Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is time for jumpscares and murder mysteries yet again. For gamers, this season is the ideal time to catch up on the best horror and thriller video games you may have missed out on. There are a handful of top-quality titles with plenty of scares released year after year, so you will definitely not run out of games to play.
Whether you are a longtime fan of scary video games or a first-time player, there is a suitable game for you. In honor of one of the scariest days of the year, check out our list of the 13 scariest video games to play this Halloween.
1. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill is one of the longest-running video game franchises. The first game from the series was released in 1999 for the original PlayStation. It has since spawned seven other main installments and five other spinoff games up until 2014. Silent Hill 2 is the direct sequel to the first game of the series and the best in the franchise.
Published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 in 2001, this game follows the story of widower James Sunderland as he visits the town of Silent Hill. He does this after receiving a letter from his deceased wife to meet her there. You will play as James as he explores the town in search of his beloved.
To enhance the immersion, Silent Hill 2 does not feature a heads-up display on your screen. You will have to pause to check your health, inventory, and location. This is the best game for players who want the most immersive experience as they delve into the world of monsters and mystery.
2. Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation is a survival horror video game that was released in 2014 for Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, the PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. Fans will quickly recognize that it was based on the classic sci-fi horror movie franchise, Alien.
Set 15 years after the events of the first film, you play Amanda Ripley, daughter of the original protagonist Ellen Ripley. Amanda is searching for her missing mother in the Sevastopol space station.
While it is a science-fiction game, Alien: Isolation focuses more on stealth survival horror. You need to get around the space station and look for clues and items while avoiding the xenomorph that’s on the loose. The first-person perspective gives players an intensely immersive experience and provides plenty of chilling moments.
Alien: Isolation won Game of the Year 2014 from PC Gamer. It was also ranked 2nd in Time’s Top 10 Video Games of 2014.
This first-person survival horror game is one of the most underrated games on our list. Outlast was the first game developed and published by Red Barrels. It eventually spawned several sequels, with The Outlast Trials set for a 2022 release.
You take control of Miles Upshur, a freelance investigative journalist who is visiting a psychiatric hospital in the mountains of Lake County, Colorado. Mount Massive Asylum is seemingly overrun by patients that will constantly try to murder you. Stealth is an important aspect of the game, so you have to hide from or sneak past enemies to survive.
To make the gaming experience more immersive, there are no health or status bars to update you. The Asylum is almost entirely dark, so you can only see through the night vision lens of your camcorder. It also runs on batteries, which you will have to find throughout the map. Overall, Outlast is an excellent game to play by yourself to maximize the experience.
4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
The Resident Evil series is perhaps the most popular horror video game franchise of all time. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is the seventh main installment and 24th overall game of the franchise. It was released in 2017 by Capcom for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
You play Ethan Winters who is at a plantation in Louisiana searching for his missing wife Mia. Winters finds her imprisoned there, but something feels amiss. The home turns out to be occupied by an infected family. As you follow the story, you will interact with different members of the household who will try to kill you.
Explore the plantation, solve puzzles, and fight hostiles as you search for a special cure for the family and your wife. If you want to make your experience even more immersive, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard supports the PlayStation VR headset.
5. Dead Space
This survival horror video game is a cult classic from the 2000s. Dead Space helped bring back the gaming community’s interest in science fiction and post-apocalyptic alien thrillers. It was developed and published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows.
Set in the year 2508, you play protagonist Isaac Clarke as he explores a spaceship full of alien monsters called Necromorphs. Clarke also slowly develops psychosis throughout the story, so this will affect your ability to function.
You must find your way through the ship and pick up important weapons and equipment along the way. The Dead Space franchise is an excellent game to try for fans of other classics like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.
This is a unique entry on our list because it is not exactly a complete game. P.T., which means Playable Teaser, was developed by Kojima Productions as a teaser for the upcoming game, Silent Hills. It was released for free on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 4 in 2014.
Unfortunately, Silent Hills was eventually canceled by Konami, and P.T. was subsequently removed from the PlayStation Network. Developers worked with famous director Guillermo del Toro for this short psychological horror game.
P.T. features a first-person perspective and you will play as an unnamed protagonist who wakes up in a haunted suburban home. Explore the house, investigate supernatural events, and solve puzzles.
Although the official version is unavailable, there have been numerous recreations of P.T. by fans that have sprung up on the internet over the years. If you are a fan of the Silent Hill franchise, P.T. is one game you would not want to miss.
7. The Evil Within
The Evil Within was developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks in 2014 for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows. Resident Evil fans will be happy to know that series creator Shinji Mikami also served as director for this game.
This third-person perspective survival horror game has a linear storyline. You play Sebastian Castellanos as he makes his way through the story’s different chapters. You will find yourself navigating a world filled with strange creatures and a constantly changing environment. Fight your way through nightmarish monsters and bosses while collecting weapons and other items.
This is a great choice for fans of classic survival horror games. The unpredictability of the game is everything you’d want in a Halloween thriller. Its sequel, The Evil Within 2, was released in 2017, is also worth a look.
8. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Although this game was released in 2010, it remains popular in the horror games genre. There is no better time than the Halloween season to replay this cult classic title. Published by Frictional Games, Amnesia: The Dark Descent was released for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It was eventually re-released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.
You take on the role of protagonist Daniel as he navigates through an old castle called the Brennenburg. Explore the castle and solve puzzles while avoiding the many dangers in the area. You can pick up helpful items you will need later on and also need to maintain your health and sanity bars, as Daniel’s fear of the dark will affect the latter. Whether you are a PC or console gamer, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a fun game to play this Halloween.
One of the oldest games on our list many of today’s gamers may not have experienced is the survival horror title Manhunt. This 2003 stealth horror title was originally developed and published by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows.
The story follows protagonist and death row inmate James Earl Cash as he is forced to star in a series of snuff films. He tries to earn his freedom by killing off different criminals and gang members that are sent to hunt him while being videotaped.
You can opt to shoot your enemies with guns, but most of the time, a stealth kill will be your best choice. You will have to go through 20 scenes or levels and are awarded stars based on your performance.
Manhunt caused controversy due to its over-the-top violence and was even banned in Australia and New Zealand.
Fans of classic horror films can experience being in one in this game. Spend your Halloween as the main character of your own horror-thriller film in Manhunt.
10. Until Dawn
This PlayStation 4 exclusive was developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2015. It is an interactive drama horror game with elements of the mystery and survival genres.
In Until Dawn you will switch between eight different main characters whose lives are in danger. Stuck in Blackwood Mountain, these young adults will have to survive until the rescue team arrives at dawn. You must make good decisions, find clues, and collect items in order to progress.
Every decision you make will affect the story, much like the butterfly effect. Some choices will unlock a new storyline or erase others. All character deaths are permanent.
The game also enhances the immersion by having a strict auto-save system, which means you cannot simply reload a previous save and change a decision you have already made. The inability to remake choices makes this survival horror game the ultimate scary Halloween experience.
11. Alan Wake
This is another very unique survival horror video game. Alan Wake features a linear storyline of six chapters or episodes, but its gameplay separates it from cliche horror games. This psychological thriller is designed to be played like a television series, complete with twists and cliffhangers.
It follows the story of the titular character, author Alan Wake, as he searches for his missing wife while on vacation in the creepy town of Bright Falls, Washington. As you progress through the story, Alan realizes that he is experiencing events from his latest novel, Departure. The problem is, he has suffered from writer’s block and does not even remember writing the novel.
You need to complete the six episodes while avoiding being killed by shadow creatures called the Taken. Put yourself in the shoes of a horror-thriller protagonist this Halloween by playing Alan Wake.
12. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
This survival horror video game is strongly rooted in the Cthulhu Mythos created by the famous author H.P. Lovecraft. Developed by Headfirst Productions and published by Bethesda Softworks, it was released for the Xbox in 2005 and Windows in 2006.
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth follows the story of a mentally unstable private detective, Jack Walters, in 1922. It is mostly based on Lovecraft’s 1936 novel The Shadow Over Innsmouth. Jack has been hired to investigate the fictional town of Innsmouth, but his past continually haunts him throughout the story.
You will encounter Lovecraftian creatures as well as real-life figures like J. Edgar Hoover in the game. This game is a great entry point into the world of Lovecraft, horror games, and the Cthulhu Mythos.
13. Five Nights at Freddy’s
If you’ve played games for a while, there is no way you haven’t heard of Five Nights at Freddy’s. This game was very popular when it was first released because it was made available for all gaming platforms, including mobile. This game is most known for its terrifying jump scares that have probably ended up with a broken iPad or two.
The game is set mostly in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza restaurant. You will play as a night shift employee that is tasked to watch the security cameras. Throughout the shift, there is animatronics that come to life and try to kill you. You must defend yourself from these monsters by making use of the lights, doors, and vents in the restaurant. Five Nights at Freddy’s has since produced a whole media franchise including sequel games, novels, and even an upcoming movie.