7 Best Horror Video Games to Play This Halloween - VRGyani News and Media

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

7 Best Horror Video Games to Play This Halloween

Once again, it is officially October! And with the month’s arrival comes changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and all things spooky and spine-tingling. That means there’s no better time of the year for scaring yourself silly with some great horror games. It's time to turn down the lights, huddle under the blankets, and hope your clammy hands can still hold a controller after a few jumpscares. Without further ado, here are 7 horror games to help get you into the spirit of the spooky season.

RELATED: The Scariest Video Games of All Time

Alien: Isolation

Possibly one of the only genuinely good Alien games in the last few years, Alien: Isolation puts players in the shoes of Ripley’s daughter, Amanda. Now an employee of Weyland-Yutani, she hears that the flight recorder of her mother’s ship, Nostromo, has been recovered at an out-of-the-way trading station called Sevastopol. And as is tradition, a Xenomorph has also made its way onto the station, stalking and killing the crew members on board. From here, the player must guide Amanda in her attempt to escape the doomed station, all while avoiding the ever present hunter that lurks in the shadows.

Alien: Isolation is a game that shows genuine respect for its source material. From the station interiors almost directly pulled from the 1979 classic film, to the flickering CRT monitors, to the utterly gorgeous lighting that will have you jumping at shadows. The atmosphere of Alien: Isolation is drenched in the early 70s sci-fi aesthetic that helps to build that familiar sense of dread with every step you take. However, as in any Alien story, the Xenomorph is the real star of the show. Relentlessly stalking the player through ventilation shafts, playing with the shadows to sneak up from unexpected angles, there is nowhere on Sevastopol that feels safe from its voracious gaze. If you have time to breathe, it’s because you’re being toyed with. If you like your horror with more of a sci-fi twist, or if you’re just feeling nostalgic for the good old days of 70s creature features, Alien: Isolation is more than enough to sate your appetite. Turn the lights down low, keep that flamethrower ready, and try not to breathe too loudly. It’s always watching.

Darkwood

While a bit less well-known than other entries on this list, Darkwood is a title that will likely go down as a sleeper cult-classic for horror fans. Taking control of The Stranger, players are dropped into a mysterious, rapidly expanding forest somewhere in 1980s Europe. An unknown number of people have been trapped within said forest, with a plague sweeping through their ranks at a frightening rate. On top of this, horrific, distorted monstrosities stalk the forest come nightfall, eager to prey upon any who venture out after sundown. Escape is a fool’s dream. You’ll be lucky to survive a single night.

While the game’s primary gameplay loop does involve the common trope of gathering and crafting resources, the audio visual presentation elevates it to another level. A droning, hauntingly melancholy soundtrack, footsteps that echo into the darkness, and uncanny horrors that are reminiscent of H.P Lovecraft’s more disturbing works. Paired with a top-down perspective and a claustrophobic vision cone that restricts your ability to see anything not in front of you, and you have a game that actively seeks to fill every moment with tension and unease. Each day draws to a close with more than a touch of anxiety, wondering if you’ve fortified your shelter enough to survive the horrors of the night that roam about. The narrative is no slouch either, with a wealth of environmental storytelling along with a main story that leads to multiple disturbing conclusions. All in all, Darkwood is a unique indie gem that provides an interesting take on the survival horror genre.

Until Dawn

It’s hard to play Until Dawn and not be taken back to the glory days of slasher horror movies like Friday the 13th or Halloween. A narrative-focused game in which you control 8 different characters during a night from Hell on a remote mountain lodge, Until Dawn draws heavy inspiration from games like Heavy Rain. Third person character exploration segments combined with quick-time events allow players to hold a significant amount of influence over how the night plays out. With a number of ways and opportunities to kill off just about any character you like, the game can take any number of twists and turns on the way to one of several conclusions. Though there are some genuinely creepy jumpscare moments, Until Dawn is definitely more of a popcorn horror title than some of it’s more psychological contemporaries. Nevertheless, it’s always a fun time to boot up with some friends and take turns voting on who gets to die a horrible death next. It’s not the deepest horror experience, but damn if it isn’t some good old-fashioned fun.

Bloodborne

Now, Bloodborne may seem like a strange choice for a list such as this. Although Software’s games definitely have some horror influences in their creature design and general atmosphere, their titles are third person action games first and foremost. Playing as a Hunter in the doomed city of Yharnam, players set out to slay monsters known as Beasts and unravel the mysteries of the Hunt. What begins with fighting mad humans, feral crows, and the occasional werewolf, slowly transforms into a cosmic nightmare of tentacled gods and Eldritch horrors. Bloodborne’s slow descent into madness is masterfully done, slowly distorting the world around the player until that which was most familiar has become foreign and alien.

Some may argue that the horror is slightly reduced given the player’s significant combat prowess. However, this only gives the game an excuse to hurl ever more dangerous and disturbing foes at the player to overcome. Students transformed into bug-human hybrids with myriad eyes and spindly wings, deformed giant brains that induce madness just by looking at them, and a centipede-esque monstrosity that looks suspiciously similar to the gaping dragon from Dark Souls. And the few remaining humans don’t provide much comfort either. A deranged priestess driven to murder over a tainted bloodline, an old woman who ventures into the streets to search for sedatives to numb her senses, a distrustful man who speaks in naught but lies. Bloodborne may be structured around its combat, but to not include it in the horror genre would be a disservice to its name.

Silent Hill 2

Given the rarity of PS2 discs nowadays and the general controversy surrounding the PS3 and Xbox 360 HD Collection, it’s disappointingly difficult and rare to find an easy way to experience Silent Hill 2 in 2021. However, it would be downright disrespectful to have a horror games list and not include this classic. Silent Hill 2 took the brooding, psychological horror introduced in its predecessor and turned it up to 11. Haunting, philosophical, drenched in subtext, and utterly terrifying, Silent Hill 2 was a cut above its jump-scare focused competitors at the time.

Following the story of James Sunderland on his journey to meet with his dead wife Mary is an experience that any self proclaimed horror fan deserves to treat themselves to. Complete with a cast of characters that seem nearly as unhinged and dangerous as the monsters that wander the dilapidated town of Silent Hill. In fact, the town itself is as much a character as any other lost soul within its limits. Toying with James and its other inhabitants in a way that is both sadistic and surprising in equal measure. It’s a shame that there’s no currently widely available way for people to experience one of gaming’s greatest horror masterpieces. However, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the possession of a copy of the original PS2 release, or even the Remastered Collection, you owe it to yourself to experience this game. It’s not just a good horror title. It’s a veritable historical landmark in gaming history.

Dead Space

If Alien: Isolation is a reminiscence of classic sci-fi horror, Dead Space is an evolution of it. Drawing heavy influence from properties such as Alien and The Thing, Dead Space follows space engineer Isaac Clarke, who is trapped aboard the doomed vessel, Ishimura with a race of corpse-possessing aliens known as Necromorphs. Dead Space is a game that leans heavily into body horror, with the Necromorphs manipulating and distorting the corpses they inhabit in grotesque and disturbing ways. Fortunately, as an engineer, Isaac is able to utilize a variety of mining and repair tools as makeshift weapons. Far from being a helpless everyman like James Sunderland, Isaac helps give Dead Space a more action-centric gameplay feel. Using the plasma cutter to slice off Necromorph limbs is endlessly entertaining, and provides a visceral satisfaction to the blood-soaked combat.

But that’s not to say that Dead Space can’t pull off atmospheric horror as well. Wandering the tight, dimly lit corridors of the Ishimura is an exercise in keeping one’s blood pressure at a normal level. Necromorphs have a variety of tricks to try and ambush the player. Whether it’s bursting out of a nearby vent or posing as a harmless corpse, death can come from anywhere at any time. And in a variety of ways as well, as demonstrated by the 16 straight minutes of death animations for Isaac. Brutal, bloody, and downright disturbing at times, Dead Space is one of the few horror IPs that deserve to stand alongside the titans of the genre like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. Speaking of which…

Resident Evil: Village

After the mediocrity that plagued the series’ 5th and 6th entries, Resident Evil: Village continues the upward trend of Resident Evil: Biohazard in a welcome trajectory for the series. Taking a departure from the country home setting of Biohazard, Village takes players to a mysterious village, somewhere in the snow-covered mountains of Europe. The vampiric Lady Dimitrescu serves as the central villain this time around, accompanied by her three daughters, four mutant lords, and a horde of werewolves known as Lycans. While juggling this many antagonists does mean their individual development suffers a bit, this gives the game the perfect excuse to provide a much greater variety in gameplay than previous titles in the series. While Village continues the trend of having a greater focus on environmental puzzle-solving, the title shows signs of leaning into its more action-heavy roots found in Resident Evil 4. However, though there is a greater emphasis on frantic combat and careful ammo management, Village still manages to pack in enough puzzles and creeping horror segments to keep the series from falling into a purely action-centric experience. A near perfect balance of horror and action, Resident Evil: Village is a worthy entry for the series, and a perfect game to get you into the Halloween spirit.

KEEP READING: Why 'Bloodborne' is Better Than 'Dark Souls'



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