As the nights get darker and we head into the spooky season, there’s nothing better than a creepy horror game. Here are the best survival horror games to play in time for Halloween.
They say the Golden Age of Survival Horror was the late 1990s / early 2000s. Games like the original Resident Evil, Dino Crisis, Silent Hill, and Parasite Eve helped to define the genre. But there’s an argument to be made that the true Golden Age of Survival Horror is right now.
While survival horror has evolved from the fixed camera angles and tank-like controls of the PS1 era, it’s found new ways to scare gamers. From outright blood and guts to creepy atmospheric dread, today’s horror fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to video games.
- Resident Evil Village
- The Evil Within
- Amnesia The Dark Descent
- Until Dawn
- The Last of Us
- Alien Isolation
- Alan Wake Remastered
- Resident Evil 2 Remake
The most recent Resident Evil entry combines the best parts of its fourth and seventh games into one new and superb experience. Its gothic feel and monstrous enemies help to maintain the creep factor throughout. As does the game’s plot, which involves one man’s mission to save his infant daughter. Resident Evil Village remains true to its survival horror roots while also being accessible to a new generation of horror fans.
The Evil Within comes from the twisted brain of Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind Resident Evil 2 and 4. In many ways, TEW is a spiritual successor to these games but aims to tell a fresh but equally horrific tale. The game attempts to recreate classic third-person survival horror but for a modern audience, and it mostly succeeds. Its sequel pushed the envelope even further by adding gameplay elements from titles such as The Last of Us and Day’s Gone.
Outlast and its sequel put the player in the shoes of someone armed with just a video camera in a dangerous location while murderous psychopaths stalk them. Be it mutated patients from an insane asylum or scythe-wielding cultists; your only option is to run for your life if they see you. Then hide and pray they don’t look in that spot you picked. It’s heart-racing stuff and something every horror fan needs to experience.
The original Amnesia may still be the scariest game of all time. It’s also the title that inspired several others on this list, as well as spawning two sequels. The premise is you’re alone in a big dark and creepy castle with no recollection of how you got there. Your sanity is failing, and you’re being stalked by violent humanoid monsters that you can’t even get a good look at. If you do, you’ll either die or go insane. Your only option is to keep moving forward, avoiding the horrors you see – or worse if they see you. Play this game alone and in the dark with headphones for a transformative experience.
Made by Frictional Games, the same team who made the Amnesia series, Soma offers a similar experience, but its premise is very different. The way it scares players is also very original. Soma channels Amnesia, Outlast, and even Bioshock at times. You’re trapped in an underwater research facility – with creepy monsters, but its scares come from its themes rather than the vile monstrosities that stalk you. Soma explores ideas like identity and consciousness in creative ways that really get under the skin.
Until Dawn is essentially a playable horror movie where the player controls the narrative. Those looking for a scary interactive experience on a dark night will find exactly what they’re looking for here. You’re in control of a group of stereotypical horror movie teens as they take refuge from the snow in a log cabin. Naturally, they start getting murdered one by one. The question is, can the player’s choices save or doom them? It’s also free to PS5 owners who subscribe to PS Plus in the PlayStation Library.
While The Last of Us and its equally acclaimed sequel aren’t traditional survival horror experiences, they borrow heavily from the genre to tell a compelling story. The games are set in a fungus-filled zombie apocalypse where horror and survival are key gameplay elements after all. Both games feature moments that are simply terrifying, be it the enemies you face or the depths of human depravity in the name of survival. The Last of Us games may actually represent the future of survival horror, one in which the genre isn’t constrained by expectations of what it should be.
In space no one can hear you scream, but your neighbors will. Alien isolation catches the spirit of Ridley Scott’s original monster movie. Forget colonial marines, pulse rifles, and Xenomorphs as cannon fodder. This is a game about survival, where one Alien creature stalks the player across a space station. The emphasis is on pure horror, making Alien Isolation one of the most nerve-shredding games ever made.
The remastered Alan Wake gives another generation the chance to play one of the creepiest games ever made. The game feels like it came right out of a Stephen King novel but also channels Silent Hill at times. In fact, Alan Wake could be considered the game recent Silent Hill entries should have been. Does exploring a spooky town with your flashlight and a gun with limited ammo – while something horrific happens to the residents at night, sound like your idea of a fun night? Then now’s the perfect time to get involved.
Resident Evil 2 (2019) may be one of the best remakes of all time. It takes a game that could be a contender for the greatest survival horror title ever and modernizes it for a new audience. The game completely captures the spirit of the original yet still manages to delight long-time and new fans. The Resident Evil 3 remake is also a fun experience, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Resident Evil 2. If you’re looking for the ultimate survival horror experience this Halloween, this is the game to start with.