Horror is a ripe genre for exploration via the medium of interactive entertainment, and telling stories is even more terrifying if the audience can actually take control of events themselves.
There are tons of horror games released regularly, so we’ve narrowed down a list of the most compelling titles that you should seek out if you’re a fan of all things fear-inducing.
Taking inspiration from the gothic horror and cosmic horror in equal measure, Bloodborne is such a good game that it made purchasing a PlayStation 4 just to enjoy its intricate levels, fast-paced melee combat and lore-drenched world worthwhile back in 2015.
Created by the team behind Dark Souls and Elden Ring, it’s an undeniably challenging game, and one whose horror elements are more atmospheric than they are shocking. It’s also a rare game whose DLC is arguably better than much of the main campaign.
Horror movies can be frustrating to watch if you feel like the characters keep making bad choices that lead to their untimely demise. Until Dawn takes this and twists it, putting you in charge of a series of characters in what feels like a teen slasher flick, and letting you work out what to do in dire situations.
Do you send your generic jock down into the dark basement of an isolated ski lodge to investigate a noise, or do you have him push the nerdy member of the group to go instead? These are the kinds of decisions you’ll have to make, and the intricate story as well as the all-star cast help elevate Until Dawn above a mere interactive movie-style experience.
Obviously this can be a bit of a gamble, and like one of the popular gambling and casino myths which is that games of chance are rigged against the player, Until Dawn isn’t actually designed for you to fail. With a host of different endings, good and bad, choice here is actually meaningful, and also boosts the replayability factor.
Resident Evil: Village
Capcom have been on a surprising run of form with the Resident Evil franchise for the past few years. While it was in the doldrums with poorly received entries like Resident Evil 6, the turnaround began with the switch to a first person perspective for Resident Evil 7. The eighth entry kept this viewpoint, but expanded the scope and scale of the action significantly.
The result is that Resident Evil: Village boasts a killer combination of tight, terrifying experiences that are akin to what the original games offered, along with huge set piece battles that make the most of modern hardware. Add in RPG elements and excellent variety throughout, and you’ve got a horror-action game that’s at the top of its class.
Dead By Daylight
The asymmetric multiplayer genre is surprisingly small, and it doesn’t always work very well, especially in terms of actually sustaining a player-base. Dead By Daylight is one of the few exceptions, and it benefits from being a love letter to horror movies that has managed to implement some official licensed tie-ins with recognised franchises from the silver screen as well.
With teams of four players trying to escape a single killer, also controlled by a flesh and blood human, Dead By Daylight can be incredibly tense. From original nemeses to well-known characters including Ghost Face from the Scream series and the Demogorgon from Stranger Things, the killers have variety and power in spades.
This is just the tip of the horror game iceberg, so don’t be afraid to dive deeper and see what else is out there, as you might find a hidden gem!