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Are you looking for the scariest video games? While some players are all about the power trip, there’s a huge audience that just loves to feel like they’re about to pass out from fear. If you’re among them, then you’re in safe hands, because we’re about to guide you into ten of the scariest video games you can play.
Now, just because you’re using one of the best gaming mice doesn’t mean you’ll be able to overcome the challenges or horrors you’ll find here. If you want to make things easier on yourself, you could make sure you’re sitting on one of the best gaming bean bag chairs, but if you’re using one of the best gaming monitors, the comfort won’t save your eyes.
Each of these horror games has a slightly different appeal, so no matter what helps you hide behind the couch, you should be able to find something to scare you silly. We’ve even included a couple of multiplayer options too because a scare shared is a scare halved, or something.
The Scariest Video Games At A Glance
Below, you’ll find scary video games that make indie-favorite 5 Nights at Freddy’s look like a leisurely stroll through the park.
1. Best Overall: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard – $21 at Amazon
2. Best Sequel: The Evil Within 2 – $8 at Amazon
3. Best IP Title: Alien: Isolation – $10 at Amazon
4. Best Co-op Game: Phasmophobia – $14 at Steam
5. Best Indie: Amnesia: The Dark Descent – $20 at Steam
6. Best Classic: Dead Space – $20 at Steam
7. Most Banned Game: Devotion – $17 at Red Candle Games
8. Best Puzzle Game: Layers of Fear – $20 at Steam
9. Best Multiplayer: Dead By Daylight – $8 at Steam
10. Best Horror Action: Bloodborne – $33 at Amazon
1. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard marks a considerable shift in the franchise because of how it presents itself. The RE series has historically been a third-person series, but 7 shifted the action to the first-person and placed you in increasingly tight spaces; the action is more claustrophobic, but placing gameplay in the first person only furthers that terror. As a result, the game plays like a more traditional horror game before taking on more of the characteristics of the RE series.
However, the real standout feature for Biohazard is the PlayStation VR functionality. Playing the game in virtual reality becomes truly terrifying, making it so that you feel like you’re really there in the thick of it all. Plus, skewing traditional zombies for mutated humans only furthers the game’s horror. So play it … if you dare.
2. The Evil Within 2
An open-world sequel to the first game, The Evil Within 2 focuses on detective Sebastian Castellanos who returns to the hellscape of the first game when it’s revealed his daughter may still be alive. The game balances third-person shooting action with a specific focus on survival to make for one of the most creepy video games around.
As Sebastian dives deeper into this world, he’ll meet plenty of unsettling characters as an intense psychologic thriller unfolds. It’s well worth a visit, even if you haven’t played the first game, making for an outstanding sequel. It also has shades of Resident Evil, if that’s your vibe.
3. Alien: Isolation
BEST IP TITLE
Ridley Scott’s Alien is one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, famously declaring, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Playing Alien: Isolation, however, will likely cause several outbursts of sheer terror. The 2014 video game puts you in the shoes of Amanda Ripley (yes, Ellen Ripley’s daughter) as she embarks on a quest to recover the flight recorder from the ship in the original Alien. Once arriving at the space station, Amanda encounters a Xenomorph and must survive accordingly.
Favoring the tone and spirit of Ridley Scott’s original motion picture, Isolation focuses heavily on survival gameplay mechanics, putting you in a first-person perspective as you sneak through the station while avoiding, outsmarting, and defeating enemies. However, the Xenomorph can’t be beaten, requiring you to run away to survive. It’s a truly horrific feeling, giving way to true terror.
BEST CO-OP GAME
If you’ve ever wanted to live out your dream life of being a ghost hunter then good news: Phasmophobia has you covered. While imagining a co-op game to be scary might be hard, you’ll definitely believe us when you’re in-game and trying to figure out which whispers are your teammates freaking out, and which ones are the ghost creeping up on you.
Players can take on a few different roles while playing Phasmophobia, but it’s always going to be unnerving for most people. What’s especially fun about this game is that you can play it in VR if you want to. We don’t want to, but you might be brave enough.
5. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
A first-person adventure game with horror elements, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, tells the story of Daniel, who wakes up in the empty halls of a castle with no memory of how he got there or who he is. From there, Daniel must explore the castle in search of who he is while also unraveling the castle’s mystery.
As Daniel continues throughout the castle, he runs into horrific creatures, but he can only run away or hide from them. With no options to remove the threats, the tension is particularly high. Plus, Amnesia saves a lot of its best scares for moments wherein you think you’re safe, making it, so you’re never quite safe. The title was released in 2010 by independent games publisher Frictional Games, which specializes in making horror games.
6. Dead Space
As systems engineer Isaac Clarke, it’s up to you to power up a mining ship stuck in deep space. Only, the issue is, the ship is crawling with the undead. 2008’s appropriately named Dead Space was released to near-universal praise for the tension-filled gameplay and inspired ways in which you take on the dead. Leveraging your engineering tools, you’ll dismember various creepy crawlies as they scutter about the ship. The series went on to spawn a whole trilogy.
However, it was recently announced that publisher EA Games was working on a next-gen remaster of the beloved horror classic. The new version will reportedly bring players “an improved story, characters, gameplay mechanics and more as they fight to survive a living nightmare aboard the desolate mining starship, the USG Ishimura, all while uncovering the dreadful mystery of what happened to the slaughtered crew and ship.” So if you missed out now, you might be better off waiting for the next-gen update.
BEST BANNED GAME
Devotion has had a tumultuous time of things since its initial release, and was actually taken down from steam due to an Easter Egg referencing a Chinese diplomat. Despite that, this first-person horror game is back on sale again thanks to the devs, and it’s a doozy.
Devotion sees you playing as a troubled screenwriter going through a home that represents their life and the lives of their family. While that could be wholesome, this is a psychological horror game, so you should expect to have your brain played with a little bit as you go.
8. Layers of Fear
BEST PUZZLE GAME
In Layers of Fear, you take on the role of a painter who has been tasked with finishing his masterwork. Only, the more you work on the painting, the more your mental state begins to fail. Throughout the game, you’ll experience hallucinations about the painter’s troubled and disturbing past. The scares in Layers of Fear come from the sudden and shifting environments, how one thing is there one moment and then gone the next. You’re never quite sure what to expect next, which provides plenty of chances for scares aplenty. It’s a decidedly atypical approach to a horror video game and one that will linger with you long after.
9. Dead By Daylight
Dead By Daylight, despite being an absolute blast to play, definitely has all of the hallmarks of a classic horror game. There are villains to hide from, you’re usually woefully underpowered, and also you can get strung up on meathooks before being carried into the abyss by lots of hands.
This multiplayer game sees a group of survivors trying to make it out of various maps while being hunted by a single villain. Some of these are original characters, but there are a fair few crossovers too, so it’s a must-play for hardcore horror fans.
BEST HORROR ACTION
While action games might not often be considered true horror games, we’d argue that anyone who thinks that simply hasn’t played Bloodborne. While you can occasionally end up feeling powerful in this nightmare of a game, you’re usually on the receiving end of some eldritch horror’s invisible grab attack.
It has you heading to the gothic city of Yharnam seeking healing, but you quickly find yourself in a city tearing itself apart and filled with all manner of beasts and unknown entities. It’s also tough-as-nails, which helps.