‘Tis the season to be terrified. I know what you’re thinking: it’s not Halloween already, is it? Did I black out? What happened to the intervening months? Well, don’t worry; we’re not in October yet. The point is it’s always the season to be terrified. A good horror game is perennial; it can be played any time, anywhere, and still scare us silly. With that in mind, now seems as good a time as any to break down the best horror games you can play right now on your PS4. Let's begin.
Bloodborne - $24.30
From Software’s Bloodborne might look like a Souls title on the outside. It’s got the same stamina management-based combat, the same explore-area-find-boss-kill-boss loop, the same basic control scheme. Make no mistake, though. Beneath Bloodborne’s frenzied exterior lies a true horror experience. From the snarling, aggressive beasts which stalk the upper streets of Yharnam to the lurking eldritch truth beneath, there’s plenty to terrify in this high-octane masterpiece.
Until Dawn - $21.20
An adventure game in the vein of David Cage’s work with Quantic Dream, only much grislier, Until Dawn puts players in the shoes of a classic 80s slasher movie’s hapless teenagers. Just like Quantic Dream games, conversations and decisions affect the outcome of the story; exactly what shape the horror of Until Dawn takes is at least partly determined by how the player acts during the course of the narrative. Grab some popcorn, turn off the lights and prepare for some old-school scares.
Alien Isolation - $33.50
Alien Isolation is arguably the first game to really get Alien right as a horror franchise. There have been action games, platformers and arcade-style shooters, but not until Alien Isolation was there a truly effective horror title in the series. Protagonist Amanda Ripley must explore the deserted Sevastopol space station, eluding the titular xenomorph by hiding and being smart with her movements. Advanced AI and a compelling narrative make this one a must-play for horror aficionados.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent - $8.99
While we’re not sure Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs is quite worth the price of admission, The Dark Descent is a classic. Take control of Daniel as he pieces together the remnants of his shattered memory in a Gothic European castle, all the while being stalked by a malevolent entity which may or may not be related to his past.
SOMA is that rarest of beasts: a horror game with real, intelligent storytelling and themes behind it. Developed by the same team who brought us Amnesia: The Dark Descent, SOMA swaps that game’s crumbling aristocratic castle setting for a watery sci-fi research station. Gameplay’s pretty similar, but the story takes on a more existential bent. If you like some head-scratching with your horror, this one’s for you.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - Check on Amazon
We never knew they had it in them. The Resident Evil series had arguably been coasting for quite some time when Resident Evil 7 was released, but boy did they do this one right. A back-to-basics approach served Capcom well with the seventh instalment in the venerable horror franchise. Resident Evil 7 balances combat and scares perfectly for a memorable experience.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: a stark, haunting puzzle-platformer, rendered mostly in black and white and featuring a mute child who must navigate a terrifying world and avoid its hostile inhabitants. Developer Playdead knows how to stick to a good idea, and INSIDE confirms that, providing players with a harrowing journey through a sickening dystopian world with plenty of malformed horrors to keep their minds busy into the night.
Although a sequel to Outlast was released last year, the first one remains the more chilling of the two. It’s a sort of video game take on the found footage trope; our protagonist takes a video camera with him to document the goings-on in a Colorado psychiatric hospital. What follows is a frenzied rollercoaster ride, during which players have access to approximately zero weapons or ways to defend themselves.
The Walking Dead: Season One - $28.75
The Walking Dead adventure game gave Telltale its mojo back. Although this one isn’t technically a horror game (certainly not in the traditional sense), The Walking Dead’s creator Robert Kirkman has stated on numerous occasions that the title refers to the humans, not the zombies, so see this one as more of a “horror of the human condition” sort of jam.
Lone Survivor - $31.99
We round out this spooky spotlight on honourable horror with Lone Survivor, a 2D indie side-scrolling horror title from developer Jasper Byrne. Lone Survivor offers players the chance to explore the ruins of civilisation after a devastating disease, piece together the history of this place and battle monsters which may or may not even be real.
If we missed anything, let us know!