The horror genre has proven it isn’t just limited to movies. Horror games have become increasingly popular over the years and, as technology becomes more and more realistic, the games become that much more terrifying. There have been numerous notable horror games over the years, but here are 18 of the scariest ones you’ll ever play. Good luck!
The video game world was rocked with the release of Manhunt back in 2003. The storyline was that you were a death row inmate forced into some twisted murder game where you got to choose how violently you took out your enemies. Even the RockStar staff said they were divided on the game because it felt so gross and violent.
17. TellTale’s The Walking Dead
I have never played a game that pulled me in more emotionally than The Walking Dead. The story unfolds masterfully as you face decision after decision that affects how characters look at you as well as who lives and who dies. The jump scenes are even scarier when it involves characters you actually care about. It’s not just a game for horror fans or for video game fans; it’s for those that want to see a true work of art.
16. System Shock 2
What made System Shock 2 so scary was that, not only did you have to deal with all the usual horror elements, but your main enemy was an artificial intelligence system you couldn’t escape and knew everything you were going to do before you did it. Most of the time, you felt completely helpless as it followed and monitored your every step.
15. Silent Hills/ P.T.
If you haven’t played the Silent Hills demo simply titled P.T. you are seriously missing out on a terrifying experience. There’s no real explanation as you begin wandering through a dream-like hallway on a bizarre loop that gets more and more creepy on every cycle. If it’s any indication of the next Silent Hill game, it may be the scariest one yet.
14. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
In most games the element of fear is suppressed because you can fight back. In Amnesia, you can only run and hide, which makes you feel completely helpless. You have to be careful though; staying out of the light for too long will cause your character to go insane. Have fun balancing that equation out.
What made BioShock so scary wasn’t as much the enemies and characters you encountered, but how masterfully the entire story was told. You were completely engrossed in the game. Don’t get me wrong, the first time you encounter a Big Daddy, you’ll jump out of your chair, but you rarely see a game as beautifully and terrifyingly told as this.
12. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Eternal Darkness jumped into the horror genre to compete with Resident Evil and Silent Hill and was released exclusively on the GameCube. The goal of the game was to not go insane, so you can imagine what that entailed. Not only was the game a total mind trip, they also added in features like fake memory card errors just to mess with you. Sometimes the sound would get really loud or go silent to literally make you think you were going crazy. It was brilliant.
11. Doom 3
The Doom franchise has been around for years, but no installment has been better than Doom 3. I mean, you’re dealing with an opened portal to Hell. You never knew what was lurking in the shadows, and it seemed like there were way too many shadows everywhere you turned. If you only play one game out of the series, play this one.
The internet’s most popular urban legend does not disappoint when it comes to the video game version. It’s hard to even classify it as a game because it’s unlike anything else you’ve ever played. As soon as you hear the sound of Slender Man approaching, you’ll experience fear like you’ve never felt in a game before. Less is definitely more in this situation.
9. Condemned: Criminal Origins
Condemned was released as one of the original 360 games and set a standard for suspense and horror that few other games ever reached. You played a detective tracking down a murderer while also losing his grasp on reality. Your enemies were unpredictable and vicious. You never knew when they’d come jumping out of the shadows at you. If you played it with surround sound, it was almost too intense.
8. Fatal Frame
Fatal Frame has you wandering into a haunted house full of ghosts, but the twist is that you can only see them through the lens of your camera. Do you know how terrifying it is to be walking around and get an eerie feeling then looking through you camera to see an evil spirit standing directly in front of you? It’s quite scary. That’s the answer.
7. Resident Evil 4
What makes Resident Evil 4 the scariest out of the Resident Evil series is that the pace of the game changed completely with this installment. Gone were the days of the slow walking zombies you could easily run around or close a door and escape. These were crazed, flesh eating monsters coming to consume you. Oh, and some of them have chainsaws.
The story wasn’t straightforward so it’s not like you were just playing through each level. You worked your way through the haunted Japanese village and desperately tried not to become the latest human sacrifice while being chased by these awful creatures that found a way to make the undead even more unsettling. This wasn’t a game where you could just run around and kill everything; you had to pick your moments and hide more than fight.
5. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is the scariest entry from the franchise to date. The first one did a fantastic job of creating this surreal and atmospheric world, but the second installment took it to a whole new level. You can never quite grasp what’s real and what’s not or whom you’re really battling against. The entire game feels like a journey into the psyche of an insane man.
4. Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
Fatal Frame 2 found a way to take the horrifying concept of the original and make it even more frightening. This time you play as two young girls as they navigate their way through a haunted village. You’d think having two characters would make it easier, but it’s just the opposite. Now you have two different bodies you have to make sure aren’t being attacked by invisible ghosts.
F.E.A.R. perfectly combined the first person shooter with the J-horror trend of creepy little girls with long, black hair. So that meant in the middle of a gunfight, the whole thing could transform into a supernatural nightmare with Alma slowly creeping towards you. The sequel is an excellent companion as well.
2. Dead Space
Sci-fi and horror are blended to perfection in Dead Space and calling it intense doesn’t even begin to do it justice. During the first 10 minutes you’ll have jumped or screamed a half dozen times. After that, it just keeps getting crazier. Your enemies are disgusting and unlike anything you’ve seen so defeating each one feels like an accomplishment. It’s one of the scariest video game experiences you’ll ever have.
You have no weapons. The only source of light you have is on your camcorder that’s rapidly running out of batteries. You can’t fight back. The only defense you have against enemies is to run and hide as you try to escape utter hell. This is the only game that I couldn’t play by myself at night. It’s that intense.