10 most terrifying survival horror games

Alex LaFreniere


Halloween may be over, but if you didn’t get your fear fix, there are lots of great games that can send a shiver up your spine. Think you can survive against zombies, necromorphs, ghosts, and ghouls of all kinds? Grab your controller, turn off the lights, and check out our top selection of games that are sure to get your pulse pounding.

The 10 scariest survival horror games

10. Resident Evil

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Image via Capcom
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Resident Evil is the godfather of the genre, and was actually the first game to coin the term “survival horror.” The first in a long-running franchise, the original Resident Evil forces you to use your brains as well as your shooting skills, solving puzzles and escaping deadly traps as you fight to survive against a horde of zombies and other grotesque experiments. Play as either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine and attempt to unravel the mansion’s mysteries and put a stop to the sinister Umbrella Corporation.


soma screenshot
Image via Frictional Games

SOMA is set far, far beneath the ocean waves in a remote scientific facility. As everyman Simon Jarett, you mysteriously awaken in the facility with no memory of how you got there, and slowly begin to piece together the mystery of how you arrived and what happened to the facility’s staff. You’ll have to question your own sanity and who you can trust while facing some disturbing enemies and answering some twisted questions about the nature of humanity and Artifical Intelligence.

8. Silent Hill: Downpour

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Image via Konami

Murphy Pendleton is a criminal. A murderer. He’s also the main protagonist of Silent Hill: Downpour, and you’ll have to step inside his shoes as he finds himself in the mysterious town of Silent Hill. Murphy has to face off against some very real enemies as well as his own tortured past if he hopes to make it out alive. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the game is a favorite among series fans, and has plenty of chilling scares in store as well as multiple endings that change based on how you play.

7. Bioshock

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Image via 2K

A mysterious lighthouse in the middle of the North Atlantic marks the descent into Rapture, an underwater metropolis created by wealthy industrialist Andrew Ryan. After stumbling upon the city after a plane crash, you’ll soon find that the citizens of Rapture have devolved into bloodthirsty creatures that will do anything in their power to kill you. Combining first-person gunplay with creative Plasmid combat against an unforgettable setting, this game is a classic and a must-play even if you aren’t a survival horror fan.

6. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

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Image via Frictional Games
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When it was first released, Amnesia was billed as the scariest game of all time. That might very well be true. Waking up in a mysterious castle with no memory of who you are or how you arrived, you’ll quickly be fighting to keep a grip on your very sanity. You have no weapons with which to defend yourself against the castle’s hellish occupants. Instead of fighting back, you’ll have to get creative to stay alive, and hope that your mind doesn’t succumb before your body does.

5. Until Dawn

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Image via Supermassive Games

Until Dawn is sure to appeal to fans of classic teen horror movies like Friday the 13th. With a star-studded cast that includes Rami Malek, Peter Stormare, and Hayden Panietierre, this game might as well be a movie. With story-based gameplay similar to Heavy Rain or Life is Strange, your decisions will directly impact whether an unsuspecting group of teenagers will make it through a chilling night at a remote mountain lodge… and the cold is the least of your worries. Make your choices count, because there’s a ton of different scenarios that can play out depending on how you play. Who lives, who dies… it all depends on your own skills and decisions.

4. Dead Space 2

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“In space, no one can hear you scream.” Dead Space combines sci-fi horror with a heavy dose of Lovecraft in inimitable fashion. Improving on everything that made the first Dead Space a hit, Dead Space 2 is regarded by many to be the best in the series.

After the events of the original Dead Space, engineer Isaac Clarke is in government custody aboard a sprawling space colony orbiting Saturn. Unfortunately for Isaac, his nightmares won’t stay in the past, and an outbreak of corpse-reviving Necromorphs quickly turns the colony into a hellscape. You’ll have to use cutting-edge sci-fi technology like pulse rifles and upgradable armor to fight your way out.

3. Resident Evil 4

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Image via Capcom

Two Resident Evil games on one list? In fairness, Resident Evil 4 plays so differently from the first Resident Evil that it may as well be a different series. The first in the series to feature over-the-shoulder cameras and improved shooting controls, it was an instant classic and has been ported to just about every console under the sun. That’s for good reason: the game follows Leon Kennedy as he fights to recover the President’s kidnapped daughter from a remote Spanish village filled with deranged cultists. With a huge arsenal of weapons at your disposal and enemies that range from chainsaw-wielding doctors to mutated lake monsters, it’s an atmospheric scare-fest you won’t soon forget.

2. The Evil Within

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The Evil Within is the brainchild of Resident Evil 4 creator Shinji Mikami, and his influence shows. The gameplay between the two games is extremely similar, but with one key difference: The Evil Within is much, much scarier. The game follows Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he responds to an emergency call from Beacon Mental Hospital. From there, you’ll have to use stealth and the scarce supplies and ammunition at your disposal to navigate a truly disturbing gauntlet of psychological horrors. Resident Evil 4 looks positively tame compared to what The Evil Within has in store.

1. Outlast

Image via Red Barrel Games

To call Outlast a survival horror game is almost an injustice. What it actually is is an absolutely relentless descent into spine-chilling, heart-pounding, gut-wrenching horror that doesn’t let up until the credits roll. Even loading up the main menu is enough to instill a palpable feeling of dread.

The premise is innocuous enough: investigative journalist Miles Upshur is tipped off to misconduct at a remote asylum in the Colorado Rockies, run by the shady Murkoff Corporation. Playing as Miles, you have nothing to defend yourself with except a camera. That’s it. No guns, no fists, no knives. Just a camera. If you hope to survive, you have two choices. You can hide… or you can run.

Ready to get that adrenaline flowing? Try to resist the urge to turn on the lights or look over your shoulder while you play. After all, they’re just games… right?

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