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21 Horror Games That'll Actually Scare You

Note to self: Play these with the light on and the door open.

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1. Outlast (2013)

Red Barrels Studio

Why it's scary: In Outlast, you're an investigative journalist entering a psychiatric hospital armed with nothing more than your wits and a night-vision camera. Unlike most games, you cannot engage in combat and instead have to run or hide to avoid the terrors lurking in the dark. Just be careful to use your camera carefully – the batteries don't last very long.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€ /5

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

2. P.T. (2014)

Kojima Productions

Why it's scary: Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro's "playable teaser" for the now-cancelled Silent Hills places you in a single, infinitely looping hallway. Each successfully completed loop layers on a new set of changes: from unsettling lighting to obscure writing coating the walls, and the presence of a ghost named Lisa.. You cannot defend yourself, nor can you die. All you must do is progress through each series of hallways no matter how terrifying they become.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PS4

3. Silent Hill 2 (2001)

Konami

Why it's scary: While the whole Silent Hill franchise is pretty unsettling, it's the second installment that remains the best and most disturbing. You play as James Sunderland, a man who returns to the abandoned town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter written by his deceased wife. As you descend deeper into the town, you encounter deformed creatures like Pyramid Head and the undead nurses. But it's James's personal demons, which are brought to life by the empty town of Silent Hill, that are the most threatening.

Bonus fact: The first Silent Hill game was adapted into a movie.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox, Xbox 360.

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4. Alien: Isolation (2014)

Creative Assembly

Why it's scary: Playing as Amanda Ripley, daughter of Sigourney Weaver's now-iconic hero Ellen Ripley, your mission is simple – search a deserted space station to track down a lost flight recorder. But it's soon after landing that you discover the single alien xenomorph inhabiting the corridors of the space station. Although you have access to multiple weapons throughout the course of the game, there is limited ammunition available, meaning that every shot you take has to count.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

5. Resident Evil 4 (2005)

Capcom

Why it's scary: Regarded as one of the greatest games ever made, this installment of Resident Evil replaces bloodthirsty zombies with an all-too-human mob of infected cultists as the main enemy. You play as special agent Leon S. Kennedy, who battles horrific new creatures on his mission to rescue the president's daughter. Just remember to watch out for the screaming, chainsaw-wielding madman.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, Wii, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

6. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)

Frictional Games

Why it's scary: You play as Daniel, an archaeologist who finds himself helpless, unarmed, and alone in a desolate castle with no memory of his past. Under the guidance of a letter, you attempt to escape both the mad castle and the shadowy figures that stalk its hallways. There's a catch, though – to survive you must hide from the monsters, and to hide you must remain in the safety of darkness. But it's in the darkness where Daniel begins to lose his sanity, resulting in his perception of reality becoming blurred.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC and PS4.

7. F.E.A.R (2005)

Monolith Productions/Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore

Why it's scary: Mashing Japanese horror (think The Grudge and The Ring vibes) and FPS combat styles, the game revolves around the F.E.A.R (First Encounter Assault Recon) team having to fight against paranormal entity, Alma Wade. Alma, a young girl who was experimented on and imprisoned, becomes a powerful psychic entity filled with rage and an insatiable bloodlust as the game's storyline develops.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

8. Until Dawn (2015)

Supermassive Games

Why it's scary: Until Dawn combines the cliched tropes of past horror films such as the dumb blonde and final girl to create terrifying experiences that are both familiar and unique. With the added layer of interactivity, the game puts you in charge of deciding the fate of a group of teenagers attempting to escape from a masked killer in the woods.

Bonus fact: Hayden Panettiere, Peter Stormare, Rami Malek, and Brett Dalton lended their voices and likenesses for the characters of Samantha, Dr Hill, Joshua, and Michael.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PS4

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9. Five Nights at Freddy's (2014)

Scott Cawthon

Why it's scary: Five Nights At Freddy's puts you in the role of an overnight security guard at a pizza restaurant. You've been instructed to keep a watchful eye on the life-sized animatronic animals who roam freely around the restaurant... but the catch is they have been involved in a series of "incidents" involving previous guards. The goal is to stay alive until the morning, and ultimately survive five nights in a row. But if your concentration wavers for a single moment, the animatronics will attack and try to stuff you into an empty animatronic suit.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, Android, Windows Phone, and iOS

10. Dead Space (2008)

EA Redwood Shores

Why it's scary: In Dead Space you play as Isaac Clarke, a systems engineer tasked with fighting his way through a mining ship infested with gruesome, alien zombies known as necromorphs. Although you're equipped with a whole host of weapons including a flamethrower, machine gun, sniper rifle, and mining saw, they become slightly pointless when most of the ship is cloaked in darkness. That wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the unpredictable nature of the necromorphs, who appear around corners, crash through windows, and crawl across the ceilings.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Android, and iOS.

11. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)

Capcom

Why it's scary: Set in a nightmarish vision of rural Louisiana, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard follows the story of Ethan Winters stumbling onto a seemingly abandoned plantation while searching for his missing wife, Mia. What he discovers, however, is a psychopathic family called the Bakers who imprison him in their mansion infected with the "Moulded", a humanoid form of bacteria.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

12. Deadly Premonition (2010)

Access Games/Rising Star Games

Why it's scary: Taking its cues from Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and Twin Peaks, Deadly Premonition introduces you to Francis York Morgan, an FBI agent with a split personality. When word spreads of a young woman being mutilated and hanged from a red tree in Greenvale, Agent York takes the case and soon discovers the peculiarities inhabiting the rural town.

Scare factor: πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.

13. Metro 2033 (2010)

4A Games

Why it's scary: Metro 2033 is set in the ruins of Moscow following a nuclear war where the surviours are forced to live in underground metro tunnels. Players control Artyom, a man who must save his home station, which is now under attack by a group of mysterious, grotesque-looking creatures referred to as the Dark Ones. In addition to the dimly lit tunnels, most areas of the game are covered in radiation and require the use of a gas mask. And if that gas mask is cracked and there's no replacement available, it's game over.

Bonus fact: The story is based on Dmitry Glukhovsky's novel of the same name.

Scare factor: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC and Xbox 360.

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14. Condemned (2005)

Monolith Productions

Why it's scary: Condemned introduces you to FBI agent Ethan Thomas, whose search for a twisted serial killer becomes a disturbing journey through the city's underbelly. Drug-addled psychopaths lurch at you from the shadows with blood-splattered pipes, while the crime scenes you investigate are full of grotesque imagery. The artificial intelligence displayed by the enemies is also a great deal higher than similar games, meaning that they are able to flee and hide effectively, or trick you into leaving yourself open to an attack.


Scare rating:
πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC and Xbox 360.

15. Slender: The Eight Pages (2012)

Parsec Productions

Why it's scary: In Slender: The Eight Pages, your only objective is to collect eight manuscripts about the Slender Man, a paranormal creature based on the internet folklore surrounding it. Depicted as a tall man wearing all black with no facial features, the Slender Man is said to be responsible for countless abductions of children. Although the game is simplistic, the isolating atmosphere it creates as you fumble your way through the forest under torchlight is super eerie. There is complete silence too, until a loud piano slamming noise and/or static on the screen signals the appearance of Slender Man.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC

16. Siren: Blood Curse (2008)

Project Siren

Why it's scary: The plot of Siren: Blood Curse begins with an American television crew arriving in Hanuda and stumbling upon a horrifying ritual involving human sacrifice. Things only get worse from there. It quickly becomes apparent that virtually everyone in the village is a corpse, known as "shibito". The shibito are more unsettling than your usual mindless zombies because even in their gruesome, decaying states, they maintain shreds of their human identities. Allowing you to play as multiple characters, the game also utilises a hide-and-seek mechanic that forces players to sneak, hide, and run from the darkest aspects of Japanese horror.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PS3

17. Layers of Fear (2016)

Bloober Team

Why it's scary: Layers of Fear puts you in control of a psychologically disturbed painter who has become fixated on his new, greatest work... a portrait of his dead wife. As he paints, he is forced to recount his past with his wife through disturbing hallucinations. Through each progression, the painter's true memories finally come to light, as does the finished painting.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, PS4, and Xbox 360.

18. SOMA (2015)

Frictional Games

Why it's scary: Made by the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, SOMA revolves around Simon Jarrett who wakes up in an underwater research facility following a brain scan. Like Amnesia, the game places you in a hostile but isolated environment where you know nothing, and are encouraged to discover the truth about what happened. While exploring, you discover a number of mutated, hostile, robotic-human hybrids that want you dead.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC and PS4.

19. Fatal Frame II: The Crimson Butterfly (2003)

Tecmo

Why it's scary: There have been several Fatal Frame games since Crimson Butterfly, but the second one remains the definitive take on horror photography. In Fatal Frame, the enemies are omnipresent – they're ghosts. You can't touch them, and sometimes you can't see them, but they're always there. Your only defence is the Camera Obscura, a device used to exorcise and stop vengeful spirits from possessing you.

Scare rating: πŸ’€/5

Available on: PS2, PS3, Xbox, and Wii.

20. The Evil Within (2014)

Tango Gameworks

Why it's scary: After witnessing the slaughter of his fellow officers while investigating a gruesome murder, Detective Sebastian Castellanos is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead in nightmarish locations.

Bonus fact: A sequel, The Evil Within 2, was released in early October 2017.

Scare rating: πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

21. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (2005)

Headfirst Productions

Why it's scary: The game follows the story of Jack Walters, a mentally unstable private detective hired to investigate Innsmouth, a strong and mysterious town that has cut itself from the rest of the United States. As you progress through the game, Jack gradually loses his sanity when he encounters disturbing situations or monsters. This mental degradation can lead to him having hallucinations and visions, as well as permanent insanity or suicide if he becomes too unsettled.

Bonus fact: Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth is based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, in particular his 1936 novel The Shadow over Innsmouth.

Scare factor: πŸ’€πŸ’€/5

Available on: PC and Xbox.

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