There is no better way to scare yourself silly than immersing yourself in a good old-fashioned horror game. Here are some top picks for games you need to play this Halloween, so grab some snacks, put on your headset, turn off the lights and get ready to jump out of your seat! (may contain mild spoilers).
Outlast – First person survival horror Outlast made me scream more times than I will admit to. You play as Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist who has received information about horrendous experiments that are being conducted on people at Mount Massive Asylum, a psychiatric hospital run by the notorious Murkoff Corporation, and as a good journalist you decided to investigate (a decision which you will quickly start to regret).
The game sets the mood straight away stating in the opening introduction; ‘your only choices are to run, hide or die’ (great!). Your sole equipment is your video camera, allowing you record all the horrors that await you. The camera features a night vision mode which is what you will be looking through for more than half the game. However, the night vision will drain the battery of the camera, so unless you want to be running around blind in total darkness tying to evade the homicidal maniacs you need to somehow pluck up the courage to do a little bit exploring to find enough batteries to keep you and the camera going.
Outlast is filled with gore, psychological horror and some of the most intense and terrifying game play moments I have ever experienced!
Alien Isolation – This was hands down my favourite game of 2014. Alien Isolation is based on the original Alien movie and is a first-person stealth, survival horror game.
After a string of disastrous Alien video games - yes, I’m looking at you Colonial Marines! - there was huge pressure on the game developers (Creative Assembly) to not mess this up, and well they didn’t. In fact, this has to be one of the favourite horror games of all time.
Alien Isolation is set 15 years after the events of the original Alien movie. You play as Amanda Ripley, Ellen Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver’s iconic character) daughter who is trying to find out what has happened to her mother. You board Sevastopol Station looking for the Nostromo’s (your mother’s ship) flight recorder only to discover the station is badly damaged and all communications are offline due to the alien which has taken up residence onboard.
What makes Alien Isolation so terrifying is not the continuous jump scares that you would expect from a horror game but the constant fear and tension of knowing that the Alien could appear at any moment. You really do feel like you are constantly being hunted in a cat and mouse style game.
Equipped with a motion tracker, a few weapons and some makeshift devices, you must navigate your way through the station trying to avoid the Alien, androids and some very hostile humans. Everything on this ship is trying to kill you and the only option you have is to just keep moving.
Dead Space – is a brilliant sci-fi, over the shoulder, third person survival horror. The game is set in the year 2508 and you play as protagonist Isaac Clark. During a routine mission, the mining ship USG Ishimura suddenly loses all communications and you and a small maintenance crew are dispatched to find out what has happened. However, on arrival you discover the ship has fallen into disrepair, while your ship is destroyed leaving you and your crew stranded. You are then attacked by terrifying creatures known as Necromorphs, leaving most of your crew dead and you isolated, only to discover the Necromorphs are the crew of the Ishimura! Good grief!
However, Isaac Clark isn’t your typical action hero equipped with guns and rocket launchers. He is an engineer who must use his skills to build and craft mining weapons, such as a plasma cutter, to survive the onslaught of terrifying monsters. Dead space leaves you feeling isolated, vulnerable, panicked, claustrophobic and terrified to go around the next corner.
Until Dawn – is an interactive choice-based survival horror game and pays homage to the 80s and 90s teen slasher films. It is full of horror movie tropes and some very flirty teenagers!
Set in the beautiful backdrop of a remote snowy mountain retreat, eight friends (a cast including Hayden Panettiere from Heroes and Rami Malik from Bohemian Rhapsody) suddenly find themselves not alone. Something sinister is lurking on the mountain and somehow you must find a way to survive until dawn! Using the butterfly effect, quick time events and the don’t move mechanic, you will be forced to make decisions that will have a lasting effect through the game: seemingly insignificant choices and huge moral dilemmas will have massive consequences on the outcome of the story; anyone can live and anyone can die, so choose wisely.
Until Dawn is full of twist and turns, it is truly gripping, suspenseful and will leave you panic stricken throughout.
Other notable mentions must go to The Amnesia collection, Resident Evil 7, The Evil Within 1 & 2, Friday 13th and Soma.
Whichever horror game you decide to pick up I hope you have a great Halloween!