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Halloween is almost here, making it a perfect time to hop into an exceptionally terrifying horror video game. While it’s not as popular as the open-world action genre or the third-person shooter genre, the horror video game genre offers some of the most exciting and intense gaming experiences available.
From classic stories of zombies and mutants to indie tales of urban legend and myth, horror gaming has seen its fair share of fantastically terrifying titles. With so many great horror games to choose from, we’ve crafted this list to help you pick your poison.
After digging through dozens of fantastic horror game series, we’ve listed our picks for the top five horror game franchises of all time. If you’re looking for a scary game to play in October and don’t know where to start, any of the games in these horrifying franchises should fit the bill.
The Top 5 Horror Game Franchises of All Time
The original Resident Evil made its bloody splash into the gaming world in 1996, first released on the classic PlayStation. Since then, the franchise has seen dozens of sequels and spin-offs, including a wide variety of horror tropes and topics. At its core, Resident Evil is an often slow-paced experience that requires you to save your bullets, watch your health, and check every corner for gruesome creatures. While the main enemies of the franchise have always been virus-ridden zombies, newer Resident Evil games have included other creepy and grotesque monstrosities. Whether you’re firing up one of the classic Resident Evil games from the 90s or digging into one of the newer remakes, Resident Evil is easily one of the best horror franchises you can experience.
Like Resident Evil, Dead Space is a third-person shooter with some exceptionally creepy vibes. Apart from a few spin-offs, there are three main games in the series, each one focused on the terrors of deep space travel. In the original game, you play as Isaac, an engineer who searches a mysteriously abandoned spaceship. Unfortunately for Isaac, the ship is packed with deformed monstrosities known as Necromorphs, all eager to kill and dismember. While Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3 amp up the action more than the suspense, the series is still one of the most intense and scary franchises available. If you’re a fan of Resident Evil but prefer a bit of science fiction to accompany your body-horror, any of the Dead Space games should work perfectly.
Silent Hill is another classic horror game franchise, with the first entry in the series releasing on the PlayStation in 1999. In the first game (and most of the sequels to follow), you play as a singular hero who finds themselves trapped in the foggy, disturbing town of Silent Hill. Unable to leave and tortured by the town’s deranged creatures and lost souls, you must uncover some disturbing secrets to find your way home. Earlier games in the Silent Hill franchise contained more puzzle-solving and suspense than the modern entries, which offer third-person action and expected horror tropes. Although Silent Hill games have dipped in quality in recent years, there’s no denying the impressive atmosphere and iconic characters that the franchise offers.
Unlike most of the other franchises on this list, Outlast is a series that scares you out of your wits and rarely gives you anything to defend yourself with. There are only two main games in the franchise, plus some additional downloadable content, but Outlast has managed to make a name for itself in a short time. In both Outlast and Outlast 2, you play as a journalist investigating mysterious occurrences in terrifying locations. In the first game, you venture into a seemingly abandoned insane asylum and quickly find yourself at odds with the crazed inhabitants. In the sequel, you roam the arid Arizona desert looking to solve an old murder case, but uncover a sinister cult hidden in the hills. Armed with only your night-vision camera, you must record the horrifying events you witness while avoiding capture. In Outlast, your only hope of survival is to run and hide, and there are plenty of terrifying foes that will force you to turn tail and dash away.
Although zombies and supernatural monsters occupy a large portion of horror games, there’s one standout series that features the most classic of spooky beings, ghosts. Originally released on the PlayStation 2 in 2001, the Fatal Frame franchise consists of five ghost-hunting titles packed with exceptionally frightening scares. Although the games play from a mostly fixed camera angle (similar to older Resident Evil games), Fatal Frame draws a lot of comparisons to Outlast, as your main defense against the spectral enemies is your handy camera. As you explore haunted locations like abandoned towns, schools, and mysterious islands, you must snap pictures of the ghostly inhabitants or be driven mad. Fatal Frame offers both a surprisingly strategic and consistently horrifying experience that’s sure to scare you to your core. If haunted houses and ghosts are high on your list of fears, Fatal Frame will surely leave you sleeping with the lights on.
|By: Matt||Matt started gaming at two years old with Wolfenstein 3D on the PC. His early days of gaming were spent on classic NES and DOS titles, growing his love for both retro action and point ‘n click adventure games. Matt is the creator of Super Gamesite 64 and he especially enjoys doling out the end-of-year awards. When he’s not playing the latest release for review, you can find Matt gobbling up movies and TV shows. Matt has a love for every aspect of gaming, and will surely be tapping away for as long as possible.|