It's Halloween, the time of year when everyone is looking to watch the best horror movies and play the scariest video games. But with decades of scary video games to choose from, where does one start? Well, for those looking for gaming thrills and chills this Halloween, we have compiled a list of 10 games bursting with scares.
While "scary" is a supremely subjective concept, we have confidence that these 10 games all have a pretty good shot at unnerving even the most courageous gamers...especially when played on Halloween night, with the lights off, headphones on, and face inches from the screen.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent was also included on our list of Top 10 Horror Games of the Last 10 Years, but it deserves another mention. The game is in many ways a classic horror story, with protagonist Daniel exploring a spooky castle in the early 1800's. It just so happens that this castle is filled with all sorts of monstrosities, and prolonged exposure to them causes Daniel to lose his sanity. With an increasingly deranged hero that has virtually no way of fighting back against the threats in the castle, Amnesia has earned its reputation as one of the scariest games ever made.
Clock Tower 3
Clock Tower 3 has many gameplay issues for sure, but that doesn't make it any less terrifying. Players control a helpless young girl named Alyssa Hamilton, who has no access to any weaponry whatsoever outside of a very limited supply of holy water. Unfortunately for Alyssa, the holy water isn't terribly effective against the grotesque "Subordinate" creatures that relentlessly pursue her, and their tendency to appear out of nowhere makes them all the more frightening.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
People who think Nintendo systems are just for kids have obviously never played Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem on the GameCube. The game remains one of the scariest games of all time, utilizing psychological horror in a brilliant way that messes with the player directly, not just with the characters in the game. This is accomplished through several fourth-wall-breaking moments, which tease the player in clever ways. There's really nothing else like Eternal Darkness, so it's a shame that Nintendo cancelled Eternal Darkness 2, which was reportedly in development for the Wii U.
Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly
While we wouldn't recommend Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (read our Maiden of Black Water review to find out why) for players looking for a quality scare this Halloween, the Fatal Frame series was once considered one of the premiere horror gaming franchises. The second game in the series, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, is particularly well-made, and its scares still hold up to this day. Those looking for a great ghost story and a chilling atmosphere need look no further, making it a perfect game to play on Halloween night.
Five Nights at Freddy's
Five Nights at Freddy's is a recent horror gaming phenomenon, with its popularity leading to numerous sequels and merchandising, including a Five Nights at Freddy's movie. The basic gist of the story is this: players are working as a security guard on the night shift at a restaurant not unlike Chuck E. Cheese. Things quickly get weird, however, as the animatronic animals spring to life, tormenting the player with jump scares galore. The latest game in the series, Five Nights at Freddy's 4, is even getting a Halloween-themed update, so a Five Nights at Freddy's marathon may be especially appropriate this Halloween.
Another recent horror hit, Outlast is kind of like gaming's take on the found footage genre. Armed with little more than a camera, players explore an insane asylum full of disturbed, violent psychopaths. These disfigured lunatics come in many shapes and sizes, but the most terrifying one is a creepy doctor that players encounter about halfway through the game. This confrontation is particularly chilling, and will stick in the minds of players for quite some time after the credits roll.
While Square rarely ventures into the realm of horror, when they do, they impress. One such effort, Parasite Eve, feels like a weird marriage between Final Fantasy and Resident Evil. The result is an incredibly unique RPG full of disturbing moments that could give any full-fledged horror game a run for its money. For the JRPG-minded gamers looking to be scared this Halloween, Parasite Eve is a no-brainer.
When discussing scary games, P.T. absolutely has to be in the conversation. While technically a playable teaser for Silent Hills, as opposed to a full-fledged video game, P.T. has an almost unparalleled ability to horrify. The game creates a suffocating atmosphere, trapping players in a hallway that seems to endlessly loop, with no hope of escape. Unfortunately, Konami removed P.T. from the PlayStation Store, so this is a game that is sadly not accessible to everyone , but for those that still have P.T. downloaded on their PS4, Halloween marks the perfect occasion to boot it up yet again.
Resident Evil HD Remaster
The Resident Evil remake dials up the scare factor to 11, offering plenty of horrors for returning veterans and new players alike. For those looking to relive or experience for the first time the gruesome events that went down in the Spencer Estate on that faithful night near Raccoon City, we recommend the HD Remaster version of the Resident Evil remake, as it offers even better graphics as well as significantly improved controls.
When it comes to scary games, the Silent Hill franchise is king. Each entry in the series is terrifying in its own way, with the first four games still as shocking as they were when they first released. Whether it's hiding from Pyramid Head in Silent Hill 2 or trying to find a way out of the hellish apartment in Silent Hill 4: The Room, there's always something scary lurking around every corner in the foggy world of Silent Hill. The Silent Hill franchise is the perfect example of a "scary" video game series, and so any Silent Hill title would be an excellent game to play on Halloween.
These 10 games are some of the scariest titles that gaming has had to offer so far, but perhaps some of the best gaming scares are yet to come. The P.T. spiritual successor Allison Road is releasing next year, as is the asymmetrical multiplayer Friday the 13th game, alongside a host of other horror games in 2016, so gamers should have no shortage of fresh options come next Halloween.
Will you be playing any of our suggested games this Halloween? Which games have scared you the most over the years? Let's talk about gaming's scariest titles in the comments.