The Heebie Jeebies and the Creepy Crawlies have always been banked on a lot within the video game industry. The number of really fun and scary horror games is almost endless, with classics like Silent Hill, and Resident Evil immediately coming to mind. So given our shared love of being scared senseless, what are the best of the best that 2015 had to offer?
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this list will focus on games that were originally released in 2015, so games like the 2015 PC release of Outlast, or Alien: Isolation will not be included on this list due to their first initial release being in 2013 (Outlast) and 2014 (Alien: Isolation) respectively.
Best Horror Games Released in 2015
10. Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water – (Wii U)
The Fatal Frame series has always used mystery and claustrophobia really, really well. This is achieved by giving you, the player, absolutely no weapon except for a camera, which you use to capture the stray souls of ghosts. With that as your only weapon, it’s a constant battle of wills between running away, and trying to hurriedly take a shot of a ghost that kills you if it touches you.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, like the rest of the Fatal Frame series, is set in a town plagued by suicides and ghostly occurrences. The creepy factor in this game is really high because of that setting, and it will very likely have you trying to reach the light switch without blinking.
9. Sylvio – (PC & Mac)
Following the theme of a helpless protagonist, Sylvio puts you in the shoes of a ghost hunter trapped in an abandoned theme park. Already in a creepy setting, and only armed with a potato gun and an audio recorder, you need to go and scour every inch of the park to find out clues and solve puzzles by analyzing the recordings you take. The ghostly whispers you record, will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, and trying to figure them out by fast forwarding, back masking and a host of other audio tricks will keep your mind occupied both with busy with an eerie and unsettling feeling.
8. Layers of Fear – (Multiple Platforms)
This is a psychological rump through a really bad acid trip. Taking place inside a beautifully rendered mansions, you must complete your Magnum Opus as a painter. As you play through the story you discover that you have a family, weird quirks, and an unstable mind. The story and tension builds out slowly as you start, and while the tension drops off near the end of the second half, it’s still an incredibly scary experience.
7. Kholat – ( PC, PS3 & PS4)
The Dyatlov Pass Incident is a real life event that happened in Russia, where 9 hikers where found dead on a snowy mountain under mysterious circumstances. It’s been over 50 years since it’s happened and yet we still don’t know what exactly happened, with a lot of files lost during the fall of the Soviet Union.
Kholat attempts to tell the story of one possible explanation. Narrative by Sean Beam, this game takes you into the snowy local of the Ural Mountains, and exposes you to some of the more interesting, and ghostly, theories.
6. Darkest Dungeon – (PC)
The fact that this game is a rouge-like makes it even more terrifying than usual. Set in a Cthulhu-like world, you are put in charge of closing the gate of hell with your party of intrepid and, often times, incredibly weird characters. Fighting through spiders, skeletons, anthropomorphic pigs and generally miss-shaped beings, this turn-based game pushes you to the edges of your sanity with gameplay, constantly keeping you stressed and scared from the environment around you.
Tell me, do you fear the dark?
5. Until Dawn – (Playstation 4)
This is a pretty interesting game mechanically, which utilizes a system called “Butterfly Effect”. This Butterfly Effect changes the world around you as you make your choices, meaning that you’ll actually have to play the game several times before getting the full story.
In such a dynamic world, you are put in charge of eight characters that you have to keep alive while you explore Blackwood Pines Lodge. Hauntings, monsters and other weird things await you in this wintery scareland, so you really should only enter if you dare.
4. Dying Light – (Multiple Platforms)
Taking Ubisoft’s open world games and strapping on a zombie theme has worked incredibly well for Dying Light. While you try and find the solution for a city district cut-off from the world, you will have to contend with several different types of incredibly flesh-hungry zombies. As the sun sets and the night takes over, new and much more difficult zombies come out to hunt you, so there’s a real argument to be made of sleeping cozy in bed when it’s night time.
3. Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 & 4 – (PC)
You know what’s scarier than a kid’s restaurant in the middle of the night? A kid’s restaurant with homicidal animatronic mascots. In the Five Nights at Freddy’s series of games, you are the new temporary security guard charged with keeping the place safe at night. Unfortunately for you, the most dangerous things aren’t outside, they’re inside.
Sitting inside your little booth, with control of nothing but a set of cameras and a couple of doors, you have to fend off these animatronics until dawn comes along. This is no easy task, as each animatronic has its own quirks and movements, and you’ll really need to be at the top of your game to survive the 5 nights of the game.
2. SOMA – (Multiple Platforms)
Made by the same guys who made the incredibly popular Amnesia series, Soma is a philosophical game that explores the boundaries of life and what it is to ‘be’. Set in an underwater station in a state of disrepair, you must slowly fix it and explore the world that you’ve found yourself in to find out what exactly is going on, and why do all the machines act like humans.
What’s interesting is this game doesn’t use conventional horror elements, but instead chooses to focus on psychological horror. So you better make sure your strong willed before going into this game, because if you aren’t, you might and up like one of them.
1. Bloodborne – (Playstation 4)
One of the seminal works of horror to come out in 2015, Bloodborne is an incredibly punishing, incredibly scary game. Set in a strange world that is almost completely hostile to you, trying to survive in Bloodborne is like trying to survive being put through a tree chipper. The crazy monsters, disheveled humans, angry hounds, and almost certain death will very likely drive you up the wall. In fact, you might be better off playing this game with some friends and with the lights on.