Horror games are all about those spine-chilling moments, those jump scares that make you physically shudder in fear, and the psychological impact of not quite knowing what’s around the next corner. They aren’t for everyone, but those who enjoy being scared for fun are spoilt for choice these days. In honor of imminent Halloween festivities, we’ve compiled a list of the five most terrifying games around you should definitely load up on the spookiest night of the year.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
If you’re looking for a game that spits up an array of emotions ranging from absolute terror to genuine trepidation, then Amnesia: The Dark Descent is just the ticket. Weaving a web of rising fear through intelligent puzzles, a robust narrative, and just the right set of FX and soundtrack to scare the pants off even the most weathered horror gamer, Amnesia: The Dark Descent moves away from classic tropes found in the genre. By not relying on cheap scares, the game takes on a psychological aspect which edges slowly closer to the straight up disconcerting as the player makes their way through the game’s rich tapestry of fever inducing nightmares. Add to that a fairly limited set of abilities to actually avoid the monstrosities peppering Amnesia’s world and you get an unmatched sense of helplessness. Finishing the game becomes a necessity rather than an end goal.
Dead Space 2
Navigating the vestiges of a spacecraft infested by necromorphs – a rabid regiment of mutated rotting corpses with added appendages such as massive wing-like blades towering ominously from over its head – as hero Isaac Clarke is quality horror set in space at its finest. The necromorphs are where Dead Space 2 fosters much of its terror and does so through a rich selection of different variations, each as eerie as the next. Add to that the fact that they can take quite a beating before going down, as a player you are always on the verge of an untimely death. Mistakes lead to huge consequences as these vile creatures are bestowed with a smart, innovative AI that will surprise you at every turn. On top of that you have to contend with suffocation, zero g environments, obstacles, and a rather unforgiving check point system. It’s that sense of unpredictability housed under the ambiance of a sombre, spooky space station that gives Dead Space 2 so much weight in the horror genre.
Silent Hill 2
Keiichiro Toyama’s seminal psychological horror masterpiece Silent Hill set the scene for decades to come when it released back in the latter half of the 1990s. Yet, the sequel, Silent Hill 2, is where things got down right upsetting to the point of leaving near indelible scars for those with a weaker mental disposition. Tackling the guilty conscious of a man tortured by his own existence, Silent Hill 2 covers much of the most distressing aspects of all things gaudy and chilling, but does so with incredible gravitas adding an unrivaled veneer which oozes undigested trauma and anguish. Enemies take a backseat to the emotional toll of simply roaming through the streets, tackling puzzles, and the alternative locales conjured up by the minds of the visitors to the foggy town known as Silent Hill. The multiple endings also add depth with each as scary as the next, not to mention the final enemy who is bloodcurdling terror personified.
The name says it all. As journalist Miles Upshur, you decided it’s a good idea to traipse through an abandoned psychiatric hospital, for who knows what reason. The patients are of course still there and as is the wont of such an establishment, they veer towards having murderous dispositions. Devoid of combat and heavily centered on stealth, Outlast shows that simply meeting face to face with a psychotic patient is enough to warrant the game over screen. The precariousness of survival takes on new meaning as players hide, sneak, and run to stay alive. Add to that the smart night vision camcorder mechanic, which is the only way to peer into the dark recess of unlit rooms. And of course, the camcorder has batteries that run out. Though a little heavy on the classic jump scare, Outlast employs the trope with aplomb for an all round disturbing play through.
P.T. is simply a playable teaser about an unnamed protagonist as he walks down a seemingly never ending corridor that loops continuously. More importantly, P.T. is Hideo Kojima having a go at creating a Silent Hill-esque game and in true to form its agonizingly scary, a small masterpiece. Unfortunately, the game never came to fruition due to Kojima parting ways with Konami. P.T. is the untimely ruins of a game that will never see the light of day. As possibly one of the most terrifying experience ever put into video game format, it’s quite a significant loss to gamers everywhere. Copies are few and far between, so if you get a chance to play, jump at the opportunity.