Living a peaceful and reasonable life is something we often strive for, but even the calmest of us sometimes need an adrenaline shot to feel alive again. There are multiple ways to satisfy this need, with most of them being some kind of extreme sports, such as bungee jumping or skydiving.
Some of us also like to argue – being involved in quarrels also increases adrenaline. However, if all of this is not your cup of tea, then there is an alternative way to experience an adrenaline rush and it’s simply playing a good horror video game. But which one to choose?
Now that you know what survival horror is, let’s take a look at some of the best horror games available.
The Best Survival Horror Games
|Game||Release year||Genre||Developer||Check price below|
|Alien: Isolation||2014||Survival Horror||Creative Assembly||Buy now!|
|The Forest||2018||Survival Horror||Endnight Games||Buy now!|
|F.E.A.R.||2005||FPS||Monolith Productions||Buy now!|
|Dead Space||2008||Survival Horror||EA Redwood Shores||Buy now!|
|Amnesia: The Dark Descent||2010||Survival Horror||Frictional Games||Buy now!|
|Dying Light||2015||Action-Adventure||Techland||Buy now!|
|Alan Wake||2010||Action-Adventure||Remedy Entertainment||Buy now!|
|The Long Dark||2017||Survival||Hinterland Studio||Buy now!|
|Lone Survivor||2013||Survival Horror||Superflat Games||Buy now!|
|Left 4 Dead||2008||FPS||Valve South||Buy now!|
|Outlast||2013||Survival Horror||Red Barrels||Buy now!|
|Silent Hill: Homecoming||2008||Survival Horror||Double Helix Games||Buy now!|
|Resident Evil 7: Biohazard||2017||Survival Horror||Capcom||Buy now!|
|Dead by Daylight||2016||Survival Horror||Behaviour Interactive||Buy now!|
|The Evil Within||2014||Survival Horror||Tango Gameworks||Buy now!|
Alien: Isolation is one of the perfect examples you don’t need a stream of jump scares in order to make someone terrified. You are playing Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, on her errand to uncover the fate of her missing mother.
The game takes place on a space station, far from civilization and with no way to get help from the outside. The title relies on creating an insecure and claustrophobic atmosphere – it builds tension thanks to the presence of deadly enemies, including the titular alien, who must be avoided at all cost. It’s not the look of the alien that’s scariest – it’s the fact that he is smart and he can be anywhere you don’t suspect him to be.
- The advanced artificial intelligence of the alien
- Difficult and challenging gameplay
- Highly focused on stealth and sneaking
The Forest is not exactly a horror game, but it will leave you shaking anyway. It starts on a heavily forested island – you survived the plane crash, and now you need to find rescue.
Unfortunately, the area seems to be inhabited by a hostile tribe, and as if that wasn’t enough, one of its members kidnapped your child. As a result, before attempting to leave the place, you will need to find and help your son. In terms of scare factor, nights are the scariest, as the enemies become more aggressive and harder to see.
- Basic needs management, including hunger, thirst, and sanity
- Possibility of building constructions and crafting many useful items
- Open world and full day and night cycle
F.E.A.R. may not be the most up-to-date horror video game out there, but despite being released over a decade ago, it didn’t lose its ability to scare people, especially if you play at night.
As a member of First Encounter Assault Recon you are tasked with eliminating the threat in the form of Replicas – telepathically controlled clone supersoldiers. The game focuses on combat with use of both traditional and sci-fi firearms, and the fear factor comes from your protagonist’s increasingly strong hallucinations, involving a mysterious girl, Alma.
- Protagonist’s superhuman reflexes enable the use of slow motion
- A wide array of both real-world and fictional firearms
- Enemies may use advanced tactics, such as shooting suppressing fire, creating covers, or flanking the player
|Developer:||EA Redwood Shores|
If you are looking for a great survival horror video game, you can’t simply pass the Dead Space from 2018 indifferently, as it was often cited as one of the greatest video games of all times.
In Dead Space, it is 2508 and you are playing as engineer Isaac Clarke who is sent to investigate the distress signal received from the nearby mining starship. Soon enough you will discover the ship is infested with an alien scourge, and the investigation mission changes into a fight for your own life.
- Claustrophobic setting leaving you all alone in the space
- Great visuals, including the detailed environment and the hostile creatures
- Gore gameplay involving cutting of aliens’ limbs
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent will try to make you terrified by throwing you right into the dark castle filled with gatherers. These gruesome humanoids have only one purpose – to hunt you down.
In Amnesia you have no access to weapons, which leaves you helpless and defenseless. You need to rely on your sneaking and running skills, but you can also utilize physics to gain an advantage. Use chairs to make a barricade, or throw them to stun your enemies.
- Focused purely on sneaking – no weapons are available
- Physics-based puzzles and possibility to manipulate certain environmental objects
- Sanity mechanics requires finding a balance between staying in and outside of the shadows
If you ever wanted to play the game that combines Assassin’s Creed with Dead Island, then you should check this one.
Dying Light is unique because it brings parkour to the zombie-apocalypse environment, which in combination with the open-world nature of the title. It gives players much more freedom in tackling the awaiting challenges. The game also features an addictive multiplayer mode, which gives you the possibility to play either as a survivor or as a powerful zombie invading other people’s servers.
- A huge open world filled with hostile zombies
- Fluid parkour movement which allows climbing the roofs
- Dynamic weather as well as day and night cycle
Alan Wake is a novelist and author of best-selling thrillers. The game tells his story as he tries to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of his wife.
During his journey, he will experience events from his own books, though he won’t even remember writing them. The core of gameplay focuses on fighting the darkness which takes over people and turns them against Alan. Defeating them requires use of flashlight, as well as other environmental light sources, such as streetlights or car’s headlights.
- The game inspired by works of kings of horrors – S. King and A. Hitchcock
- Unique combat mechanic involves using light to purify the enemies possessed by darkness
- The episodic format creates excellent pace
The Long Dark
In The Long Dark, it’s not the gruesome creatures that you will be scared of. In fact, there are none, not counting the wolves.
Instead, the game puts a strong emphasis on classic survival aspects, forcing you to take care of your basic needs, such as hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The game is set in the cold and snowy world, so finding the warm clothing will also be required to survive. Soon enough you will realize, that long dark nights may be as scary as bloodthirsty aliens.
- Basic needs management, including hunger, thirst, fatigue, temperature, and calories
- Scavenging and simple crafting
- Two playable modes: story and sandbox
Lone Survivor made its entry to the list because of its pixelated graphics, making it a quite different title in comparison to the rest, but the game has more to offer than retro visuals.
The city you’ll be playing in was infected, turning all of its residents into mindless zombies. You are presumably the last living man and you are out of supplies, which forces you to leave your apartment to scavenge. As if that wasn’t enough, you will also experience hallucinations and paranormal events.
- Retro-styled 2D graphics
- A post-apocalyptic world filled with hostile zombies and simple puzzles
- Multiple alternative endings
Left 4 Dead
If you are looking for a horror game that could be played together with friends, then Left 4 Dead is the obvious choice – it allows to experience the entire story for a group of up to 4 people simultaneously.
If human players are unavailable, you can get a helping hand from the computer, who will control the other characters, though then the game may be slightly harder – Left 4 Dead puts a strong emphasis on cooperation, and CPU players are not the best at sticking to your plan.
- Game for up to 4 people playing together
- Zombie apocalypse setting
- Strongly focuses on teamwork
Outlast is definitely not a game for a faint of heart, as it involves a lot of blood and gore. As an investigative journalist, Miles Upshur, you will be tasked to check on the psychiatric hospital, where reportedly inhuman experiments are being conducted.
The hospital with its residents creates a very unsettling atmosphere, which adds a great value to the scary part of the game. You are a simple journalist, so you can’t fight the enemies – you will need to resort to hiding, instead.
- An immersive story in a claustrophobic setting
- Gameplay full of blood and viscera
- Focused on stealth tactics and hiding
Silent Hill: Homecoming
|Developer:||Double Helix Games|
Silent Hill: Homecoming, the sixth installment in the Silent Hill series also made its way to our list. As a Special Forces soldier, Alex Shepherd, you will investigate the fate of your missing brother, leading you to discover the source of evil haunting the town of Silent Hill.
On your journey, you will meet grotesque freaky creatures trying to take you down, and you will have only a limited amount of supplies to fight them back.
- Gruesome monsters, for which the series is known for
- Eerie setting and numerous puzzles
- 5 alternative endings, based on your choices
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard tells the story of Ethan Winters, who goes to investigate the seemingly abandoned house mentioned in the message he’s got from his missing wife, Mia.
Luckily she finds her, but soon enough he will realize that they are not alone there. For the first time in the series, developers decided to go for a first-person camera, which positively affects the immersion. The title involves a lot of supernatural events and creatures, as well as simple puzzles to solve and numerous collectibles waiting to be found.
- First-person perspective
- Numerous puzzles to solve
- Tense exploration-based gameplay
Dead by Daylight
This is another viable option if you want to have some fun with friends. Dead by Daylight is played exclusively online – one of the players will play the role of a killer, while the rest will become survivors.
Killer’s role is to kidnap and sacrifice the others to the Entity while they are trying to power the exit gates and escape. What makes the game interesting is the fact, that there are multiple different perks available, as well as different killer characters available to play, each with its own unique ability.
- Gameplay consisting of 1 vs. 4 online matches
- Loadout customization, including perks and add-ons
- Multiple distinctive killers to choose from
The Evil Within
The last position on our list takes The Evil Within. The scary factor comes mainly from the unreal locations inhabited by horrifying creatures and perfectly executed jump scares.
Though you can use various firearms to get past most of the enemies, the ammunition is very limited and hard to find, forcing you to find a balance between fighting, sneaking, and using environmental objects to your advantage.
- Access to firearms, though ammunition is scarce
- Upgradeable abilities
- Dynamically transforming game world filled with lots of collectibles
Survival horror is a subgenre of action-adventure video games, where you are often left unarmed or with very limited ammunition to increase the feeling of overwhelming helplessness. Usually, you need to resort to running and hiding, sneaking past your enemies, and running for your life. You may be sometimes able to utilize environmental objects to gain an advantage, but fighting is not an option in most cases. This is further emphasized by purposedly making the main character weaker than he could be in typical action games, here being able to withstand only a few hits before being knocked out.
Survival horrors can take place in both open and closed areas, with the first being generally favored by games set in the zombie apocalypse world. Some titles may incorporate traditional survival elements, like forcing you to take care of your basic needs, such as hunger and thirst. This is often combined with the ability to craft items and scavenge for supplies. Settings may vary, and here only developers’ imagination is the limit. These may be, for example, paranormal activities, supernatural events, gruesome monsters, and the introduction of gore elements.
Games representing the survival horror genre are the way to go if you are in need of adrenaline shot. They will try to surprise you in many different ways in order to achieve their goal, which is leaving you shivering. They will either force you to run for your life or give you a weapon to make you feel safer at first, only to reveal a few moments later, that your gun is practically useless, leaving you helpless and defenseless anyway.
Horror games come in various shapes and sizes, and as technology develops, we can only expect them to be even better in the future – it’s safe to assume the genre won’t go away anytime soon, as it perfectly fills its niche and developers keep finding new creative ways to entertain us.