Seven Horror Games Ideal For Cowards (Like Me)
We're an inclusive bunch here at GameGrin, and we don't think that those who struggle to sit through terrifying videogame-related experiences should have to miss out on Halloween. I am one such coward and this got me wondering: what can I play on this most spooky of holidays? Well, I've managed to produce a few answers.
My list proposes a slew of games that may be a good starting point for the skittish amongst you. Whilst these entities certainly have their jump scares and eerie atmospheres, they otherwise attempt to balance them out with other gameplay mechanics.
1. Metro 2033
The Metro series of videogames is a set of linear first-person shooters that take place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, 20 years after a nuclear war devastated the planet. The metro, in which Moscow's remaining residents now live, never became the utopia many had hoped for and is instead a deeply strange place. Ghosts freely walk the deserted platforms, ghouls stalk their prey in the shadows, and all while the last human remnants continue to do what they do best: fight amongst themselves. In Metro 2033 Redux, our protagonist, Artyom, must brave the insanity-inducing metro, either fighting or fleeing from the varied inhabitants that call it home, in order to complete a special mission.
Load up with various weapons, from makeshift crossbows to pre-apocalypse Kalashnikovs, and either take down or evade the metro's many nightmare-fuel enemies and crazed soldiers. Metro 2033 certainly has some big jump-scare moments but does manage to balance those out (quite nicely I might add) by giving the player some really big guns to calm their nerves.
2. Evil Dead: The Game
Ash is back, baby, and he needs your help to fight off the Deadites that once again plague his life. Gather up your trusty boomstick and chainsaw and get cracking as Ash and his group of survivors come together to hunt down and destroy the Necronomicon. This game is a tough one, being very unforgiving to the player — especially when alone during the campaign. You really need solid teamwork in order to survive.
Evil Dead: The Game is a multiplayer-focused looter-shooter that has Ash, and his merry band of recognisable fan-favourite survivors, take on the hordes of the Kandarian demon. You and characters from across the Evil Dead series must hack, slash, and shoot through the demonic enemies between you and the Necronomicon. Collect the pages, get the magical dagger, and destroy the book before the Dark Ones once again harness its power. Alternatively, you can be the Kandarian evil and fight back against the players that oppose you. Summon allies and take control of the area to spook, scatter, and kill the survivors. Evil Dead is a decent 4v1 multiplayer experience that is challenging but rewarding.
3. Resident Evil 2 Remake
It's 1998 and Raccoon City, a small suburban community nestled in the Arklay Mountains, has had a viral outbreak of disastrous proportions. The dead no longer stay dead. Taking on the role of either Claire Redfield or Leon S. Kennedy, you must discover the secrets of the maniacal Umbrella Corporation and survive the night.
The Resident Evil 2 (2019) remake pretty much follows the plot of the original Resident Evil 2 — with its nonsensical puzzles and a semi-open world — but does still reimagine enough of the overall experience to keep it fresh. It also has a more user-friendly approach when compared to the 1998 original, which may be a reason for its reduced horror element. The over-the-shoulder camera view and slick modern controls make it easy to pick up and put down in accordance with your spooks-tolerance levels. It's an all-round, more comfortable and convenient approach; it's certainly a good starting point for any potential Resi fan.
4. Dying Light
You are Kyle Crane, a GRE (Global Relief Effort) operative on a special mission to the fictional Middle Eastern city of Harran. The city was quarantined after a virus began to mutate the population into zombie-like creatures. Offering help to your fellow man is encouraged but not strictly necessary, as your mission is to track down Kadir "Rais" Suleiman, a rogue politician who may have some answers to the situation.
Dying Light is a true open world game, the only one on this list, and as long as you have a strong batting arm (or are light on your feet) there is very little actually off limits to you — from the streets to the rooftops. Being a spiritual successor to the Dead Island franchise, Dying Light also retains all the same parkour and weapon-building mechanics featured previously. And while the hulking corpses featured in this game are particularly unsettling, they can be put in their place with a quick machete-style haircut.
5. The Evil Within
The Evil Within, from horror-meister Shinji Mikami, has you play as Krimson City P.D. detective, Sebastian Castellanos. Sebastian and his team are called to check out a mass murder at Beacon Mental Hospital before the world suddenly begins to crumble around them. Krimson City is soon completely levelled, and Sebastian is left alone when he is forced to kill one of his team who turns very aggressive. Soon afterward the Haunted begin to appear, humans now warped into monstrous axe-wielding maniacs, and Sebastian must fight through these while trying to piece together what is happening.
The Evil Within focuses primarily on psychological horror elements, but also allows Sebastian to become a total badass to balance that out. Upgrade your abilities and your arsenal to take on whatever horrors the game tries to throw at you next.
6. Alan Wake
Best-selling crime fiction author, Alan Wake, is in the midst of severe writer's block — a handicap that has held him back for two years. At the behest of his agent, Alan and his wife Alice take a break and travel to the isolated country town of Bright Falls. All is not well though, and Alan finds himself suffering through a nightmare in which he is plagued by shadowy figures, shortly before arriving in Bright Falls. The peculiarity doesn't quite end there though. Once they are at their cabin retreat, Alice is dragged from the cabin by a mysterious force, and Alan blacks out, only to regain consciousness a whole week later. He seems to have driven his car off the road but has no memory between his initial blackout and where he now finds himself standing... Just what is going on?
In Alan Wake use the power of light to combat the ever-encroaching darkness in this psychological thriller meets action title; it's not strictly a survival horror in the recognisable sense. Fight the shadowy Taken across Bright Falls and collect Alan's manuscript — the very pages of a book he has no memory of writing, but one whose story is literally unfolding around him. Just remember: batteries are just as important as bullets.
7. Dead Space
Ever wanted to be a deep-space engineer? Does the idea of flying out to vast starships and getting your hands dirty sound blissful? I'm sure Isaac Clarke, the protagonist of Dead Space, thought very much the same before he set foot on the U.S.G. Ishimura. The Ishimura was a "Planet Cracker" mining vessel that suddenly went dark during a routine operation; Isaac and his team were sent to find out why. Needless to say, you do (rather quickly in fact) find out why, leading to a fight for survival against a necrotic-alien lifeform. The ship is simply teeming with these twisted creatures and Isaac needs to bring out the big guns to fight his way out.
Dead Space is a linear experience with very lite-survival elements; in a vein similar to Resident Evil, but far more straightforward. It has an interesting plot and characters, is set in an intriguing world, and has plenty of gore. Alongside telekinesis, use a vast array of tools-turned-weapons to chop, slice, sever, stab, and impale your monstrous pursuers; make yourself the creature of their nightmares, rather than the other way round.
And there we have it, seven good games that allow you to dip your toe into the world of horror. If you can think of any more, pop them down in the comments below.