Top 10 Horror Games to Play on Friday the 13th

Darkness surrounds this day. As the eve of this frightful event approaches, what better way to rejoice in the coming of the unholy holiday than embrace each other with sinister, horrifying experiences. Horror games have been a high-interest theme of all pop culture; with gaming, one can experience the strife and fear an unfortunate soul.

Atmosphere is key when it comes to ranking horror games. Through the aesthetics of explorable environments filled with shadowy figures in the darkness, this genre relies on intense, immersive game-play. Some games on this list unlock the demons of the inner psyche through imagery to reveal the true fear of man. Others exploit the adrenaline-fueled euphoria of surrendering ourselves to fear. All of these games highlight horrific scenarios and invite players to explore the true essence of fear itself.

10. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Waking in an unfamiliar environment, not knowing the state of your own psyche is the primary theme of Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Developed by Frictional Games, the player takes on the guise of Daniel, a man from London that holds no recollection of his past or how he ended up in this setting. Taking place within a decrepit stone fortress known as the Prussian Brennenburg Castle, Daniel explores sprawling corridors to rediscover the truths of his past. The few truths he knows are his name, his Mayfair home, she’s being hunted and that he deliberately erased his memory. To recovery his lost memory, Daniel must find diaries scattered throughout this medieval locale while being stalked and hunted by an entity known as a Shadow. While exploring the unlit halls of the castle, Daniel’s health and sanity is constantly threatened. Light offers a great relief of the soul, though it attracts the shadows in the darkness more quickly. With no way to fight off these threats, Daniel must avoid confrontation through means of stealth or deploying barricades to block their paths. This eerie exploration game, amplified by the fear of forgetting who you are, makes for a relatable, horrific experience that is sure to summon chills.

9. Until Dawn

Gathered in the mountainous regions of Alberta, Canada, a group of eight teens bring forth the karma of their past and try to survive–well, until dawn. Developed by Supermassive Games, this multi-layered, multi-character perspective adventure is sure to invoke hate, love and fear between the characters. Taking place at the fictional summit of Blackwood Mountain, the owner, Josh, invites his friends up to reconcile with the previous year’s tragic event. An awkward, soothing experience quickly turns into a test of survival for the main characters. With elements of folklore becoming present and the unmistakable stench of revenge in the air, the teens need all their resolve to survive the night.

The player becomes the puppet master, influencing how events play out for each character and forming relationships between them. The Butterfly Effect within the game means every choice affects the overall plot. Whether a player decides to explore a location, to become a helpful companion or act as a detriment to the group, choice is a huge factor in Until Dawn.

Chapters are separated by scenes that take place within a psychiatrist’s office. Subjecting the player to a grip of personality tests to divulge what it is they fear–and implement those fears into the game. Until Dawn is an experience meant to be played multiple times, uncovering the full truth entices gamers to discover the secrets of Blackwood Mountain.

8. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem

Unconnected locations and characters are intertwined when a fearsome entity looms over the world attempting to slave their homes in Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. Made by Silicon Nights, and closely following the format of Resident Evil games, this title breaks away from the mold by introducing many features such as sanity effects and multiple character story-lines. Four locations are present that stretch the globe and intertwine with the main story. The game will freely switch between an underground complex named The Forbidden City, located in Persia; an ancient Khmer temple in Cambodia; the Oublié Cathedral in France and the Rovias Family Estate in Rhode Island.

The story follows Alexandra Rovias, a university student, as she returns to her family estate and finds her grandfather, Edward, brutally murdered. While investigating the mansion, she comes across a tome “bound in human skin and intricately decorated with shrunken bones,” named the Tome of Eternal Darkness. Through reading this tome, Alexandra is transported to the past as the player experiences the events that amalgamate into a cohesive story. Uncovering the origins of the tome and discovering the truth of Edward’s murder convey a sense of gloom and will keep gamers on edge.

7. Metro 2033

2013: the year nuclear war was inflicted upon the Earth, devastating billions. Appropriately, Metro 2033 by 4A games is set 20 years in the future. Experienced through the eyes of Artyom, players must explore the metros and wastelands of Moscow, Russia. Born before the sirens of war, Artyom must leave the safety of his station of Exhibition in order to save his home. Mysterious entities known as Dark Ones have attacked the station, causing this chain of events to unfold. Aiding Artyom on the path to the capital is Hunter, an elite soldier of the Spartan Order.

Artyom’s hectic struggles against the Dark Ones and other outside forces begins when he follows an expedition group into the eerie darkness of the Russian tunnels. Stealth is essential to survive; the enemies are abundant and strong, and true fear comes from being spotted. However, as a first-person shooter (FPS), when spotted, guns are a necessity to survive the monstrous shadowy threats. Colorful characters and engaging dialogue within the towns create a believable journey through the metro tunnels. Upper wastelands of Moscow offer an eerie exploration through a world of dystopian beauty. All of these factors together bring forth a horrific experience of what life could be after a Nuclear war.

6. Outlast

Exploring the many wards of a dilapidated psychiatric hospital, an investigative journalist intends to Outlast. Developed by Red Barrels Studio and taking place within the mountains of Lake County, Colorado, freelance investigative journalist Miles Upshur searches the depths of Mount Massive Asylum. Receiving an anonymous tip of the inhumane treatment at the remote hospital, Miles Upshur is on the case to oust the secrets of the notorious and unethical Murkoff corporation. A first-person exploration survival game, Outlast thrusts the player into an eerie and creepy environment filled with the mutilated corpses of the staff and freely roaming patients.

Armed only with a camcorder, Upshur is unable to harm any being that comes to focus, Miles must use stealth to avoid interfering with the more sinister residents, and one particularly nasty doctor. After Upshur realizes how bad the situation is, the only goal in this game is to escape. Traversing the unlit halls of the decrepit psychiatric wards is unsettling. Luckily, the player is equipped with the camcorder to provide night vision while wandering the floors. Unfortunately, using night vision drains the camcorder’s batteries and can leave players stumbling through the darkness. A gripping, intense experience of hide-and-seek, the sheer terror of Outlast will prevent many players from ever finishing the game.

5. Alien: Isolation

On the fringes of space a woman seeks out the fate of her mother in Alien: Isolation. Developed by Creative Assembly and set 15 years after the events of Ridley Scott’s Alien, the player follows the story of Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley from the films. Alien: Isolation successfully Invokes the strong atmospheric horror and eerie design of the movies.

Following the trails of her mother, Amanda hears that her mother’s ship, the Nostromo is being held on a space station, orbiting the gas giant Sevastopol. She accepts the information and, on arrival, finds it’s not what she expected.

Trapped by her own curiosity, and a 10-foot-tall alien, the objective of the game is to discover what happened to this station and the whereabouts of the Nostromo. Many antagonists are on board: outlaw renegades, androids and the ever-looming presence of the Xenomorph. Weapons are given to the player, though direct confrontation is not recommended, since the true terror of the station, the alien, cannot be defeated. The sci-fi atmosphere and gripping game-play make this one a true experience of horror.

4. Dead Space

In the year 2508 the USG Ishimura, a mass ore extracting vessel, sends out a distress signal during a mining operation in Dead Space. Developed by EA Redwood Shores, known now as Visceral Games, this game sets the player in control of an engineer sent to investigate the distress signal.

Arriving to the location with a crew of the USG Kellion, a part of the Concordance Extraction Corporation (CEC), a guidance system malfunction crashes the ship into the dock of the Ishimura. Only three of the crew survive: Commander Zach Hammond, Computer Specialist Kendra Daniels and the player character, Isaac Clarke, a ship systems engineer. Upon further investigation of the ship, many secrets hide the events that transpired on the Ishimura.

An over-the-shoulder third-person perspective and an untraditional HUD combine to create an especially immersive experience. Pausing the game for tasks such as checking a map or displaying weapons is a non-option. Combat demands the dismembering of limbs of the alien species, known as Necromorphs. Progressing through the corridors of this wrecked mining freighter, armed with your own wits and powerful mining tools as weapons, creates an engaging survival game full of enough dread to clog a black hole.

3. Resident Evil 4

In the outskirts of Spain, ex-Racoon City police officer Leon S. Kennedy must save the president’s daughter from a mysterious cult. Resident Evil 4, developed by Capcom, follows this US government special agent tracking the whereabouts of Los Illuminados (The Enlightened Ones) to find and rescue Ashley Graham.

First contact with this cult leaves Leon with a mind-controlling parasite known as Las Plagas in his bloodstream. Diminishing what precious time he had, he still seeks to blast his way through zombified worshipers of this dreadful cult, all while finding the mysteries behind its existence. Resident Evil 4 is a third-person action oriented take on horror with a focus on tactical shoot-outs. Firing at different body parts will cause certain reactions. Shooting the feet will cause an enemy to stumble, while firing at the arms will cause enemies to drop their weapons. Context sensitive actions and quick-time events were a first within the Resident Evil franchise. This new mechanic allows for an interactive environment with tense scenes and high-risk, high-reward combat. Trekking through the fearful cult towns while escorting Ashley serves as a nerve-wracking experience sure to grip players.

2. The Last of Us

In September of 2013, the United States was infected with an outbreak of mutated Cordyceps fungus-plagued citizens, zombified versions of themselves, known as Infected. Developed by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us follows the tribulations of Joel and Ellie through the infected wastelands of the United States. 20 years after the initial outbreak, Joel bears the psychological scars of his family; nevertheless, he has found a new life as a smuggler. When a prominent leader of the Fireflies, a rebel militia group, promises a big reward for a smuggling job, Joel is surprised to find that the package is a teenage girl named Ellie.

Traveling through the post-apocalyptic world and armed to fight threats with lackluster, improvised weapons proves a difficult and thrilling feat. The protection of Ellie is important and must be reserved through stealth or combat. Stealth offers a plethora of ways to move about locations. Listen Mode heightens the senses of the player to be aware of enemies around them or sneaking up on unsuspecting infected and delivering a fatal blow. Rich with character dialogue and an immersive setting, The Last of Us draws the player toward the screen and attaches them to the strife of these characters throughout the journey.

1. Silent Hill 2

Starting within the same eerie fictional town, a grief-stricken husband receives a letter from his deceased house that claims she is waiting in their “special place.” Though a return to the same town it is in no way a sequel to the previous.

The player dawns the path of James Sunderland searching for the secrets of his deceased wife, Mary, accompanied by a slew of strange characters. Within his initial explorations of the town he meets Maria, a near identical version of his wife with a different personality. Strange occurrences begin while traveling this malevolent town, with multiple run-ins with a recently dead Maria suddenly living again. Focusing on the aspects of investigation and exploration, this game has a minimal amount of combat features. Appearing in third-person view, James must traverse this monster-infested town to find maps and other objects that bring him closer to the truth of his wife’s death. A thick fog envelops the surrounding space causing many beings to be unseen. With handy tools, such as the radio used to detect monsters and a supply of weapons, James can safely search the town. A horrific take on the stages of grief while going through the gripping narrative of this eerily set game stands this game above others as the game to play for a good fright.