The Terrifying Games You Need To Play This Halloween
Ah, Halloween. A time of ghouls and goblins. A spooky season in which children pound on your door after a long day at work demanding you give them chocolate, and the very thickest among us decide it's time to start playing festive songs because - and I quote - "it's never too early to start celebrating Christmas."
October is absolutely too early to start celebrating Christmas Linda, so turn off Michael Buble and get back to work you stupid, vacuous sack of old tinsel.
Sorry, I kind of veered off track for a second there. All I'm trying to say is that Halloween is the perfect time for you to gather some of your closest friends (or your body pillow), and enjoy any one of these spooky games for maximum chills and thrills as the nights draw in. Yeah? Yeah.
Man Of Medan
From the studio that gave us Until Dawn, Man Of Medan is a good old-fashioned ghost story that's sure to get the blood pumping and the heart racing. It's up to you to keep a group of annoyingly privileged rich kids alive as they explore the titular ship in an effort to uncover the truth behind the mysterious horrors that lurk within and get back to dry land.
This being a Supermassive game, expect plenty of difficult choices, unintended consequences, grisly deaths, and the constant feeling that not everything is quite as it seems.
Man Of Medan also boasts a new online multiplayer mode in which two players can experience the same story at the same time, with the choices each player makes (or fails to make) affecting the other. Well worth a look this Halloween.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Given the ridiculous amount of critical and commercial acclaim Resident Evil 2 Remake has managed to hoover up since launching in January, I can't imagine there are many people left that haven't braved the zombie-infested horrors of this return trip to Raccoon City.
Still, if you've already played it - play it again. It doesn't matter how many times you've been chased around the dark corridors of the police department by a hulking mutant assassin who wants to beat you to death with your own arms, it never stops being terrifying when you're full on legging it away from a zombie only to open a door and run directly into Mr X, who proceeds to deck you around the face with the force of a thousand suns.
The Last Of Us Remastered
The Last Of Us might not be considered a horror game in the strictest sense, but lord knows its got its fair share of hair-raising moments. Anyone who claims that they didn't wee in their trousers even a little bit while creeping around the basement full of Clickers in a frantic search for the exit, for example, is a liar.
And if you try and tell me that little bit of wee didn't turn into a full on dirty protest in your pants when you turned the generator on and the hordes of hell came crashing through the walls, you're an even bigger liar.
The concept of a horror game set in an abandoned asylum might well scream "cliche", "overkill", and "please don't make me play this daddy I'm only five-years-old", but the fact is that Outlast is an incredibly well-paced horror experience that tells a gruesome story through some really clever mechanics.
Outlast blends together traditional survival horror with the found-footage genre, putting you in the nervous boots of a journalist who foolishly decides it'd be a good idea to go for a haunt around the aforementioned asylum armed with little more than a camera. At least the camera has night vision mode so you can see the horrific monsters that are about to give you a heart attack. That's a comfort.
Since Konami so kindly decided to burn every trace of this doomed Silent Hills demo from existence, being able to play P.T is kind of dependent on you knowing someone who still has the game installed on their PS4. To be fair, you could also dive into one of the many, many PC fan remakes out there.
However you decide to get your hands on this buried gem of a horror experience, it'll be well worth your time. Speaking from experience, getting incredibly drunk with friends and then booting up P.T at 2 in the morning to nervously nudge down the corridors with the decayed remains of Lisa in hot pursuit is never not a good idea.
Unless your flatmate has a law exam the next morning and you wake him up with your inebriated screams of terror. Then it's not really that great an idea.
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In space nobody can hear your scream or smell the freshly-made scent of your soiled trousers. Good thing too, because if you play Alien: Isolation with the lights off you'll be both pooping and screaming in equal measure. It's a scary game, see. It's not just because you have some kind of condition that causes you to uncontrollably poo and scream.
With Alien Isolation, developer Creative Assembly decided to finally answer the question; how terrifying would it be if we could experience what its like to be stalked through a spaceship by a bloodthirsty Xenomorph first-hand? Turns out it's pretty forking terrifying.
The Xenomorph is relentless, and supplies are limited. Your nerves will be shredded to pieces as you discover the hard way that the alien menace can pop out from pretty much anywhere at pretty much anytime and gut you like a fish. It doesn't matter how often the beast catches you either, it'll mess you up every single time.
Siren: Blood Curse
Siren: Blood Curse is a twisted tribute to the very best Japanese horror which, as we all know, is exactly the kind of horror that ain't playing around.
So it is that Siren: Blood Curse throws you into a deeply disturbing survival horror that sees you desperately trying to survive and escape a misty village packed with ghost/zombie creatures that just want to be your friend. And by that I mean they just want to stab you until you all of your blood is on the outside.
There's more of a focus on stealth than anything else, which means you're left feeling constantly exposed and underappreciated as you creep around trying avoid any unsavoury encounters. Oh, one added twist of the knife is that players have the ability to see through an approaching enemies eyes and brown your trousers in horror as you realise they're coming towards your hiding place.
So yeah, it's nice that you can see they know where you are I guess... but you can rarely do anything about it, which is kind of awful.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a goddamn relentless son of a bitch that throws out scare after scare after scare until one of the three following possibilities occurs: You conquer the game's many tribulations, keel over from a heart attack, or turn the game off and crawl up in bed with the lights on while your wife reads from your The Beano 2002 annual until you drift off to sleep.
I have never beaten the game or had a heart attack.
From the game's opening, in which you wake up in a mysterious (and creepy castle) you're hit with a suffocating sense of isolation and an overpowering sense of dread that sticks with you through the entire game. You'll have to manage your character's sanity before they begin to hallucinate, which in turn attracts all kinds of horrific monsters who will find and kill you.
All you can do at this point is attempt to run from beasts both real and imagined and find somewhere to quietly hide as you try to regain control of your mind. Of course, every time you think you've managed to get back on top of things, something else will appear from the shadows and gut you like a fish to underline what a pathetic coward you are. It's great fun.
Being stranded completely alone on a spaceship drifting through the inky black of the cosmos would be terrifying enough on its own, but Dead Space ups the ante considerably by filling that same spaceship full of rotting corpses that are coming back to life with the solitary goal of effing you up.
It's basically like that movie Passengers, but instead of getting to hang out with Jennifer Lawrence you have to make your way through a claustrophobic gauntlet of increasingly nightmarish monsters and work out a way to get home in one piece. Gory, nerve-wracking, and deeply disturbing in places, Dead Space is one hell of a game to play at Halloween.
Honestly, the only thing more terrifying than the first Dead Space is the way EA managed to destroy the franchise after just two more games.
Bloodborne is a survival horror game in every sense of the term, and that's not open to debate. I mean, I guess you could debate it in the comments if you really want to, but my mind is already made up so I probably won't listen to you.
This PS4-exclusive gothic adventure from the makers of Dark Souls throws you into a twisted, maze-like world full of dangerous enemies that are more than capable of tearing you apart in seconds, and safe zones are in precious supply.
Your nerves will be torn to shreds as you move through the city of Yharnam and its surrounding areas with limited resources, painfully aware that they rasping breaths and heavy shuffles all around you means that some decomposing eldritch beast or other is just around the corner waiting to run you through with a pitchfork or scoop you up in a bag and spirit you away.
Featured Image Credit: Red Barrels/Capcom