By Mike Malpiedi
All Hallows Eve is only a night away, and what could be better to celebrate this evening of frights than to play a fantastic horror title? Thankfully, over the past few years there has been a rise in great horror games such as Amnesia and The Evil Within, so there are plenty to choose from.
Here are five of the best and most frightening horror games that you should be playing this Halloween…
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
There is a reason Frictional Games’ horror title is so highly praised among survival horror enthusiasts. Amnesia does such an incredible job of making you feel vulnerable and unsafe while roaming the halls of Castle Brennenberg. The shadowy halls, the creeping noises, the growing mutation spreading in the castle, your fragile sanity… All these factors create an unsettling atmosphere that grips your heart at every turn of a corner and every new door opened. To top it off, you have no weapons at your disposal and cannot fight against the horrors that chase you through the abandoned halls. You never know quite what will greet you in a new area along this twisted descent, but it will never be pleasant or friendly. You can only run, hide, and pray…
The game puts you in the shoes of Daniel, a man who awakens within the halls of Brennenberg with no memory of who he is or why he is there. All he knows is that he is Mayfair, he needs to find Alexander, and something is hunting him. Are you brave enough to help Daniel on his journey as he plunges deeper and deeper into madness?
Resident Evil 4
Arguably the best Resident Evil game in the series, Resident Evil 4 is responsible for the revitalization of the franchise and the popularization of the over-the-shoulder third-person view in action shooters. The game is a terrifying and gut-wrenching ride through rural Spain as you guide Leon Kennedy through all manner of zombies, body-horror parasites, chainsaw maniacs and other horrid creatures in order to save the president’s daughter, Ashley Graham. Resident Evil 4 is often hailed as one of the best games of all-time for its excellent blend of horror, action, voice-acting, and compelling graphics. The game is so popular that it has been ported several times now to various consoles. It is hard to remember Resident Evil 4 started out as just a Gamecube exclusive title.
Do you have what it takes to get Leon through Los Illuminados deadly homeland and uncover the secrets of the Plagas virus?
Part slasher, part torture porn, and part creature feature… Until Dawn is one of the more unique horror games on this list. The game revolves around the age old question of “how long would you survive if you were in a horror movie?” as you try to help several teens live through a perilous night in an isolated ski resort. While not as unsettling or terrifying as some of the other entries, Until Dawn makes it mark by actually making you feel like you are playing/directing a horror film. Your decisions within the game will ultimately decide who lives and who dies along your journey through the Until Dawn‘s story. The game tracks the decisions you make through its “Butterfly Effect” system and shows how differently things can end for each character if you choose another path.
This system presents an interesting opportunity for replayability that not many horror games have. Each character’s fate rests solely in your hands… There are outcomes where some live, where they all live, or where they all die. The choice is truly up to you and how you play. Until Dawn also happens to be an excellent game to play with a group of friends as you all can work together to build your own unique horror movie.
Can you guide these teens through the terrors that hide within this snowy, dark mountain side and last till morning?
Dead Space 2
Dead Space 2 is one of my personal favorite horror games. There are very few survival horror titles that have made me feel as unsafe as this particular game. Building off of the gruesome atmosphere of the original Dead Space, this sequel ups the ante in every possible way and delivers a truly disturbing sci-fi horror experience. You take the role of space-mining engineer Isaac Clark as he once again attempts to hack and dismember his way through hordes of Necromorphs that have taken over the Sprawl; a densely populated citadel that is built into a shard of Saturn’s moon, Titan. The necromorphs are some of the best monsters ever design for a horror game.
These twisted creatures look like they walked right off the set of John Carpenter’s The Thing as they possess and mutate the corpses of dead citizens throughout the citadel. The most unsettling thing about facing the necromorphs is that you can’t take them down with a simple headshot like you could with a zombie… These cosmic demons need to literally be hacked to bits in order to stay permanently dead. Even as they lose limbs, these gnarly beasts hastily crawl and scream their way toward you. And the worst part is, you will never quite know when these creatures will strike or if you will even be prepared for the encounter. Ammo is incredible scarce in Dead Space 2 and that limited availability helps to heighten the already high tension present within the game. Dead Space 2 is a horror experience not to be missed.
Do you have the nerve to help Isaac hack his way through this interstellar hell?
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is often considered to be one of the best survival horror games of all-time and introduced many genre fans to the terrifying wonder that is Pyramid Head. You take the role of James Sutherland, a man who receives a letter from his long dead wife that lures him to the town of Silent Hill. Once in the eerie northeastern town you are quickly kicked down the rabbit hole into a psychological horror experience that few games since have been able to reproduce. The game explores an intense narrative of despair, trauma, sexuality, and love as players attempt to survive the hulking horrors that lurk within the foggy town. While the game may not look as great as it once did when it was released on the PS2, it still has plenty of disturbing edge to keep you up at night. I mean Pyramid Head… do I really need to say anything else?
Are you skilled enough to help James solve the eerie and harrowing mysteries that surround the small town of Silent Hill?
The Evil Within
Condemned: Criminal Origins
And that is it for my list of great horror games to play this Halloween! What are some of your favorite survival horror games? What might you be playing this holiday? Sound off in the comments…