The Top Five Horror Games to Play this Halloween
It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, where the candy is plentiful and the frights are frequent. If you’re looking for something spooky to
do, these games, selected from a large and storied tradition of the horror genre in video gaming, are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
In “SOMA,” you wake up alone in an underwater lab where the robots have begun to act… strangely. You must navigate your way through the abandoned and malfunctioning facility by yourself, while trying to figure out why you’re there in the first place. “SOMA” does not rely on a lot of the normal horror-game tropes to get scares. There’s not really any gore and startling jump-scares are basically nonexistent. What the game does provide, however, is a uniquely unsettling experience in an original environment with creative monsters and a tight focus on storytelling. Available on Steam and for the PlayStation 4, this game is a creepy masterwork.
4. Five Nights at Freddy’s
While the franchise may appear to be played out, with merchandise, knock-off games, and sequels everywhere, the original is still a powerhouse of tension and fright. Your shifts as a night watchman at the pizza place from Hell in “FNaF” are a test of your will and reflexes as you monitor the cameras and keep a tight watch on who or what is outside your office doors. “FNaF” plays differently than a lot of other horror games, since it relies on forced passivity rather than forced action on the part of the character; instead of making you move through rooms and areas, your character can’t run even if you want them to. For the reasonable price of $4.99 on Steam and the Google Play Store, you can experience the game that inspired a whole new sub-genre of video game horror. I’d recommend against buying it on mobile unless you have nerves of steel, lest you throw your phone in terror.
3. Dead Space
In this game, you play as silent engineer Isaac Clarke, who gets stranded on a space station infested with a violent alien lifeform capable of taking over and transforming dead human bodies. While “Dead Space” is on the light side of the survival horror genre (you get a LOT of different guns to blow aliens to kingdom come), the tensions of inventory management and isolation are still palpable as you wander the halls of the S.S. Ishimura. This game’s opening sequence alone earns it a spot on the list, and moving through the world and unraveling the story of what happened is a heart-pounding experience. “Dead Space” is a last generation title, available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and on Steam, but don’t let its age fool you; this game packs a horrifying punch.
2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
This game is not for the faint of heart, on a lot of different levels. Jump-scares, scarce resources, and healthy doses of gore and grotesquerie populate this radical departure from the classic “Resident Evil” formula. This game shines in its depiction of the villains – the family who lives in the ramshackle swamp estate your character finds themselves trapped in are terrifying, disgusting, and somehow sympathetic. Despite its definitely different feel, however, the game still holds over enough of the classic tropes of its franchise to feel familiar to fans, although again, a lot grosser. I really don’t think I can emphasize enough that this game gets nasty. A newer title, the game is still going for $59.99 on Steam, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but if you’re a fan of either the classic “Resident Evil” games or horror in general, you don’t want to pass this one up.
1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
This game will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, mess you up. Originally released on PC in 2010 and rereleased for the PlayStation 4 in 2016, “Amnesia” has lasted as a singularly terrifying horror game experience. Trapped in a mansion with no memory, your character must fight to remember who they are while running from all manner of things that go bump in the night. This game also introduces a sanity mechanic, which has now become a staple in horror gaming. If you let your lantern run out and your character is caught in the dark, he slowly goes insane and becomes prone to vivid and horrible hallucinations. There is also no combat in “Amnesia;” the game prefers to highlight your helplessness through lots of running and hiding, which adds to the terror of coming face to face with one of the mansion’s creatures. Overall, this game stands apart as doing exactly what a horror game is meant to do: terrify you, but keep you coming back to play more.