Every year when October rolls around, horror fans inevitably binge on all relatively terrifying bits they can uncover. Like any other part of the entertainment industry, video games have delivered some of the most harrowing experiences out there. Now is the best time to dive and and see for yourself, after all. With that in mind, here are some of our favorites.
10. The Evil Within
Directed by the man who created Resident Evil, Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within holds up as one of the best original horror games since the creation of the genre. In The Evil Within you play as Sebastian Castellanos as he navigates through a supernatural world filled with nightmarish creatures and horribly twisted landscapes. The game features combat mechanics which will feel familiar to Resident Evil veterans too — complete with several distinct boss fights to keep you on your toes.
9. Alien: Isolation
Over the years the Alien name has gone through plenty of good and bad times in the video game industry, but thankfully Creative Assembly’s Alien: Isolation is one of the high points. Designed as a survival horror experience like Outlast or Amnesia, the game tasks players with surviving against a single xenomorph as by hiding in lockers and using a few different tools. There’s a catch though: The more you use tools like the motion tracker? The easier it will be for the xenomorph to find out where you’re hiding and kill you.
Even though Frictional Games already has a spot on this list with Amnesia: The Dark Descent, we couldn’t leave out the studio’s most recent project: SOMA. The game revolves around Simon Jarrett, a Canadian who wakes up in an underwater research facility following a brain scan. Like Amnesia, SOMA places you in a hostile environment where you know nothing and encourages you to discover the truth about what happened. It’s filled with excellent narrative design, atmospheric sound design, and, of course, robots that want to kill you. Think Alien, but underwater*.
7. Killing Floor 2
If you’re someone like me who misses the traditional zombie horde mode experience in Call of Duty, you might want to grab a few friends and try out Tripwire’s Killing Floor 2 this Halloween. It may not be a scary game in the strictest sense, but it does deliver a hefty chunk of zombie-based action. The whole premise is teaming up with a group of players, picking a class, and working together to survive against a horde of zombies looking to go to chow town on your brains.
If you’ve never played any of the BioShock games, Halloween is the perfect time to jump into the franchise. Set in the underwater city of Rapture, BioShock begins a joyride filled with morally ambiguous decisions, genetic modification, and plenty of jump scares. While it wasn’t necessarily designed as a horror experience, there’s plenty of set pieces and twisted characters that make it a worthy addition to your Halloween schedule. Not to mention, you can grab BioShock and its two sequels remastered for the current generation with BioShock: The Collection.
5. Outlast 2 (Demo)
If playing through an entire survival horror game isn’t really your cup of tea, but you’re looking for a good scare that wont cost a dime, the demo for Outlast 2 is for you. Outlast 2 focuses on a pair of investigative journalists caught in the Arizona desert while looking into an impossible murder of a pregnant woman. Like Outlast, it’s filled with atmospheric horror and survival mechanics but packed into a free, 25-minute experience that won’t cause too many nightmares.
4. Dead Space
Developed by Visceral Games and designed from the ground up to be a survival horror title, Dead Space is one of the best third-person horror experiences in gaming. Ship systems engineer Isaac Clarke must fight his way through space installations and planets infested with alien zombies known as necromorphs during the game. The game’s often known for its ability to scare players through a variety of different tactics. If you end up diving in, keep an eye on all of those television monitors — it will save your life once or twice.
While many might consider Bloodborne to be outside of the traditional horror genre, it currently stands as one of the most atmospheric and intense experiences available on the PlayStation 4. From the same people who brought you Dark Souls, Bloodborne is a twist on the tried-and-true formula influenced by authors like H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. Sure, it may be a little difficult to adjust to, but it’s a gaming experience perfect for your Halloween nights filled with beasts, supernatural visions, and plenty of blood.
2. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Chances are good that, if you’ve been at all interested in horror gaming experiences, Amnesia: The Dark Descent has already cropped up on your radar. Originally released in 2010, Amnesia puts you in the shoes of a man named Daniel trapped in a castle with no memory as he hides under beds, in closets, and behind doors to avoid the monster hunting him. A little taste? The game actually forces you to remain in the light to preserve Daniel’s sanity. If you don’t, you start to see hallucinations and hear monsters that aren’t actually there.
Like Amnesia, Outlast is a first-person survival horror experience where you play as freelance investigate journalist Miles Upshur. Following a tip from an anonymous source, Upshur finds himself trapped in Mount Massive Asylum wherein the patients have mutilated nearly every member of the staff — and he’s next. While Outlast has a more graphic approach to horror, it follows the same basic concepts of Amnesia: Run, hide, and survive. The only difference between the two is that Outlast never stops scaring you; it’s just one long adrenaline ride that keeps on giving.