Are you looking for the perfect horror games to play during Halloween? Here are some great choices.
In 2012 I created a short list called Perfect Games for Halloween. This year I decided to revamp the list by focusing on one game at a time instead of entire video game series. It was pretty tough to choose only 13 scary video games for Halloween. I had to both remove and add a few games to the list. Of course, I could always create an additional list next year!
The games in this list not only have the right horror atmosphere for the season, but the gameplay is usually pretty great as well! These are perfect for Halloween or if you want to play spooky video games at any time of the year. The list is in no particular order. Each game has their positives and negatives.
Slender: The Eight Pages
Slender: The Eight Pages (originally called “Slender”), became a pretty big indie hit around the time it released. The object of the game is to find eight pages scattered through a dark forest without getting caught by Slenderman. Collect all eight pages to get the credits will roll — after Slenderman catches you one final time. The game can be played multiple times since the pages will appear in different areas each time.
Slender: The Eight Pages is completely free to play, and the gameplay is incredibly simple and spooky. If you don’t have a lot of free time to dedicate to playing full scary games, this may be the right choice for you. Wear headphones and turn off the lights to fully immerse yourself in the deep, dark forest. Check out my Slender Review if you want to read more of my opinions about the game.
F.E.A.R. is a first person shooter with horror elements mixed in. The story follows the First Encounter Assault Recon (FEAR) group trying to track down a psychotic man named Fennel. Fennel has psychic abilities that he uses to control artificial soldiers. These are the enemy combatants you’ll fight throughout the majority of the game. Along the way, the entire team is killed by some extremely powerful ghost or some sort of entity. You are the last man left to track down and eliminate Fennel.
This may be a great starter game for the average gamer who wants to get into the horror genre. I can’t say this is a survival horror, but there are many freaky moments throughout the game. Of course, when you realize you’re a walking death machine, and many of the scares are at the exact same spots, the game gets less and less scary. FEAR also has two expansion packs: Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate. You can buy and download them, or if you have an Xbox 360 you can get them as a stand alone game called FEAR Files.
Twisted Metal Black
I know what you’re thinking, “Twisted Metal a scary game?!” Maybe most Twisted Metal games are nothing but car carnage, but Twisted Metal Black adds a nice back story to every playable character in the game. These stories give a new meaning to Twisted in Twisted Metal. Each character is locked in an insane asylum. One day, a man named Calypso comes to visit each one to recruit them for a tournament. He tells them he’ll give them one wish if they win this tournament. The opening scene will give the base of the story, win a few tournaments to get more back story, and beat all remaining tournaments to find out the ending to the story.
If you’ve played a Twisted Metal game before, you’ll know what to expect when playing Twisted Metal Black. Each character has their own car with their own special weapon and unique stats, but all cars can pick up a variety of weapons throughout the map to use against their opponents. The last car standing wins. Basically, the gameplay isn’t scary at all, but the stories of each character may haunt you for some time.
One rainy evening after a school’s cultural festival, a group of high school students perform a charm that will allow them to stay friends forever. Unfortunately, something goes wrong and sends them to an alternate dimension where a haunted elementary school still stands. This is the same elementary school that was the site of a number of murders many years back, but was torn down and replaced with the kids’ current high school. Now they must survive and try to find a way back home.
This is one of the best games for Halloween or any other creepy time of the year. Of course, it may not be for everyone. Corpse Party is mostly a visual novel with some puzzle solving gameplay. All of the dialogue throughout the game is in Japanese with English subtitles. Make the right choices to complete the chapter; make the wrong choices and you will experience one of the many bad endings.
Left 4 Dead 2
Unlike the other games on the list, Left 4 Dead has little to no story. It’s mostly about surviving against hundreds of zombies, or should I say “infected.” Not only are there average infected people in this game, but there are also a handful of unique infected with special abilities. One type of infected can grab you from afar with his long tongue, and one kind can spit corrosive acid.
If you don’t know whether you should play Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2, just flip a coin. They’re basically the same game with a few small additions. Although, you can get the Left 4 Dead levels in Left 4 Dead 2, so L4D2 is probably a better choice.
Choose one of four players and one level to play in. The level can be a city, a hospital, even an amusement park! Make it from area to area in each level until you escape to safety. There are usually five areas in each level. The four players in the game can be real people (Co-Op) or bots (AI players). There’s a large number of weapons and equipment in the game, each with their own purpose. If you or your team mates get injured, use medic kits to heal them or pills to ease the pain for a short time. The game may seem like mindless zombie killing on easy, but it requires a ton of team work as you go through harder difficulties. This game can easily be called a Survival Horror!
In ZombiU you play as a man trying to survive the Zombie apocalypse. Travel through London defeating as many zombies as you can without getting infected. There’s a small story throughout the game, but the actual gameplay is the real thing that shines.
ZombiU is actually one of the best zombie games I’ve ever played. I think it’s incredibly underrated, and usually ignored by gamers since it’s a Wii U exclusive. The Wii U’s gamepad is used to grab items from your bag, upgrade weapons at benches, and even as a sniper scope! Check out my ZombiU Review if you want to know more about the game and my opinion on it.
Dead Space is a third person shooter set on a space station. The station loses all communication, so a rescue team comes to help. When they arrive, they find a lot of blood and weird creatures that animate from dead bodies. No, these aren’t zombies of any sort, and they won’t die from shots to the head or body. The only way to kill the creatures in Dead Space is by cutting off all their limbs.
There are currently three main entries to the Dead Space franchise, but the original may be the best. The gameplay of Dead Space is nice and gory. If I were to compare this game to any other games out there, I’d say the gameplay is a lot like Resident Evil 4 and 5. The over the shoulder third person shooting and weapon upgrades makes it a near copy. However, unlike Resident Evil 4 and 5, there is a scary atmosphere throughout the entire game. If you want it to feel more like a survival horror, play the game on higher difficulties to limit your ammo significantly. Later entries even have higher difficulty settings that only allow you to save the game twice!
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
In Amnesia, you play as a Daniel, a man who awakens in a large castle with no memory. Investigate the castle to learn more about your past and what you must do, but keep an eye out for anything that may be a threat. Use light to keep your sanity, and solve puzzles to progress deeper into the castle.
Everyone who browses the internet for horror games knows about Amnesia. Everyone else who searches YouTube for funny videos may have also discovered this game. There are a ton of videos of people playing this game and freaking out. Unlike most survival horror games, you can only run and hide in Amnesia. There is no combat, and you must solve puzzles to continue on through the game.
In Outlast, you play as a reporter snooping around an old insane asylum. You’re armed with nothing but your HD camcorder and a few batteries. Use the camcorder’s night vision setting to see in the dark and investigate the horrors deep inside.
Outlast is a short and sweet survival horror game. Just like Amnesia, all you can do is run and hide. Unlike Amnesia you don’t need to solve puzzles to progress, all you need to do is survive. Most of the scares in Outlast are jump scares, but the environment is perfect for horror fans. If you do decide to play this game, you can use my Outlast Guide to get through it.
Condemned: Criminal Origins
In Condemned: Criminal Origins, you play as a detective in search of a serial killer when things go horribly wrong. The serial killer shoot your buddies using your gun, and the department thinks you did it. It doesn’t sound too scary at first, but it quickly takes a creepy turn as you progress through the story. A number of mysterious things have been happening around town. Uncover the mysteries as you fight your way to Serial Killer X.
The combat system is perfect for survival horror games. There are many melee weapons you can grab from the environment, and a few firearms can be taken off of select enemies. If you find a firearm, you can only use the ammo that’s already in the weapon. Once the weapon’s ammo is used up, you can use the firearm as a melee weapon. All melee weapons have basic stats like power, reach, and block. Some weapons can even break after using them too much.
The original Resident Evil was one of the big names in the survival horror genre back in the day. You play as either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine as you explore a creepy mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City. Almost instantly, you find Zombies and other unusual creatures running rampant throughout the estate.
Resident Evil used a very old survival horror gameplay system. A lot of it was puzzle heavy, and the combat system was terrible. Yes, there were guns, but there was no real way to aim at an enemy. Ammo was extremely scarce, which made boss battles all the more difficult, and you had very limited pockets to place all the items you found. You couldn’t even save the game unless you were holding an ink ribbon when you found a typewriter! If you ran out of space, you could store items in a special box which was next to every typewriter. These games may only be for the old school survival horror fans, but they’re definitely worth checking out.
Fatal Frame is an incredibly creepy survival horror game from Japan. You play as a girl named Miku who goes searching for her brother Mafuyu. Mafuyu went missing two weeks ago while investigating the Himuro haunted mansion for his mentor who also went missing. As Miku searches the estate, she discovers a number of evil spirits who try to attack her. Her only defense is to use a special camera that takes the spirits’ energy.
The gameplay of Fatal Frame isn’t the smoothest, but most survival horrors games don’t have simple systems. The game’s setting, on the other hand, is incredibly creepy and perfect for Halloween. Solve puzzles and defeat evil spirits to solve the mystery and clear the game.
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill was once a resort town, but now it’s a place full of monsters and spirits that will make the average person go insane. Nobody knows for sure what happened. Some say it’s because Silent Hill was built on a sacred place. What is clear is that it’s no longer an average town.
In Silent Hill 2, you play as James, a man who receives a letter from his wife Mary. The unusual thing about that is Mary has been dead for three years. The letter says she’s waiting for him in their special place in Silent Hill.
The Silent Hill franchise is one of the best survival horror franchises ever made, and Silent Hill 2 is said to be the best in the series. Yes, the combat system is pretty clunky, but the atmosphere and story is incredibly creepy. The riddles and puzzles throughout the game definitely add to the fun, and there are multiple endings you can unlock depending on what you do during the game.
The various endings aren’t the only reason for playing Silent Hill 2 multiple times. In addition to action difficulty levels, the puzzles and riddles can increase in difficulty and really get your mind muscle pumping. There are also many other subtle things you may only notice if you’ve played the game multiple times and read each document you find.
If you decide to play this game, you can use my Silent Hill 2 guide to solve all puzzles and find all alternate endings.
Horror Parts in Non-Horror Games
There are so many great horror video games that can be added to this list, but there are few games from other genres that may also satisfy gamers for Halloween. Below are two well known video game franchises with great horror modes or quests.
The Elder Scrolls
Fans of the Elder Scrolls franchise may already know of the creepy quest line that’s perfect for Halloween. I’m talking about The Dark Brotherhood, of course!
The Dark Brotherhood guild always has a series of quests where you must assassinate select targets. In your off time, you can visit the Dark Brotherhood’s sanctuary and talk with the other assassins in the guild. In my opinion, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion had the best Dark Brotherhood quest line. I won’t spoil it, but I will definitely recommend it to those who love the macabre. If you have a TES game and don’t want to buy a new horror game for Halloween, you should go through The Dark Brotherhood’s quests to satisfy your appetite.
Call of Duty
Call of Duty is a well known first person shooter franchise that mostly focuses on multiplayer. However, in 2008, developer Treyarch introduced us to a new co-op mode called Nazi Zombies!
The game mode was pretty simplistic, yet fun. All you had to do was survive infinite waves of zombies. There was literally no end to it.
More Nazi Zombie Maps came included with each new multiplayer map pack. The maps improved with each release, and even had small objectives tied to achievements and trophies. The new maps were stuffed with both tiny and large easter eggs that contributed to a huge hidden story that only select people knew about.
The Nazi Zombies story continued in 2010’s Call of Duty: Black Ops, where they dropped the Nazis part and renamed the mode to “Zombies.” In 2012’s Call of Duty: Black Ops II the Zombies story concluded. Honestly, the story could have, and probably should have, ended with Black Ops’ Zombies mode. Treyarch did sort of start a new story line in Black Ops II–a story that seemed to be a bit scattered–but some of the DLC maps continued off the original story from World at War and Black Ops.
If you want to read about the Zombies story from World at War and Black Ops, read my Call of Duty: Zombies Story post. I may write a new one some time with the Black Ops II Zombies storyline.
That’s it for this year. Have you played all the games on this list? What games do you think should make the list next year? Leave a comment below!