No matter how good a horror movie is, it’ll never quite match the horrifying feeling of being in control of the main character’s desperate struggle for survival. Horror games are uniquely terrifying for their interactivity – you’re not allowed to just close your eyes when things get scary. Here’s our pick of the five scariest horror games every horror junkie needs to play.
Want to spook yourself silly when you're meant to be sleeping? Welcome to the world of creepypasta - first person horror stories that live on the internet and are just realistic enough to scare the crap out of you. As with all forms of horror the quality of creepypasta varies wildly, but we've collected ten of the best right here.Read more
Even though it’s just a ‘playable teaser’ for a now cancelled game, PT is still one of the scariest games I’ve ever played. Initially released for free on the PS4, it was later taken offline, never to be made available again.
But never fear, new players, you can now get a datamined version of PT for PC that’s pretty close to the original.
If you do play either the PC or PS4 version of it, expect difficult puzzles, incredibly simple controls – and no places to hide from the terrifying ghost who’s stalking you. Good luck!
The game that got me into horror and almost singlehandedly kickstarted YouTube’s Let’s Play culture, Amnesia is a horror classic that still has yet to be outdone. Its success is largely down to a few elements that have been excessively copied since.
First, the game’s lack of combat means the player has to hide rather than fight, building tension without an easy release. It incorporates a lot of dark spaces, and makes the light dangerous by having monsters drawn to it. Lastly Amnesia‘s ‘insanity’ feature is a little stroke of genius, stopping players from looking directly at the monsters – because the unseen is always scarier.
Once you’ve survived Amnesia‘s creepy corridors a first time, you can also play the expansion ‘Justine‘, or even get immersed in the huge world of custom stories created by a once incredibly active fanbase. Amnesia is available on PC and PS4.
One of the more recent games that was likely inspired by Amnesia, Layers of Fear builds on the former’s haunted house formula, while still creating a game that’s all its own. Layers of Fear is quite linear, making it good for players who are more interested in a good scare than figuring out complicated puzzles.
Don’t expect this game to go easy on you, however. As you go through it, Layers of Fear only gets more tense, disorienting and mind-bending, making you question the nature of reality and the game space you’re inhabiting.
Layers of Fear is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. It also has a DLC called Inheritance, which is just as solid an experience as the main game.
A surprise entry in a classic horror series, Resident Evil 7 brought the game back to its survival horror roots while simultaneously taking RE in a new direction with a first person viewpoint.
While the latter decision was controversial among longtime fans, it only helped to build the creepy tension that makes the game so damn scary. Want to be extra scared? It’s also available in VR. You’re welcome.
Resident Evil 7 is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. (The PlayStation version is currently going for $31.20 on Amazon Australia.)
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
An oldie but a goodie, Fatal Frame 2 is possibly the best iteration of an already unique style of Japanese horror. Featuring the ghosts of Japanese myth, Fatal Frame sets you loose in a haunted house with nothing but a camera – your key to survival.
In the exact opposite to Amnesia’s monster-avoiding gameplay, Fatal Frame has you face up to the horrors and snap photos of them in order to banish them.
Released in 2003 for the PS2 and Xbox, Fatal Frame 2 can be hard to get a hold of, but it has since been re-released on PlayStation 3 and on Wii in more recent years.
Silent Hill 1-4
I’m sorry, I cheated with this one, but the whole series is some of the best in horror game history – giving us one of the most legendary horror villains in Pyramid Head and proving that our psyche is our own worst memories. Silent Hill 1-3 are the classic games in the series, though I would count Silent Hill 4 among those too, despite its change in tone from the rest of the games.
Silent Hill 2 and 3 are bundled in the Silent Hill HD Collection, which, while it has its issues, is probably one of the easiest ways to play Silent Hill in 2018. Other games are available on PSN – though I’m not sure if that extends to the Australian PlayStation Store. Pretty much: play whichever of the first four games you can find.
For heretics like me, you can also check out Shattered Memories on the Wii. This spin-off is a reimagining of the first Silent Hill game, differentiated from the rest of the series by the lack of combat and the unique enemies the player is forced to flee and hide from.
While it’s by no means a classic Silent Hill experience, I still think Shattered Memories is worth a play.
What are your favourite horror games?