So since it’s Halloween, it seems like the perfect time to release the second part of our Horror game picks. Our last list came out around ten days ago and had some pretty great games on the list, but fortunately my list is entirely different. You can check out the games on Adam’s list from the first part here. This list will contain games that are my (Matthew Boss) personal favorites. With that in mind, let’s get started!
6. Half Life 2 (We Don’t Go To Ravenholm)
I guess we’ll start the list with something of an exception. Half Life 2 wasn’t a horror game. But “We Don’t Go to Ravenholm” was. The chapter was based in an abandoned town that was filled with people that had the unfortunate fate of having headcrabs latched onto their…heads. Turning them into twisted hosts that want to hunt you down, likely to kill you or eat you, or even worse make you into a new host. It feels like you’re playing through an outbreak type game, a city was overrun and you have to make it out. It even makes this feel more real as you use traps to mow down headcrab zombies. Though I have to say, the scariest part to me was the next type of headcrab and zombies. The zombies particularly; they ran on all fours, were really emaciated and rotten and howled like demons. In all, Ravenholm felt like it could have been a different game. A game I would have bought. It wasn’t long lived, but Half Life 2’s “We Don’t Go To Ravenholm” was a great survival horror segment.
Slender is a perfect example of a game that focused on the scare, and didn’t need a budget to do it well. Slender was free when it first came out. Free and absolutely terrifying. There wasn’t any real story, we were just someone lost in the forest and we needed to find some pages. Grab one page and a drum starts thundering in the distance. It’s eerie, but you keep going. Maybe you got a few more pages. Maybe you didn’t. Either way, after not too long, you saw him. The Slender man. And he probably scared the shit out of you.
Slender is the epitome of a jump scare game, with a nice touch of anxious paranoia thrown in. The building sound in the background, the creepy dark forest and the fact that the Slender man could be right behind you built up extreme anxiety. And when you finally did see that blank-faced misshapen tall man, it was enough to make you fly out of your seat. Slender was a horror hit that pretty much came out of nowhere.
4. Dead Space
Dead Space (as in the first game) did something that will always guarantee it a special place in my heart. My twisted, horror loving heart. Dead Space managed to bring the atmosphere of Alien, the idea terrifying people-warping parasitic aliens from The Thing and the risen dead aspect of…most any zombie movie. (Excluding rabies zombies. Like 28 Days Later.) Getting crammed into a big, dark ship lost in space, while damn near alone other than the crew of over one thousand reanimated nightmare constructs. Also, the people that are still alive are either dicks or going crazy. So that’s good. Dead Space was able to establish itself in the survival horror genre because it was terrifying, interesting and fun. Something it still is to this day. If you haven’t tried this one, do yourself the favor. “CUT OFF THE LIMBS!”
3. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
I did a big piece on Amnesia: The Dark Descent about a week ago, and you can check it out here. But to summarize my point, Amnesia isn’t just a good game. It’s been a game that had aftershock into the gaming industry, specifically for horror games. A smaller team made an indie horror game where you can’t defend yourself, you have to run and hide from the monsters. Then that game explodes in popularity. It makes the career of people on Youtube. It brings back the idea that one doesn’t necessarily have to be able to fight in games, just survive.
Amnesia’s success was great for horror games, as it proved that horror doesn’t necessarily require big budgets. In fact, it showed that horror games might be better off without big budgets. Games can just focus on what makes them good. What makes them scary. Not worry about hitting some giant budget goal.
2. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill was the series that really introduced me to psychological horror, and Silent Hill 2 is usually considered the best in the series. James Sunderland’s mission to find out where the letter he got from his deceased wife came from brings the protagonist to Silent Hill. How unfortunate. The shift from the real world, to fog world to the Otherworld was always terrifying to me. I’ll never forget the sound of static terror that comes from radios when the nightmarish creatures of Silent Hill show themselves. And James’ story is truly one to be remembered. Silent Hill 2 earned its place in the survival horror hall of fame (and my list) because it just does so much right. And wrong. It does some things one could consider wrong. I’m looking at you Pyramid Head. You creepy Bastard.
1. Resident Evil REmake
Of course Resident Evil was going to be the top of my list. The question was: which Resident Evil? The modern ones are fun, but they’ve become more like Blockbuster action movies than survival horror games. So it had to be an older Resident Evil game. With that in mind, it had to be Resident Evil 2, 4 or the remake to the original game. Resident Evil 4 is great, but not as scary. Resident Evil 2 may be my personal favorite (for nostalgic reasons), but it’s quite dated.
The REmake (Resident Evil Remake) keeps true to its survival horror roots, the original game and adds numerous features to the experience. The game follows the plot of the original (with some additions); you play as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentines of the Raccoon City S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team on a mission to investigate some grizzly murders in the Arklay mountains. After being attack by (terrifying) zombie dogs, you find yourself in the Spencer mansion, which is filled with the living dead. The setting was terrifying, that mansion will induce nightmares for generations. And it was remade very well, better than the original.
Puzzles were similar, but changed so that even veterans had to figure things out all over again. And some of the older scares were redone so that people couldn’t prepare. One of the most memorable scares in the first game is when the player enters a log L-shaped hallway, and zombie dogs (Cerberus) break through the windows. When I first saw my older play that through that scene (I was 7 I believe?), I ran screaming out of the room. In the REmake, I recognized the hallway immediately. I prepared. And then nothing. The dogs didn’t come. So I just kept playing. When I returned to the hallway later, I had dismissed it. I thought the scare had been removed because it had been so memorable, people would have simply been ready for it. Little did I realize that Capcom designed it this way. To (pardon my language) fuck with people familiar with the first game. When you first enter the hallway, nothing happens. It’s the second time you enter the hallway, going back the way you came, when this happens.
This game is the top of my list because of one thing: it is SCARY. It is scary in more than one way. It makes you paranoid, nervous and fills you with pure terror at different times. It keeps true to its survival horror roots, so you have little supplies at your disposal and the enemies are tough as nails. Crimson heads, zombies the player defeated that came back faster, stronger and scarier than before, had a massive effect on the game. You had to pick and choose which bodies to burn, and the ones you didn’t would eventually rise again as a crimson head. It. Was. Terrible. Always being worried that the body you left behind in this room might get up, let out a blood curdling hiss and sprint at you. But the fact was that you made the choice to leave the body there. You. And that almost makes it worse in a way. I could go on and on (as if I haven’t already). The REmake is the top of my list because there is no other game I can go back to that causes as much terror as this one.Tweet