What Do You Think is the Best Horror Game Ever?

Next week is Halloween, and in preparation for the holiday celebrating all things scary and also sexy Big Bird costumes, we’ve been running a weekly series called HorrorScope that’s devoted to some lesser-known horror games.

We’ve shown off a few of the games we’ve found intriguing, and now we’d like to put the question to you, the readers, in anticipation of Halloween next week.

So here goes: What is the best horror game ever made? Which are your favorites?

Drop your favs and a little explanation of why they’re so awesome in the comments below. Alternatively (or if you want a second discussion platform), you can pop over to the Game Front Facebook page and weigh in there.

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14 Comments on What Do You Think is the Best Horror Game Ever?

ZephyrTuvai

On October 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I’d have to nominate Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem for the GameCube. Unlike most games, where you can tell yourself “it’s just a game”, as the “horror” is happening to the characters within it, this game had a unique element called the “Insanity” meter, or bar.

The more you interacted with enemies, the more the bar would fill. At first, it would be minor things, like extra, creepy sound effects that would get more prominent as the bar filled, and a camera that tilted off-kilter more and more as said bar filled, to the point of being very obviously askew, to name a few.

Then, after a point, really, really weird things would happen.. but not in game. To your game.

I still remember clearly my favorite example of this. Walking into an unexplored room, I start to look for items and keep an eye out for enemies. The coast seems clear and I begin to cross it to grab a shiny on the other end, when out of nowhere a large group of creatures come from all sides, surrounding me with no clear area to back into and take a stand. Jumping at the sudden attack, I begin to get ready to defend myself, when a message pops up on the screen, something along the lines of “The controller in port 1 has been disconnected, please reconnect controller.” I remember this well because I hadn’t saved in quite a while, and looking down at my cube, I see the controller is plugged in. I quickly jump up and unplug it, then reconnect it, to no avail, horrified as my wasted hours go out the window as my character is mauled to death.

Then, a second later, there is a flash, and my character is back at the entrance to the room. I seriously thought my gamecube was broken.

Anyway, I don’t really recall the story, but the way the game just really messed with you, the player directly, got to me really well and kept me paranoid not only about the in game “scary” aspects, but half the time whether or not what was happening was really happening.

Phil Hornshaw

On October 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm

@ZyphyrTuvai

I have a feeling this is going to be on a lot of lists. I’d love to play it again myself.

lee

On October 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

For me Silent Hill and The Suffering. Silent Hill was the first game where I had to take a deep before entering a new room. The Suffering was just as scary as Silent Hill but with more intense action. Also it was the first game I played that had choices that affected the ending unlike another game I know. Plus the monsters on both games were disturbing and original.

michael

On October 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

SIREN Lost Translation…

GarynDakari

On October 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I haven’t played a lot of scary games, but Amnesia and S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl are probably the worse I’ve played.

Axetwin

On October 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I was going to come in here and give my reasons why I was going to vote for the original Silent Hill. However, then I read the comment by ZephyrTuval. Anything I could say about Silent Hill pales in comparison to what he said about Eternal Darkness.

His example reminds me of the third and final Scarecrow encounter from Arkham City. I dont know how many people actually picked up on this, but when the sequence starts, it simulates the visual and audio distortions of what it is like for your 360 to red-ring on you while youre playing. As someone who had already had to have my 360 fixed once before because of RRoD, I didnt play the game for a full day and a half because everytime the sequence started, i thought my 360 was breaking on me again. So to hear there is an entire game based around stuff like this, I get why people talk so highly of Eternal Darkness.

…………and no, even though I owned a Gamecube, I never played Eternal Darkness.

quicktooth

On October 27, 2012 at 7:13 am

Scariest Horror game: Grey. It hits the Terror button early, and just keeps on going. Make no mistake; this game doesn’t cause Fear, it causes Terror. Whoever came up with it is very insane. It’s ability to make you feel like something is GENUINELY ABOUT TO DO SOMETHING HORRIBLE to you is astounding. I won’t spoil the scares, but things in the game have the ability to terrify you merely by BEING there. The one’s I’m thinking of don’t even appear to DO anything, but you’re terrified anyway. That’s how effective the game is at what it does. Note: check your fun at the door; it’s all scares, all the time. Also: The game may actually be unwinnable.

Best Horror Game: Silent Hill 2. Atmosphere, ambiguous reality, disturbing npcs you’ll nevertheless feel grateful just to meet, limited resources, opressive doom-laden environment, and the uncertainty of exactly WHAT happened in the game due to it having multiple endings (none is stated to be canon). You’re also engaged at all times, empathise with the protagonist, and want to see what happens. You even start the game trying to solve a riddle that hooks you in, wanting to see what The Truth is, which stays with you right up to the very end. Every bit of dialogue is important, no matter how casually stated. I could go on, but you get the idea. Solid Gold.

JawaEsteban

On October 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. :SOC, with Pavel’s Complete graphical update pack. The fact that the game is based in a real-world location/disaster, and that the storyline is quite plausible given what we know can happen with mutations due to excessive radiation exposure, gives it an edge. A lot of horror out there is of the fantasy-horror variety. You could actually go to Pripyat, and it is not a place I would linger after dark.
I still remember the first time I ran into a bloodsucker in one of the underground levels. Thing came out of nowhere behind me, and I emptied at least two AK mags at it. Hit mostly nothing but air, and then it killed me. Probably the closest I’ve come to getting a heart attack from a game.

gasmaskangel

On October 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Of course there’s the big games of horror, the ones that get in your head and freak you out for days like Silent Hill 2 or Eternal Darkness. There’s also the ones that are master pieces of atmosphere and dread like Amnesia and certain parts of the Dead Space games (the parts where monsters aren’t jumping out of closets and presenting you with an opportunity to slice off their important bits are fantastic), how ever for my money the scariest game I’ve played is Minecraft.

It becomes more horrific the more you think about it, and especially if you’re playing it alone. Sure during the day you’re pretty much safe, nothing but cows and sheep around but at night… at night the dead rise and terrible green things that blend quite eerily with the landscape move about and hunt you, each one capable of singlehandedly destroying all that you’ve spent your time building.

So you dig, desperately seeking shelter from the unholy things that stalk the night, and maybe you break into a cavern filled with useful stuff, but to get to it, you need to get past all the monsters. Things which moan and scrape through the dark around you, and seem to wait until the moment you turn your back to mine some coal to attack.

And even if you hide, wall yourself up and desperately wait for daylight to come they still know where you are, and they moan and chitter till the sun finally drives them away.

Then the cycle starts all over again.

Sebastian Austin

On October 28, 2012 at 8:39 am

Licius.

Nah, just kidding (figured Phil might blow a gasket reading that). For me, the Fatal Frame games are criminally overlooked. Possibly that’s because they’re fatuously called ‘Project Zero’ outside of the US, which is a completely vague and meaningless title. At least Resident Evil, while not as good as Biohazard, makes a bit of sense – evil is resident in the games. Project Zero is a nothing name that has probably resulted in an unbelievably good series of games not receiving the plaudits they deserve. Nothing compares to the moment in the second game where you go to the safe room after a boss battle and can’t save for some reason, then suddenly a ghost comes out of the toy chest. The Forbidden Siren games are amazing too, and at times scarier than Fatal Frame, but they’re way too difficult to the point that the fear factor is secondary to the annoyance factor. Eternal Darkness completes my top three, how that never received a sequel is beyond me. It controls better than any other horror game up to that point, has interesting production and gameplay variety, and is ambitious as hell with the whole ‘meta’ thing trying to make the gamer question their own sanity.

CatmanStu

On October 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

There has only been one game that made me so nervous that I worried about dropping a load in my pants and that was the first Aliens vs Predator game. Playing as a marine, when that motion detector starts bleeping, truly scared the **** out of me. Not before or since has a game put me in a position where I don’t want to progress.
Also a good example of a movie tie in (sort of) that uses the knowledge of the films for enhancing the experience rather than hindering it.

Daretoask

On October 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

I’m with CatmanStu on this one, although for me it was AvP2 for the PC.

While the first one was scary, due to the motion tracker being employed as an indicator of impending terror, they upped the ante in the second part. There was one scene in particular that I remember to this day: One of your fellow marines gets taken by the aliens, and your character (of course) volunteers to go after her into the aliens nest. Now you don’t have to be a fanboy of the alien franchise (which I am) to know that that is a terrible idea, and that it will surely end in disaster. So you make your way down (why is it always in the cellar, dammit?) to the nest, all the while expecting to be mauled by aliens hiding in the shadows, but nothing happens. The music is very creepy, and the atmosphere had me biting my nails. When you finally find the missing marine, you see her strung up to the wall, have a short coversation with her and then the inevitable chest-bursting occurs, followed by you torching the chestburster. Thats where the horrific part starts: Your motion sensor goes haywire and lights up like a christmas tree, accompanied by the hissing sounds and angry screams of the aliens awakening around you. Your fellow marines (whom are bravely waiting for you in their amored vehicle) state the obvoius and tell you to run. The elevator door (of course) closes in slow motion, which made me scream angrily at my monitor. When the doors finally opened, I ran through the nest, trying to stay ahead of the aliens, whom, my motion tracker was telling me, were getting ever closer. Running backwards I fired proximity mines on the ground, the first of which started exploding soon after. When I finally made it to the safe room, the corresponding blast doors (again) closed very slowly, and the giant pretorian that was chasing me almost made it inside with me.

That same night I woke up sweating like a pig, and to this day this is the only game that has ever given me nightmares.

P.s. I second everything that ha been said about Eternal Darkness, that game deserves to be played by everyone.

Turtling

On October 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Gregory Horror Show deserves a mention. Not scary (it’s not really designed to be) but worth playing since each opponent in your path requires a special way of defeating it. Deadly Premonition is also a great game, apart from the game part. It has an excellent, involving story and characters off-set by some of the most asinine production and mechanics you can imagine, but it’s another one that should be experienced especially by people fed up of the whole ‘style over substance’ mentality behind stupid superficial crap for the lazy-minded like Heavy Rain and Mass Effect 2 and 3.