Halloween is inbound, and as such October is the spookiest month. But what games are the scary ones, the ones which made you scream, the ones which made you cower in fear, or even the sections of non-scary games which came out of nowhere to terrify you?
The following games all deserve to be listed here as they crawled up your spine leaving cold imprints making you shiver harder than ever before. Be prepared to get spooped!
Until Dawn and The Park – LauraK
While Laura can only play horror games on stream, as she needs people to talk to or may never sleep again, she has played many horror titles. Her two favourite would have to be Until Dawn by Supermassive Games and The Park by Funcom. While the games are vastly different, they share some fundamental similarities. These aspects make them Laura’s favourite horror games, and by extension, these traits make any horror game great.
Primarily, they both have captivating and detailed stories. Until Dawn is significantly longer than The Park – taking days to complete as opposed to hours – however, both games manage to create a diverse and believable world with stories that hinge on complex characters. If you are going to sit through jumpscare after jumpscare, you want to do it for a reason right? A massive pet peeve for horror fans is generic horror games that heap forced and cheap scares upon you, without even having an interesting story. Both the aforementioned games do the complete opposite of that, with The Park, in particular, leaving Laura reeling at the ending and bringing so much depth and gravity into the game. In The Park the story only really hit you at the end, but it’s a shorter game so that isn’t too much of an issue. Until Dawn has a longer and more intricate story throughout.
Some other traits these games share are smooth, solid mechanics, and great graphics. These are not what makes them great, but does highlight the second thing all great horror games share – balance. Jumpscares are terrible when constantly thrown at you for no reason, so they should be balanced with the overall creepy atmosphere – which is only helped with graphics. The drawn-out scary impact of a terrifyingly built up jumpscare is needed – often done best with disturbing occurrences in the game world.
The location and ambience in Until Dawn and The Park combine great sound and lighting design, and some truly distressing situations and events to give you that long-term scare; keeping your heart rate up and teeth on edge. This also makes the jumpscares more powerful when they occur because they do so at an unpredictably spaced out rhythm you can’t ever truly anticipate.
Both of these games cannot be more highly recommended if you are looking for a few more spooks during October, the month of scares. If you want a longer experience or a game with more replay value, you absolutely need to try Until Dawn. If you don’t own a PS4 and want a quick ‘one and done’, check out The Park on Steam.
Honourable mentions go out to SOMA and Layers of Fear. And of course, the classic survival horror game that really kickstarted a new aspect of the genre, Amnesia.
Gears of War 1/2 – Pierre
When you reach the New Hope Research Facility in Gears of War 2, this is perhaps one of the most terrifying things in a game. In a game where you are a slab of meat slaughtering other slabs of meat, the sudden tension, and eerieness of the wretches who are stalking you is unexpected and thus the reason why it’s such a fear-inducing experience. There are points where the game hints that something will happen, and it doesn’t – further leaving you cowering at the unknown. Then, when something finally does happen, you are left scrambling to fix the situation as it comes out of nowhere. It’s an amazing example of pacing, and scene setting, only matched one other time in the first game of the series.
We then also have the Berserker in Gears of War where before you fight the giant beast, you hear the beast. The conversation around the beast is of how much of a menace it is, and the fear which you should be having for it. The Berserker then takes it’s first victim (sorry Carmine, we love you, and salute your sacrifice for the pursuit of the fear spooks) by not being directly seen but also not killing off-screen. You see the effect of the kill, without seeing how it was done. This leaves everything to your imagination and furthers the sense of unease. We then have the fight itself, which is in the darkness to start with further leaving you on edge.
F.E.A.R – Pierre
As the name of the Monolith Productions developed game suggests, it’s a game about being scared. Only, it does it in the most interesting way – by giving you a gun and toying with your mind. On one hand, you are a powerful Max Payne time manipulator who is shotgunning and fly kicking enemies, while on the other, you are stalked by a demon child called Alma. The game throws up scenarios where you don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. You see things for a fleeting moment, only to never see them again.
F.E.A.R does an amazing job of making the player think they are seeing things, instead of making the player think if the character is seeing things or not. It’s a subtle difference which makes a massive change in the game and your mental state. To the point where sections of the game allow you to shoot enemies, who are not actually there but are there in your head. Only to later throw those enemies at you again, only to have them disappear before anything happens. It’s moments where you have power, but feel powerless that make F.E.A.R such a good horror game.
You Need a Budget 4 (YNAB) – Leeasa
This is by far the scariest thing on Steam. In fact, it’s so scary that it got taken off Steam.
You start by entering how much money you presently have in your bank accounts, and how much you owe in debt to everyone. Then you are tasked with assigning each £/$ you currently have to a budget type. It’ll then let you know how much money you have left over and how much you can afford to save. It’s really brilliant to know that if you manage to only spend £5 on food for the month, you’ll have an extra £3.50 available left over to pay towards your £30,000 student loan or whatever debt you may be burdened with.
What could be more terrifying than having the stark reality of your current financial status laid bare in front of you? You Need a Budget 4 (YNAB) proves that nothing is.
So there you have it…
… some of the most tremble inducing, teeth chattering, and nerve wrecking parts of games or full games you can get. So give them a go this Halloween and see if you can stand up to the creepiness.
Let us know your favourite horror games or the scary sections of games which came out of nowhere in the comments below.