What’s the best game in the horror genre? It’s hard to pick one, they come in all shapes and sizes. This is why instead of singling out one title for praise, we’ve prepared a whole list of the most incredible horror games of all time. There are some classics, there are some newer releases, all in all, you should be satisfied.
Spooky games come in all sorts of flavors, so you can expect some zombies here, crazed murderers on the loose, terrors from outer space and so on. Behold, these are the top 15 best horror games of all time:
|Dead Space||2008-10-20||EA Redwood Shores||79%|
|Alien Isolation||2014-10-06||Creative Assembly||80%|
|Left 4 Dead 2||2009-11-16||Valve|
|Amnesia Rebirth||2020-10-20||Frictional Games||93%|
|Carrion||2020-07-23||Phobia Game Studio||52%|
|Maid Of Sker||2020-07-28||Wales Interactive||10%|
|Resident Evil 3||2020-04-03||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||87%|
|System Shock 2||1999-08-11||Irrational Games||87%|
|The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope||2020-10-30||Supermassive Games||67%|
|The Last Of Us Part II (PS4)||2020-06-19||Naughty Dog||73%|
|The Medium||2021-01-28||Bloober Team SA||67%|
|Resident Evil 8: Village||2021-05-07||CAPCOM CO., LTD.||79%|
|Dying Light 2||2022-02-04||Techland||65%|
|Developer:||EA Redwood Shores|
Of all science fiction horrors, this one is probably the most iconic. As Isaac Clarke, an engineer aboard a vessel named the Ishimura, you need to find out what happened on this ship and face a deadly threat known as the Necromorphs.
That’s right: expect some top-tier body horror here. The Necromorphs are freaking ugly and extremely deadly. You’ll need to figure out a way to defeat these enemies, as some might sprout new limbs or produce new monsters. You can kill them only by severing their limbs using several weapons available in the game. Lots of horrifying fun guaranteed!
One of the most commendable things in Dead Space is the immersion the developers achieved through the removal of a HUD. The only information you’ll see here is whatever that is being displayed in the game world. For example, Isaac’s health and energy levels are shown on the back of his suit. You can see how much ammo is left only once you draw a particular weapon. All in all, Dead Space is a competently crafted and genuinely terrifying space horror that’ll appeal to the fans of Aliens, Resident Evil, The Thing and the like.
Silent Hill 2
While the entire Silent Hill series is one of the greatest collections of survival horrors, there are certain installments that are simply the best. Silent Hill 2 is most likely the best game in this saga.
As James Sunderland, your task is to find your deceased wife in the titular town. This won’t be an easy task, as you will be exposed to horrifying monsters and haunting visions on a regular basis. Expect fighting monsters using both melee weapons and firearms (or just running away from them), solving puzzles and uncovering all sorts of mysteries related to this cursed place.
Silent Hill 2 is still an impressive feat when it comes to atmosphere and monster designs. There are some clever gameplay mechanics in here as well (such as the fact that you can read maps only in well-lit rooms or when you have a flashlight). All in all, while this title has certainly aged, it’s still most likely going to terrify you. And if you’re against playing old games, prepare for a remake, announced in October 2022.
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
Isolation gives Alien fans plenty of reasons to rejoice. It’s a wonderful video game sequel to one of the most incredible science fiction horrors of all time that puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen, a character famously played by Sigourney Weaver. Like her mother, she will have to face the terrifying xenomorph who stalks her throughout the Sevastopol space station.
Alien: Isolation is pretty much a stealth game where your goal is to avoid hostile humans and androids, as well as the titular enemy. Some enemies can be defeated using the weapons scattered across the station, but the xenomorph is immune to your attacks. Isolation uses a bunch of clever mechanics. For example, you can use the motion tracker to locate the Alien, but it can also attract its attention with its sounds. All this, coupled with a first-person perspective, results in a hectic, scary experience.
Aside from the main campaign, there is also the so-called Survival Mode where you need to complete various objectives on a selection of maps within a set time limit and while avoiding the Alien. There is also a bunch of DLCs that offer some new adventures and missions. And if you’re a fan of the 1970s, you’ll be pleased to learn that this game recreates the original’s atmosphere perfectly with its design and attention to details. Alien: Isolation is definitely one of the best horror games of all time, hands down.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent started a whole new trend in the survival horror genre and Outlast is the fruit of that. This psychological horror with emphasis on stealth also became popular, as revered as the title that inspired it.
Outlast puts you in the shoes of one Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist who ends up trapped in a mental asylum full of vicious killers. Unfortunately, he can’t fight back. The only way to avoid getting killed is either running away or hiding somewhere your pursuers can’t find you. There’s absolutely no combat here.
Another interesting thing about Outlast is that the hospital is mostly dark, which means you need to resort to using a camcorder with night vision in order to explore the dilapidated hallways. As you probably already expect, you’ll need to find batteries, too. Outlast is a terrifying experience and if you loved the Amnesia series, you’ll be quite fond of this one as well.
Left 4 Dead 2
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
Who knew that a co-op shooter with zombies as antagonists will become one of the best video games of all time? Left 4 Dead 2 did just that. It’s an improvement over its predecessor and a fantastic title to try out if you want to experience some horrifying moments with your friends.
Your goal in Left 4 Dead 2 is to make it to a safe zone at the end of pretty much every level in the game. This won’t be an easy task, since the area is littered with zombies and other undead monstrosities. You need to co-operate as a team of four Survivors, look for better weapons, kill any monsters you encounter, rinse and repeat.
There are also other modes in the game that you can try out as well aside from the main campaign. Some of these allow players to become the Infected and try to stop the Survivors from achieving their goals. Coupled with an enhanced AI Director, a system which adjusts the things going on in accordance with your team’s performance, you’re in for a real co-op treat here. If you’re looking for a great game in this genre, Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the very best picks in this department.
The first Amnesia game, The Dark Descent, turned out to be a very influential one, causing a surge in first-person horrors’ popularity. Its proper sequel, Rebirth, comes with a new protagonist, a new setting and fresh nightmares to face.
Here you play as Tasi Trianon. She awakens somewhere in Algeria without any recollection of what happened. Worse yet, she’s being hunted by some strange creatures. Looks like she’s got so much more to worry about than just being stranded somewhere in the desert.
If you crave another fantastic horror from Frictional Game, this one is your best bet.
|Developer:||Phobia Game Studio|
Carrion is a different breed. In this one, you’re not running away from a monster. You are the monster. If you ever fantasized about being a science experiment gone wrong, now’s your chance to live that fantasy.
So, you’re basically a tentacled monstrosity crawling through vents, killing scientists and soldiers, as well as evolving into an even deadlier beast. It’s a gruesome, deeply unsettling game featuring some really good pixel art, lending to the overall old-school vibe. If you’re looking for a great “reverse horror,” Carrion’s a fantastic pick.
Maid of Sker
This one is probably inspired by a 19th century novel of the same title, as well as a Welsh folk tale. Fortunately, however, knowledge of the source material is not going to impact your enjoyment of the game, as it introduces quite a few ideas of its own.
The protagonist in Maid of Sker is a young composer hired to compose a musical piece for a woman named Elizabeth Williams. The problem is that she’s trapped in the Sker hotel, a cursed place crawling with monsters known as the Quiet Ones. You’ll need to avoid them and uncover all the gruesome secrets of the hotel. This won’t be easy!
Phasmophobia is essentially what would happen if Ghostbusters were made by the folks responsible for Paranormal Activity. Here, you collect evidence of supernatural presence in various haunted locations. Too bad these ghosts aren’t very fond of strangers poking around.
Phasmophobia features a dozen of different ghost types, each requiring a different approach. You’ll need to work with your friends in order to get what you came for and make it out in one piece. Spooks can be easily disturbed and this is something they don’t like. Add VR to the mix and you’ll get a really memorable horror experience.
Resident Evil 3
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
Remakes serve the Resident Evil series well. Resident Evil 3 received one, too, and it’s really, really good. Are you ready to help Jill Valentine survive as she’s being hunted by a relentless monster known as the Nemesis?
The remake does away with tank controls of the original and is a proper third-person action game. Thanks to the RE Engine, you can admire all the gory details of zombies and mutants. Obviously, you’ll have to dig up some dirty secrets of the Umbrella Corp. as well. All in all, it’s a fantastic remake that you’ll love if you enjoyed the previous ones.
System Shock 2
Among all rogue AIs, SHODAN is probably the most memorable. You can face this malevolent entity in System Shock 2, a science fiction horror that happens to be one of the most unique games ever released, far ahead of its time.
System Shock 2 blends various genres. There’s a bit of a survival horror to it, there is a lot of a first-person shooter in it, and there are some role-playing elements here as well. It’s a truly remarkable gameplay experience: complex, captivating and truly frightening. If you’re looking for a cyberpunk horror, System Shock 2 is the best choice, hands down.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
|Genre:||Interactive drama, survival horror|
A second game in Supermassive Games’ horror anthology, Little Hope lets you control several characters, either solo or with friends in the multiplayer mode.
The Curator asks for your help once again. This time a group of students and their professor are left stranded in an abandoned (yeah, right) town of Little Hope. This place is haunted and its past is really dark, as it involves witch trials. If our protagonists are to escape, they’ll need to uncover the secrets of the place.
The Last of Us Part II
The sequel to The Last of Us is strongly focused on the “true horror is other people” theme. Still, it packs plenty of them fungus zombies that you’ll now face as Ellie, as opposed to Joel who was the protagonist of the previous game.
It’s a highly cinematic experience that boasts a harsh, brutal story. Expect lots of twists along the way, too. Gameplay-wise, it’s a mixture of survival horror, action-adventure and stealth where you need to explore your surroundings in search for valuable items and avoid – or kill – enemies that you encounter along the way, either hostile humans or zombies infected by a mutant Cordyceps fungus.
|Developer:||Bloober Team SA|
There are two things that you should know about Bloober Team’s The Medium. First, it’s inspired by the works of a famous Polish painter, Zdzisław Beksiński. Second, you’ll often explore two realms at once: the real, physical world and the spirit world. The thing is that it’s hard to say which one is more horrifying.
The Medium is set in Poland. Marianne, the protagonist of the game, is investigating weird things happening at the Niwa holiday resort. Her ability to see the spirit world is both helpful and extremely dangerous.
Oh, and the game features music composed by none other than Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame (in addition to Arkadiusz Reikowski).
Resident Evil Village
|Developer:||CAPCOM CO., LTD.|
>Ethan Winters, the protagonist of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, is a fellow with poor luck in life. A couple of years after his misadventures in Louisiana problems come knocking on his door again. Ethan’s chase after Chris Redfield takes him to a weird village somewhere in Europe.
Resident Evil Village retains the first-person perspective which worked wonders in RE7 when it comes to the sense of dread and immersion. You’ll get to face the werewolf-like Lycans and the mutant lords who rule the titular village. It’s definitely one of the best installments in the Resident Evil series, although if you preferred the more brooding predecessor, you might be disappointed to hear that its sequel is more action-oriented.
This concludes or list of the best scariest games of all time. As you can see, quite a variety here and all sorts of themes. One thing’s for sure, these titles will surely leave a lasting impression on you.