Finally, here is the third and final installment to my three-part article about horror games that are perfect for playing during the Halloween season. The first one talked about games that were released during the early 90’s to the mid 2000’s, while the second one included games from the mid 2000’s to the early 2010’s. If you feel like playing retro games, you may be interested in check out our list of horror games in the 90′s.
For this one, we will be discussing about the much more recent titles that were released over the past three years, starting with 2014’s Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 and ending with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard which was released early this year. Like the previous two articles that we written about horror video games for Halloween, only one game per franchise will be included. And without further ado, here is the list of games that you have been waiting for.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 (2014)
From the twisted mind (in a good way) of game developer Scott Cawthon, the creator of cute fictional games such as Chipper and Sons Lumber Co., The Desolate Room, and its sequel, The Desolate Hope. Cawthon is also responsible in creating the breakthrough horror video game franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s in 2014, which introduced gamers to a whole new experience to the entire point-and-click horror games. This game was able to come up with four follow-up entries, a spin-off role-playing game, three published books, and it has also been announced that a live-action movie is in pre-production.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, the second entry to the FNaF video game series, is a indie point-and-click survival horror game both developed and published by Scott Cawthon. The game was released on Steam in November 2014 for Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS devices, though it was announced that it will be released between December 2014 to the early months of 2015. The game received mostly positive reviews upon its release, and was directed towards the change in gameplay, but was also criticized due to its level of difficulty. It has also been rumored that Scott Cawthon is planning on releasing a remastered port of this game to the current generation consoles, but this rumor is still yet to be confirmed.
While the first game place players in the shoes of security guard, Mike Schmidt, this one follows a different protagonist named Jeremy Fitzgerald, who is also a night security guard assigned to look after Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria from midnight to 6:00 A.M. The player will then need to survive five whole nights (plus two overtime shifts), trying to survive each night from being attacked by the haunted animatronics that live inside the establishment. To survive, the player will need to do tasks such as constantly keeping a music box wound up, flashing a light directly at an animatronic fox, and wearing a mask. This is a big difference to the previous game’s simple method of survival which is to close the office doors while trying to manage the establishment’s power supply.
Even though we would say that FNaF was responsible for popularizing this gameplay style, we chose the second game to be in this list since it proved far more superior than the first entry with regards to its gameplay, the atmosphere, the stability, and most importantly, the scare factor. The first game was simply about managing power, which is already a claustrophobic experience in itself. However, on the second game, while you didn’t need to worry much about the power consumption, you had a lot of other things to be concerned about. And as famous YouTuber Markiplier, the self-proclaimed “King of Five Nights at Freddy’s” has stated, this game requires an extensive amount of focus, that the slightest mis-click of the mouse will cost you your chance at finishing a night. To be able to gain utmost precision with this game, you may need to utilize some of the best gaming accessories available for the PC.
Alien: Isolation (2014)
If you are a horror game freak and you haven’t heard of the video game, Alien: Isolation, then you REALLY need to keep yourself updated with what’s been going on in the video game industry. Now, why did I say that? It’s because of Alien: Isolation was, and still is, a huge hit that it is quite impossible for gamers not to be familiar with this, even non-gamers are aware of the popularity of this game.
Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and 4, the Xbox 360 and One, and Microsoft Windows on October 7, 2017. It was met with generally favorable reviews upon its release and was able to sell over two million copies in the United States and Europe in less than a year. The game became such a hit with both critics and gamers that it won several awards which included PC Gamer’s Game of the Year Award, GameRadar’s Best Horror Game Award, Kotaku’s Best Overall Game of the Year Award, and much more.
The game takes place in 2137, which is 15 years after the disappearance of the Nostromo, the spacecraft where the first Alien film took place. The entire game is played in first-person perspective, with the player controlling the protagonist Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley from the films, as she seeks to find answers behind her mother’s disappearance. Throughout the game, Amanda will encounter numerous enemies that include hostile humans, robots, and the infamous alien creature that will constantly stalk the player.
While you may be able to defend yourself from the android and human enemies using weapons that you can pick up, the alien creature can only be knocked over or scared away and can not be killed permanently. This will force players to rely on stealth and evasive tactics if ever they will come across the alien. You can also gain possession of a motion tracker that can help you in detecting the whereabouts of your enemies. Another tip from professional gamers is to take advantage of audio cues, and we have a list of the best gaming headsets that you might want to check out.
The Evil Within (2014)
From Shinji Mikami, the person who directed the first Resident Evil game comes another survival horror in the form of The Evil Within. The final Resident Evil game that was directed by Mikami was Resident Evil 4, which was a great departure from the gameplay mechanic that we have grown to love from the previous entries. Though the game was received positively, it served as the basis for the upcoming titles in the franchise, most of which were criticized for putting more emphasis on being a survival action game than a survival horror. Thankfully, The Evil Within marked the return of the survival horror genre, but in a more modern style.
The Evil Within is a third person survival horror video game developed by Tango Gameworks, published by Bethesda Softworks, and directed by Shinji Mikami. The game was released in October 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The game was met with generally positive reviews upon its release, directing all the praise towards the games atmosphere and horror elements in general. The game was such a hit that the developers decided on making a sequel, The Evil Within 2, which was released in October 2017.
The game follows the protagonist Sebastian Castellanos, who is a police detective sent to investigate a gruesome murder at the Beacon Mental Hospital. From here, Sebastian is mysteriously drawn to a nightmarish world that is filled with unexplainable locations and disfigured creatures. Aside from the various weaponry which includes a pistol, a shotgun, and a crossbow, the player may be able to make use of the environment and the objects that can be picked up in order to survive. And this game also encourages players to focus on stealth, since you are allowed to sneak up behind enemies to execute an instant kill.
For the second part of our list of horror games for Halloween, which tackles the games released within the last decade, you may want to check out our list of horror games from the mid 2000’s to the early 2010’s.
From the developers that brought critically and commercially successful horror video games that include the Penumbra trilogy and the Amnesia game series, comes another horror game that has received positive reviews during its release. SOMA, just like the other games released by Frictional, is a single player horror game that is played in the first person perspective, and leaves the player vulnerable by disabling their ability to defend themselves.
SOMA is a first person science fiction survival horror that has some psychological elements incorporated into it. This game was developed and published by Frictional Games, and was released worldwide on September 22, 2015 for the PlayStation 4, OS X, Linux, and Microsoft Windows. As mentioned earlier, the game takes away the player’s ability to defend themselves from enemies and must only focus on stealth and running away as the means of avoiding getting killed by the numerous enemies that the player will encounter throughout the game. Aside from its emphasis on stealth and evasion, this game also requires players to solve puzzles along the way to be able to make progress.
The game begins in the year 2015, and puts the player in control of the titular character named Simon Jarrett, who gets into a car accident. Though he was able to survive the accident, Simon is left with injuries that were so severe that it also damaged his brain. Because of his brain injuries, he agrees to become a subject in an experimental brain scan under a specialist who believes that he can find ways to reverse the effects brought about by brain injuries. The experiment causes Simon to black out and wake up inside the PATHOS-II, which is an abandoned research facility located under the Atlantic Ocean. But not only that, Simon also learns that the year is already 2104, and that the PATHOS-II is humanity’s last outpost due to a comet that destroyed the Earth’s surface.
Until Dawn (2015)
If you are looking for a video game that makes you feel like you are watching a horror movie as you play along, you may want to consider trying out Until Dawn. Being called an interactive movie or a movie game, Until Dawn mainly focuses on exploration, decision-making, and quick time events rather than putting the player in the action directly. Not entirely a first in the gaming industry, since games that have a similar mechanic have already surfaced years before, with successful titles such as Heavy Rain (2010) and Beyond: Two Souls (2013). The only difference with Until Dawn is the incorporation of survival horror elements into the gameplay.
Until Dawn is an exploration-based interactive drama survival horror video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Though originally planned to be released for the Sony PlayStation 3, it was eventually decided that the game be a PlayStation 4 exclusive and was released worldwide on August 25, 2015. The game was met with positive reviews both from critics and gamers during its release, with all its praise directed towards the game’s visuals, horror elements, music, voice acting, and the replay value. A prequel of the game has been announced, titled The Inpatient, and is set around 60 years before the events of Until Dawn.
The beginning of the game is set in 2014, where ten friends spend their winter vacation at the Blackwood Pines Lodge, which is owned by one of them (Josh). Five of the friends try to pull off a prank on Josh’s sister, Hannah, but goes horribly wrong which caused her to fall off a cliff along with her twin sister, Beth. A year later, Josh invites his friends back to the lodge to put the past behind. While in the lodge, they are being pursued by a masked man, which is only one of their problems, since greater threats are also lurking around every corner. These threats come in the form of humanoid creatures called Wendigos, which are humans that have been possessed by cannibal evil spirits.
This game is being noted for its multiple endings, in which a player can not see all content or fully connect the storyline from a single playthrough. The game also utilizes a “butterfly effect” system, wherein every decision made by the player will cause a specific consequence in the future, leading to the different endings. If ever wrong decisions were made early in the game, the only possible way to change the player’s choice is to start all over again. Each playthrough of the game will last roughly nine hours.
Layers of Fear (2016)
Here is another horror game that has been used for multiple Let’s Plays on YouTube, and has been considered as one of the “biggest horror surprises” of 2016. This game deals more on psychological scares rather than actual enemies, though you may be able to encounter supernatural beings throughout the game. Layers of Fear places more emphasis on the story, revolves around puzzle solving and exploration of clues, and also jump scares.
Layers of Fear is a first-person psychological horror video game developed by Bloober Team and published by Aspyr Media, Inc. The game was released worldwide on February 16, 2016, for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. During its release, the game received generally favorable reviews from critics and gamers. A direct follow up to the game, Layers of Fear: Inheritance, was released on August 2, 2016. It has also been announced that the game will be released on the Nintendo Switch under the title, Layers of Fear: Legacy.
The player takes control of an unnamed protagonist, a psychologically unstable painter, who has just returned to his studio from a court hearing. When he gets to his workshop, he eventually starts working on his masterpiece, but after adding the first layer, he starts having hallucinations about his past. Throughout the game, the house and the painting become more and more distorted, and the player will slowly uncover secrets about the painter. To read about some of the award-winning games in 2016, you may want to check out our article about PC Gamer‘s Game of the Year Award 2016‘s winners.
Outlast 2 (2017)
After the success of the first Outlast game, which was released in 2013, there was already no doubt that a sequel will be made. Lo and behold, we now have Outlast 2. The original game (and its DLC Outlast: Whistleblower), were noted for its scare and thrill factors that left gamers off of their seats while playing (I, myself, even fell of my chair during my time playing the game). Just like its predecessors, Outlast 2 resulted in so many Twitch live streams and Let’s Plays on YouTube.
Outlast 2 is a survival horror video game that is played using a first person perspective, and greatly puts emphasis on stealth and evasion tactics rather than engaging in combat with the enemies. The game was developed and published by Red Barrels, and was released worldwide on April 25, 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. The game’s release has been delayed twice – it was originally planned to be released in Q4 of 2016, then pushed back to Q1 of 2017, and then pushed further back to Q2 of 2017. Speaking of Xbox One, we have a list of the best games released in 2017 for the Xbox One console.
Similar to its predecessors, the game is played in first person perspective and follows a investigative journalist named Blake Langermann. He, along with his wife, Lynn, investigate a mysterious murder of a young, pregnant woman known only as Jane Doe. While circling around the site, the engine of the helicopter they are on fails causing them to crash land. As Blake wakes up, he discovers that Lynn has gone missing and sets out to find her.
Armed with only a camcorder with night vision capabilities, Blake has no means of defense against hostile enemies other than to flee and hide. Just like the previous game, the camcorder can be used to see through the dark, but this will consume its batteries heavily, which will require players to scavenge for more batteries. But a unique feature with this camcorder is that it is equipped with a highly sensitive microphone that is able to capture sounds from long distances.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)
Over two decades after the release of the very first game in the franchise, the series finally returns to its roots with the latest title, Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (Biohazard 7: Resident Evil in Japan). Ever since the announcement of the original Resident Evil game, it has already been planned that the game will be played in first person similar to titles like Doom, but the developers during the time thought that it would make the game “less scary” in first person. And while not being the first in the franchise to be played in first person, Resident Evil 7 strictly follows this perspective wherein you will not be able to completely see the appearance of the protagonist other than his arms and feet.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a first person survival horror video game both developed and published by Capcom. The game was released in January 2017 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. As mentioned earlier, the game series finally returns to it survival horror roots with this title, after the shift from being a survival horror game to an adventure shooter game with Resident Evil 5 and 6. Though the reception with Resident Evil 5 was better than the 6th, those entries were also being criticized for departing from what made Resident Evil as it is, which is a horror game series.
The game takes place in 2017 and follows protagonist Ethan Winters as he is drawn to a place in Louisiana after receiving a video message from his wife, Mia, who has been missing and presumed dead for the past five years. There, Ethan comes across an old and seemingly abandoned house where he manages to find Mia imprisoned in the house’s basement. After some brief encounters with some enemies, Ethan then meets the patriarch of the residents, Jack Baker, his wife Marguerite, and their psychotic son Lucas. Ethan must then find a way to survive and get out of the house while also trying to keep Mia alive as well.
Aside from the first person perspective that’s new on this game, the character of Ethan is also unique. In the past games, the protagonists have usually been police officers or agents that knew how to use weapons and defend themselves. For this one, Ethan is merely an average person who barely knows how to handle guns. But this game also marks the return of the ECG tracing to determine the player’s health, and the item box used to free up your inventory, a mechanic that was last used in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica (2000). For a list of games that were released on either Android or iOS devices, you may also want to check out our article about the best mobile games released in 2017.
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