Original publication date November 1, 2018.
his article may contain spoilers
Not surprisingly, horror games spike in popularity once the Halloween season begins to roll around. YouTubers and regular gamers alike flock to the newest indie and triple-A horror games available right around the time October starts up, and people love playing the games that make them jump in their rooms at night.
Halloween parties and horror movies might be one great way to spend Halloween night, but why not live through a terrifying experience by playing one?
Here are a few of the greatest (and some critically acclaimed) horror games to play (or just watch on YouTube) that have come out over the past few years.
1. P.T. (2014) Konami
Considered one of the greatest horror games of all time, “P.T.” suddenly appeared on the PlayStation store, and people flocked to download it to see what it was all about.
Praised for its incredible use of a limited environment, confusingly subtle storyline and hyper-realistic graphics, “P.T.” brought horror fans a game they had been waiting for. While “P.T.” is no longer available to play after Hideo Kojima left Konami, it was the talk of the gaming community back in late 2014 (and still very much so now).
Although no longer available, there are tons of let’s plays on YouTube of people getting the pants scared off them while playing.
2. The Evil Within 1 & 2 (2014) Tango Gameworks & Bethesda Softworks
The Evil Within, made by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda, was Bethesda’s chance at gaining traction in the horror industry.
With two games making up “The Evil Within’s” series, it is notorious for the standard monster formula that weaves its way throughout every aspect of each game.
Playing as a detective named Sebastian Castellanos whose been assigned to an incident at Beacon Hills Mental Hospital, the player realizes while playing that the main villain, Ruvik, is quickly controlling the world that they’re stuck in.
Players will find the storyline to be a bit confusing once they begin playing, but will figure out how the world of The Evil Within begins to work towards the end of the game.
3. Until Dawn (2015) Supermassive Games & Sony Computer Entertainment
While it boasts the fairly cliched storyline about following high schoolers venturing to a cabin high in the mountains of western Canada, “Until Dawn” does have interesting monsters that haunt and terrify the group, while also having enough room in its storyline for a few interesting plot twists.
The game subjects the player to making decisions about how other players’ fate will turn out, forcing the player to question their morals.
4. Layers of Fear (2016) Bloober Team
Played through the eyes of a mentally disturbed, starving artist, the main objective is to understand the downfall of someone having gone through a tragedy and trapping themselves in a Victorian mansion.
Praised for its intriguing story, graphics and environment, this is the first of a few games that have seen elements and inspiration taken from “P.T.” The game creates an intense environment that must be navigated by the player in order to learn how someone could go insane through embracing something they love.
5. Doki Doki Literature Club! (2017) Team Salvato
Here’s the thing – the title may not scream ‘horror,’ but just wait until you start playing it. “Doki Doki Literature Club!” (DDLC) is not your typical dating-simulator or anime novella. That is just the image it presents on the surface.
While a few indie games have successfully reached to the top of the list as far as best horror games goes, “Doki Doki” has managed to join the ranks with the rest of them in just a short amount of time.
After the player names their character, it’s obvious that the character is a typical boy attending a Japanese high school, and becomes friends with four beautiful girls in a literature club. Shockingly, the character becomes close with one of the girls (of the players’ choosing), but won’t let you get too close, as the game suddenly turns on its head.
It is definitely one of those games you cannot judge right off the bat, and players weren’t surprised by the end of the game why they found it in the horror section on Steam.
6. Outlast 1 & 2 (2013-2017) Red Barrels
With the success of Red Barrels’ first creepy game in the “Outlast” series came “Outlast 2” a few years after it in 2017.
Following a reporter investigating a haunting scene at a mental institution, Miles must defend himself through a plague of monsters lurking the hallways.
“Outlast” is known for one interesting element, forcing the player to use the video camera as their only main source for light as they navigate their way through the various corridors.
With no weapons or anyway to defend himself, Miles must use incredible stealth to maneuver his way out of the hospital.
7. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017) Capcom
After the “Resident Evil” series began to fall, Capcom was able to revive the worn-out series with its seventh (seventh!) installment.
“Resident Evil” is notoriously famous for its use of camera angles, seen in its older games and having zombies or the un-dead the staple present within every single game.
With the dramatic shift from third person to first person, “RE7” successfully relaunched the franchise by changing up its formula.
Stuck in a seemingly abandoned farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, the player quickly realizes that they’re trapped by a family who has been plagued by some unknown affliction. “RE7” is praised for its main plot, graphics and survival tactics.
8. Visage (2018) SadSquare Studios
This is the first game on the list that has been directly labeled as a ‘”P.T.” Successor.’
After the cancellation of the playable “P.T.” teaser and the game that it was teasing, a new “Silent Hills” game back in 2014, many indie companies began creating games they knew fans of the horror genre wanted more of.
While not directly related to “P.T.” in any form of storyline, Visage takes its hyper-realistic graphics to a new level, and allows players to feel like they are playing a longer “P.T.” game.
Although the full game has not been released yet, the demo created a surge of YouTubers trying to be the first to play the game, and created a new storm within the horror community. Be sure to look out for the full version in the future.
9. Five Nights at Freddy’s (2014-) Scott Cawthon
If you’re into keeping an eye on animal-styled animatronics roaming pizzeria hallways through security cameras, then this game is right up your alley.
I’m not even going to attempt to try and explain the plot for “FNAF” because of how insanely complicated it has become over the past four years after the release of eleven games.
The initial “FNAF” that launched the sensational franchise back in 2014 gave the player a job of a security guard watching the Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria at night until six in the morning.
It’s the players job to keep track of the animatronics that tend to roam around at night and keep them from getting into the office, where the player is always located. This game is known for being the most popular indie horror game of all time, and, at times, some of the hardest.
10. Alien Isolation (2014) Sega
Following the “Alien” film franchise spawned the video game to come along with it in 2014.
Praised for being one of the best science fictional survival horror games to come out in years,
“Alien Isolation” takes place on a space station that has been ravaged by an alien-like creature crawling through its hallways.
Praised for having the player feel outsmarted by the AI and giving as much tension as one could experience playing a horror game, Alien captures what a lot of other science fiction games don’t.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
Scanner Sombre (2017)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)
DOOM 3 (2004)
SCP Containment Breach (2012)