22 March 2021 is an important date for the fans of horror in gaming. The day marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Resident Evil, the game that has forever changed the landscape of the survival horror games genre.
Capcom’s masterful horror game is to this day considered one of the scariest titles to ever grace the consoles – for a good reason. Exploring the mansion infested with zombie mutants haunted the players’ nightmares long after they’ve put down the controller.
Over the years, the series has undergone various changes, diverting from its survival horror origins into more action-oriented games with Resident Evil 4 through RE6 and recently returning to its horror roots with Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil: Village.
Over these 25 years of presence on the market, Resident Evil has inspired many other game development studios to pursue the survival horror genre. In our article, you will find the ten best games that feature similar themes and mechanics as Capcom’s classic series.
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The Silent Hill series is, next to Resident Evil, one of the most popular horror video game series in the history of the genre.
Set in the titular town, existing on the border between nightmare and reality, the Silent Hill games terrified the player with their design and monstrous adversaries and challenged their intellect with complex puzzles. The same goes for P.T. – or Playable Teaser – for the unreleased new Silent Hill game.
The game takes place in a haunted house, which traps the player in a loop. Exploring the corridors and rooms of the house reveals more and more details of the family murder that occurred there, and the presence of a ghost of one of the victims adds to the terrifying nature of the game.
P.T. is known for its complex puzzles, which require the player to pay attention to every detail, use the controller in interesting ways (answering the phone requires the player to talk into the controller’s microphone), etc. But the main allure of this short demo is the unfulfilled promise it made – the game never left the development stages, and Hideo Kojima moved on to different projects. What remains is the uniquely scary title that challenges the player intellectually and puts their nerves to the test.
Post-apocalyptic survival horrors are one of the hottest genres in today’s gaming. The developers do their darndest to offer the players a unique after-the-end experience.
Many of the games in that genre feature a storyline where humankind was wiped out by a virus, turning people into hordes of undead. One of such games is Days Gone, which features some exciting mechanics that make the title worth looking into for the fans of the Resident Evil series.
Unlike the T-Virus mutants of the Resident Evil series, who would most often attack the player one at a time, the zombies in Days Gone are very dangerous monsters who will hunt the protagonist in massive groups.
Their overwhelming numbers can be used to the player’s advantage as well – leading a horde of zombies towards an enemy encampment will make quick work of what otherwise would have been either a massive shootout or a nerve-wracking stealth operation.
DayZ is an interesting case of a mod that has grown into a game of its own.
Based on Arma II, DayZ puts the player’s tactical and survival skills to the test in a country overtaken by zombies. The players must cooperate, collect resources, and arm themselves against the zombies and other survivors to survive.
The most important feature of DayZ is its social character. Like in the Arma series, cooperation between the players is the key to success. In DayZ, the players can form groups, share resources, and work together to complete objectives.
Most of them involve eliminating a zombie horde or securing an outpost from other players’ team. In these missions, working together to complete the objectives is crucial, as one mistake might cause the whole operation to fall apart. Even in the post-apocalyptic world, running away with tails between your legs is not a good look.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season
While Telltale’s The Walking Dead series started as a simple point-and-click adventure game, it has since moved from its roots and embraced the middle ground of the graphic adventure game.
The last installment of the series goes even further, introducing elements such as free camera movement and shooting sections, making the game based on Robert Kirkman’s cult graphic novel series even closer to the mechanics of the subject of this article.
The gameplay of The Final Season is still pretty linear but gives the player more control of where to look and go, thanks to the aforementioned free camera movement.
The combat is now also more “action-oriented,” with the player able to fight walkers using a knife and later in the game a bow. While exploring the game’s environments, the player will find various trinkets, which they can use as decoration. All of these mechanics are as far detached from the restrictive gameplay of the first The Walking Dead, but they work well for Clementine’s one final huzzah against the undead.
The Evil Within
The Evil Within is the story of a police detective Sebastian Castellanos, who becomes trapped in a nightmarish mirror dimension while investigating a mass murder in a mental hospital.
As he travels through the dimension that seems to shift into even worse versions of itself, Sebastian must discover the truth behind the murder.
First and foremost, The Evil Within is a psychological horror, and it shows. While the Resident Evil games would scare the players with a sudden attack of zombie mutants, TEW excels at making the protagonist and the player doubt their senses.
The world around Sebastian constantly changes, opening new paths to explore and making way for new nightmares to attack the player. The game is full of creatively designed monstrosities that will haunt the player’s dreams for nights to come. If something like that is your cup of tea, then go ahead and dive into the freakish world of The Evil Within.
Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead is another title that emphasizes cooperation between the players.
In fact, it is virtually impossible to play the game without a solid crew backing you up. The preemie of Valve South’s zombie shooter is pretty simple – four survivors of a zombie virus outbreak must work together to make their way to safety.
L4D is not the most realistic first-person shooter out there, but it offers a very intense, zombie-themed gameplay experience.
The players move from one safe area to another, with the goal being to stay alive long enough to reach the next infected-free zone. The players can die in an attempt to do so, which puts them in a closed room. The remaining players must then rescue their comrade. The game features friendly fire, which adds another layer of morality to the title – incapacitating one of the teammates and leaving them for the infected might clear the path for others to move to a safer area.
The Last of Us
|Genre:||Action & Adventure|
The Last of Us closest counterpart on our list is The Walking Dead. Compared to the Resident Evil series, Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic opus magnum is closest to the latest, more story-driven installments.
The game is set in a world ravaged by an outbreak of a fungal virus that turns all the infected into aggressive, constantly evolving monsters. The protagonists of the game, a hardened smuggler Joel and Ellie, the only person immune to the infection, travel through the United States to possibly find the cure.
TLoU’s gameplay focuses on a blend of stealth, melee, and gunplay combat. The player controls Joel, whose strong arms are perfect tools of destruction, capable of smashing heads, breaking necks, and handling all sorts of weapons. Throughout the game, the player will encounter all kinds of enemies – from human survivors to various types of the infected.
They differ in the level of threat they pose to the player and include zombie-like runners, noise-sensitive Clickers, and monstrous Bloaters, who use mutated parts of their bodies as explosives. While the roster of monsters isn’t as rich as in the RE games, they should do fine for the players who like a little bit of variety in combat gameplay.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot
Codemend 2: Bloodshot is an FPP survival horror set in the fictional Metro City. For the past year, the city has been dealing with a mysterious phenomenon that causes the homeless to become aggressive and violent.
Ethan Thomas, a former FBI investigator, is recruited back into service to help contain the crisis. Fighting his own demons, Thomas will have to give in to the darkness to find out the reason for the city’s state, which ties to an enigmatic cult.
Condemned 2: Bloodshot is scary. The world created by the developers at Monolith Productions is full of dark alleys, abandoned metro stations, and buildings falling apart, where the individuals affected with the psychosis only wait to attack. The game features two key gameplay mechanics, combat and crime scene investigation.
The former is mainly based on melee using a variety of weapons Ethan finds on the ground – lead pipes, crowbars, baseball bats, chair legs, etc. Firearms are rarely used, and ammunition for them is scarce. The crime scene investigation will have the player analyze samples and track the clues to progress the story. These mechanics make Condemned 2: Bloodshot an interesting title for the fans of survival horror games.
|Genre:||Action & Shooter|
In Alien: Isolation, the player controls Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Sigourney Weaver’s character in the movie franchise.
Amanda is sent to retrieve Nostromo’s black box from a space station Sevastopol. From there, Amanda and the crew of Weyland-Yutani operatives can track the spaceship carrying Xenomorph eggs. As the Alien is unleashed onboard Sevastopol, with little to no means of defending herself, Amanda stands to an uneasy fight against the Xenomorph.
The game’s premise seems like such an obvious idea for the Alien universe game. The player controls Amanda as she moves across the Sevastopol’s decks, finding more clues about what had happened there. She is hunted not only by the human enemies and malfunctioning androids but also by the Xenomorph stalking her through the vents.
While humans and androids can be incapacitated using conventional and makeshift weapons at Amanda’s disposal, the Alien doesn’t give up so easily. The only way to survive the encounter with the creature is to run and hide.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III - Zombies Deluxe
Fans of the Call of Duty series owe a lot to Call of Duty: Black Ops III, but one of its crucial gameplay aspects, which has become the series staple, is the – Zombies Deluxe mode.
In this multiplayer experience, the players stand against hordes of zombified soldiers and must fight through them to survive.
The first Zombie mode doesn’t resemble the expansive Zombie modes of the recent installments of the CoD series. However, it’s still a nice minigame that allows players to kill waves upon waves of zombies without worrying about the extended lore.
The mode features several maps, on which up to 4 players can shoot at the undead using a variety of weapons, including ones collected from repaired windows. While not the most RE-like game on our list, zombies is worth mentioning due to the long-running tradition it started.