It is that time of year when the ghoulies, ghosties, long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night get up to all sorts of mischief. To celebrate, we crept through the graveyard, opened those dusty vaults in our search for the best horror games ever made. These are games that not only weirded us out but actually simulated the experience of being stalked, scared and startled like any good horror movie would.
10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Developers: Frictional Games
Publisher: Frictional Games
Release Date: 2016
Amnesia places its players in a virtual haunted house. As the amnesic Daniel, you explore a sinister castle desperately trying to avoid monstrosities and regain your memories and your life. Being forced to manage your sanity as you would your health takes the whole experience to another level of eeriness.
9. Alan Wake
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: 2010
Mirroring the X-Files, Alan Wake plays out as an episodic television show with the title character investigating the town of Bright Falls. Scratching beneath the surface, Wake finds some dark secrets and even darker threats. Whether be in the form of a flashlight or sunshine, Wake’s most powerful weapon is light itself. Alan Wake is a great game featuring one of gaming’s greatest stories.
8. Silent Hill 2
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Release Date: 2001
There have been many instalments in the Silent Hill series, including one very odd feature film, but the sequel to the original game still ranks as the very best. James Sunderland’s journey to find the cause of his wife’s disappearance touches upon the very real themes of suicide, sexual and physical abuse which may be more disturbing than any of the horrors that lurk in Silent Hill.
7. Alien Vs Predator
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Release Date: 1999
Long before there was an AVP movie there was the video game for the PC. Although the game offered three distinct game modes (Alien, Predator and Colonial Marines), the one we are focusing on is the Colonial Marines campaign. Sent to explore where the first alien eggs were found in the original movie, the Marines encounter everything from facehuggers to bionic Aliens to Predators. Stumbling around in the darkness with your Motion Scanner pinging and pinging as the Aliens draw near will put even the most centred gamer on edge.
6. Outlast / Outlast 2
Developer: Red Barrels
Publisher: Red Barrels
Release Date: 2013
Journalist to the rescue! Someone or something is up to no good at the Mount Massive Asylum and it is up to Miles Upshur to get to the bottom of things. Miles must do so though without attacking anything and using his trusty camcorder to see in the dark. Claustrophobic, unnerving and at times very disturbing, Outlast and its sequel Outlast 2 should be in the collection of any horror fan.
5. Until Dawn
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 2015
Supermassive Games really did their research as Until Dawn is a virtual love letter to the best of the horror and slasher film genre. Playing Until Dawn is like being in an actual horror movie. All of the jump scares, all of the tropes, all of the Giallo movie trademarks are there in all of their gory glory. The game also stars such big names as Brett Dalton (Grant Ward and Hive in ABC’s series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet in Heroes) and Rami Malek (Elliot Alderson in Mr. Robot).
4. Dead by Daylight
Developers: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: Starbreeze Studios
Release Date: 2017
Four Survivors must elude and escape an unstoppable killer in an arena setting. Dead by Daylight’s premise may be simple but the gameplay experience will elevate your heart rate and send chills up your spine. Featuring slasher film killers Michael Myers, Leatherface and Freddy Krueger, Dead by Daylight is a horror fan’s dream.
3. Resident Evil
Release Date: 1996 – 2017
The Resident Evil franchise is the godfather of the survival horror video game genre. Capcom’s classic series has had its ups and downs over the years but this year’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard has put the franchise back on track. In particular, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Resident Evil HD are textbook examples of top tier digital horror; digital horror at its very, very best.
2. Alien Isolation
Developer: Creative Assembly
Release Date: 2014
Horror fans who enjoy sadistically trying to scare the living crap out of themselves will appreciate the thrills of Alien: Isolation. The ultimate stealth survival horror game, Isolation takes place 15 years after the events of Alien. Amanda, the daughter of Ellen Ripley, is still searching for her missing mother and encounters a catastrophe that makes the Nostromo tragedy look like a day at the beach. Despite the insane death rate, Alien: Isolation is the closest fans will ever come to facing off against a Xenomorph.
1. Friday 13: The Game
Publisher: Gun Media
Release Date: 2017
Still experiencing major server issues and glitches almost five months after its initial release, Friday 13: The Game is far from perfect. The most frustrating thing of all is when you can actually play a full uninterrupted session, Friday 13: The Game is actually the best digital simulation of a horror movie ever made.
Each timed session begins with one player taking on the murderous role of Jason while the others are camp counsellors with various abilities and traits.
Jason’s goal is quite simple: kill everyone. The goal of the counsellors is to escape by calling the police and escaping, driving out of the camp by car or by boat or hiding until time expires.
Whether you are Jason hunting down your prey or a camp counsellor trying to flee the scene, the mentality and attitude you take on temporarily puts you into that horror movie mindset better than any game ever has. Despite all of its undeniable flaws and shortcomings, Friday the 13th: The Game is a big step in the right direction for slasher, horror fans.