Guest Post: Top 5 Horror Games
Anyone that knows me, knows horror games aren’t my thing. Although for October 2022 I am trying out Resident Evil VII Biohazard! Anyway, luckily, Josh from fullsync.co.uk enjoys that stuff and offered-up his thoughts on the genre.
So here’s his Top 5 Horror Games!
If I had a life and death decision to make where I had to pick just one genre of video game to play for the rest of my life, horror games would be my match made in hell. The tension they build, the suspense created, not knowing what could be lurking around the next corner you turn. I love everything about them.
It’s not so much the scares that I enjoy, although admittedly it does get the adrenaline pumping. It’s the tales told, the puzzles they challenge you with, and the variety you can get between different titles. Insane asylums, space stations, abandoned houses. They can take place anywhere, and nine times out ten, horror games make it work.
Then you have the soundtracks, horror games have some of the best around that create the perfect atmosphere. Just think of Silent Hill: Downpour and Korn recording the intro and Daniel Licht, who was responsible for the soundtrack to Dexter, composing the rest of the music. Absolute chills.
So, with Halloween just around the corner, it’s time for you to boo-ckle up as we’ve decided to explore the top five horror games we’ve ever played. In no particular order, because we just really couldn’t decide.
Layers of Fear
Developed by Bloober Team, a studio that has become synonymous with the best horror titles released over the last few years, Layers of Fear tackles the horror genre in a different way. Rather than being chased around, or trying to fight off a zombie infestation, the enemy here is the human mind.
It’s all about an artist who is driven to madness, slowly losing his mind to the point he begins to create a new masterpiece using the dismembered body parts of the people who lived in his house. The way Layers of Fear tells the story is fascinating, and its clever mechanics genuinely create a scary environment. Combined together, they form one of the best indie horror games ever made.
The Evil Within
The Evil Within is an interesting one, because whilst many people applauded certain aspects of the game such as its horror elements, a few critics declared that the story wasn’t up to scratch. But to those critics, we say, pffft.
Developed by Tango Gameworks and directed by Resident Evil legend Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within was a popular horror game released ahead of Halloween in October 2014. It follows the story of Sebastian Castellanos, who makes his way through an ever-changing world filled with a range of demonic creatures.
The combat mechanics that see you wielding ranged and melee weapons was fantastic, the graphics for the time were second to none, and the game generated the atmosphere that you expect of a top class horror game. The sequel, whilst also enjoyable, and maybe a little bit more bizarre in its environments at times, was also good, but the first Evil Within game was definitely the better.
Outlast is probably my all-time favourite horror game if I had to pick one. Developed by the indie studio Red Barrels, Outlast takes place in an insane asylum that has been overrun by its inmates. You play the role of a reporter investigating what has been going on after being tipped off by a member of staff there. That story itself can be played through in the Whistleblower DLC, which really ties the whole game together.
But as for Outlast itself, it set out to redefine the genre. Its first-person style, in which you make your way around the game with your trusty video camera, set a trend for a whole load of similar styled horror titles. Sure, it had a lot of jump scares, but they were implemented extremely well, and never felt forced or cheap because of the way the game sets the atmosphere and how you progress through the story.
If you haven’t played it yet, you really should. And if you do play it, expect to experience reactions like this one by our pal Stubat who played Outlast not too long ago on his Twitch channel:
Alien Isolation is a survival horror developed by SEGA and Creative Assembly, taking place in the world of the Alien film franchise. Arriving at a space station which is being decommissioned, you arrive aboard to find no initial signs of life. It soon becomes apparent that those who are alive are either scavenging, or hiding from what lurks in the vents. An Alien.
Ok, so an Alien in a vent doesn’t sound scary, but if you’ve seen the films you know these aren’t some E.T. lookalikes. The game does a tremendous job of encouraging you to be stealthy as you make your way around the space station to try and get back to your ship whilst solving puzzles and navigating tricky situations.
It creates an unrivalled tension that will have you wishing you invested in new underwear as you walk under an air vent only to be unexpectedly torn apart by the Alien who is looking to extinguish all signs of life. The game does an exceptional job of keeping true to the universe, whilst telling its own unique story, and it gets the balance ever so right. Another must play horror title.
I’ve recently reviewed MADiSON over on FULLSYNC, and it is probably my favourite game I’ve played in 2022, outside of my casual addiction to playing Apex Legends. Similar in the way that Outlast relies on a camera as you explore the world around you, MADiSON focuses around a Polaroid camera with supernatural powers to unveil things not seen by the naked eye.
The story revolves around Luca, a young boy who it would seem is suspected to be possessed by a demon. Said demon would like Luca to complete a ritual which involves dismembered body parts. The story can get a bit confusing, and the puzzles within the game can be tiresome, but that’s partly due to the fact developer BLOODIOUS Games deliberately tries to throw you off the scent.
But this game is so freakin’ beautiful it’s unreal. The attention to detail, the way it creates this tension as you make your way around the games environments. It all leaves you on edge. Was that sound a creaky floorboard you just stood on? Are those just old pipes clanging? Or is something following you around in the dark? Only one way to find out. Play it!
Horror Game Round-up
So there you have it, our top five horror games. Each one is unique in its own way, and uses different elements to create an exceptional game. If you’ve played any of these before, let us know what you thought in the comments, and if we’ve missed out some titles you think should have made it let us know so we can check them out, or tell you why it wasn’t good enough to make our list.