Halloween is the perfect time of year to scare the crap out of yourself, and what better way to do that than some bone-chilling horror games!
Both PC and consoles have some great horror titles that’ll leave you trembling. In honor of Halloween, I’ve put together a selection of the best horror games, organized them by theme, to give you some ideas. Hopefully this Halloween will be your most terrifying yet, and the best part? You won’t even have to leave home!
Endless corridors, low lighting, shadowy figures suddenly appearing and then disappearing just as quickly- these are all standard in games that take place in claustrophobic nightmare scenarios. In these games, usually played in first person view, you must solve puzzles while trying to avoid getting murdered by a psychopath or some other mysterious force.
It wasn’t the first of its kind but even after all these years, people still love Amnesia: The Dark Descent. During the game, you wake up with amnesia in a hundred year old castle where you need to survive mysterious creatures roaming around. As would happen in real life, you’re defenseless: you can’t fight threats because you don’t have any weapons. All you can do is hide in the darkest of corners while making sure that a bloodthirsty beast isn’t waiting for you in the shadows.
Amnesia, a descent into hell that set the trend for claustrophobic nightmare games
Outlast, a recent release, has a similar aesthetic and gameplay. In Outlast, the mysterious place you find yourself in is a mental hospital. As in Amnesia, you have to look around every corner, but here, the madness and violence are even more evident and you’re sure to experience some really shocking situations.
If you don’t like gore and prefer psychological horror? Slender is the series for you. The latest installment in the saga is Slender: The Arrival. No longer the amateur game it started off as, The Arrival is a professional title that will scare you senseless. If you don’t have any cash to spare, however, the first installments of the game are free and will still make your blood run cold when you see Slenderman appear out of nowhere.
Slenderman: never has a man in a suit been so terrifying
Your friends, the zombies
Zombies have triumphed in popular culture because they represent one of man’s greatest fears: a deceased loved one coming back to life in a not so loving way. The video game world is full of good zombie games. Some lean more towards comedy, like Dead Rising or Plants vs. Zombies, but others feed off of our fear with their tense, anxious atmosphere.
The Left 4 Dead series, available for both PC and consoles, is a great example of a terrifying zombie game. Unlike other games where you’re forced to face your fears alone, these games invite you to experience the annihilation of the undead in company. But, if you think having a helping hand will make things less scary, you’re dead wrong!
Left 4 Dead – having company doesn’t always make you safer!
Next on the list? It may not be a typical horror game, but I simply have to recommend the episodic The Walking Dead title and its extension. In this case, rather than through the sudden appearance of zombies, the terror lies more in the cruel decisions you must make, because, let’s be honest, nobody ever said that surviving a zombie apocalypse was going to be easy.
Another game with plenty of adult drama is The Last of Us, which is exclusively available for PS3. Yes, it also features the undead (or the “Infected”, post-modern evolution of traditional zombies), and in their hands, you’ll experience real terror. But don’t forget, sometimes terror goes beyond what meets the eye.
In The Last of Us the humans are also a threat
Some video games in the horror genre are very unique, and while they may not be perfect, they achieve what they set out to do, which is to put us in a constant state of discomfort and tension. Deadly Premonition definitely falls within this category, and gets the trophy for the top ‘hidden gem’ in my books. Controls could be improved, the graphics are a bit 10 years ago, and the resolution won’t please everyone, but if you’re a fan of the Twin Peaks series, this game will float your boat. Go on, take a chance, you might be surprised.
The truth is that Deadly Premonition is one of the strangest games we’ve had the pleasure of playing. Do you have any other examples?
David Lynch would definitely like Deadly Premonition
A war of fear
Over the years, first person shooters have also seen their fair share of terror. One of the first was Wolfenstein, although if you want a FPS that’ll make you panic, it’s got to be Metro 2033 and its sequel Last Light. Based on two novels, these games really embrace the concept of a post-apocalyptic world, but ramp it up to terrifying levels: mutant species, hostile inhabitants and a city with an atmosphere that breathes death.
Another FPS that’ll freeze the blood in your veins is F.E.A.R. (and its sequel). It’s a pure shooter, which in other games would mean violence, but in this game, it leans more towards the realm of the supernatural and spooky. It’s a shame that with F.E.A.R. 3 we’ve seen it all before.
First person shooters are excellent breeding grounds for terror
All time classics
In this article, I’ve tried to stick to relatively recent games, but it is worth mentioning three classic games in this genre. The first of these is Alone in the Dark, a series that, despite not being as popular now as it was when it released, can still give you quite a fright, despite the old school graphics.
The next one I have to mention is the Resident Evil series. Yes, the latest versions are more action than horror, but if we look back at the first titles, they was seriously terrifying. And who knows, maybe the next installment will crank up the horror level to what it was in the 90s.
Finally, we’ve got Silent Hill, whose atmosphere and unique imagery have made it an icon in the horror game world. Although the latest releases haven’t reaped the same success as the first, you can’t deny that it’s a franchise that has stayed true to its roots, preserving the disturbing element that made it such a horrifying hit in the first place.
Pyramid Head is one of the characters gamers fear most
The monster within
Terror has no face or, rather, it has a different face for everyone. Some people are more scared of what they can’t see, while others get more freaked out by putting a face to horror. Whatever scared you most, it’s clear that there’s a horror game that’ll make you feel like you’re in your worst (or best) nightmare.
What are your favorite horror games?