Fall is coming, and with it comes Halloween! It is the season of ghosts and monsters, to celebrate fears. Instead of just watching a scary movie, try playing a horror game in 2020. Here is our list of the top 7 horror games of all time! Whether you want horror games for PC, singleplayer, online multiplayer, mobile, or more, there’ll be something on this list for you.
Why not try these best horror games?
A lot of horror video games end up being just another shooting game with more shadows. Not Alien Isolation. Linked to the Alien series of movies, which are themselves great works of horrifying art, this places in a spaceship where you are stalked by an alien.
Remember the word “isolation” from the title? That’s a big factor in creating a tense and frightening atmosphere, the feeling of being alone in space will get your heart racing. The gameplay is more focused on hiding and running that gun blazing action, fitting the horror genre well. Alien Isolation is a great single player horror game for PC.
2. Left 4 Dead 2
This game, from the legendary developer Valve, delivers excellent single player and online multiplayer with a zombie theme.
This game is generally less about horror and more focused on enjoyable gameplay, with a big focus on teamwork. Many enemy types incapacitate a player completely, your only way to survive is through the help of a teammate. A great game for casual friends to kill time with, or to push yourself to succeed on the high difficulties. The maps have a good degree of randomness that leads to good replayability.
Left 4 Dead 2 remains one of the most enjoyable first-person shooter games. It’s success in such a crowded field despite its age comes down to great design.
3. Silent Hill 2
The Silent Hill series has been seen as the golden standard of horror in gaming, and Silent Hill 2 is generally considered the best iteration in the series. Despite being quite old the game can still deliver today, largely because the horror is psychological, not due to intense effects or high quality graphics. Famously, the fog was included due to limitations of the older hardware. However, it’s a great addition that contributes to overall atmosphere.
In terms of writing, this game is the cream of the crop. Great use of symbolism, mood music, and alternative interpretations is something Hollywood could learn from. The creators have even cited works of Alfred Hitchcock as inspiring them.
Several other entries in the Silent Hill series are also worth playing. Silent Hill 2 was rereleased with The franchise also has a pretty good mobile game.
4. Darkest Dungeon
The only strategy game on our list. Darkest Dungeon is a rouge-lite focused on squad-based combat. The game atmosphere is tense, disgusting, and overflowing with Lovecraftian horror. One of the DLCs has a particularly notable soundtrack riddled with the sounds of buzzing mosquitos. For someone seeking to be scared, this does a great job of putting you on edge.
Creating a character and developing their skills takes time and causes you to grow an attachment, so you fear genuine worry and fear for their well being in the dark, dangerous dungeons. The mechanics of light and dark and narration of a guilty man create a very enjoyable campaign mode.
A 2020 DLC, the Butcher’s Circus, added competitive online multiplayer.
5. Alan Wake
This one is a bit more mystery than horror, but it’s an enjoyable game with unique mechanics either way. One of the better stories available in video gaming, you play a writer who, while trying to overcome writer’s block, end up searching for a missing wife.
The story has lots of collectibles to really get at the heart of the story, and plenty of references to horror stories in literature and movies.
You must manage firearms and a flashlight at the same time, reloading both while managing ammo and batteries. It’s fresh and compelling gameplay make the game worth a playthrough or two.
6. Resident Evil Series
Another great entry from Japan, the Resident Evil franchise has a total of 24 games and spawned a series of films. The films have generally had, less than stellar reviews, but the games remain some of the best works of horror.
These are zombie games that typically focus on resource management. You have relatively low amounts of ammunition, generally the game is about solving problems creatively instead of through good shooting or quick reflexes. Enemies include zombies of many varieties (the birds can be particularly nasty) as well as humans. Like many zombie films, the game often focuses on not just zombies and a mysterious virus, but how it affects human society. The game often is more like an interactive film than a video game.
It’s impossible to choose just one Resident Evil to recommend. I’ll say 4 and 5, because they are the games I’m most familiar with, but each people have their own ideas.
7. Dead Space
If you enjoy films such as Event Horizon, Alien, or other Sci-Fi horror, this is worth a look at. The game is especially frightening, partially because your character is the only one, being truly alone can be terrifying. The gameplay is really well done, all weapons are creatively repurposed mining equipment. Your health is displayed as lights on your spacesuit. This light on extras approach helps create immersion, you typically only see things that your character would see.
As far as being scary, this is arguably the scariest one. As an adult I still have no desire to play it alone at night. I most strongly recommend the original Dead Space, though the sequels aren’t bad either.
That’s our top 7 Horror games! If you know any particularly scary titles that we forgot, tell us in the comments!