There are two ways to interpret our title. First of all, yes, all ten of these entries fall under the horror genre in some fashion. The second part of that title refers to not just how frightening some of these are, but how addicting they can be as well. The best RPGs are those that we continue to think about long after we have finished playing them. This is all to say these ten entries, whether they are going to make one scream, are all great picks for Halloween or any time of the year so enjoy!
Out of all the “Souls” type experiences, Bloodborne is the most unsettling. Sure there are creepy monsters in Dark Souls, but somehow the more “realistic” setting of what seems to be a European City under siege by a blood infestation is more breathtaking in more ways than one.
The challenge can be brutal, but because victory might be around the corner with one well-placed level up, it is hard to put down. Hopefully this will return on PS5 in some capacity.
9 Parasite Eve
The 90s were a huge experimenting ground for Square especially on PS1. We got classic after classic after classic on that system. One of the more unique blends was Parasite Eve, which put players in the role of NYPD Officer Aya Brea.
Somehow she is connected to the strange outbreak of mutations around the city with her being the only one with the power to stop it. It is Resident Evil meets Final Fantasy. While the two sequels tried to capture the original’s essence, they don’t hold a candle to how ingenious this one really was.
8 Diablo III
For all intents and purposes this is one of the original classic horror properties for RPG fans. While the first two are still great, they aren’t as easily accessible as Diablo III is. It has graced the PC and nearly every last-gen and current-gen home console. And yes, the colorful graphics may distract from bloodier entries on this list, but it still remains a classic, scary or not. This is the perfect game to play with buddies on, or around Halloween if looting candy isn’t an option.
7 Dead Island
If guts and gore are one’s thing, then look no further than Dead Island. Sure, it is without a doubt the buggiest game on this list whether one plays it on current consoles or the originals, but playing it with friends and laughing at said glitches will make for a great time. It is pretty much Fallout mixed with Diablo on a tropical island with a boatload of zombies. Get those electric machetes ready!
6 Darkest Dungeon
Bloodborne is challenging, but Darkest Dungeon will drain one’s soul. Even on the easiest setting it is going to take a lot of grit to get through this turn-based dungeon crawler. There is permadeath, monsters that always far outnumber and outrank the party, and traps around every corner. It’s creepy, hard, and yet the difficulty is well worth the sense of reward at the end. That is if one can handle the stamina drain on the brain. Don’t say we didn’t give fair warning.
5 Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse
We find Shin Megami Tensei’s spin-off Persona series better, but those are a bit more poppy and upbeat. For some dread filled dungeon crawling, check out Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse on 3DS.
Taking place in the apocalyptic ruins of Japan, players have to side with demons in order to survive the ongoing war between what is essentially Heaven and Hell. Even though it is on an older portable, it is still the most accessible entry and well worth the price of admission. If only Atlus would finish Shin Megami Tensei V for Switch.
Dontnod Entertainment came out of nowhere when they released their episodic smash hit, Life is Strange. Leave it to them to create something equally unique in the RPG realm with Vampyr. They didn’t quite stick the landing as it suffers from bugs, but the story is excellent. Players are a doctor turned vampire who has to balance life between saving lives and taking them in order to survive. It actually reminds us as if Bloodborne was crossed with one of BioWare’s diverse choice systems.
3 Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Speaking of vampires, one can’t go wrong with playing any one of the Castlevania titles for Halloween. The pixelated graphics of Aria of Sorrow won’t fill one with fright, but sometimes putting one in a gothic mindset is good enough. Plus this is one of the best Metroidvanias the formula has to offer with plenty of grinding to appease that RPG lust. Symphony of the Night is equally great as are the others that came after. So again one can’t go wrong here.
2 Zanki Zero: Last Beginning
Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is the latest release on this list and in turn is equally just as obscure. It comes from some of the team behind Danganronpa, which for those unaware is about a bunch of high school students getting trapped in a school where a teddy bear is forcing them to kill each other. Think of that story’s general vibe mixed with a dungeon crawler in the vein of Etrian Odyssey and that is pretty much Zanki Zero. Don’t let the bright colors and tropical setting fool you. This is a twisted tale.
1 Sweet Home
Even more obscure than Zanki Zero, Sweet Home is a Japanese Famicom title that never released outside of that territory. Developed by Capcom, it is believed to be one of the inspirations that brought forth Resident Evil. Basically a group of trained professionals get stuck inside a haunted mansion. In order to proceed players have to use each character’s special abilities. There is also turn-based combat against various ghouls and monsters. While it never released over here officially, there is a fan translation.