Not written by Pumpkin Person
24 years ago, when cult classic game Resident Evil was first released on the market, horror was a relatively unexplored theme in gaming. All previous attempts to establish an entertaining and popular horror-themed game had fallen short of the mark.
Resident Evil was therefore revolutionary, showing developers that with a little bit of imagination and outside of the box thinking, horror could be a successful video game theme. In the years since 1996 horror has become an established gaming genre with memorable titles released across all platforms.
Such is the popularity of horror games that it can be tough to separate the good from the bad and find a game that will truly get your blood pumping. Fortunately for you we’ve collated five of the very best horror themed games that you should be playing now and here they are…
#1 Until Dawn (PS4)
In the late 1990s and early 2000s it was impossible to take a trip to the cinema without seeing a trailer for yet another teen slasher movie. The theme was so popular that director Keenan Wayans chose to satirise it in his 2001 comedy release Scary Movie.
Weirdly the teen slasher craze never migrated from movies to games until 2015 when Supermassive Games released their eminently playable PS4 title Until Dawn. The game follows eight teenagers on a trip to a remote cabin up in the mountains.
They aren’t alone though, there’s a frightening presence amongst them intent on picking them off one by one and it’s up to you to make the decisions that will keep your character alive until dawn. The game manages to straddle the line between movie and game effortlessly and will keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat throughout.
Sony exclusive Until Dawn took the previously untapped teen slasher sub-genre to gaming back in 2015
#2 Nightmare on Elm Street (PC & Mobile)
Slot machines may not be best known for their integration of horror but this effort draws on a classic movie to get your blood pumping. Fans of the cult classic film will recognise all of the terrifying characters featured on the spinning reels.
Whereas spotting Freddy might be cause for concern in usual circumstances it is actually a good sing in this game as the vicious villain is the wild symbol. The slot’s successful integration of music and effects from the film helps to create a feeling of suspense and fear as you play.
Fortunately, your brush with Freddy Krueger can end well though with plenty of cash prizes on offer for players. If you’re not a slots aficionado and you want to earn some money while playing, check out this brilliant guide on how to win at slots before logging on to play.
Seeing Freddy Krueger usually means bad news but in this game you’ll be wishing for his icon to appear as when it does, it will bring money
#3 The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan (PS4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch)
The success of Until Dawn inspired Supermassive Games to come up with another choice-based horror and this one is an absolute classic. Similarly, to its predecessor, The Dark Pictures follows a group of young adults who come up a cropper in a remote place.
The remote cabin in Until Dawn is replaced with a ghost ship in the South Pacific Sea where the characters worst dreams come to life. Again, your choices in the game influence the outcome of the story and determine who lives and who dies.
What makes The Dark Pictures better than Until Dawn is the interactive Shared Story and Movie Night modes which allow you to play along with your friends in a party.
If you liked Until Dawn you’ll love The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan
#4 Alien: Isolation (PC, PS4 & Xbox One)
The 1979 classic horror film Alien has inspired a series of video game spin-offs over the years, but none can shine a light to Alien: Isolation. Released six years ago this month, Alien: Isolation breathes fresh life into the Alien franchise making the Xenomorph terrifying once again.
In the game you take on the role of Amanda, daughter of Ellen Ripley and begin searching a derelict space station. Along the way you discover that the space station may not be as abandoned as once thought as you encounter the Xenomorph, the same fearsome creature that your Mother once fought.
What makes this game so terrifying to play isn’t the blood and thunder of the Xenomorph, rather it is the subtlety of the direction and the anxiety provoking stealth mode. The atmosphere cultivated by the game is a triumph, making it uncomfortable and engaging at the same time.
The Xenomorph was beginning to lose its fear factor until the release of this game in 2014
#5 Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (PC, PS4 & Xbox One)
At the beginning of this article we discussed how the 1996 release of Resident Evil revolutionised the gaming industry by successfully incorporating horror as a genre. In the near two-and-a-half decades since that first release the Resident Evil still rules the roost when it comes to terrifying, blood pumping horror games.
Three years ago, when Resident Evil 7 was released fans bought the game with trepidation, fearing that it could have been a clunky, forced revival of a cult classic series. Fortunately, their fears were misplaced as the game ended up being the best in the series so far.
Director Koshi Nakanishi called on a zeitgeist of horror films from the past two decades to create a gruelling and deeply unsettling game. There’s still enough nostalgia in the game to delight long-term fans of the series but Resident Evil 7 excels in its own right as a disturbing, modern horror game.
Resident Evil 7 is so terrifying that you might have to play it during the day, with the lights on and with other people in the house….