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So horror games are a thing, something that we usually talk about at great lengths come October when the end of the month turns spooky and we celebrate the darkness known as Halloween... Or go door to door against common sense and ask strangers for candy. As gamers, this is the time when we hope that the developers and publishers give us something new and scary to play either on our consoles, expensive PC rigs, or as has become common these days: VR headsets.
Personally I think the new wave of Virtual Reality that is being brought into our homes nowadays is pretty cheap. It's easy to make someone frightened when you have full control over their audio and visual senses like VR does. To hide something shocking right next to a player without anything else happening is cheap and lazy. Real horror comes from good storytelling, engaging characters and working with visual and sounds together to create moments that may or may not become real. So don't expect VR games, and that includes Resident Evil VII, to be anywhere on my list this time around.
One thing you won't find on this list is stupid ideas like "Counter-Strike is a horror experience" which some other sites I won't mention did recently in a list they made because they were bored and needed something to drive clicks to the site. So sit back, grab your most secure blanket, cuddle your teddy bear, and beware of that shadow in the corner as I present a Top 13 Horror Video Games list.
13. Five Nights at Freddy's Series
Five Nights at Freddy's is everything that you would want out of a horror video game, it's atmospheric, has a bunch of great characters in the animatronics, cool graphics, amazing surround sound, and a story that has evolved to get even more frightening as the games went along. Sure, at the same time Five Nights at Freddy's is nothing more than a jumpscare simulator, but it's become so much more over time. The game's success cannot be denied since it's now on everything from PC, to VR, to figures, Funko Pops, and soon to be a movie or series of movies from horror movie development studio Blumhouse (which has done some of the best horror films in the last decade); Five Nights at Freddy's is an awesome game but a bit too late in my personal life to make a real scary connection to.
12. Alien Isolation
The reason this is a great game is that it captures the atmosphere from the original Alien movie and makes it work in an interactive medium like a video game. Alien AI is one of the most advanced in gaming, learning more about how you play while you try to avoid it, making you wonder who is hunting who at which times. Some have complained that the AI is almost too good, appearing at moments that just do not make sense at all, but that's just showing how good AI can be given the right chance to shine. The only issue that is with Alien Isolation is that it still relies on jump scare moments too often to get the scares going, but at the same time there is something to be said about small things like having a handheld motion detector as your only clue as to where the Alien is and when it might come to eat your face; something that has been done well since Alien Trilogy in 1996.
11. Left 4 Dead / Left for Dead 2
10. Friday the 13th: The Game
Outside of the legal history, Friday the 13th was a lot better than Dead by Daylight simply because the killer was better, to begin with. Jason and his mystical abilities are the perfect fit for this type of game, being able to do things like move around the map unseen, breakthrough doors, and generally, be unstoppable. Not to mention that the screen would do things like flicker and have VHS style "snow" effects when Jason was near, complete with the iconic theme music and sound effects that the character was known for back in the day. Friday the 13th was set up to be one of the better games in this emerging genre, which is why I'm giving it a pot over the much more popular and played Dead by Daylight.
09. Until Dawn
08. Parasite Eve
06. F.E.A.R. Series
05. Dino Crisis
04. Dead Space Series
03. The Evil Within / The Evil Within 2
02. Resident Evil Remakes
01. Silent Hill: 1 through 4