Gamers love horror, but what is it about horror-themed games they enjoy so much? The answer seems to be the mixture of escapism and excitement we experience while playing. After a hard day in the office or anywhere else, we can jump online or on a console and immerse in a different world… an imaginary world, but a different one nevertheless. Then there’s the reward itself. The games keep us on edge and although we get a scare, we laugh about it afterward. We simply love that payback. Below we look at some of the best horror-themed games around
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“The Medium” is short but incredibly sweet. You’re the main character, Marianne, and you’re a medium that lives between the spirit world and the actual world. You visit a hotel to discover the answers that lie behind the visions of a dead girl, and you’ll encounter all kinds of strange characters along the way. In creating this game, the makers have delivered a masterclass in psychological scariness. The strength of the game lies in the slow, creeping build-up of terror it generates in you while you play it. The “dual” soundtrack’s composers, Akira Yamaoka (of “Silent Hill” fame) and the Bloober Team’s Arkadiusz Reikowski can step forward and take a bow for the score which makes a heavy contribution to this tension.
If you’re looking for something weird and original, then “Pathologic 2” delivers in spades. This chilling game brushes off the convention of dropping you off in some unpleasant hellhole or endless succession of hallways. Instead, you’re exploring a town that a killer plague is causing to fall to bits, and as well as fighting the plague and some of its victims,
you’re trying to find your alleged twin sister and also track down the person who murdered your father during the plague. This unsettling game offers high suspense, is occasionally disgusting and, whereas some games set out to shock you, “Pathologic 2” somehow achieves this naturally. Tremendous work from the designers.
The Glass Staircase
If you’re a fan of Italian horror, you’ll love “The Glass Staircase.” This retro indie survival game is an endearing homage to Italian zombie movies and to PS2 survival horror, and, considering that it was produced on a shoestring budget, the makers do a marvelous job of generating that fear factor. Part of this magic is in the fact that the first half of the game dedicates itself to just setting the scene. The action takes place in a dilapidated mansion and, as the player, you take control of a series of main characters, playing a different girl each day and performing various tasks. Gradually, however, you begin to sense that something is wrong… very wrong. You know something bad is going to happen, but you don’t know when.
Dead by Daylight
“Dead by Daylight” is another product of some fine outside-of-the-box thinking. It’s a multiplayer game with a twist: it’s four versus one. The one in question is a serial killer, and the other players are all survivors who are trying to escape from the map and live to fight another day, which they must do by fixing the five generators spread out across the map. Then they can power the exit gates and get out of there. The killer’s main aim is to please the Entity and murder as many people as possible by sacrificing them on hooks found in the environment. No one is to get out alive. Each character has its own set of pros, whether as a survivor or as a murderer. One of their special advantages is that when chasing after survivors in a straight line, the killer can run faster. Fortunately for the survivors, they can use obstacles to put distance between them and the killer. If the killer gets in close enough range, however, they can launch an attack and, if they get the upper hand, carry the survivor off to sacrifice on a hook for the Entity.
The games above are all superb, creating high amounts of tension to keep you on your toes and engaged while you play. Some of these games take advantage of the musical score to induce those chills, whereas others think outside of the box, sidestepping conventions and doing something different to give the games a scary edge. These games, just like some of
the characters will remain immortal.