The 5 Best Horror Games

Most of these emphasise on atmosphere over pure scares, being startled by loud noises isn't what I call horror. I've to date played at least 50-100 horror games and these are my favourites.

List items

  • Let's be honest here, if you've done any homework you know this is usually going to be at the top, what's more interesting is seeing what people have chosen below it.

    Silent Hill 2 stands on top of the pedestal for it's surreal horror, it's lingering dread, it's uncanny ability to make you feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Silent Hill 2 follows the story of James Sunderland's descent into the depths of his own mind and the deterioration of reality around him, as the town of Silent Hill bends and morphs to punish him and it's inhabitants, they wallow their own personal hell and seem aloof to the strife of the protagonist, who came looking for a dead wife he expected not to find.

    Noises are heard with no identifiable source, the music clatters like scissors and slamming metal doors and then breaks into slow melancholic warped piano's, de-tuned synthesizers and then eerie silence. The enemies represent repressed emotions and exist only to torment as the radio starts crackling as something crawls out from under a car and you club it to death with a rusty pipe. It's terrestrial town setting turns into a barbed wire hell, dirty, derelict and full of decay. It's the best horror game ever made, it's disturbing because it's not meant to be fully understood, you feel bad for things you haven't done and after it's over it'll stick with you for ages.

  • The dark depths of the ocean and the darker depths of humanity and what it means to exist are explored as the remnants of mankind are under threat at the deep sea science complex of Pathos II.

    Having a brain scan in Toronto and then waking up in the distant future where humanity has been all but wiped out by a comet, really takes loneliness up a notch. Like all of Frictional Games' other creations, Soma is incredibly immersive and like all their other games, it's terrifying too. It follows the same tropes as it's predecessors with chase scenes and horrifying monsters that walk about the dark metallic corridors, but how does a game like Soma exceed an arguably scarier game by the same company, say Amnesia: The Dark Descent? Well, it's because Soma's story is next level. I'd rather not spoil it for you, you need to experience this. If you like horror but haven't played this, it's story alone has the power to really make you question what life and humanity are. It's shock moments don't come from graphic gore or blood curdling screams, but from the what defines us.

  • Lost In Vivo is probably the best adaptation of Silent Hill since Silent Hill 4. But don't think this is just a rip off game, Lost In Vivo exceeds on it's own merits, it takes the concept further but doesn't quite reach it's full potential.

    You're assigned a service dog after attending therapy and in a flood, the dog is swept down a storm drain and you go after it. I have to admit, being a dog lover seeing the beloved Corgi desperately paddling in the gushing water was enough to get me emotionally invested from the start. Once you enter the sewers, the games atmosphere is immediately present. Claustrophobia is the theme of the game and it goes above and beyond to put you in cramped locations, be it sewer tunnels, narrow corridors, mine shafts or train stations. But it's take on the surreal keeps you wondering what's going to happen next, Lost In Vivos greatest strength is in it's variety. Be it enemies that only move when you look away like SCP-173 or horrifying malformed creations that scream at you from the darkness, it's constant changing style is what keeps the player from becoming complacent. There's videotapes that take you into weird abstract pockets of the game where you're trying to figure out what's happening as horrific and unexplained events unfold. My only griped with this game is that it's experience leads the game rather than it's story and as a result it feels like a string of creepy things rather than a descent of a character into hell. This is easily one of the most exhausting games I've played in ages.

  • Detention is a incredibly depressing game. Set in the time of the White Terror in Taiwan (1947-1987) it follows the story of Ray who awakens in her abandoned school in the wake of a typhoon.

    The setting of martial law gives the game a feeling of oppression which lays underneath the paranormal elements all of which are fresh and interesting due to the entities all being native spirits of Taiwan. There's an intense feeling of spirituality to this game with protective wards being plastered over doors, plants overgrowing certain areas and the enemies themselves representing differing things within it's localised religion. In terms of sheer horror I'd say this game isn't terrifying, but it's atmosphere and story is what gives this game an edge over so many others, it's experience is unmissable.

  • In Fatal Frame you arrive at the abandoned mansion where your brother disappeared, desperate to find what out happened to him. Whilst the sequel Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly, really nails a lot of the otherworldly creepy elements in a more cohesive story I find that for the raw experience the first game is just scarier. The camera obscura allows you to exorcise the ghosts that attack you by photographing them, forcing you to look directly at the source of your fear in the opposite way Soma and Amnesia ask you to look away, lest your sanity cause you to be found. The disturbing sound design and slow cinematic cutscenes build some incredible tension as you explore a dilapidated mansion as it's previous inheritance try to prevent you from leaving.