Let’s face it, a night out on Halloween can be expensive. Drinks, event tickets, taxis, and don’t even get us started on the costume. Besides, late October is cold and unless being blue is part of your costume, going outside when the temperature drops can end up being the scariest thing about your night. We think the best thing you could do is hunker down in some warm clothes, get a bucket of Halloween sweets, turn the lights off and play some awesome videogames.
There’s just something about horror games that’s better than horror movies. Maybe it’s because you’re so directly involved in the narrative that all of those things you can use to distance yourself from movies, such as predictable deaths or head-deskingly stupid character decisions, just aren’t there. You can plug in your headphones and go it alone, or bring your friends round to join in and back you up as you check every last cupboard before you all lie awake for hours. Either way we guarantee you good scares and creepy atmospheres.
10) Alan Wake
This psychological horror game follows novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance in the small fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington – all while experiencing events from the plot in his latest novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life. Alan Wake kind of feels like playing through a TV thriller. The lighting and soundtrack create a brilliantly creepy atmosphere and the mystery of the story won’t fail to keep you engaged.
Alan Wake is available on XBox 360 and PC.
Outlast is the story of freelance investigative journalist, Miles Upshur, who decides to investigate a remote psychiatric hospital situated deep in the mountains of Lake County, Colorado, that has been overrun with homicidal patients. Miles is incapable of any effective combat, leaving you to free run or hide in order to survive. The game takes inspiration from found footage horror with Miles’ camcorder that he’s using to record his experience. This game is unbelievably scary with incredible visuals and an interesting story. Put it this way, I hid in a vent for about an hour.
Outlast is available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Linux.
8) The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Do not be fooled by the cute visuals of The Binding of Isaac; they hide a dark and sinister premise. The game is actually kind of horrifying as you’re running through the basement from your mother who has been instructed by God to kill you. Going deeper and deeper into the basement, you use your tears as weapons to kill a myriad of enemies that take the form of things like the seven sins, blood clots, and hanged men. You won’t find yourself jumping with fear as you play Binding of Isaac so much as you’ll find yourself grossed out and filled with horrified fascination. It’s definitely a good one for Halloween night, and with the game’s massive expansion called Afterbirth being released on October 30th, how can you resist?
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Windows, Linux, and Mac.
7) Dead Space
If you like your horror a little more space age, Dead Space is definitely for you. It’s an extremely violent game, which I really don’t think you can rely on alone to make a good horror game. Thankfully, it has atmosphere to back it up, which I do think you can rely on to make a good horror game that will stay in the player’s mind for years to come.
You play Isaac Clarke, an engineer embarking on a repair mission of a deep-space mining ship that’s gone dark. On this ship you discover the crew slaughtered and infected by alien scourge. Then it becomes all about your survival. Space is dark, cold, and freaky even without gore and aliens, so adding them in addition to some delightfully creepy lighting, makes Dead Space one of the most stressful and scary games you could play. Even more to its credit, if the scares make you want to turn it off, the suspense and mystery of the story will absolutely make you want to keep playing.
Dead Space is available on PC via Steam, Xbox 360, and PS3.
Being placed in an unnerving environment and presented a difficult combat system is definitely an effective method of putting the player on edge and instilling feelings of utter dread, and that’s exactly what Bloodborne does. The game follows you, the Hunter, through the Gothic city of Yharnam, whose inhabitants have been afflicted with an abnormal blood-borne disease. It’s your job to uncover the mystery of the plague and return to the waking world.
Bloodborne gets the Lovecraftian sense of horror incredibly well, taking inspiration not only visually, but also thematically. You have the dark gothic otherworldly visuals to instil a sense of foreboding unfamiliarity, but you also get that feeling of being one small person fighting a massive unconquerable monster in a nightmarish world where knowledge is an incredibly dangerous power. Bloodborne is the kind of horror that ignites your morbid curiosity, pushing you through the confusing and terrifying secrets of an incredibly creepy world.
Bloodborne is available only on PS4.
5) Until Dawn
Until Dawn follows eight friends who are trapped when their remote mountain getaway goes wrong. As you’d expect, things get sinister pretty quickly when they realise they might not be alone. It’s all pretty standard horror fare. Until Dawn is a game where every choice you make carves out the story and your decisions determine who survives. This level of power is part of what sets the game apart and makes it such a great horror title to play; you feel powerful and helpless all at the time time.
Until Dawn is available on PS4.
If there’s one thing that chills me more than space, it’s under the sea, so sci-fi run-and-hide horror SOMA, set in an underwater isolated research facility, really got to me. SOMA is one of those games that gets some of its best horror from the things that your mind can imagine, leaving you to find the aftermath of horrifying events and fill in the gaps yourself with the help of investigatable corpses and environments. That’s not to say there’s not the usual frightening monsters and pervasive atmosphere of dread and weaponless helplessness that make traditional horror games so great, but SOMA uses your own head against you very well. If you want an intelligent horror game with a chilling narrative to hold your attention, SOMA is without doubt worth playing.
SOMA is available on PC, Mac, Linux, and PS4.
3) Project Zero: Crimson Butterfly
I remember my first interaction with the Project Zero series. I was around 7 years old and the game had come as a demo with my Playstation 2, so naturally I played it. Cue a fear and fascination with the Project Zero universe that’s still with me until this day. I played this game at 5 minute intervals every day until I finally completed the demo, and it took a while. So of course I bought it and its sequel. I chose the sequel because it felt just a little scarier than the original, and that’s really saying something. You play Mio Amakura as she searches the Lost Village for her twin sister, Mayu. Check creepy twins off your trope checklist. You’re armed only with a flashlight and the Camera Obscura that’s both your weapon against the village’s hostile ghost residents and your means of documenting your story.
The atmosphere of Crimson Butterfly, and the feeling of helplessness that comes from having only a camera as your weapon are done so incredibly well. Project Zero is a series I really wish had got more love.
Project Zero: Crimson Butterfly is available on Playstation 2 and Xbox.
2) Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 is the classic horror game where fog is made to fulfill its atmospheric potential in the best possible way. Then there’s the rust, the blood, the general weird and uncomfortable atmosphere that this game channels from beginning to end. Playing James Sunderland who has come to the town of Silent Hill looking for his missing wife, you must solve puzzles, survive terrifying monsters, and keep your shit together whilst you explore some seriously creepy sets. Have we even mentioned Pyramid Head? Yeah, Pyramid Head. Silent Hill 2 is a horror experience that will stay with you for years, and it doesn’t get any less scary on a replay.
Silent Hill 2 is available on PC, Xbox, PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360.
1) Amnesia: The Dark Descent
In Amnesia: The Dark Descent you play Daniel, a prisoner who wakes up in a strange Prussian castle with amnesia. That’s the first part of the title explained. The rest of the game is the dark descent as Daniel is hunted down and he has to figure out what exactly is happening to him. Amnesia has one hell of an atmosphere that’s perfectly crafted, utilising visuals and sound incredibly well. One of the scariest things about this game is the vulnerability; you really have no defence but the ability to run away and hide. I frequently found myself performing entire sections of the game screaming. There are less jump scares in Amnesia, rather you just play on a constant high of terror and spiking blood pressure.