With Halloween around the corner, Team Y finds more fights of fiendish fantasy than Michael Myers finds on a good night.
Konami’s masterpiece Silent Hill 2 is famous for all the right reasons: dark alleys, shadows, petrifying monsters – all wrapped in an early 2000s crude and sporadic graphical interface that adds to the eeriness factor. However, nothing – and by that we mean absolutely nothing – can even come close to the game’s twisted storyline. In its core form, though the game harks back to the good old days of exploring the town of Silent Hill, you play the role of James Sunderland – a man who’s in search of his (supposedly) dead wife. And believe us: the plot only gets more complicated from there on, and we’re in no mood to spoil the game for you – so remember to jot down characters and their backstories.
Platforms: PS2, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
The greatest asset of a horror game is its element of surprise. There’s nothing quite like playing a game that can scare the pants off you at every turn. Turning it into a third-person shooter can take away its charm, though, right? – not really. At least, that’s not the case with developer Monolith Productions’ game – F.E.A.R. The protagonist you play takes the role of Point Man in a special forces team that goes by the name of the game. But there’s a slight twist in the tale: the team – which consists of members that possess supernatural abilities – is tasked with containing a little girl who has become a paranormal menace of sorts.
Platforms: PS3, Xbox, Microsoft Windows
In the traditional sense, Alan Wake isn’t like most horror games. There are no jump scares, no blood-sucking vampires or monsters to scare the living daylights out of you. Where it does come into its own is in painting a picture of life outside a city – and above all, how things come to a standstill when darkness takes over… literally. Darkness here denotes a sickness that takes over humans, animals and inanimate objects in the otherwise calm town of Bright Falls in Washington – turning them violent. This will require you to wield tough love with guns, knives and other weaponry. The in-game narration is like what you’d find in the television series that it’s originally based on – but being able to take control of things around you has a charm of its own.
Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
No list of horror games is ever complete without Resident Evil. But, this seventh-generation title – on paper at the very least – had been set up for failure owing to a generic storyline and antediluvian gameplay controls. But it worked –and more so because the developers, Capcom, took it a step further with the use of virtual reality (VR). The game focuses on the life of an Ethan Winters who’s in a frantic search for his wife in the large (and spooky) ‘Baker House’. There, he must challenge everything from members of the Baker family to slimy humanoid fungi known as ‘Molded’ (yes, we see what they did there). The game is action-packed, if a bit too unnerving for those using a VR headset.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
There’s a fine line between horror and psychological games – but every so often you find one game that can reign over both territories: Layers of Fear is one of them. Not only can this game arouse fear, it reaches out to the depths of players’ insecurities to create a sense of personal involvement with the game. It’s diabolical on so many levels, and the game rearranges itself based on the storyline and your actions. This means you’ll find yourself doubting your moves and calculating every step you make. You play the brains of a disturbed artist trying to complete his magnum opus (masterpiece) – but must also fight with an unreliable narration caused by the artist’s illness. So, doors disappear and various elements warp out of shape to realign your living space. This is not for the faint hearted; it’s a psychedelic game.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, OS X