As popular as they are, I’ve never been a big fan of survival horror or really any game that’s main premise is scaring the crap out of the player. The headcrabs in the original Half-Life had me shaking the first time one jumps at you when you’re crawling through the air ducts. Sure I love action oriented swarm type games like Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising and even the Half-Life mod They Hunger, but one of the reasons I’ve never finished the original Resident Evil is because I’ve never been able to play it once the sun goes down.
10. Eternal Darkness
One of the heralded, but under-appreciated titles of the early GameCube, I have fairly fond memories f exploring the first few chapters of this game. But my best memory is of Psycho Mantis asking me about the game when he read my memory card in Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
Remote mental asylum. Secret government experiments. Yeah, not going near this one.
Despite my fondness for Japanese horror, Siren has always just looked a little too haunting. I prefer a subtle creepiness versus sheer shock factor, which Siren has in spades.
7. Fatal Frame
Now this is a J-horror game that I can get into. The whole concept of ghost hunting through the lens of a camera is fascinating to me. However, I’ll probably never sleep again and it will reinstall my fear of little Japanese girls.
I remember back when this game was one of the premiere visual games on the PC when it came out. One thing was certain, the complicated twisted life of Alma, whose visions of fire and destruction are prevalent throughout the series, is something that keeps you on edge throughout.
Imagine a game played from the first person perspective, where you have no means to fight back from the things that haunt you. Just the mere concept of being defenseless absolutely magnifies the intensity and tension. Not for the feint of heart.
4. Silent Hill
Another one of the classic survival horror franchises I’ve never set foot on, Silent Hill is home to iconic monsters and moody mystery. Teetering the line between dream and reality, Silent Hill really excelled at feeding off the basic human imagination in that foggy town.
3. Dead Space
Forget everything you’ve learned from zombie movies and games. In Dead Space, shooting the heads of the ghastly Necromorphs does nothing, but dismembering limbs is the way to win. This simple mechanic that challenges you to think and realize that everything you thought you knew ultimately doesn’t matter really sets the tone for this Sci-Fi horror game.
2. Resident Evil
The last time I attempted to play the original Resident Evil, I let my imagination get to me and I became desperate, rapidly going through my inventory, which ultimately crippled my playthrough. It’s a franchise I always say I want to revisit, especially after the stellar remake for the GameCube and that Resident Evil 4, a drastic shift for the series, is a considered one of the greatest games of all time.
A simple enough premise: collect the eight pages. So armed with a flashlight you walk around a forest while the mysterious Slender Man creeps in the vicinity. He’ll teleport around the map with the sounds intensifying the longer you take to collect pages. To make matters worse, you can’t jog for a very long time, the batteries in the flashlight will run out and Slender Man is everywhere. A simple game that really works well with its sound design and the simple claustrophobic feeling of being alone.