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Fear in video games happens more than you think. Mainly because there is fear within video games on various levels, such losing save data, or getting close to a victory and then losing it at the last second, and not being good enough to face people online in competitions. But when it comes to horror games, especially first-person ones? They’re just interested in scaring the crap out of you, as these games will show.
#36 DOOM 64
The original Doom titles were another kind of “revelation” for gamers, as it was the birth of the first-person shooter genre, and the beginning of things like community battles, modding, and more.
But then, DOOM 64 came along on the Nintendo 64 and changed things even further by allowing players to do their best blasting in 3D and it was oh so satisfying. And sure, it was terrifying at the time but come on, nowadays you just enjoy Doom for the gore and senseless violence, you don’t have to be shy around us!
The good news is, they brought DOOM 64 to PC, so you can now go and enjoy it on your (hopefully good) PC and enjoy nostalgia and violence all at the same time.
#35 System Shock 2
One of the all-time classic RPGs and just all-time classic games ever, System Shock 2 is available for you to get, and you should absolutely do so.
Your story takes place on the Van Braun, you awake with cybernetic implants on you, and the rest of the crew is dead. Now, roaming the halls of the ship are infected, and a malicious AI known as Shodan is haunting you and daring you to try and figure out what happened. Grant her wish at your own risk…but we all know you’ll do it anyway so just play and do it!
This was one of the games that truly merged FPS and RPG gameplay in the best of ways. So find out the truth, make yourself stronger, and take down Shodan!
#34 DOOM 3
If you don’t know what DOOM is at this point, then you’re not trying hard enough. DOOM 3 was one of the best versions of the franchise, and puts you on mars when a demonic invasion has overtaken the bases of the military on the planet.
Now, it’s up to you, and only you, to try and figure out how to kill them all with extreme prejudice. Get the best and biggest guns you can to take them all down and ensure that this invasion ends on this planet.
Sometimes, people just want to have a blast with their game no matter how challenging it may be. Dusk is a title that is meant to invoke the feeling of 90s games like Doom and Quake, while also having the horror elements of many other titles.
You’ll find yourself in several different areas as you have to fight all sorts of foes with deadly precision if you’re hoping to survive.
Will it be easy? Of course not, and if you want even MORE challenges, there’s a survival mode that’ll really test how much you can withstand. So for blood, gore, and so much more, check out dust.
Would you kindly check out this game?
Bioshock was a revelation when it first came out. It was a fun spin on not jut a first-person shooter title, or even horror titles, but building a world with a twist that players really didn’t see coming until it was spelled out for them.
Bioshock just looks and plays different in the best of ways. With you loading up with special powers and trying to take down the Big Daddy’s, and exploring the underwater city of Rapture, there’s a lot to enjoy, as well as fear.
And if you haven’t played this title yet, it and its sequels have been remastered so you can get the best version of this horrifyingly good experience.
#31 Hunt Showdown
Hunt Showdown is a title that likes to mix horror, shooter, and competition elements together to make something that is truly special compared to all that is around it. You’ll be in a world where your job is to take down some truly terrible monsters.
The catch? Not only are they going to fight back, but other players in the game might want to steal your kill…and kill you in the process. This PVPVE title gives you a fleshed out world that is full of challenges and as a result, you’ll need to keep pushing forward and as hard as you can to stay alive and ensure that they don’t get the last laugh on you.
When you die, you lose what you got, so…don’t die!
If you want a truly terrifying experience that you must play with friends, then Devour is the one for you. Because in this game, you and your friends are part of a cult, which is already a bad thing. But, your fellow cult members are now possessed are trying to drag you into their demonic realm.
Not cool. At all.
Now, you and up to 3 friends must fight off these possessed cult members in order to survive. But doing so will be anything but easy. Every time you stop one of them, the other cult members will get stronger. And each playthrough WILL happen different thanks to certain variables. So unless you work together, and do everything you can to survive, you will get dragged to…well…you know where.
#29 Lunch Lady
While Lunch Lady doesn’t sound like a terrifying experience (unless you’re having flashbacks to your own school), we promise you this one is indeed worth your time.
In this game, you’ll play as a bunch of students who are going to try and steal the answers to their final exams. The problem? The Lunch Lady is in the school with you, and she’s evil, possessed, and absolutely trying to kill you. So, you know, like most schools out there.
You must search the school for pages and avoid her at all costs. But, the longer the game goes on, the more powerful she gets, so don’t get caught, and work together with your friends, to get in, get out, and stay alive.
In GTFO, you will be part of a team tasked with filling a “work order”, which doesn’t sound bad, until you realize that the complex you’re going to be inside is a place full of monsters and other horrors that are going to try and swarm you, kill you, and make sure that you never make it back to the surface!
The good news is that you can be stealthy with your teammates in order to complete missions without getting caught, but when the monsters inevitably wake up, you need to be ready for the biggest firefight of your life!
Customize your character, be in sync with your teammates, and go through expedition after expedition until your work order is done and you can GTFO.
#27 Half Life: Alyx
Sadly, no, Half Life: Alyx is NOT Half-Life 3, though it is an original story more or less, so that might be enough for you, right?
Anyway, the game takes place in between the events of Half-Life 1 & 2, you’ll play as Alyx Vance in his one-man crusade to fight against the oncoming Combine alien race. You are the leader of the resistance, and you must do what you can to build weapons and get intelligence that might finally help free the human race from the Combine.
But there’s another twist, you can experience this game in VR, and thus ensure that you have the most in-depth experience possible!
It’s Doom, you know what you’re getting here. So load up and fight to the end!
You are Morgan Yu, a scientist who is part of an “experiment” to try and help humanity (yeah, because that never goes wrong!) via the station Talos I.
After a key experiment, you wake up to find out your station has been overrun by a hostile force. What’s more, you’re suddenly infused with abilities that you didn’t have before. What has happened while you were out? It’s up to you to figure it out!
Explore the station to learn the truth about yourself, your crew, and the aliens that are now trying to get you. Use a variety of weapons and abilities in order to survive, and when the situation calls for it, get creative so that you can outlast all that is put in front of you!
Be the predators, or become…the prey.
#25 Ghostwire Tokyo
The newest AAA game release, it’s only appropriate that Ghostwire Tokyo starts off this list. Though there is another reason we assure you.
In Ghostwire Tokyo, you play as a young man who is in Tokyo when a massive supernatural event happens. The people all around you vanish without a trace, and the only reason you survive is due to a spirit of a fallen detective possessing your body in part.
Your mission is to figure out what’s going on, save your sister, and survive the monsters/demons that are all around you.
As mentioned, there’s another reason why Ghostwire Tokyo is starting out this list, while it’s MEANT to be a horror game of sorts…it’s not really that scary. But it can be fun to an extent if you want to try it out.
#24 Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach
The Five Nights at Freddy’s saga is one that…well I don’t get why it’s popular, but it is!
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach is the most recent game from the saga, and the concept is as simple as the world itself. You are a young child trapped within Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex, and that’s bad, because at nighttime, the animatronics of the place start up and hunt anyone and EVERYONE who is not supposed to be there.
That means you.
Teaming up with Freddy himself, you’ll need to be smart, find places to hide, and evade all your pursuers. There are plenty of places to go and hide, but there are equally just as many mechanical monsters hunting you down. So be smart about how you go about trying to hide and evade them.
#24. Layers of Fear
There are two Layers of Fear titles on this list, and what makes them so perfect for this list is that each one is different, and each one plays upon the horrors of the characters you portray.
In the original title, you are a painter, which sounds harmless enough, right? Especially when you learn that this painter is trying to paint his “masterpiece”. But you soon will realize that this man, this painter, is not well at all, he’s been driven insane, and now you must figure out what happened to him, why he became the way he is, and the horrors that this particular “masterpiece of fear” holds.
You’ll have to explore his Victorian mansion to find out the truth…but roam its halls at your own peril…
Outlast puts you in the role of an investigative journalist. One who gets a tip about a reopened insane asylum, and goes to investigate.
Never a good move, ever, just saying.
Anyway, you infiltrate the place and realize that there isn’t anything good going on there. Vile experiments that contradict the laws of nature are going on, and the only way you can truly escape the place is to dive deeper and figure out all that there is to know so that you can escape with your life, if not your sanity.
Arguably the true fear of this game is that unlike many other titles, your character is meant to fight. You WILL be outmatched by those around you, so run, hide, survive, and then expose the truth.
If you prefer your horror to be more of a slow burn, then you’ll need to check out Visage. Why? Because in this game, you’ll be set within a house where many families have died. Each by different means and for different reasons.
As you progress, you’ll see how the house in and of itself is an endless maze of rooms, halls, and the ghosts of those that inhabit it. Through images and videos you’ll uncover the truth of the families, as well as witness them watching you, stalking you, and even trying to turn you into one of them.
Terror fuels them, so you’ll need to maintain your mind in order to survive…if such a thing is even possible within the walls of this home…
#20 Martha is Dead
In Italy 1944, a young woman named Martha is found dead. Drowned, and the only person who can solve the mystery of what happened to her is her twin sister, Giulia.
But doing so will be a true examination of pain, grief, loss, folklore, and the horrors of war. Martha is Dead puts many spins on what it means to be a psychological horror, as you’ll have to explore Italy, the memories of the twins, and even the dark secrets of Giulia herself in order to figure out the truth of what happened to Martha, and how it’s affecting her sister.
The game has a deep and layered narrative, so if you’re up for a really unique adventure, Martha is Dead is for you.
#19 Dead Secret
Welcome to Kansas in the year 1965. A man by the name of Harris Bullard has died, and you are the only one who can solve it.
That doesn’t sound like a horror game, does it? But don’t judge a book by its cover. Bullard was a recluse, and as you dive deeper into his life, you’ll see just how much he was investigating all around him. You’ll need to find the clues to piece it all together, and find out exactly why someone wanted him dead…and his secrets buried.
Oh, and if that’s not enough for you, there is also a killer trying to get you too! With five different endings (and the ability to play this in VR), you’ll soon see why the game is very much horrifying.
Want to guess where we’re going this time? Northern Canada in 1970. You are a detective who gets called into a wilderness area by a rich industrialist to investigate some vandalism that has been going on.
But that’s where the twist comes in, when you arrive, you notice that the village the industrialist lives in…is empty, no one is there, not even your client. What’s more, you’re trapped within the village by a snowstorm that makes it impossible to leave.
You’ll need to explore and look for clues to figure out what happened to the village, and the truth might be more unsettling than you think.
Plus, you’ll be battling mother nature herself in order to keep going. So make sure you’re prepared for all that’s coming, because it will be a lot.
In the year 2084, humanity has truly gone to its darkest places, and the dystopian cyberpunk world is a reflection of that. And you? You are one of the tools of this new dark society who only cares about one thing: getting the job done.
In this case, you are an Observer (get it?), who uses a special device to go into the memories and visions of the accused you find yourself looking into, and must use what you find in order to prove their guilt in a variety of ways.
But the catch is that these horrors will play with your own mind, the deeper you go, the more at risk you are. And what truths might you find within these minds that’ll showcase just how dark your world has become…?
#16 Condemned: Criminal Origins
Agent Ethan Thomas is all too familiar with the criminal mind, especially since he has one of the highest closing rates in his bureau when it comes to serial killers. But as time goes on, he starts to suspect that there might be more going on here than initially thought.
He believes that there is a sinister force targeting those who are not well, those who have been abandoned, neglected, and so on, and turning them into monsters.
Then, when he himself gets framed for the murder of two officers, he must solve the crimes himself in order to both stop this mysterious force, and clear his name.
You’ll need to be smart to find the clues and solve the case, and good with weapons to survive the onslaught that is coming your way.
#15 Outlast 2
Outlast 2 may be a sequel, but like a good sequel, it doesn’t just stick to what happened before, it expands and grows the universe.
You do take the role of journalists once again, but this time around, it’s a husband and wife duo who are trying to find out the truth about a cult that has set up a town known as Temple Gate. As well as learn the truth about what’s going on in the area around it that is seemingly paranormal in nature.
As you can guess, madness is soon to follow, and the two will be tested as they try and uncover a conspiracy of grand nature, and must try and keep their sanity intact as they uncover more and more grisly pieces of the truth.
If you’ve been watching Twitch over the last few years, you know all about Phasmophobia. Because this game has been giving jump scares to streamers for a while now, and so if you want to partake in that, you have your chance now.
In the game, you play as one of a set of paranormal investigators, who must use various equipment to see if there is indeed ghosts within the places you search.
Hint: there are, and you’ll see a lot of them.
With a variety of ghosts, each of whom will get hostile with you as time goes on, you’ll want to get in and get out quickly…else meet a ghastly fate.
#13 Blair Witch
Inspired by the movies of the same name, Blair Witch will put you in the role of a former officer who is trying to search a set of woods for a boy who has gone missing. But as you guessed, nothing is ever what it seems here.
Because within this forest is that of the Blair Witch and her curse. A curse that’ll slowly try and grind you down so that you will go insane. Through this process, you’ll have to face your fears, see all that occurs as you go deeper into the woods, and ultimate, reveal the past of the man you’re playing.
Just like the movies, the scares will come from everywhere, and whether you can trust yourself is debatable. So dive in and see if you can survive the madness to come.
#12 Layers of Fear 2
If you believe what is all around you, then you’ll think that you are on a cruise ship and are taking part of a film. The part you are playing is one that was “made just for you”, and you only have to act it out as you know you can in order to get to the next scene.
But as you can guess, that’s not the point of Layers of Fear 2. Because this game subverts many things in an attempt to tell a unique story. What is this ‘film’ really about? Are you honestly on a film set at all? Or is this some elaborate ruse from your mind to help you cope with what has gone on with your past?
Dive deep into this very unique setting, and learn the truth about your past, who you are, and what’s going to happen next to you.
The next two games were made by the same people, but with very different versions of horror. In Soma for example, you are in an underwater station where nothing is going right (which is why we should never do this in real life…).
You are one of the few who are still “sane”, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe, that just means you’re rational enough to try and fight off the dangers of what’s coming…and there’s a lot.
You must travel the station, fight off threats both human, mechanical, technological and beyond, figure out what really happened on the station, and how you are going to survive it. If you can survive it at all.
How you survive is up to you, just remember, in this place, the only one you can trust is you…maybe.
#10 Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Your name is Daniel, and you wake up in a very dreary castle. But everything else you think you should know…you don’t. You have no memory of your past life, how you got in the castle, or why you are there in the first place.
And that’s just ONE of the problems you’re going to have in Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Because this game likes to say that you’re going to be “traveling through a nightmare” as you try and learn the truth, and likely leave you wondering if you want to learn the truth at all.
Your memories may seem like what you want to get back, but in this place you’re in, they’re distorted, demented, and troubling. Terror is the name of this game as you go deeper into the descent of madness.
Devotion is one of many games that try to use atmosphere and clever storytelling to bring out the true terror of a world or group of characters. In this case, you set into the apartment of a family from Taiwan in the 1980s.
At first, everything seems fine, until you start digging into what is really going on, and how the world around you is starting to shift. What’s more, you’re going to learn that the true monstrous things here aren’t the landscapes or the things you see, it’s the beliefs of the people who lived here, and how far they were willing to go in order to get what they felt was “right”.
If you think you can handle that, then you should try out Devotion.
#8 Alien Isolation
The Alien franchise, in terms of the movies, was one that tried to bank off the feeling of atmospheric fear. Where you knew that danger was all around you, but you didn’t exactly know how to counter it, to fight it off, and when it was going to strike.
That is the feeling that is the backbone of Alien Isolation. Because in this title, you are the daughter of Ellen Ripley (the main character of the original movies), who has found out that a station has a recorder from her mother.
But when they get there, something is very wrong. Now, you must go around the station to try and repair it so you can leave. But…there’s a Xenomorph lurking…and you don’t want it to find you.
Run when you can, hide when you need to, and get out alive…or don’t…I’m sure the Xenomorph is more than fine with that option.
Chernobylite is a game that very much gives you a unique experience for better and for worse every time you play it.
Because this is an RPG roguelike with all sorts of elements to make it both unique and scary. In the game, you play as a man who is trying to find out the truth of what happened to his finance decades back…within the Exclusion Zone of Chernobyl. Did I forget to mention that?
You’ll have to fight off both monsters and other factions, and you might not even be able to trust those you bring along with you to get answers. So you have a LOT to be scared of.
And because the game changes based on what you do, how you react to things, including the scarier moments, will give you a unique experience every single time.
#6 Dying Light 2 Stay Human
Dying Light 2 Stay Human might seem like an obvious ‘fear factor’ due to how it’s a game set within a place where zombies are pretty much everywhere. But there is a bit of nuance here that can’t be ignored, and that’s the fact that despite you trying to kill zombies as you try and complete missions…you are an infected person yourself.
So the true horror and fear of the game is not just fighting, but it’s fighting to get back to areas that fight off your infection long enough for you to make it to the next day. And when that countdown clock starts winding down, you’re going to feel the fear as you try and make it back to safety before its too late.
Try it out for yourself if you want to see how intense it can be.
#5 Resident Evil Village
A more recent entry, Resident Evil Village took everyone by storm from its announcement to when they got to play it. You’re once again Ethan Winters, whose wife is killed (ouch) and his son is taken (the guy can’t catch a break!) in the early parts of the game.
Now, you must venture into a village full of monsters in order to find your child and get them back before its too late.
But the true terror in this game isn’t just the monsters you’ll face, it’s the overwhelming and at times random acts of violence against Ethan that’ll shock you to your core. This is definitely a game that’s not for those who get queasy easily.
So, why isn’t it a little higher? Well, we’re pretty sure some of you have OTHER emotions when you gaze at Lady Dimitrescu…
#4 The Evil Within 2
Detective Sebastian Castellanos is back in The Evil Within 2, and this time around he’s fighting for everything he’s lost, all the while delving deeper into the nightmare world that cost him everything in the first place.
But how you take on this nightmare world is very much up to you. You can try to take it on guns blazing, or, you can see if you can stealth around it to mitigate the conflicts (and subsequent horror) of the monsters within this realm.
This game was truly meant to be terrifying, but in terms of look, sound, tone, and everything in between. So if you think you can stomach all that’s going on here? You know exactly what game to play.
#3 The Forest
The Forest is one of many games that banks off of the “day and night cycles” of gameplay. Because in the title, you are the survivor of a jet crash, and the place you happened to land in is a forest full of mutants…that very much want to eat you. You’ve been warned.
During the day cycles, you’ll wander the forest and try to get supplies, learn more about where you are at, and more. Then, at night, you’ll have to defend your “home” against the mutants as they come from everywhere to try and get you.
Needless to say, it’s an intense experience, and one you’ll definitely learn to get better at in order for the terror to stop. Otherwise, you’re going to be a meal.
#2 Resident Evil 7
Here’s the thing, when the original Resident Evil games came out a long time ago? They were meant to be scary, and they were in that low-poly way. But after a while, they were less about the fear and more about the action…and the franchise suffered as a result.
But with Resident Evil 7? They changed that perception for the better. Because they went back to their roots in terms of fear and setting, threw the game into first-person, and let the horrors speak for themselves.
They even give you a new protagonist in Ethan Winters to help set the stage for what would come in Biohazard and Village. It was this game that helped restore the Resident Evil franchise to its former glory (and game sales) and for that, we should be grateful.
How appropriate, right? Well, there’s a good reason why F.E.A.R. is on top of this list, it’s because it was so good at delivering the feel of fear within a first-person shooter that its sequels could never really match it.
Not to mention, this was the game where Alma was shown arguably at her most terrifying, especially with the live-action scenes helping delve deeper into the lore of the title.
You never really knew where things were going to go, or how freaky they would get, and yet, you had to push on, and many of you were likely scarred as a result. Hey, don’t blame me! I didn’t make that game or make you play it.
But when you did play it…you knew the meaning of fear.