While most people get their chills from television or movies, video games offers some of the most engrossing horror experiences. Video games are still a relatively young medium, but developers have created exceptional titles over the years. In games such as Fatal Frame and Silent Hill, players are able to immerse themselves in the horror, offering a richer experience than passively watching something.
Like movies, terrifying video games also come in a variety of styles. While others rely on stealth to evade monsters and spirits, some titles put players in the thick of the action. In this shoot ’em gameplay, players can enjoy the fast-paced thrill of combat with all of the eerie scenery of survival horror titles.
Here are 25 of the scariest, most hair-rising video games of all time, running the gamut from slow-paced stealth games to high-intensity shooters.
1. Resident Evil
When it was unveiled in 1996, Resident Evil practically invented the genre of survival horror. The zombie-fueled title laid the groundwork for countless horror games that followed it. While the original title may show its age, Resident Evil still excels due to its engrossing atmosphere, horrifying monster design, and unique control layout.
2. Left 4 Dead
Some zombie games rely on suspense and patience, while others are relentless bloodbaths. Left 4 Dead falls into the latter category, preferring a lightning speed pace for its shoot ’em up combat system. Even though you never have time to enjoy the scenery, the addictive game creates a truly horrifying experience.
At many points, Prey feels more like a movie than a video game. The story features a wayward man forced to battle vicious aliens after being abducted along with his family. The richly cinematic cut scenes serve the dual purpose of furthering the story while amping up the overall terror unfolding at every corner.
4. Silent Hill 2
Over 15 years have passed since the release of Silent Hill 2, but critics still heap praise upon the survival horror title. Many view it as the apex of the long series, because of its subtle manipulation of psychology to elicit fear. For example, many of the monsters were purposely made more human-like to mirror the main character’s subconscious.
5. Doom 3
The original Doom was light on the horror, functioning more as an unfettered shoot ’em up. Doom 3 rewrote the formula, instead focusing on a slow-paced survival horror cast in a demonic space setting. The creators focused on building atmosphere rather than ramping up violence, which charged the suspense in every room.