October is here and that means its time for spooky and scary things to start consuming our lives. We go to haunted houses, watch scary movies, listen to Halloween music…well not really that last one (because that doesn’t exist) but we definitely play horror games! Unlike most mediums, video games have never been one to attempt to time its horror game releases around any particular time of year, making it pointless to discuss just new horror games. What we believe is best, is talk about horror games across the ages, specifically, horror games that are worth your time to play, regardless of the era they are from.
These are not the 5 best horror games, but rather 5 horror games that any should play if they enjoy the genre.
When most think horror, they think jump scares that fill up the entire screen to cause the player to go into a panic. Stasis doesn’t have this, it doesn’t even attempt to place the camera close enough so you can see everything, and that is where the horror lies. Stasis is a top-down point and clicks adventure game that has tasks the player to explore a ship that was performing gruesome human experiments for the sake of science. But unlike other horror games, there is never any great detail shown on what these experiments look like. Instead, all that is seen is just enough of the gruesomeness to allow one’s brain to fill in the blank with far darker thoughts then the game attempt to illustrate directly. Y
Because of this, as a horror game, it manages hits on all the right notes, constantly reminding the player of the setting they are in. You will grow attached to characters through supplemental readings and interactions, only to see them murdered later in your journey or simply seeing their lifeless corpse mangled in a fashion that shows the depressing end to their story. You will see painful to watch scenes of dreadful creations being forced to do exactly what terrible things they are designed to do. All the while you are attempting to keep yourself alive and watch the main character struggle with the situation he has found himself in as you explore this “S.S Horror Ship”.
4Resident Evil HD & 3
Yes, we are cheating here a little, but we couldn’t decide between either so both are on this list for different reasons. In all honesty, all Resident Evil games (except Resident Evil 6) should be on this but Resident Evil 1 & 3 are special. Resident Evil HD has the notable quality of not only being the first but also the most updated in the franchise that still keeps to its survival horror roots and scares by giving the player a false sense of security. To quote a very old article of mine:
One of the mainstays of the Resident Evil franchise is exploration; many times you are either forced to go back to previous areas with new items or perhaps you are simply just lost and trying to get clues as to where to go next. The point is you are revisiting areas you have been to that you have established as safe and throughout your journey that changes at a moment’s notice. This is where non-zombies come into play in the Resident Evil franchise; they serve as the method to dash away your security.
And of course, there are plenty of jump scares and eerie moments that will haunt your mind as you play. The creaking of the door, the constant wonder of what is around every corner, and what will the next room reveal all serve to keep the player constantly on their toes Zombies will quickly seem like the safest and least scary creature in the mansion as you battle and run your way through the grounds, solving puzzles, and trying to survive.
This is where Resident Evil 3 comes into play as being one of the best horror games to date. While it may lack the graphical representation of the first (which greatly aids in the game’s horror factor), what it makes up for, is existential dread. Resident Evil 3, more so than any of the other entries in the franchises, forcing the player to face their own mortality with puzzles designed to remind them of this chilling fact. It’s one thing to be chased by a digital zombie, it’s a whole other realm to have a game force you to think of your own mortality and the world’s eventual decay. It is survival horror at its finest and both titles should not be missed.
Wondering about, the game. You are tasked with trying to find trails of nine Russian hikers, which is based on a true event. That in itself should give you a glimpse into what this game is going to entail. A charming music welcomes you as you start and soon begin your path to hell. The surroundings are beautiful and mesmerizing while you experience the strange events that keep happening around you.
Slowly a voice starts whispering to you, and you know you are being watched, coming sooner rather than later as you dive deeper into your journey.
A point and click gem from 1995 with a horror vibe. You play as Jennifer Simpson, a young girl searching for a way out of a mansion while evading the Scissorman—and yes, it is exactly as it sounds like. A guy with huge scissors that has no problem running around with them—or doing other horrible things, including killing her friends. The game involves a lot of small puzzles, but you need to be quick about handling the situation. The fact that the gameplay is slow also adds to the vibes of running from monsters in your nightmares, and it is as terrifying as it sounds.
The game offers few endings (most of them brutal) and requires a few playthroughs to learn how to handle the ending and gain more insight of the plot (you won’t get the full story in one go). If you are patient enough to take the time to unerstand the game, its well worth the rewards.
1Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
While so many games on this list we praise for their lack of reliance on jump scares, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is the complete opposite. This is a game that thrives off of jump scares, largely because of VR. Being placed in a far more horror-filled haunted train ride, you traverse through one themed scary room to another. One area might be focused on clowns, dropping the light, so you can only see where you aim. As you shoot at some dummies that appear to be clowns at first view, you become distracted, and soon enough a real one jumps in your face and makes you jump 10 feet in the air. This trend will continue throughout the entirety of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, you will be taken on your train ride, dodging and moving with your actual heald to avoid hitting blockades, while also shooting and dealing with the many terrifying things attempting to kill you.
All of this doesn’t seem like the type of thing a traditional game would be able to say is actually scary, but taking it to VR makes it all the more real. You can look around, see various angles, and easily missing the scary things that are coming towards you. Other times, it is just the atmosphere entrancing you (such as all those pigs…) that quickly turns on you. Finally, you are forced to engage with the fact that this horror ride, is still a ride. You will wip around corners, take steep drops, all the while everything around you is trying to frighten you. It is a game that text simply doesn’t do any justice, you just need to play it in VR to truly understand.