October 16, 2021

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Top 10 Horror Games To Play Right Now

Horror games provide some of gaming’s most exhilarating experiences, and much like their silver screen counterparts, they aim to get you as close to experiencing death as possible without actually dying. In between the thrills and jumpscares, horror also lends itself well to character-focused storytelling that can often pull on one’s heartstrings (but not before bumping that heart rate up a bit first). While what makes something scary ranges from person to person, this list highlights some of the most terrifying recent games we’ve played. Here are ten great horror games, listed in no particular order, that you’ll have a spooky time getting lost in.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Pc

Resident Evil 2 Remake is a rare gaming feat in many ways. It successfully remakes the beloved classic of the same name, and it does so with some of the most visually stunning graphics in all of gaming. Plus, it’s straight-up terrifying. You play as either Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield while making your way through the zombie-ridden Raccoon City Police Department and other parts of the greater Raccoon City. As you might expect in a Resident Evil, there’s plenty of puzzles, scares, and of course, zombies. Easily one of the most terrifying entries in the Resident Evil franchise, Resident Evil 2 Remake is a master class in horror, blending together what solidified the series as a mainstay years ago with modern graphics and gameplay that have you squirming on the couch with clutched, sweaty hands. It boasts a lot of replayability, too, thanks to its various playable storylines and multi-character side content. Whether you’re new to the franchise or returning for a scare, Resident Evil 2 Remake is an excellent place to start. | Our Review

Resident Evil Village

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia

Resident Evil Village features much of what fans love about the series with a return to the very roots of horror: vampires, werewolves, gargoyles, and other monsters. As the name suggests, it takes place in a remote village in Europe cut off from the rest of the world, which makes it easy for nine-foot-tall beauty Lady Dimitrescu, hammer-wielding Heisenberg, and cursed ventriloquist doll Donna Beneviento to play with protagonist Ethan Winters like a toy. Ethan remains as bland a character as he was in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, but his arc is given a shot in the arm thanks to a mysterious search for his missing daughter. Plus, Resident Evil Village is chock full of lore that long-time fans will surely eat up, although whether or not it’s lore they like will vary from player to player.  Resident Evil Village uniquely avoids the use of zombies, opting for classic horror antagonists like werewolves instead while still paying homage to all of the complex puzzles and survival-horror stress that popularized the series decades ago. | Our Review

Little Nightmares 2

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Stadia

Little Nightmares 2 might be the closest to a Tim Burton-made game as we’ll ever get if the famed Nightmare Before Christmas director were a game developer. From the moment it begins, Little Nightmares 2 immediately oozes the familiar ambiance and dread of a horror game. Add to it the world’s unsettling characters, as well as protagonist Mono, which resemble claymation more than anything else, and you’ll find Little Nightmares 2’s platforming some of the scariest in the genre. Its puzzles sit finely between being complex enough to be fun and simple enough not to be irritating, and while combat is easily the weakest aspect of Little Nightmares 2, it adds just enough variety to keep players on their toes. If words like “macabre,” “sinister,” “Tim Burton,” and “mysterious” characterize your favorite games, Little Nightmares 2 is sure to be a hit for you. If you haven’t yet played the first Little Nightmares either, it’s also great, and when played back-to-back, the series gives you an unnerving and stress-inducing romp through one of gaming’s most unique worlds. | Our Review

Until Dawn

PlayStation 4

Until Dawn is perhaps the best couch-multiplayer title on this list and best played in a living room with friends. It is a classic b-horror camp film translated to a video game where you take control of eight teens trying to survive an ill-fated night at a spooky mountain cabin. Unlike the games it’s clearly inspired by (looking at you, Resident Evil), there are no puzzles or survival-horror inventory management systems to be found in Until Dawn. Instead, your primary focus is exploring the spooky locale and the characters who inhabit it. Until Dawn’s main claim to fame is how it emphasizes your decisions in-game. The fate of each character is up to you and the choices you make. Will you make it out with everyone alive, or will you be the lone survivor? That’s up to you, how much your hands shake while holding a controller (antagonists can find you if your hands shake too much), and how great you are at completing quick-time events. Those QTE’s are probably Until Dawn’s weakest points, mostly in that one glance away from the screen could drastically change a character’s outcome. Still, its production values, scares, and fun b-movie characters will have you forgetting about that failed button press in no time. | Our Review

Soma

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux

Remember Amnesia and how scary that was? Well, Frictional Games took all the horror and existentialist dread from that series and placed it in an underwater AI-driven network of laboratories, living spaces, reactors, and more. You play a run-of-the-mill man who awakens in a seemingly abandoned research facility deep in the ocean, unaware of how you got there and, perhaps more importantly, why you’re there to begin with. Overgrown pipes and rusted gears fill the hallways of this network of underwater structures someone called home, or at least, the office. Drawing heavily on classic horrors like Alien and The Abyss, Soma thrives on making you feel alone… until you’re not, and then a hulking malfunctioning robot is doing all it can to make you fish food. As if the literal horror of being stuck on the ocean floor in an abandoned facility overrun with murderous AI wasn’t scary enough, the game takes many twists and turns that feel at home in one of Albert Camus’ existentialist stories. What makes something living? What exactly is life? How does AI play a role in extending our lives or perhaps taking them over? These questions await you hundreds of meters beneath the ocean waves of Soma’s sea of dread and terrifying ambiance. | Our Review

Dead by Daylight

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, Stadia, iOS

There aren’t many horror multiplayer games out there, but when Dead by Daylight exists, that’s okay because it happens to be a scary movie brought to life. Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer game that sees a group of up to four survivors fight to stay alive by dodging an otherwise guaranteed death. That demise comes by way of the one player in control of the map’s killer. While the survivors fight to turn on generators, throw exit switches, and ultimately escape, the killer has one goal: slaughter the survivors first. It’s a ton of fun and perfect for online play with friends and family. When it launched, Dead by Daylight contained a modest amount of killers, but in the years since then, the killer roster has grown to 25, and that line-up is one of the main reasons Dead by Daylight is on this list. It doubles as an excellent way to keep things fresh and a love letter to horror. Its original killers are great, but Behaviour Interactive has added icons like Michael Myers, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, Ghost Face, the Demogorgon, Pyramid Head, Elliot Spencer, Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, and more to take Dead By Daylight from a great game to check out to a must-play for fans of horror. | Our Review

Phasmophobia

PC, Android

If horror movies and television shows like Paranormal Activity and The Haunting of Hill House fit your fancy, then check out Phasmophobia. The pitch for Kinetic Games’ early access title (note: because it’s early access, you’ll almost certainly run into bugs, so keep that in mind when playing) is that you and up to three other players are paranormal investigators. Not unlike the ghost hunters seen in movies like Insidious or even Ghostbusters, you’re tasked with finding ghosts within a given location and what ensues is a slow burn toward the inevitable jump scare that will have all but one (the person who got scared) laughing a lot. Phasmophobia isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it’s a great game to play at night with friends. It doubles as a great game for people to watch, too, because who doesn’t love watching someone get scared? It’s also simple enough that anyone could jump in and experience the terror that is simply walking through a haunted house. Couple a round of Phasmophobia with a rewatch of Paranormal Activity, and you have yourself a terrifyingly great time.

Visage

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Visage is an indie game about exploring what appears to be a haunted house. It oozes terror in mundane rooms like a kitchen or a laundry room, but it doesn’t take long for the game’s more psychological scares to reveal themselves. You’ll find yourself transported to cemeteries, psychiatric wards, abandoned supermarkets, and more, and it’s here that you’ll be tasked with solving puzzles as different characters, each experiencing their own thematic journey through a personal Hell. Not only are these character arcs terrifying, but they’re legitimately great stories, which can sometimes be rare in the horror genre. Because of this storytelling approach, players can experience a variety of different scares in the same setting. While Visage has some jank around the edges and a clunky inventory system, it’s worth seeing past those issues as it’s an exceptional option for horror fans  | Our Review

Devotion

PC, Mac

Devotion is one of the most terrifying games on this list. It’s also the most controversial, having been pulled from online storefronts as a result of an in-game joke criticizing China’s president. While it’s still not available on most storefronts, it can be purchased on Red Candle Games’ official website. Devotion unfolds in a small apartment in 1980s Taiwan, using the otherwise mundane setting to tell the story of a family torn apart by marriage and career problems, and the struggles of raising a chronically sick child. Its gameplay is simple enough that anyone interested can give it a go – you’ll be collecting clues and items to solve puzzles – but the game uses its simplicity to keep the focus on the reason you’re playing Devotion: the horror. Devotion uses psychological scares to keep players on their feet, making them question if that hallway looked like that earlier or if you’re just losing your grasp on reality. Red Candle Games’ excellent sound design elevates the already fantastic horror experience to a new level, too, as every creak in the floor or whine from the window hinge will have you shaking in your seat. Devotion is downright scary, but it’s also a fantastic exploration into the family at the heart of this story. How does trauma breed new traumas? How does stress color the daily activities of life? These questions and more are answered as you barrel toward the game’s ending that successfully finishes before it can lose steam, a rarity in the genre. Simply put, if horror is your thing, play Devotion. | Our Review

Returnal

PlayStation 5

When you ask someone what their favorite classic horror movie is, there’s a good chance it’s either The Exorcist or something like it, or Alien. If the latter is your answer, Returnal is a game for you. While it probably wouldn’t be described as horror first and foremost – its action-heavy third-person shooter gameplay sits front and center – a couple of hours with it reveals that it’s deeply rooted in the sci-fi horror that makes Alien scary over 40 years later. Returnal is about an astronaut stuck in a time loop. She crashed into an alien planet with nothing but a pistol on her person, and she must fight through hordes of hostile alien creatures and bosses to progress further and further. If you die, the loop begins all over, with little if any items carrying over from your previous run. Your one goal is to figure out what’s happening, and you do that by inching further and further toward the game’s thought-provoking ending. Returnal’s gameplay is excellent, but the horrors of the alien planet, the exotic yet dreadful atmosphere, and the mysteries contained within a reappearing and deceptively mundane house will keep you saying, “just one more try.” Don’t expect jump scares, demons, ghosts, or straightforward storytelling, but much in the same way that Alien thrives on keeping Ripley as close to death as possible at virtually all times, Returnal stresses how lucky you are to be alive, with just a pinch of health left, after every encounter. | Our Review

What games on this list do you enjoy? What games would you add that aren’t currently listed? Let us know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this list, be sure to check out our other recent genre lists: 

https://www.gameinformer.com/2021/10/08/top-10-action-games-to-play-rig…; target=”_blank”>Top 10 Action Games To Play Right Now

https://www.gameinformer.com/2021/10/06/top-10-metroidvanias-to-play-ri…; target=”_blank”>Top 10 Metroidvanias To Play Right Now

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