One thing I love is to get scared. That’s why I watch so many horror movies (although most of them aren’t very good at being scary). It is also why I play a lot of horror games.
The fact that you are actively in control of the character in the game makes it even more scary than movies. The fact that your own actions and reactions will determine whether the main character survives is a huge plus for horror games over movies.
With that, let’s get to the point of this post. I’m sure some of you out there also like to be scared… So let’s take a look at 7 of the best horror game that with scare you utterly senseless.
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
We’re going to start this off with a PS2 game from the Fatal Frame series, known as Project Zero in the US and just Zero in Japan. The series itself is a paranormal series, focusing around ghosts and rituals. The major aspect of gameplay, however, is that you can’t fight back, expect for taking photos of the ghosts with a camera. The camera hurts them, and will eventually “kill” them, but you have to time your shots just right in order to maximise damage.
In Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly, you follow a pair of twins who come across a lost village. Of course, the village itself is haunted, and you need to work out what happened and escape. However, you can’t just run away, because there’s something wrong with one of the sisters…
Now, it’s difficult to explain the horror in Crimson Butterfly, because it doesn’t rely on many jump scares like other games. Instead, it focuses on building up a constant sense of dread as you jog (you can’t run) through the deserted village, never quite sure if you just saw a ghost go through the wall in front of you, or if you imagined it. The fixed camera angles also help to add to the atmosphere, as you’re never sure what is lurking just off camera.
Silent Hill 2
Sticking with the atmospheric horror games, we move on to Silent Hill 2, again for PS2. Now the Silent Hill series is well known for its slow build up of fear, but the second in the series did it perfectly! The strongest aspect of horror in these games is the sense of the unknown… You are constantly wondering what is out there in the darkness or the fog…
Then you need to add in all the psychological elements in Silent Hill 2… For example, you’re character (James) is in the horrific town searching for his wife Mary who has been dead for 3 years, because he received a letter from her saying she was there. However, along the way he meets a lady called Maria who is an almost identical twin of Mary. There’s a little girl in the town who seems to hate James and want him dead, a man named Eddie who seems to have some serious anger issues from bullying, and Angela, who has some serious daddy issues… And I’m trying not to spoil things there…
And of course, there’s also Pyramind Head… The huge demonic creature who spends his immortal time hunting you down, raping other monsters and slaughtering people… So, yeah, it’s a pretty damn scary town and Silent Hill 2 is probably the best installment of the series to showcase that!
Resident Evil 7
The newest entry in this list, and also the moment that Resident Evil got back on track of being a horror franchise rather than an over-the-top, Michael Bay-esque action series, Resident Evil 7 will have you screaming and crying if you’re not prepared! Especially if you play it with PlayStation VR!
In a similar setup to Silent Hill 2, you play as Ethan, who has travelled to a run down house in search of his wife who went missing years ago. However, when you get there, you find the house dilapidated, the food rotten, and a family of immortal psychopaths who are hellbent on finding and killing you!
You can barely defend yourself for most of the game, instead having to rely on swift navigation of the winding corridors and your ability to find a safe place to hide! Add to this the fact that it is a first person game and you can play it in VR, and you’ll find yourself wishing you had a few sets of additional underwear whilst playing it!
Amnesia The Dark Descent
Next on the list is the game that really got the first person, hide and seek style horror gameplay famous, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The basic storyline involves you waking up in an old castle with no memory of who you are or why you are there (hence the name Amnesia). From there, you need to explore the castle, work out what is going on and find out why you have no memories. It all sounds fine at the moment, right? Well…
Yeah, I didn’t mention the fact that you’re hunted by ravenous monsters that can’t die, and that you have no means of defending yourself, whatsoever! Oh, and you also need to find oil for your lantern in order to be able to see in most parts of the castle. And if that wasn’t enough, when you are using the lantern, the monsters can see you, but if you turn it out, you start to go insane!
And I didn’t even mention the water level yet, where you’re chased by an invisible enemy who will run at you whenever you’re in the water. So the level becomes a horrifying game of “The Floor is Lava”, where youneed to jump from box to box in order to survive… At least, until you get the key to the long corridor that you need to run down in order to escape, which is (of course) filled with water and no boxes. So you’re left sprint for your life, closing and barricading the doors behind you in the hopes that you’ll survive, only to see the doors get broken down, so you turn and sprint again.
Another relatively new game this time, and another first person hide and seek game (as that is the general way that horror games are going now), Outlast puts you in the shoes of a reporter within a mental hospital for the criminally insane… Now that’s always a good start, isn’t it? Naturally, things have gone wrong, and the patients are running lose…
So yeah, there you are, a reporter in the midst of hundreds of insane scinimals that are hunting for your blood! What can you do? You can run! You can run like hell, not looking back! You can find a place to hide and hope that whatever is chasing you just runs by and doesn’t notice you.
Oh, and you can scream as well… Especially in the bits where you need to use your camera to see because everything is too dark.
Rule of Rose
Next we move on to a more typical and old school survival horror, once again from the PS2 days; Rule of Rose. As with Silent Hill 2 and Fatal Frame, the game relies on fixed camera angles to add a sense of dread and fear for the unknown. The basic storyline follows Jennifer, a young woman who is taking to an abandoned orphanage. Once there, she is tortured until losing conscoiusness, and awakens in an abandoned airship that is run by a group of maniacal children called the Red Crayon Aristocrats.
From here, you are forced to do their bidding, all whilst tormented and hunted by creatures. The fear in Rule of Rose isn’t from being hounded by giant men with axes, or from being jumped upon by zombies. It is, again, the fear of the unknown. You don’t know what is going on, why it is happening, or how to stop your avatar (Jennifer) from being emotionally and physically tortured.
The final entry on this list is another new game, and another first person hide and seek horror; Alien: Isolation. Incidentally, this is also the first good Alien game in years! Set as a side story to the movies, it follows Ripley’s daughter as she goes to a space station and finds it empty. You are left skulking through the corridors, walls covered in blood, trying to find survivors and a way out again.
Of course, you’re not alone… Like the first movie, there is a single Xenomorph that is on your trail. It’s hunting you, listening for you… And it’s clever! Really clever! If you make a noise, anywhere, then it will move to investigate it. If you run, it will hear you. If you use lights, it will investigate it… Oh, and it can go in the air ducts too!
On top of that, like Resident Evil 7, you can play it in VR as well! Can you imagine running through corridors, listening to the beeping of the scanner, trying to work out where the Xenomorph is so that you can go a different way? It really is heart-pounding!
And That’s All Folks
Those are seven horror games that will absolutely scare you senseless! So, if you’re like me and like to feel adrenaline and fear every now and then, I cannot recommend these games higher! just, seriously, make sure that you have a spare set of underwear or two with you if you’re planning on playing for an extended period of time (or even just an hour, depending on the game).
Do you like horror games? Have you or would you play any of these seven? Got any others that you love? Let me know in the comments below!