For years and years people have found themselves fascinated with horror films, books, television shows, and anything that can provide them with a sense of helplessness and terror. I have absolutely no idea why we do the things we do, I’m sure there’s some scientific answer to that, but seeing as I am no doctor, I will just continue to be amazed by the human brain. One recent method of inciting psychological terror on one’s mind is horror video games. Ranging from paranormal to slasher/serial killers, the video game development industry has found countless ways to bring this so oddly desired adrenaline rush to the gaming community. Not only do you see what’s going on in these games, but what makes them different from movies and television is that they put you in control of the action. So let’s look at the top 5 horror games to play if you enjoy being mentally tortured with a bunch of scary stuff!
5. Alien: Isolation
First up on the list we’ve got Alien: Isolation. This is the horror/survival game based on the classic Ridley Scott “Alien” movies. Alien: Isolation puts you directly in the shoes of Amanda Ripley as she navigates through a space station completing various objectives while also needing to avoid, outsmart, and defeat various enemies along the way; the biggest of these enemies would have to be the Alien. Unfortunately, the Alien cannot be defeated meaning the player will have to rely on their survival skills, stealth, and a flamethrower to survive a horrifying encounter with the Alien.
One of the more recent additions to this list, Phasmophobia has quickly become one of the most popular horror games we’ve seen in a while. Developed by Kinetic Games, Phasmophobia is an indie co-op psychological horror game. The game released in Early Access on September 18, 2020 for PC and even includes crossplay VR support. Phasmophobia allows you to play with up to three other players as you take on the role of a team of paranormal investigators exploring haunted locations. The game blew up out of nowhere and has become one of the popular games played by Markiplier, Corpse, Sykkuno, Josh A, and many other popular content creators.
3. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent was one of the first horror games to explode into popularity with major content creators such as Markiplier and PewDiePie creating loads of content on the game. It was developed by Frictional Games and released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in 2010. The game was released for PlayStation 4 in 2016, Xbox One in 2018, as well as Nintendo Switch in 2019. In the game, players are put in the shoes of Daniel, who is tasked with navigating Brennenburg Castle while simultaneously avoiding various dangers and solving puzzles throughout the castle. The unique thing about Amnesia: The Dark Descent is that, in addition to a health bar, the game includes a sanity level. The designer of the game, Thomas Grip, said that “the idea was basically that the darkness itself should be an enemy.” This is a terrifying idea and one that is implemented to perfection. Daniel’s sanity decreases by staying in the dark for too long, witnessing unsettling events, or looking directly at monsters. If you have a low enough sanity level, you will start to experience visual and auditory hallucinations and an increased chance of attracting monsters. This is definitely a must-play if you enjoy horror games.
2. Resident Evil
If you are a glutton for psychological terror, you ought to give the Resident Evil series a shot. I would have selected a single game from this series, but honestly there’s so many and they’re all terrifying, so you might as well just take your pick or play them all. The series includes Resident Evil (1996), Resident Evil 2 (1998), Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999), Resident Evil – Code: Veronica (2000), Resident Evil Gaiden (2001), Resident Evil (2002), Resident Evil Zero (2002), Resident Evil: The Missions (2003), Resident Evil: Outbreak (2003), Resident Evil 4 (2004), Resident Evil: Deadly Silence (2006), Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (2007), Resident Evil: Genesis (2008), Resident Evil 5 (2009), REsident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (2009), Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (2011), Resident Evil: Revelations (2012), Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (2012), Resident Evil 6 (2012), Resident Evil Revelations 2 (2015), Resident Evil Origins Collection (2016), Umbrella Corps (2016), Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017), Resident Evil 2 (2019), Resident Evil 3 (2020), Resident Evil Resistance (2020), and Resident Evil Village (2021).
Outlast is by far one of the most terrifying games I’ve ever played. Maybe it’s just because I was a kid in high school, but I don’t think I’m alone when I say that this game terrified me (and I only played the demo!) The Outlast series includes Outlast (2013), Outlast: Whistleblower (2014), Outlast II (2017), and the upcoming The Outlast Trials (2021). The third installment in the Outlast series, The Outlast Trials, is a highly-anticipated game as fans of the series are ready to jump back into the horror of it and see what developer Red Barrels has to offer us this time in the prequel to the first two games. Outlast is definitely one of the best horror games on the market right now.