For many, it's the most fun time of year regarding entertainment: 31 days of watching your favorite horror movies, the spookiest shows, and enjoying your spookiest video games!
There are some standard games and movies I always go to once October rolls around - there's always a viewing of The Thing, Monster Squad, and I'm almost always dusting off one game or another to really get into the Halloween spirit. Now, I won't lie and say sometimes you gotta just relax, not get TOO spooked, and bust out some sweet, sweet Crypt of the Necrodancer (BTW did you know you can get your spook on with KILLER Crypt of the Necrodancer pins HERE? Big time Spooktober savings on those bad boys too!)
Personally, as much as I love Crypt, I have to give it up for the truly terrifying video games out there - there's nothing quite like the controller or mouse/keyboard in your hands, you completely in control, needing to take that next terrifying step. And it's even MORE fun when you get to share those video games experiences with friends and family, crowded around the TV in your darkened room, bracing for that next big scare...
So with all that said: let's break down some of my all-time faves! This is a tough list to narrow down, so we've got five (plus and honorable mention). So without further ado: let's get spooky!
HONORABLE MENTION: P.T.
Okay I've got this missing out on my top 5 and as an honorable mention for a couple reasons: 1) Technically it's not a full game, and only a demo, and 2) Because my heart is still BROKEN that this "Playable Teaser" for the now-dead Silent Hills and I don't really want to talk about it... ANYWAY...
Despite the fact this is just a demo that can be completed in 30 minutes (or less), this game is one of the most profoundly terrifying video game experiences I've ever had - even just looking at that hallway picture above I can feel a visceral response... I've played through this game several times, with several different people now, and every single time there's a new nugget of terror I see - and THAT big scare gets me Every. Single. Time. This game is a treasure, and it's the only reason I've got my PS4 sitting around still, because I can't bring myself to delete this game off my hard drive.
Not only does Until Dawn deliver some truly solid scares, both psychological and jump scare variety, but it does so in one of the most unique and exciting ways I've seen from a video game. Think of it like the Goosegumps choose-your-own-adventure of video games where you're taking control of several characters, all with their own personalities and agendas, and you're taking them through the most terrifying night of their lives - and depending on your choices (and how quick with the Quick Time Events you are) it might even be the last night of their lives!
Combine truly solid scares with a unique recipe that Supermassive Games has yet to replicate, and you get a phenomenal video game experience - plus you've got some big name actors turning in some fun performances as well, including none other than Academy Award winning Rami Malek!
Of all the horror games I've played, I'm not sure there's one that truly feels like it's hunting you, and having fun doing it, quite like Alien Isolation does. First and foremost, I'm a big sucker for anything and everything in the Alien universe (the good movies, the bad movies, AND the ugly ones), and that includes the games - but this one is truly a masterpiece.
Chock full of great scares, impressive puzzling, graphics and effects that hold up so well even today, and arguably the greatest, most sophisticated, most devious monster AI that gaming as ever seen - the Xenomorph is an absolute terror. They may not hear you scream in space, but my neighbors DEFINITELY heard me scream while I was playing this when I first got my hands on it...
Resident Evil 2 (Remake and OG)
You can honestly slot in so many RE games on this list (shoutout to RE7, which VERY nearly edged out RE2 on my list here), as Resident Evil is truly the king of the survival horror genre. And where Resident Evil started, Resident Evil 2 took over and made the whole experience even better - so it comes as no surprise that when this game was later remade/remastered for current-generation consoles, your boy picked it up and had himself a GRAND old time.
They took all the best aspects of the original game, and really turned it up to 11. This game is tremendous, and truly the example for what a remastered/remade game can be - in a world of remasters, you truly need to amp things up to stand out and be a worthy successor of the original game/source material, and Resident Evil 2 does just that. In fact, I'm going to go play more of it as soon as this blog is finished...
Much like the feeling I got watching Paranormal Activity for the first time, Outlast was a truly unique and profound horror experience for me. The concept of the "found footage" horror game was new to me when I picked it up for the first time, and even the initial drive up to Mount Massive Asylum for the Criminally Insane had me on the edge of my seat - and about 10 minutes later I was just about as scared as I have ever been playing a video game, and I was LOVING IT.
Many games have come after Outlast that have tried to capture that same energy, but few have come close - including Red Barrel's sequel, which I also love, but not nearly as much as the original. I go back to this game every couple of years to dust it off, ideally with a new friend who hasn't seen it yet, and I take them on an epic journey of terror as we delve deeper into Mount Massive. If you're a horror game fan, and you haven't played Outlast... Well, what are you even doing with your life?!
Silent Hill 2
Okay, I usually end up doing this, but it's hard for me to not save the best for last here... Few games, horror or otherwise, has captured my attention and gripped me as tightly as Silent Hill 2 did. Much like RE2 vs RE1, Silent Hill 2 took everything that the original did and magnified it and made it so much better - the atmosphere, the characters, the monster design, the story... Everything just pulled me in and messed me up in the best kind of way. I have vivid memories as a 16 year old sitting, terrified, in my bedroom with my 17 and 18 year old cousins, arguing over who was going to take up the controller to continue the story...
Now, I was writing this blog before the big Silent Hill Transmission showcase, so I am even MORE HYPE to find out that the rumors and speculation is true: a remaster/remake is coming! I could barely contain myself when I saw the trailer, and even though no release date was given, you tell me there's new Silent Hill on the horizon, especially the remake of my favorite horror game of all time, well... You've got my attention!