Best Horror Games 2016: Halloween is here, and what better way to spend it than by diving into some scary games? From modern thrillers to all-time spooky classics, our guide to the best horror games for PC, PS4, Xbox One has something spine-chilling for everyone.
Halloween is almost here, so what better time to bust out a morbid collection of wonderfully terrifying games? Here are the best games to play on Halloween.
1) Resident Evil 4
Capcom crafted one of the greatest horror games of all-time with Resident Evil 4, reinventing not only the Resi franchise, but the entire third-person genre back in January 2005.
Among other highlights, we’ll never forget the beautifully crafted opening scene set in a haunted Spanish village. Lulled briefly into a false sense of security, we were soon descending into a smorgasbord of grotesque monsters and lovingly camp pantomime villains.
Will it ever be beaten? We’ll have to wait until Resident Evil 7 to find out.
2) Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Frictional Games’ haunting cult classic is a first person marvel, bending the player’s mind in ways that remain innovative to this day.
Amnesia plays on your psychological fears constantly, so much so that it's several hours until we even catch a glimpse of the infamous monster.
This beautiful pace combines low-budget set pieces with a series of trippy puzzles, but the clear highlight is the insanity metre – a mechanic that changes what you perceive in the darkness the longer you remain within it.
It was an undeniably clever tool – to the best of our knowledge, it hasn't been replicated since – and one that helped define this sagacious game .
3) Condemned: Criminal Origins
The sequel was a bit rubbish, but the original Condemned remains a brutal masterpiece in the eyes of hardcore horror fans.
Detective Ethan Thomas has been framed for a murder he didn’t commit, forced to retreat into the dark, gritty suburbs of New York City. The pitch black metro tunnels of the Big Apple make for a suitably sombre setting, surrounding you in darkness with nothing but a measly flashlight to guide you.
Condemned does a fantastic job of combining reality with the paranormal, making it difficult to determine what’s real and what isn’t as Ethan investigates bloody crime scenes and bludgeons homeless people to death.
A tad grim? Maybe. Utterly brilliant? Without a shadow of a doubt.
4) Until Dawn
PS4 has plenty of worthwhile exclusives, but Until Dawn is easily one of the best thanks to its deft deployment of horror tropes.
Immature high school students? Check. Mysterious killer? Yep. Abandoned mansion? That's there, too. You’d expect it to be lazy and predictable, yet Until Dawn subverts your expectations in some truly fantastic ways.
Every single decision you make factors into the narrative, influencing the eventual fate of the characters and making for some stomach-churning stuff – the encounters remain some of the most intense we've seen this generation.
The gameplay may be straightforward, bordering on mundane, but Until Dawn is perfect when played with friends in a dark room and the speakers amped up.
5) Silent Hill 2
It’s impossible to list a collection of definitive survival horror titles without mentioning Silent Hill 2, a Konami masterpiece that was groundbreaking when it launched in 2001 and is still excellent to play today.
James Sunderland must venture to Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his wife, who – until now – was presumed dead. What follows is a truly demented journey through James’ subconscious, with the otherworldly creatures you encounter representative of his inner turmoil as sanity and insanity blur into one.
Silent Hill 2 is an undeniably iconic title, not least as it's responsible for introducing the infamous Pyramid Head into our nightmares.
Yet another gem by Frictional Games, SOMA is the spiritual successor to Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
This time, the developer has swapped spooky mansions and catacombs for an underwater city in a post-apocalyptic world – and it's every bit as unnerving as it sounds.
The bleak gaming experience explores the theme of transhumanism in some heart-breaking ways, proving to be both chilling and provocative, with a conclusion that will leave you absolutely breathless.
The inclusion of cookie-cutter spooky monsters might have hindered SOMA, but it elicits more than enough scares on the basis of its uncomfortable subject matter alone.
MediEvil isn’t the the most blood-curdling title on this list, but it does possess a spooky and memorable aesthetic that captures the cheesiest elements of Halloween to great effect.
Sir Daniel Fortesque is an endearing and goofy undead protagonist who stumbles about the world swinging his comically oversized sword. The sheer variety of supernatural enemies you contend with is very impressive for a 1998 PS1 title. The blend of creepy foes, ominous music and obscure mechanics is nightmare-inducing in its own way.
8) Ride to Hell: Retribution
Terrifying? Nope, just terrifyingly bad.
Ride to Hell: Retribution is a 1960s biker-infused atrocity featuring broken mechanics, laughable characters, baffling design, and – in case you're not sold already – some truly grotesque sex scenes.
Rightly hailed as one of the worst games of the last decade, the mediocrity on display here might well be the most frightening thing you see all Halloween.
Firmly part of the 'so bad it’s actually good' camp, this beautiful disaster is the Honey G of horror games.
9) Alien Isolation
Ridley Scott’s Alien became an instant classic when it burst into theatres in 1979, and ever since fans of the sci-fi juggernaut have been craving a worthy adaptation.
While precursor Aliens: Colonial Marines failed to capitalise on the terror and tension of the franchise, Alien Isolation does just that, twisting the original story into a claustrophobic first-person adventure instilled with an overriding sense of dread.
Highlights include the Xenomorph adapting to your behaviour as it skulks about the futuristic corridors with heavy, acidic footsteps.
The facehuggers? Don't get us bloody started.
10) Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
Horror that takes you by surprise is always the best.
Similar to Amnesia, Eternal Darkness leaves you in the clutches of a sanity metre as you battle monsters across various epochs.
The behaviour of the apparitions that chase you is influenced by your actions, so situations rarely repeat themselves and the arc of the game is impacted by your paranoia, which might be the scariest thing of all.
Sanity’s Requiem is a cult classic well worth digging out a Gamecube for – with any luck, it’ll crop up on Nintendo Switch.
11) I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
This morbid PC classic is a disturbing post-apocalyptic tale that pulls no punches when it comes to presenting a ruthlessly bleak world.
An evil computer called AM has destroyed all of humanity with the exception of five people, who have been kept alive and tortured for decades.
As a result, each survivor has a fatal flaw in their personality, and these weaknesses are preyed on by the wicked AI.
Some of the sunny themes featured include insanity, rape, paranoia and genocide – this really isn’t for the faint of heart.
What spooky surprises do you have in store this Halloween? Let us know in the comments.