Horror games aren’t particularly difficult to come by. It seems every year, a new must-play game is added to the list of pants-poopingly spooky games, but it’s rare to see a series of consistently scary games. Here’s a list of the scariest series to keep you crying all the way through Halloween.
When Resident Evil game out, it was a pioneer in the horror game genre, showing what could be done with grotesque enemies and great sound cues. Silent Hill then iterated on this concept, adding in an element of unknown weirdness that wasn’t only jump-scary, but also genuinely unsettling. From low render distances, jerky movement, and a general sense of not knowing what was really going on, this series set up the concept of psychological horror games while adhering to the tried-and-true adventure/third-person shooter format. Though the later games in the series took a dip and PT, the one true shining hope of bring the series back to its former glory, was cancelled, Silent Hill remains one of the hallmarks of the horror genre.
Though the third-person horror genre had been done to death by 2008, Dead Space somehow iterated on it enough to make it scary again. In other horror games, you unload ammo into the undead until they fall down, often with an emphasis on head/body shots. By simply changing this around to shooting off the limbs of your aggressors, Dead Space managed to make their necromorphs scary, despite really just being space zombies. The potent combo of enemies that just won’t die with jump scares and Uncharted levels of nerve-wracking quick time cut scenes, Dead Space revitalized the third person horror genre while still being planted firmly in the third person action genre.
Where Dead Space chose to not fix what ain’t broke with the third person action mechanics, Fatal Frame took on head on. Fatal Frame puts you in a ghost-filled world that comes to life while using your one and only weapon – a camera. Initially it’s easy to get frustrated with the lower move speed and lack of variety with your armaments, especially coming from something like Resident Evil, but over time, you grow to miss these features less and appreciate (or hate in that kind of way that’s still kind of appreciate) the almost claustrophobic amount of choice. Very quickly, you’ll find yourself no longer charging in to rooms, but cautiously entering the space and leaving nothing unexamined on the way in. The sense of terror at not always being able to see your adversaries and only having a handful of things to defend yourself with is something Fatal Frame nails.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
If Fatal Frame’s limitation of movement and defense options is appealing to you, boy have I got a series you’re going to love. Five Nights at Freddy’s takes away nearly all movement from you and only gives you a handful of options, all of which are either resource-limited or timer-based, that don’t even hurt the enemies, just protect you from them. This lack of attack options really nails home that you’re helpless, a feeling that’s only heightened by the lack of movement. At one point or another in both Silent Hill and Fatal Frame, you feel empowered against the enemies, but FNAF makes sure you understand the animatronics are roaming cats and you’re a mouse with a twisted ankle. Best watch yourself.
What are some of your favorite horror game series that I missed?