Game Rant selects the five horror games that defined the genre in 2015, including the likes of Bloodborne, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Until Dawn, and more!
Thanks to established horror gaming franchises abandoning their roots in favor of a more action-oriented approach, the horror genre suffered from a few lackluster years that left fans wanting. For awhile, it seemed as though horror gaming wasn't going to return to its former glory, but luckily, it has since enjoyed a healthy comeback.
2015 especially brought to the table a number of high quality horror gaming experiences, ranging from new entries in beloved series to exciting, blood-soaked, brand new IP. Indeed, there was plenty for horror gaming fans to enjoy this past year, and the following five games stand out as the cream of the crop.
For the uninitiated, the basic concept behind From Software's Bloodborne is to retain the challenging, unforgiving combat from its sister franchise Dark Souls, while intensifying the Gothic horror themes and including even more grotesque enemies. Supported throughout the year with frequent updates and a recently released expansion pack called The Old Hunters, Bloodborne is well-deserving of the critical acclaim it has earned since launch. Bloodborne is also arguably the most significant PS4 exclusive to release in 2015, and it happens to be one of the best horror games of the year.
Five Nights at Freddy's 4
While some may criticize the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise for relying a little too heavily on jump scares, there's no denying the way the series has resonated with gamers. 2015 saw the Five Nights at Freddy's story arc, about murderous Chuck E. Cheese-like animatronic creatures springing to life, finally come to a close with Five Nights at Freddy's 4. However, the franchise is far from dead, with numerous other projects in the works, including novels and even a Five Nights at Freddy's feature film. Five Nights at Freddy's 4 ended the series on a high note with its creepy atmosphere, so hopefully the film and novel adaptations don't hamper the franchise's momentum.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
In 2015, one of the most recognizable developers of horror games, Capcom, decided to experiment a bit with the genre's biggest franchise, Resident Evil. This experiment came in the form of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, an episodic adventured that combined elements of classic Resident Evil with the co-op leanings of the more recent franchise entries.
While not without its flaws, Capcom's experiment seems to have been mostly a success, earning more critical acclaim than Resident Evil 6 at the very least. Critics praised the horrific enemy designs and the returns of fan favorite characters Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, and it would certainly be interesting to see them return for a potential Resident Evil: Revelations 3 down the road.
After the success of 2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent (itself largely responsible for revitalizing interest in true horror games) developer Frictional Games had a lot to live up to with SOMA. While the game may not have become as popular as Amnesia was in its heyday, SOMA has nevertheless earned critical acclaim due to its haunting atmosphere and emotionally charged narrative. It is perhaps the most genuinely scary game on this list, and definitely a game that fans of the genre shouldn't pass up.
Until Dawn suffered from a troubled development cycle, beginning life as a PlayStation Move game for the PS3, until eventually shifting gears and releasing as a PS4 exclusive. Typically this is a red flag, but Until Dawn defied expectations, and managed to become one of 2015's sleeper hits in the process. Until Dawn released to strong sales and critical success, mostly thanks to its sharp graphics, excellent acting, and twisting, choice-based narrative. Its popularity has led to it already joining the ranks of the other first-party Sony franchises, with a spinoff based on the game due for release next year for the PlayStation VR.
Overall, 2015 was a great year for horror gaming, and hopefully this momentum carries into 2016. Chances seem good that 2016 will be another great year for horror gaming fans, if previously announced titles like the P.T. spiritual successor Allison Road and the asymmetrical multiplayer Friday the 13th game are any indication.
Which 2015 horror games were your favorites? Do you agree or disagree with our selections? Get at us in the comments below and let us know which horror games you enjoyed the most in 2015!