique and twisted universe. This game is like a blend between RE and the Silent Hill franchises, so it’s a worthy successor to them in every possible way!
The Evil Within is an action-packed horror game that has you fight against all kinds of unimaginable horrors. Likely the best part of it is that it will give you next to no answers on what’s going on for the most of the game.
We must say that the game’s story is incredible, though you learn about most of it through in-game collectibles. So if you’re not a thorough player, you might need to look up a backstory guide to put all pieces of the puzzle together after you finish it. But the story is not the game’s primary selling point — it’s the combat and the atmosphere! Just like in the classic Resident Evil style, you will be playing from a third-person perspective and will have to make the most of the scarce resources you’re given. That, combined with the incredible variety of enemies, will keep you at the edge of your seat throughout the game.
If you feel like blasting the heads of a bunch of mutants and monsters while enjoying a thrilling and captivating storyline, The Evil Within is the right game for you!
9. Outlast (Red Barrels)
If you wish to be scared out of your wits and have a genuinely terrifying survival-horror experience, Outlast is the game for you. This game is so wonderfully horrifying because of its realism and setting. You play as Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist who goes to investigate rumors about a particular asylum. Yes… An asylum and a horror game. You can likely expect what comes next.
The player is in for a surprise once they are thrown off a balcony into the asylum and have to find their way out while trying to survive the horrors taking place in the institution. The asylum’s patients are not just insane — they are bloodthirsty and murderous. And like the little wimp horror game protagonists usually are, you have no way of defending yourself except running and hiding. Oh, and if you just love a quality horror story, you will find that in Outlast… if you’re inquisitive enough!
Outlast is an incredibly visceral game, so if you’re into blood, gore, and madness, you will find that it’s the perfect title for you! Do note that there is even a sequel to the game you’ll undoubtedly find worthwhile! Some even believe it’s even more brutal than the original, but we’ll leave that for you to decide!
10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
It is impossible to make a list of the best horror games without including the game that started the entire survival-horror craze — Amnesia: The Dark Descent! This game might be old today, but it’s has aged like fine wine.
The game’s principle is pretty straightforward — you wake up in an old castle after having lost all your memory and go out exploring. In an attempt to figure out what happened to you, you tread deeper into the castle. However, the deeper you go, the more you begin to realize something is off. Eventually, the player enters a living nightmare as they begin to unravel the truth behind what is happening (which we will not talk about to avoid spoilers).
This game is still one of the most frightening games of all time, even ten years after its original release. Amnesia’s sanity mechanic takes the challenge to a whole new level as your life isn’t the only thing you must worry about — you must take care not to go insane! The game’s pacing is unparalleled to date. Also, the story you learn through in-game collectibles is so captivating that you will motivate you to persevere. And let’s not forget that the monsters are some of the most iconic ones in horror history.If there is any game from this list you must play, it is this one! Oh, and one more thing — the masterminds behind this game are due to release another sequel called Amnesia: Rebirth in October 2020! You’d be wise to grab it as soon as it hits the shelves!
We Hope You Have a Wonderfully Horrifying Experience Playing These!
Did you enjoy our list of the ten best horror games every gamer should try? Would you add some other games to the list? Let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Good luck with your horror experience… You’ll need it!