“Resident Evil 2″/Capcom
It’s the season for scares and no horror movie can match the feeling of dread that comes from immersing yourself in the right horror game. Those who find themselves screaming at the survivors during scary movies should find themselves at home with the interactive experience games provide. Whether it’s the slow-paced survival of “Resident Evil” or the constant waves of monsters in “Doom,” horror games place the player at the center of the story and force them to find their own keys to survival.
Here are some of the best horror video games to test your mettle this Halloween:
“Alien: Isolation” (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Much like the movie it’s based on, “Alien: Isolation” thrives on a game of cat and mouse between the player and the xenomorph monster. The alien cannot be killed during the course of the game, forcing the player to constantly find new ways to escape the prowling creature on a deserted space station.
Even when the monster is a safe distance away, the station’s empty corridors are haunting; diaries and messages left by the former residents weave a larger horror story about colony’s demise.
“Resident Evil HD Remaster” (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
The original “Resident Evil” is a staple of survival horror with an influence that continues to resonate in modern games. The HD remaster fully retains the structure of the original, complete with its fixed camera angles and tank-like controls. “Resident Evil” forces players navigate a sprawling mansion with limited resources and complex puzzles while dodging mutated zombies, sharks, and worse.
“Until Dawn” (PlayStation 4)
“Until Dawn”/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Until Dawn” is a horror game that plays like a movie. As the story rolls along, players make decisions with different characters in the game as they’re pursued by a monster. Each choice can mean life or death for the specific cast members, and the number of characters who survive is entirely dependent on how the game is played.
Despite the movie-style narrative, “Until Dawn” has a healthy amount of gameplay, taking about eight hours to complete on average.
“F.E.A.R” (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
“F.E.A.R 3″/Day 1 Studios
When the first “F.E.A.R.” game was released in 2005, it was praised for its balance between first person shooter action and horror elements, with environments that were considered cutting edge at the time. While running and gunning their way through the game, players are confronted with illusions cast by Alma, the ghastly telepathic girl at the center of the game’s story.
“DOOM” (Switch/PS4/Xbox One/PC)
Bethesda’s reboot of “Doom” may not be the scariest game in the series, but the upgraded visuals, powerful soundtrack and constant action make it the most satisfying to play. Despite the gruesome monsters and non-stop gore, the game has a fun sense of humor to keep things from getting too dark.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” (PC/iOS/Android)
“Five Nights at Freddy’s”/Scott Cawthon
“Five Night’s at Freddy’s” is a wildly popular point-and-click horror game with a number of sequels. The player patrols a pizza restaurant with several animatronic characters. Acting as a security guard, the player moves from room to room and has to monitor security cameras to avoid Freddy and the other animatronic characters. If they happen across one of the characters, they will pop in-front of the screen for a jump scare, and the game will start over.
“Silent Hill 4: The Room” (PlayStation 2/Xbox/PC)
“Silent Hill 4: The Room”/Konami
The “Silent Hill” series sits right alongside “Resident Evil” at the roots of the survival horror genre, but has always swayed more towards psychological terror. “Silent Hill 4: The Room” might be the peak of storytelling for the series.
The game’s protagonist is Henry Townshend, an average guy who happens to live in a horribly haunted apartment. When the game starts Townshend has been trapped in his apartment for five days with no contact with the outside world. Eventually he finds a hole in his bathroom wall that leads to other dimensions, and things just get weirder from there.
“Silent Hill 4” has four different endings that change based how the player completes the game.
“Friday the 13th: The Game” (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
“Friday the 13th: The Game”/Gun Media
Jason Voorhees was synonymous with fear long before video games arrived in the mainstream, and over the years multiple games have tried to capture the horror of “Friday the 13th.” The newest attempt from Gun Media does a great job capturing the look and feel of Jason’s Crystal Lake stomping grounds.
Groups take turns either playing as Jason himself or one of the camp counselors trying to escape his wrath. “Friday the 13th” is filled with grisly motion-captured death scenes too, making Jason’s fury well executed.
“Dead by Daylight” (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
“Dead by Daylight”/Behaviour Digital
Dead by Daylight and “Friday the 13th: The Game” have similar gameplay formats, with players trying to survive the rampage of a slasher. “Dead by Daylight” incorporates multiple monsters and serial killers to spice up the action, including Michael Myers of “Halloween.” While horror fanatics may appreciate the tie-ins of “Friday the 13th: The Game,” “Dead by Daylight” offers more variety in gameplay and a more sinister tone.
“Dead Space” (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
“Dead Space”/Electronic Arts
“Dead Space” plays like a cross between “Doom” and “Resident Evil,” forcing the player to navigate a space station filled with hellish aliens with varying difficulty levels. To kill the aliens, called Necromorphs, the player must use “strategic dismemberment,” targeting specific body parts.
“Resident Evil 7” (PS4/PSVR/Xbox One/PC)
Yes it’s another “Resident Evil,” but “Resident Evil 7″is a departure for the series, largely forsaking the zombie science fiction and urban environments of the earlier games. Instead, the game focuses on a small Louisiana plantation and its mutated inhabitants, the Baker family.
As protagonist Ethan Winters, the player discovers the origin of the dark mold that has infected the Baker plantation and must fight the family while finding a way to escape. The game was designed to be played entirely in virtual reality too, requiring extra detail on every portion of the Baker resident.
“The Evil Within 2” (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
“The Evil Within 2″/Bethesda Softworks
“The Evil Within” is a psychological horror game with a flair for wild enemy designs and intense visuals. The gameplay feels like the classic run and gun style of “Resident Evil 4,” but the narrative presents a complex sci-fi mystery focused on the power of the human mind.
“Dying Light” (PS4/Xbox One/PC)
“Dying Light” takes place in an open-world infested with zombie-like monsters. During the day the monsters are slow and docile, but when the game cycles to night, they become more aggressive, with more acute senses and quick movement. Luckily players can use parkour to quickly scale buildings and evade the monsters, and use environmental traps like electric fences and spikes to stay protected. With robust multiplayer options and a player progression system, “Dying Light” is one of the most engaging horror games for longterm play.
“Alan Wake” (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
“Alan Wake”/Remedy Entertainment
Alan Wake can be considered somewhat of a cult classic, utilizing unique storytelling devices and light-based gameplay mechanics to craft a tight psychological thriller. A novelist at the center of a dark conspiracy, Alan Wake seems like the protagonist of a Stephen King book. Along with his wife Alice, Wake is attacked by shadowy figures controlled by The Dark Presence, a supernatural force that is slowly taking over his small Washington town.
The story plays out through six episodes, making it resemble a TV thriller. During gameplay, Wake must use his flashlight to expose The Dark Presence before they can be killed with regular weapons.
“Left 4 Dead 2” (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
“Left 4 Dead 2” is a classic multiplayer shooter, letting four friends team up to take on legions of the undead in a variety of game modes. While the game doesn’t offer much in the way of a cohesive story, the character voiceovers inject a healthy dose of personality. Coupled with some hilariously gross monster designs, “Left 4 Dead 2” is just as fun as it is scary.