With the current generation of gaming technology offering better graphics, animations, lighting and sound design than ever before, it’s a great time to be a gaming horror fan. The popularity of horror games is on the rise, meaning there’s no better time than Halloween to turn off your lights, put in your headphones and prepare yourself for soiled pants.
Outlast places you in the shoes of Miles Upshur, a journalist exploring Mount Massive Asylum. Armed with only a camcorder, Miles must fight his way through the asylum in order to uncover its secrets. As the player makes their way through the levels they are met with a striking sense of dread, facing both mutilated patients and an unknown paranormal entity. The feeling of being hunted is relentless and leads to some shit scary nail biting moments.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
In Amnesia, the player takes control of Daniel, a young man exploring a 19th century Prussian castle. Amnesia showcases some great monster design and working your way through the castle’s winding hallways with only an oil lamp, which often has to be refilled, leads to some terrifying encounters. Amnesia’s eerie castle setting is what sets it apart from other horror games of this generation, while the sanity system gets you thinking about your mental stability. You either stay in the light and risk being spotted by Castle Brennenburg’s monstrosities, or stay in the dark and slowly lose your mind. Combine this with an impressive physics system and it’s clear to see why Amnesia is as infamous as it is.
Resident Evil 2
Created by Capcom, Resident Evil 2 lets the player battle through a zombie outbreak in the strangely-named Raccoon City. The slow and clunky combat adds panic to your every move and edging your way through the game’s many levels will not only have you facing zombie hordes but many other nightmarish creatures. Over time, zombies soon become the least of your problems as increasingly demonic bio-weapons appear more and more. You won’t always have enough ammunition to face these horrors and this means that Resident Evil 2 succeeds in continually putting the player in a fight or flight mentality.
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
Fatal Frame 2 is Japanese horror at its finest. The gamer plays as Mio Amakura, a young girl who is forced to fight ghosts alongside her sister, using only an old antique camera, which has the ability to capture spirits through taking photos. Fighting through the lens of a camera ensures that the player must get close to the enemies in order to defeat them and this creates a prominent sense of anxiety. The game draws from well-established Japanese ghost stories and therefore presents a unique and engaging style of storytelling with subtle yet disturbing undertones. Tecmo should be proud of this.
Silent Hill 2
In Konami’s Silent Hill 2, the player takes control of James Sunderland, a man who has returned to the town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his dead wife. Silent Hill 2 presents a horror experience like no other. The foggy town is beautifully rendered and the game delivers rich exploration and attention to detail as James is pursued by the deadly Pyramid Head, a monster which has become one of the enduring poster-boys of video game horror. James’ story is masterfully written, with twists worthy of M. Night Shyamalan appearing towards the game’s conclusion. There is a new fright around every corner and the sick and twisted world of Silent Hill and its inhabitants will not be forgotten quickly. The game is thematically rewarding and offers one of the best horror experiences to date.
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