It’s that spooky time of year again! Haunted houses, trick or treating and, of course, scary games! If you’re looking for some ghoulish games to get into the spirit of the season or are looking for a scarily fun time outside of Halloween, here are some great titles that should haunt your thoughts and make you sleep with the lights on!
Resident Evil 2
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the grandfather of scary video games: “Resident Evil!” With so many titles in the twenty-plus years of Capcom’s seminal horror franchise, it can be very tricky to pick a particular entry as the immediate choice. However, if you’re looking to get your feet wet, “Resident Evil 2” is a stellar choice to get into the series. A remake of the original “Resident Evil 2,” the remake follows Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they find themselves trapped in Racoon City following an outbreak of zombies created by the T-Virus. Gameplay follows the same formula of solving puzzles while fending off monsters and conserving resources, but refines the original survival horror experience so much and with modern graphics that this remake is a musty play!
If you’re in the mood for found-footage horror, Red Barrel’s “Outlast” is a prime choice. “Outlast” follows Miles Upshur, a reporter looking into Mount Massive Asylum after receiving an anonymous email about experiments on the patients by the Murkoff Corporation, but soon must escape after finding himself trapped with the now homicidal patients! The gameplay is very similar to “Amnesia” where players are unable to fight back and therefore must run and hide from enemies, but helps refine the formula with hiding places such as lockers and under beds. If you’re looking for thrills and chills, consider trying this first-person horror experience!
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Developed by Frictional Games, “Amnesia: The Dark Descent,” is a terrifying ride from start to finish! Set in the 1830s, players take on the role of Daniel, an amnesiac who wakes up inside of a decrepit German castle filled with horrible monsters and must confront an evil baron! By focusing on running and hiding from enemies instead, “Amnesia” was a gamechanger for the genre as it proved horror games could be more frightening when being unable to fight back, helping to create something fresh when compared to other franchises like “Doom” and “Resident Evil.”
Condemned: Criminal Origins
Stories about violent criminals are already unsettling enough, but Monolith Productions’ “Condemned: Criminal Origins” puts you up close and personal with that in this crime horror game! Condemned has players take on the role of Ethan Thomas, an FBI agent looking into an upsurge of violent crimes in some unnamed city. However, Ethan eventually gets framed for murder by “Serial Killer X” and must hunt down the culprit and clear his name. Gameplay itself is a mix of puzzle-solving and combat as one minute Ethan is looking for clues at crime scenes and then fighting for his life in pitched brawls against crazed citizens. With gritty environments and creepy sound design, check this one out!
Horror and sci-fi go together quite nicely, and this survival horror adaptation of Ridley Scott’s legendary franchise is no exception! Serving as a sequel to the original movie, Creative Assembly’s “Alien: Isolation” follows Amanda Ripley on her way to Sevastopol Station to uncover the fate behind her mother and protagonist of the movie, Ellen Ripley. However, things go quickly wrong as it turns out there is a Xenomorph outbreak on the station, forcing Amanda to play a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Xenomorph while trying to figure out what happened to her mother. Similar to “Amnesia,” players cannot kill the monster, but players are able to fend off enemies including the Xenomorph with quick thinking and a variety of gadgets and weapons. The AI behind the Xenomorph is especially creepy as it will constantly change tactics to find the player, keeping you on the edge of your seat. In space, nobody can hear you scream!
Silent Hill 2
Psychological horror is my favorite sub-genre, and if I had to pick one amazing example, it would be “Silent Hill 2.” Konami’s “Silent Hill 2” follows James Sutherland as he arrives in the resort town of Silent Hill after getting a mysterious letter from his deceased wife telling him to come there. Not long after James arrives, it’s clear the town has gone wrong with horrible abominations prowling the streets, as well as some other strange people who have also been called to the town as well. Gameplay is very similar to the style of “Resident Evil” with finding puzzle items and combating enemies, but the story is the centerpiece of this sordid game with inspiration from classic literature like “Crime and Punishment.” The game does show its age with its outdated controls and graphics, but the narrative and game world are what makes this game truly a work of art and is worth playing at least once. With the remake on the horizon, you should certainly play this game at least once!
Another Sci-Fi horror game on this list is Electronic Art’s “Dead Space!” Taking on the role of Isaac Clarke as he and his team are answering a distress signal coming from the mining ship, USG Ishimura, things quickly go wrong as it’s revealed the ship has been taken over by hostile alien creatures called Necromorphs. With the crew all but dead save for Isaac and two others, players must fend off hordes of Necromorphs while also navigating the ship to figure out what went down, and also rescue Isaac’s girlfriend Nicole. Taking inspiration from “Resident Evil 4” as well as movies like “Event Horizon,” players must navigate the halls of the Ishimura and repair key systems while also fending off enemies. “Dead Space” is wonderful for horror and sci-fi fans alike!
Enjoy these great horror games, and Happy Halloween!
Kelly Baker is an alumnus of West Chester University.