The name Resident Evil is synonymous with horror games at this point. The series is basically what gave birth to the entire horror genre. However, just because Resident Evil games are some of the best horror games around, doesn't mean that only the games within the franchise are noteworthy horror games.
Over the years, we've seen many horror games release, some of which are just as good if not better than any Resident Evil game.
With that said, there's no shortage of horror games that are designed to send your heart pumping blood like crazy, and we've gone to highlighted ten of such games below.
Post-apocalyptic settings are nothing new in video games. It's been explored so many times before, whether it's set a couple of decades from modern times to centuries after. What makes Metro Exodus different is its visceral and vivid depiction of what life is like for people struggling to get by after a nuclear war nearly wiped away all of humanity from the face of the planet.
The first two Metro games were equally terrifying in their own right. Metro Exodus ups the ante with its combination of nightmarish creatures and mutants, as well as cannibals and areas that are full of radiation. All of these can and will kill anyone in a blank of an eye, a fact that most who've played Metro Exodus know all too well.
Much of what makes Metro Exodus scary comes from the fear of not having any ammo left to deal with monsters.
True to its "survival" genre, Metro Exodus gives players very few means to defend themselves. Also limited are the filters that you can find and use for your gas mask while the enemies will follow you in places where you thought were safe.
As bleak as the picture of Metro Exodus we might have painted, it's not entirely hopeless. At the core of it is a story of survival and perseverance.
In Metro Exodus, characters feel real. You develop an emotional bond with them, especially if you've played since the first game. Unfortunately, it is also those strong character writing and development that break your heart whenever one of them dies and/or meets their demise.
Bloodborne feels like a weird inclusion on a list of the best horror games. Based on its genre alone, it would be difficult to feel scared when you have the means to literally chop all of your enemies to pieces. Yet, something about Bloodborne's gothic architecture and Lovecraftian abominations makes the game nightmarish in a way that the Dark Souls games never were.
Speaking of nightmarish, even the game's story, which is shown and not told, is about a nightmare that you'll never wake from.
While Bloodborne does feel different from the Dark Souls games, it does borrow certain elements from it. In particular, FromSoftware's knack for placing enemies in unexpected places. You'll never go for long in Bloodborne where you can relax and just walk around. There are going to be enemies lurking around, which means that you should always be on your toes. Otherwise, you could find yourself on the other end of the proverbial (and sometimes literal) stick.
Outlast 2 is a sequel done right. Like its predecessor though, Outlast 2 isn't for everybody. Much of the evil creatures that you'll meet in Outland 2 will haunt you for weeks, regardless of how brave you are and how much a fan you are of the genre.
If somehow you manage to get past this fact, you're treated to a story that starts innocently enough. It features journalist Blake Langermann, who, along with his wife, head off to a remote location in Arizona to investigate the mysterious appearance of a pregnant woman's body on the side of the road. However, it doesn't take long for things to take a turn for the worse as the couple finds themselves fighting for survival.
Unlike the many other horror games on the list, Outlast 2 doesn't give you anything to defend yourself with. Except for the rare quick-time events, all you can do is run and hide. If you fail, Blake will find himself brutally murdered in a way that will make even non-squeamish individuals wince and want to barf.
Outlast 2 pulls off being both a survival horror and psychological horror game. It follows a narrative that will keep you tethered to your controller for the entirety of the ride and a setting that will make you fear remote areas for the rest of your life.
Dead Space is another example of how you can pull off being an action-packed title without necessarily make your protagonist feel like Rambo.
The first Dead Space game was released in 2008 and received plenty of praise. The story of the systems engineer, Isaac Clarke, was a big hit at the time (and it still is), as the game saw Isaac work his way through a mining ship that has seen its human inhabitants transform into powerful alien creatures known as the Necromorophs.
Thankfully, Dead Space does give you some reprieve. The chance to tear your enemies limb by limb using high-tech weaponry is oddly satisfying. Unfortunately, those chances are far and few in between the numerous encounters where the horrific creatures will appear out of nowhere.
Unfortunately, the series deviated from the formula that made it so successful. Dead Space 2 and 3 were less horror and more action, which is probably why the sales dropped off and we never got to see a fourth Dead Space game.
Here's to hoping that EA reconsiders going back to one of its older IPs in Dead Space and decides to remake or remaster the first game.
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill is just as much a genre pioneer as Resident Evil. The first three Silent games, in particular, were just as good as their Resident Evil contemporaries. One could even argue that Silent Hill 2, which was released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2, was the best horror game at the time, as it built on everything good that the original Silent Hill did.
In Silent Hill 2, players go back to the eponymous down. The only difference is the story. You're now in control of James Sunderland, who goes to Silent Hill after receiving a letter from her wife who died three years ago.
Unfortunately for James, his wife is nowhere to be found. Instead, what he finds is a place where his grip on reality starts loosening up as he starts to see the physical manifestations of his guilt and dread. It's amazing how the game tells the story of James' subconscious crumbling apart as he finds out that he is just as much of a monster as the eerie disturbances that he's encountered throughout the game.
Unlike the Resident Evil games, where the replay value lies in unlocking new items and beating the game much more quickly, Silent Hill 2 actually lets you explore different endings depending on your decisions throughout the game.
Silent Hill 2 is one of the few games out there where your second and third playthrough is better than the first.
If you have a love/hate relationship with Alien: Isolation, you're not alone. A lot of people were and are still turned off by its slow gameplay burn. However, if you decide to stick to it, you'll find that Alien: Isolation is easily one of the best horror games ever made.
The slow-moving sci-fi horror title puts players in control of Amanda Ripley (the daughter of Ellen Ripley from the original 1979 film), who goes on to explore a remote space station after being told that she can find a flight recorder from Nostromo there. Instead of getting a chance to hear what her mother's last words were, she finds herself trapped inside her own space coffin with a single alien creature hell-bent on stalking you throughout the entire game.
For the entirety of the 20-hour adventure, Alien: Isolation will have you feeling paranoid as you look out for all the subtle signs that the alien is close by. It doesn't matter how many times you find yourself being the victim of the alien due to your carelessness. The sight of seeing its jaws open up to devour you never gets not scary.
The Evil Within 2
The inclusion of The Evil Within 2 is a no-brainer. A list of the best horror games not named Resident Evil just isn't complete with it. After all, it's a series made by Shinji Mikami, who directed the first Resident Evil game, and Resident Evil 4, which is widely considered as the best Resident Evil game of all time.
A true return to his survival horror roots, The Evil Within and The Evil Within 2 limits your opportunities and means to defend yourself, forcing you to find more clever ways to survive every encounter.
What truly stands out from The Evil Within games though, especially the second title, is its psychological horror aspect. The sequel, in particular, takes gamers deeper into the psyche of the protagonist, all the while making sure that Sebastian can survive the external machinations that are all out to get him and everyone else.
If you're thinking that The Evil Within 2 will have a happy ending, then we've got bad news for you. The game is equal parts petrifying and depressing.
Don't worry. The sad part won't unveil itself much later on. Even then, you'll have been sucked in by the game with its compelling story, a weird combination of excellent gunplay yet limited ammo, as well as an open-world setting that's full of frights and secret locations.
Anyone who says they have never watched a teen slasher movie is lying. It's impossible to escape them. Yet, despite how common the genre is in movies, it's relatively unheard of in video games, probably because getting it right when players can literally stop characters from heading off into their obvious deaths is so difficult to pull off.
One of the few rare instances that a teen slasher video game sticks the landing is Supermassive Games' Until Dawn.
The game was released in 2016 as a PlayStation exclusive. It's a video game form of all the teen slasher movie tropes. It follows the story of a group of teenagers who heads off to a remote cabin, only to find themselves getting picked off by an appalling and murderous presence that will stop at nothing to get what it wants.
What makes Until Dawn such a good horror game is that it puts players in the captain's shoes. It is up to players to decide which games live and which ones die depending on their choices.
Even though you know that Until Dawn wants to scare you, it genuinely feels scary. It's impossible not to get the sense that Supermassive Games got a huge kick out of creating a game that will make most gamers shit their proverbial pants.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
How would you like to spend the night inside a kid-themed pizza parlor? The idea seems harmless enough, right?
Scott Cawthon, an independent developer, built the entire premise of Five Nights at Freddy's on that idea, releasing the game in 2014 to both critical and commercial acclaim.
Five Nights at Freddy's is a very good example of a game not to knock until you have tried it. It's actually a very fun game to play if one that will occasionally have a go at giving you a heart attack by playing tricks with your mind and making you see, among other things, the silhouette of an animatronic teddy bear coming back to life.
Nowadays, Five Nights at Freddy's is a legit brand with an upcoming title in Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach.
Layers of Fear
Layers of Fear lands a spot on our list of the best horror games by way of making you doubt your own sanity.
At first glance, Layers of Fear looks like your typical horror game. It sees you take control of an artist who returns to a mostly empty house. However, as you play the game, you learn that the unnamed artist that you're playing is clearly not right in the head. Soon enough, you'll be joining him in his journey of trying to make sense of reality and making you question if anything you see in the game is real or not.
True to its name, Layers of Fear shows you that there are many different kinds of fear that you can experience.
You'll get a chance to get yourself acquainted with all of them in one of the best horror games of all time.