Spooky season isn’t just for horror movie marathons, it’s also a great time to play immersive horror games; here are 13 of the best ever.
As Kate Richardson, a sports betting expert, always states in her reviews of online bookmakers, a gambler should always keep guard. That’s because gambling is a lot like horror gaming. It provides an addictive adrenaline rush that comes from taking a risk and venturing into the unknown, where you’re never sure what may happen. Danger lurks around every corner, but so do excitement and adventure.
If thrills and terror are what you seek, we’ve got a killer list of PC horror games from the past 20-plus years that are sure bets. These terrifying and extremely well-executed titles are among the very best you can play in the realm of horror. And they are guaranteed to pay off in scares and immersive, atmospheric gameplay.
1. Phasmophobia (2020)
Phasmophobia is a 4 player online co-op psychological horror game that has grown significantly in popularity and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Paranormal activity is on the rise, and it’s up to you and your team to use all the ghost-hunting equipment at your disposal to gather as much evidence as possible. To succeed, you’ll need to work well with others, think strategically like a detective, and navigate stealthily through the darkness, tight spaces, and quiet rooms. This outstanding and often terrifying game boasts great sound and graphics with minimal user interfaces to ensure a totally immersive experience that will keep you on your toes.
2. Metro Exodus (2019)
Metro Exodus boasts an epic storyline packed with memorable characters. The year is 2036, a quarter-century after a nuclear war devastated the earth. As Artyon, you must flee the tunnels of the Metro beneath the ruins of Moscow and lead a band of Spartan Rangers on an incredible journey. As you journey across post-apocalyptic Russia, you’ll bond with your traveling companions, recruit new allies to your cause, and encounter sinister foes in the wastelands. This story-driven, first-person shooter blends deadly combat and stealth with exploration and survival horror in one of the most immersive game worlds ever created.
3. Resident Evil Village (2021)
The eighth installment in the storied Resident Evil franchise, Resident Evil Village is an engrossing and combat-heavy continuation of the Ethan Winters story. It is difficult for Winters to search for his abducted daughter in a location filled with horrifying mutant creatures. Players must control him effectively as he maneuvers his way into a dangerous and evil village. Reviews equate the level of the horror to that of the well-received RE7 (Biohazard), offering effective terror and excellent gameplay. The game also features detailed graphics, intense first-person action, and masterful storytelling.
4. The Evil Within 2 (2017)
This game will keep you up at night as you recount the moves you made and the things you witnessed. It is not for the faint-hearted, as some scenes can be horrifying, ensuring this title lives up to its name. You play as detective Sebastian Castellanos, a man who has lost everything, including his daughter, Lily. To save her, you must descend into the nightmarish world of STEM. Horrifying threats emerge from every corner, and you must rely on your wits to survive. Experience a frightening world filled with anxiety-inducing thrills and disturbing moments.
5. Alien: Isolation (2014)
Alien: Isolation is a survival horror game set in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger. Fifteen years after the events of Alien, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, enters a desperate battle for survival on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. As Amanda, you will navigate through an increasingly volatile world as you find yourself confronted on all sides by a panicked, desperate population and an unpredictable, ruthless Alien. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions and use your wits to stay alive. Experience persistent fear as a truly dynamic and reactive Alien uses its senses to hunt you down and respond to your every move.
6. Condemned: Criminal Origins (2006)
Assigned to the Serial Crimes Unit, Agent Ethan Thomas is the bureau’s best at getting inside the mind of a serial killer. During his investigations, he discovers that the homeless, addicted, and deranged are rising from the city’s underbelly and committing mindless acts of violence at alarming rates. After he is framed for the murder of two police officers, he must race to solve the murders, save the city, and exonerate himself. You’ll have to rely on sharp instincts and sophisticated forensic tools to investigate crime scenes, collect evidence, and find clues that will lead you to the killers — all while danger lurks in every shadow.
7. Darkwood (2017)
In this terrifying horror video game, you meet a strange man who is cooking some mushrooms in a house that is located in the middle of a scary plague-infested forest. During the day, you can roam in the forest fighting off some scary animals and collecting some resources that will help you survive. However, at night, you have to lock yourself in and wait for the night of horror to pass. It’s unique, dark and atmospheric, and incredibly tense and unnerving. It will scare you and require you to really use your brain to figure things out.
8. System Shock 2 (1999)
Reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this game, with many hailing it as one of the greatest games ever. You awake from the cold chill of your cryo-tube to discover cybernetic implants grafted to your flesh and the crew of the starship Von Braun slaughtered. The infected roam the halls, their screams and moans beckoning you to join them as the rogue artificial intelligence known as SHODAN taunts and ridicules your feeble attempt to unravel the horrifying mystery of the derelict starship Von Braun. With innovative gameplay that inspired other beloved titles, including Bioshock, a haunting story, and a truly terrifying atmosphere, this is one you don’t want to miss.
9. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)
To escape the wrath of the horrifying monsters in the Dark Descent, you must master the art of self-defense while trying your best to maintain your sanity. This first-person survival horror game is all about immersion, discovery, and living through a nightmare. You’ll step into the shoes of Daniel as he wakes up in a desolate castle, barely remembering anything about his past. Exploring the eerie pathways, you must also take part in Daniel’s troubled memories. The horror does not only come from the outside but the inside as well. A disturbing odyssey into the dark corners of the human mind awaits.
10. Outlast (2013)
The first-person survival horror game was developed by veterans of some of the biggest game franchises in history. As investigative journalist Miles Upshur, you must explore the long-abandoned Mount Massive Asylum in the remote mountains of Colorado and try to survive long enough to discover its terrible secret. Acting on a tip from an anonymous source, you’ll break into the facility and explore the terrifying line between science and religion, nature and something else entirely. You’re not a fighter, so your only hope of survival is to run or hide. Like many great horror stories, you’ll soon discover that the most terrifying monsters of all come from the human mind.
11. Dead Space (2008)
As engineer Isaac Clarke, you embark on a repair mission of a space-mining ship, only to uncover a nightmarish blood bath. The ship’s crew has been horribly slaughtered and infected by an alien scourge. Now, you are cut off, trapped, and engaged in a desperate fight for survival. You’ll fight enemies as you’ve never seen before. Headshots are useless. Instead, you have to dismember their insect-like limbs one at a time. Zero gravity combat means terror can strike from anywhere, making it treacherous for you to uncover the horrific truth in this shocking thriller.
Stay tuned for the January 2023 release of Dead Space‘s return, completely rebuilt to offer an even more immersive experience — including visual, audio, and gameplay improvements — while staying faithful to the original game’s thrilling vision.
12. Little Nightmares (2017)
This dark whimsical tale will confront you with your childhood fears. Help Six escape The Maw – a vast, mysterious vessel inhabited by corrupted souls looking for their next meal. As you progress on your journey, explore the most disturbing dollhouse offering a prison to escape from and a playground full of secrets to discover. Reconnect with your inner child to unleash your imagination and find the way out. It’s a short but highly enjoyable adventure game well worth the hype.
13. Inside (2016)
Hunted and alone, a boy finds himself drawn into the center of a dark project. A sequel to 2011’s excellent Limbo, Hunted is a dark, narrative-driven, 2D platformer that combines intense action with challenging puzzles. It’s wildly creative, effectively eerie, and beautifully designed. It has been critically acclaimed and often hailed as a masterpiece for its moody art style, ambient soundtrack, and unsettling atmosphere.