Thanks to the intrinsic interactivity this genre offers, horror is particularly fit for video games. Watching something frightening in a film is one thing, but it’s completely another thing to feel like you’ve experienced it first hand. In the last decade, scary games have had a revival, thanks to titles like Dead Space and Outlast that placed a renewed focus on creating scares and suspense.
As graphic technology keeps evolving, so does the potential for even scarier gaming experiences. There are a variety of games that will scare the pants off you, but if you’re searching for the best scary video games, these are the top 5.
Both Outlast and Outlast II are excellent video games.
The player in both versions, like most survival games, has no arms and must view the world through a video camera.
This pays homage to the cult classic Blair Witch, so if you enjoyed that, you will enjoy this too. The first game had an over-the-top plot involving a psychological ward and an MK Ultra cover-up.
But its sequel only improved the storyline through a helicopter crash survivor and his search to save his wife from a sinister backwoods cult.
About the VR Experience
With an upcoming VR experience on the way, The Outlast Trials, now is the perfect time to plunge into these immersive found-footage works of art.
If you thought the regular 3D experience of Outlast was scary, wait until you become immersed in the terror that is The Outlast Trials.
Left undervalued and overlooked, Get Even is a plot staple of survival horror gaming. Throughout the playthrough, the game uses a massive amount of jump scares.
They are used in such a way as to invoke the story’s central idea: contradictory memories and memory difficulties.
From the beginning of the game, it’s obvious that not everything that Cole Black perceives is true at face value.
A phone with different perspectives is given to the player, such as infrared and surface tracking, and also a silenced pistol.
As players delve deeper into Cole Black’s memories, they start unraveling the darker complexities and frightening realities surrounding his story.
Although it may have been launched back in 2017, Get Even still boasts video game horror.
It has an original storyline and eternal concepts about how our decisions eventually shape who we are.
Moons of Madness
Moons of Madness is the ideal combination of SOMA and Event Horizon for those cosmic horror fans.
The Rock Pocket and Dreamloop Games created a masterpiece of immersive Lovecraftian horror.
It sends players as a troubled astronaut named Shane Newehart to the Crimson World.
Low Review, High Fear
The plot takes place in Funcom’s The Secret World fictional universe, with the previous game’s Orochi Group playing a significant role in Moons of Madness.
Though IGN may have given it a low 5/10 review score, this experience of cosmic horror is still deserving of the many long hours of ever-descending misery it delivers so eloquently.
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home is an unsettling horror adventure reimagined by Thai folklore, using myths and legends as its driving mode of suspense.
The story is tracking Tim on a search to find his wife, who unexpectedly disappeared after a startling revelation.
As Tim plunges more in-depth into the mysteries that afflicted his wife, he will also become entangled and abandoned in a twisted web of angry ghosts.
Indie Statues Originality
Home Sweet Home is often ignored, mostly because of its indie status, but that’s actually what makes it so unique.
The infused bit of Thai mystery makes the experience broader. The only drawback to the game is that the playtime is relatively limited.
Still, a horror masterpiece has been produced by the Yggdrazil Group, one that has prompted a sequel, which is sadly only available on Steam.
Inside is meant for young audiences, but with the injection of puzzle platforming, it still revels upon the horror experience.
In Inside, players in a dystopian world control a young boy, solving puzzles to advance through the different levels and areas involved with this limbo-like environment.
The expertly designed horror puzzle game by Playdead is a well-rounded project that has paid off.
Recognition and Theories
It has gained not only recognition but a range of theories about the essence of its plot.
Who is that boy? Where exactly does he move to or from? The open-ended aspect of the narrative of Inside only amplifies the experience.
Some of the best examples of sci-fi horrors rely on the common fear of the unknown.
From Event Horizon to Alien, science-fiction horror stories often show us the consequences of taking it too far and facing up to things that we don’t fully understand.
Plus, space is just a scary place, and being stuck in space with horrifying aliens is a recipe for terror.
The game’s world-class sound design and thrilling atmosphere deserve all of the praise they have received since the game was released in 2008.
A Dreadful Experience
Dead Space really distinguishes itself in the ways its enemy design influences the storytelling and combat. You’ll never forget the first time you fell for a Necromorph playing dead.
What starts as a game of gory, frightening jump scares quickly transitions into a deeper feeling of dread for the player.
When combining these transitions with the fantastic art style and sound design inside the USG Ishimura, you’ll feel like you are constantly in danger.
Silent Hill 2
If you ask any gamer what they remember most about the first Silent Hill game, they’ll tell you it was the fog.
Of course, the fog-filled streets in the game are partially due to the horrible render distance of the PlayStation, but you can’t deny how effective it was.
The Silent Hill series proves that you don’t need realistic graphics to make a scary game.
Silent Hill 2 does not rely on obfuscation as much but has secured its place as one of the most intimidating horror games ever made by invoking similar feelings of uncertainty.
An Iconic Game
The complex psychological narrative of the game forces you to immerse yourself in a terrifying reality.
The visceral terror of creations like Pyramid Head will ensure that you are never comfortable with any answers you uncover while exploring the game’s work.
There are very few games that are able to scare and scar you quite like Silent Hill 2.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Even slasher films with the lowest budgets understand how much of the action in a horror story consists of running.
In the real world, running away from something is often seen as an act of cowardice, often unfairly so. In horror, running away is your first line of defense.
Amnesia understands the relationship between horror and running better than many games that were released before and after it.
By taking away any real ability that the player has to defend themselves, Amnesia not only makes running feel courageous but also innovates the horror game genre.
A Unique Horror Experience
Amnesia provides a unique horror experience in that it really emulates how you might feel to be in a horror situation.
Realistically, you aren’t going to pull out a weapon and start attacking a terrifying creature roaming around your house – you’re going to run.
It’s common for fans of horror films to debate about what is and isn’t horror. Some might call Silence of the Lambs horror, while others would call it a thriller.
However, there are also many others who find a way to enjoy anything scary no matter what it is labeled as.
Though BioShock doesn’t generally receive the label of horror, it is certainly one of the most effective and disturbing examples of horror that you will find in the video game industry.
From the opening sequence, you will be immersed in the horrific world of Rapture.
A Genuinely Terrifying Experience
The opening of the game quickly reveals the gory, bloody aftermath of the delusions of a madman, and BioShock will pose enthralling questions about the nature of control.
While the classic horror game might not run on nightmare fuel, BioShock can be terrifying when it needs to be.
Clock Tower, which was released about a year before Resident Evil, was barely out before it was overshadowed by Konami’s smash hit.
Still, Clock Tower excelled at concepts of horror that were not only missing from Resident Evil but are arguably underrepresented in many of the horror games of today.
The game draws thematic inspiration from films by Dario Argento.
It is a point-and-click adventure game that had you work your way through an old house while evading a horrifying stalker armed with a massive pair of garden shears.
Ahead of the Game
Not only was the ‘run and hide’ gameplay ahead of the curve for the time that Clock Tower was released, but few games can also boast a slasher villain as memorable as the aptly named Scissorman.
This video game series might be doomed to be forgotten, but it is still one of the scariest games of its time.
Most of the games above are pure walking simulators with little gameplay.
Having told some of the most compelling stories in video gaming, scary video games still do not always share the limelight with big AAA titles, but they’re coming close.