As much as I do love horror movies, sometimes you just want a more immersive experience and that is where horror video games come into play. In this shortlist, I will try to give recommendations for horror games that can scratch the horror itch depending on your personal preference and gameplay style.
Starting off with a pretty old one here… But unlike a lot of games that came out on PlayStation 2, The Suffering is available on GOG.
It is a third-person shooter that follows Torque, a convict awaiting a death sentence, who is arriving at Abbott State Penitentiary. Torque was convicted of murdering his ex-wife and their child, though he maintains that he blacked out at the time and does not know what truly happened. Shortly after his arrival, an earthquake happens, which unfortunately for everyone inside unleashes a swarm of monsters in the prison. Torque, having survived the first onslaught, must escape the prison and the island it is set on.
So yes the graphics are not going to be as good as the recent releases, but they are definitely on the better side of PS2 graphics. The story is very intriguing and does remind me a lot of the more recent Evil Within. And even though it is a bit blocky at times, it does still manage to be terrifying.
Unlike a lot of more modern games, that have taken everything to the max, The Suffering can be fairly easy-going to play. For those who aren’t jump scare enthusiasts or new to the horror video game world.
What list of horror games could be without Alien Isolation! If you are crazy about sci-fi horror or monster horror like me, you have unfortunately watched all the Alien movies over and over again. They tend to lose their oomph after the first 1000 watches. However, Alien: Isolation feels like a continuation of the universe. And if you were underwhelmed by the more recent Alien movies released, then this will definitely be up your alley.
This is a survival/stealth game, definitely not for those who want to shoot everything up. You will fail. But that is what makes it so great to play. It really feels like how an Alien game should be. The Xenomorph is a mean monster that can destroy you in seconds.
Set fifteen years after the disappearance of Ellen Ripley, Amanda, her daughter is approached by Weyland-Yutani Corporation, who informs her that the flight recorder of Nostromo has been finally found. The black box is being currently held aboard a space station called Sevastopol. The representative from Weyland-Yutani offers Amanda a chance to join the team that will retrieve the device so that she may learn of her mother’s fate. On their arrival, the team finds the station abandoned and damaged. During a spacewalk to investigate, Ripley is separated from the others.
As you can imagine, things do not go well from there. To say that Alien: Isolation is tense, would be a gross understatement. It is not for the faint-hearted and definitely one for those who like enduring scares that will keep with you long after you play the game.
The Long Dark
This is a game that I develop an obsession with on and off randomly. It is a first-person open survival game. There is a story mode and general survival mode, as well as challenges. I have personally done the story mode and survival mode. I wouldn’t normally recommend anything that hadn’t completed the story as they are episodic but the survival mode more than makes up for it.
The Long Dark is set in the Canadian wilderness, where a mysterious geomagnetic disaster has killed all electronics. This means no cars, no radios, no phones and so on. For those who love animal attack horror, this will be up your alley. The goal of both modes is to survive, scavenge and hopefully avoid all the wildlife that will mess your life up.
For those who are interested in the story mode, of which there are only 3 episodes released so far, it follows Dr Astrid Greenwood and a pilot Will Mackenzie. Dr Greenwood hires Mackenzie to fly her to a remote location in Canada. Unfortunately on the way there, there is a bright light and the plane goes down. They become separated, and Mackenzie vows to find her. In his trek to locate her, he must contend with the new laws of this quiet world and keep himself warm.
The world in The Long Dark is beautiful when you are not having to contend with the wildlife. But it will require you to use your wits and planning skills, to be able to master nature. Also, be prepared to have a lot of animals sneak up on you.
The Forest is similar to The Long Dark, in that it all starts with a plane crash however that is where the differences end. In The Forest, after the crash, you lose your son on what seems to be an uninhabited island. However, you soon find out that the Peninsula is swarming with psychotic cannibals. Trying to stay alive and safe from these flesh-eating maniacs, you must search for clues to locate your son, hoping against hope you can save him.
Much like the previous game, though there is a story, you can play it however you wish. The Forest does not separate these modes, so it is more a survival game with the story a secondary consideration. What I liked about this, is that you can build a base that can be customized to your liking, along with a variety of weapons that you can craft or find. And for those who get very scared by horror games, there are options to decrease the cannibal attacks to your liking, based on time of day.
Definitely recommend it if you are more of a cannibal/extreme horror fan, will scratch that itch between movies.
The Evil Within
The Evil Within is a cross between a supernatural or cultist horror game. It all starts with a visit to a hospital by the detectives, and they are soon caught in a world that defies the laws of nature and psychics.
Detective Castellanos and his partners arrive at a crime scene at Beacon Memorial Hospital. Unlike the more routine crime scenes, they find a terrible massacre has occurred within the hospital and now seems to be deserted. They enter the hospital to investigate further when they see police officers running from and firing upon an unseen force, that wipes them out. The assailant turns out to be a disfigured hooded man that appears behind Castellanos and fortunately for him knocks him out. He later wakes up in the basement of the hospital where the horrors of this hospital are only starting to begin.
Unlike the other horror games on this list, you are not limited by any means. If you are smart about your ammo, weapons and upgrading, things don’t have to be so hard. However, that does not mean that it isn’t still hard or absolutely terrifying to play. The brilliance of The Evil Within is that there are a lot of monstrosities that you have to outwit or outmanoeuvre. The presence of ample gun power is really a red herring that makes you feel comfortable at the beginning.
Just like Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within really like to kick the jump scares beyond the maximum.
Outlast is probably most similar to the earlier The Suffering. It is like many others on this list a survival horror set in the first person in this instance.
It follows Miles Upshur, who is a freelance journalist, who receives a tip-off about inhumane experiments that are going on at Mount Massive Asylum. To investigate he visits the psychiatric hospital, whereupon entering he finds the dead bodies of the staff strewn in the hallways. The inmates have escaped and with Miles’ exit now blocked, he must venture further into this madhouse to discover the horrible secrets it contains and find a way out.
Although it can be utterly mad at times, with fat mad men chasing you through the sewers of the hospital, Outlast does have its quiet moments. This is nice, for people that cannot tolerate the utter intensity that a lot of horror games have. This is because though it is pretty jam-packed with jump scares – courtesy of the extensive use of night vision – it is a mystery as well.
So there you have it, 6 movies for horror fans of various types. Let me know if you liked this piece in the comments and if you would like to see more like this.