It’s actually pretty late in the night now as I sit down to write this one and I already have the jitters even before I’ve jotted down a single word. Perhaps it isn’t a good idea to research a lot on horror video games late at night, after all. However, the setting is perfect, the cat’s purring away gently and I can already tell that this is going to be a good one. Survival horror video games have always been a favorite among gamers as it allows them to peer into the unknown and catch a glimpse of their most horrid nightmares and maybe for once defeat them even if it’s in the virtual world. So without waiting for the clock to strike 2 a.m. and allowing the poltergeist upstairs to start its daily racket, let’s get on with this list. You can play these top horror games on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PC, iPhone, Andriod or even online.
12. Prey (2017)
‘Prey’ is a survival horror stealth video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Studios in the year 2017 for Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4. It is considered by many to be the spiritual successor of the 2006 game of the same name developed by Human Head Studios with a completely different narrative and improved gameplay. A sequel for the original game was actually planned by Human Head Studios but the game never came to fruition, so when this game was announced by Bethesda, it was like a sigh of relief for fans of the original ‘Prey’.
However, the devs have repeatedly mentioned that the game has been developed as a spiritual successor to ‘System Shock’, the 1994 video game. Similar to ‘System Shock’, ‘Prey’ provides the player with multiple storylines and game endings as all the actions that are taken by the player affects the overall gameplay of the game. You are given control of the character Yu, who is aboard a spaceship from planet Earth that is studying the various alien species and orbiting around the Earth-L2 satellite. However, as you traverse through the station you find that all the alien species have escaped and have spread all over the spaceship. Now that the hero you are, you simply have to regain control of the spaceship from these alien creatures.
As you start, most of the spaceship is locked and you must complete all the objectives in a given area in order to unlock the next. As you keep unlocking the areas, the whole of the ship becomes available to you at which point you are allowed to roam all the areas similar to a open world game. The combat takes place in stealth based environments, allowing you to take down enemies silently by creeping up behind them. Some of the aliens have special abilities and you have the option to take over some of their powers and this will help you to fight enemies more efficiently.
11. Evil Within 2 (2017)
‘Evil Within 2’ takes up from where the original Evil Story ended back in the year 2014. It is considered by many as one of the best sequels to an original title as it takes everything that’s good about ‘Evil Within’ and not only polishes it but also adds to it in a definitive way. The gameplay is quite similar to the previous title, though, and you are required to complete a set of different objectives in a given level in order to advance the story and progress to the next one. There are multiple ways to access a single level, so whatever your tactics are, there’s a proper way to execute the same by using elements from the environment to help you along the way.
Resources are extremely important to your survival but are very scarce and you need to preserve what precious ammo you have for the bigger fights. Hence, stealth and surprise kills are your best bet. Creeping up on the unsuspecting enemy and taking them down in one swift noiseless move is what stealth games are all about and ‘Evil Within 2’ executes this mechanic perfectly. Sneaking by enemies can also be an option in a lot of situations allowing you to further preserve your resources. A lot of items are craftable in the game and requires the relative ingredients for them but if you happen to find a ‘crafting table’, then the resources required for the items are significantly reduced. The game was developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softwares in the year 2017 to major critical acclaim.
10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)
‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’ is a game that was released for Windows PC, Linux, macOS and OS X systems in the year 2010 by Frictional Games but was ported to the PS4 system in the year 2016 and to Xbox One in the year 2018 due to popular demand from the fans. It is a survival horror game in all aspects with some of the most intense moments that has made us drop our controllers numerous times; so if you have a weak heart, we do not recommend this game to you. The main setting of the game is a medieval castle and you must explore the insides without losing your sanity, like literally.
The game has a sanity meter which begins to drop as soon as you are in the darkness or you happen to spot monsters and if your sanity meter drops down to zero, you faint right then and there. While the sanity meter is low, you suffer from visual and auditory hallucinations and this condition alerts your presence to nearby enemies. The only way you can restore your sanity meter is to find a source of light, which are extremely rare and even these give away your position to other monsters. You can collect candles throughout the game or use other light sources but these, too, are extremely rare and you need to save these for critical situation.
So you must have been thinking that attracting a few monsters aren’t that bad but here’s the deal: you do not have access to any kind of weapons throughout the entire game. Hence, escaping from monsters and finding a light source is your only bet but then again don’t stay in the light too long lest that attracts more monsters. That’s ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’ for you in a nutshell.
9. P.T. (2014)
‘P.T.’ is more of an experience than a game created and directed by famed game developer Hideo Kojima and published in the year 2014 by Konami. Hideo Kojima along with a few other developers worked on the game under the alias of 7780s Studios in order to keep their identity secret from the gaming community. The game was made free to download for the PS4 playstore in the mid of 2014 and fans were overwhelmed by this surprisingly well made little game from a little known development company. It was actually planned to create hype for a new game under development at Konami, which was supposed to be a spiritual successor to the massively popular ‘Silent Hill’ series.
However, the company dropped the new game in development and decided to remove the game from the PlayStation playstore, a move that did not bode well among fans of the game. In mid of 2015 the game was removed completely from the playstore but those who had the game installed on their systems were allowed to keep them. Various critics have slammed the company for removing the game but this move has also cemented its position in video gaming industry. ‘P.T.’ is extremely sought after by collectors and there have been instances where PS4 systems containing the game have been sold over Ebay for over a $1000.
The game itself is not really intended as a demo or a marketing ploy and only takes place inside an apartment building. You have the option to walk around the building and interact with the various objects present there in order to learn more about the story. There is a ghost named Lisa who is haunting the building and if she manages to catch you, you may faint after a jump scare sequence. The game is not presently available on the PS4 network but if you happen to come across a copy, make it a point to play it.
8. State of Decay 2 (2018)
‘State of Decay 2’ is the successor to the original ‘State of Decay’ released in the year 2013 and builds on the mechanics of the original game. It is set in an open world environment with the aim to survive for as long as possible. The world is infested by zombies and you need to group with other players in the world in order to survive from zombies. There are hordes of them that tail you at times and it becomes incredibly hard to survive at times. In addition, there is also a fear of perma-death that does not allow you to re-spawn after you die forcing you to start the game all over again.
Similar to other survival horror games, you have the option to create and craft items by gathering resources and this will help you to survive for longer but we felt that the character customizations and the crafting mechanics are quite ‘arcady’ and does not contain the amount of depth that you would like from a survival horror title but still the zombie designs and the intriguing atmosphere of the game makes up for most of it. You can join up to three other friends and take a shot at survival in the strange hostile world State of Decay 2, a worthy sequel to the original one developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios.
7. Until Dawn (2015)
‘Until Dawn’ is a survival horror video game developed by Supermassive games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in the year 2015. The game has received a lot of praise from critics worldwide, with most of them highlighting the gameplay, the setting, the ‘choice’ mechanic of the game and the storyline. It follows a group of 8 teenagers who are travelling to a faraway cottage exactly a year after two friends of theirs disappear in order to investigate the events. These two girls are twin sisters to one of the group’s members, so there is a personal drive in the incident. They arrive at the cabin to find a madman who is after their lives and now they must survive throughout the night in order to escape in the morning.
All the decisions you take in the game affect gameplay later on in the game through a mechanic the game developers call ”The Butterfly Effect”. This means that there are various endings to the game and each scenario is different from the other due to variations in the decisions taken by the player. Due to this, it is entirely possible for one to keep all eight characters alive or let all eight characters die according to the decisions taken by them. Each playthrough of the game takes roughly about nine hours but if you make a mistake during a game, it is not possible to load a previous save point and remedy that mistake because the game uses an auto-save mechanic. In such a situation, the only option you have is to restart or play through the campaign anyway.
6. Slender: The Arrival (2013)
‘Slender: The Arrival’ is a survival horror video game that takes place in abandoned areas such as mines and haunted houses. It is a game that plays very similar to its predecessor ‘The Eight Pages’ where the only survival item available to you is a flashlight. This makes stealth and escape as your only options in the game. Personally speaking, the game plays differently on each level and fans of rogue-like gameplay styles will appreciate the structure of the levels. ‘Slender’ is a game that cannot be truly explained on paper alone so we highly urge you try out the title for yourself. The game was developed by Blue Isle Studios and published by Parsec Productions in the year 2013 for the Windows PC and OS X and ports for other devices followed in later years with the latest one being released for the Wii U in the year 2015. Critics have praised the game for its scary game elements and it has overall positive reviews on all gaming stores.
5. SOMA (2015)
‘SOMA’ is a sci-fi survival horror video game developed and published by Frictional Games in the year 2015. Frictional Games have a long history of developing survival horror titles, so a release from the development firm means a beautiful storyline and polished gameplay mechanics and SOMA doesn’t fail to deliver. You are stuck at an underwater facility with deadly creatures roaming the area and you must interact with various objects in the environment in order to traverse through the levels and progress through the storyline. The game is set in a first player perspective, allowing you to immerse yourself into the experience as the game uses a psychological horror setting as opposed to traditional horror mechanics.
There are various puzzle segments in the game that you will need to solve by interacting with the various elements within the game but there is a lack of inventory mechanics unlike the previous titles of Frictional Games. It seems the developers of the game stressed on the storyline of the game and had to cut away the inventory in order to make place for a more immersive experience. Whatever the reason might be, ‘SOMA’ has quite the storyline attached to it and most of the critics who have reviewed the game have highlighted this aspect over and over again. If you are a fan of survival horror video games, then you must check this one out.
4. Outlast 2 (2017)
‘Outlast 2’ is a survival horror video game developed and published by Red Barrels in the year 2017 to massive critical acclaim. Just like its predecessor, ‘Outlast 2’ was praised by its critics for its survival mechanics, overall gameplay experience and an intricate storyline. The game follows the protagonist of the series, Blake Langermann along with his wife Lynn. Both of them are stranded in a desert after a plane crash and are separated. Now they must make their way towards each other in a desert village where all the villagers are certain that the end days are coming.
Langermann is a photographer, equipped with his trusty camcorder which allows him to record events of significance. This camcorder is also equipped with night vision but it requires batteries to run and they run out pretty fast if you have the night mode switched on. In addition, the game offers medkits to the player but there is a significant absence of weapons. You are not allowed to fight your enemies, except for sequences that are specifically crafted for combat making the gameplay extremely terrifying and full of suspense.
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3. Alien: Isolation (2014)
‘Alien: Isolation’ is a survival horror video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega in the year 2014. The game is a tribute to the ‘Alien’ sci-fi film series and features Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley who happens to be the protagonist of the film series. It features some of the best survival horror mechanics that we have seen in recent years and has managed to win several end of year awards because of the same. You play as Ellen who is trapped in a spaceship that has been infiltrated by aliens and you must save the ship from these creatures.
However, there are no weapons at your disposal forcing you to hide and escape from these alien creatures while completing objectives throughout the map. You do get access to ‘some’ weapons in the later stages of the game but the ammunition for it are extremely limited forcing you to save these for critical situations. There is an active crafting mechanic that allows you to craft basic items such as medkits which are essential for your survival.
There is one main antagonist in the game who wanders through the level in search of you and you must always keep track of the creature while going about your business. You have a motion sensor to help you with this but be wary of using it as the noise from the detector might attract the alien. The game also allows you to hide in a variety of locations such as air ducts, cabinets and under tables and behind furniture and you must use this to your advantage in order to escape from it.
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2. Resident Evil 2 Remastered (2019)
If you are reading this list, then you must have played ‘Resident Evil’, one of the most popular and definitive survival horror video game series out there developed and published by Capcom for the last 20 years. The series first made its mark in the year 1997 through its first self titled release called ‘Resident Evil’ and the game series has sold over 90 million copies since then. The latest installment in the title is a HD remake of their second installment in the series, Resident Evil 2 which was released in the year 1998. It stays very loyal to its original version and is simply the ‘Resident Evil 2’ game in a brand new shell that looks amazing on modern 4K devices. If you have not played this survival horror gem back in the day, then this is the perfect opportunity for you to relive one of the most critically acclaimed video games of all times.
1. Dying Light (2015)
You have probably seen this title at the upper part of other horror games’ lists on our website and this is for a good reason. ‘Dying Light’ is one of the best survival horror action adventures out there that’s also unique in a lot of aspects. It is very rare that you see two very distinct genres being merged into one, and that too being executed flawlessly but when it does happen, the result is games like ‘Dying Light’. This is probably the only survival horror video game out there that allows you to climb tall buildings and leap off ledges while trusting your grappling hook in order to escape from zombies. Yes, you can parkour while escaping from zombies is what we are saying here. This is one game we can’t recommend enough to fans of the survival horror genre and you should probably check it out even if you aren’t one, since this game has the potential to change your mind.
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