With Halloween fast approaching, it’s that time of the year when people start to look for ways to get their fix of jump-scares and cheap thrills. If you’ve already binged on Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, or if Haunted and Malevolent didn’t quite cut it for you, fear not (wrong word choice). You can always rely on the medium of gaming to immobilise you with dread.
Here at Blog of Games we have already covered the best free horror and the best VR horror games, but what happens if you take the variables away? Which games provide the best horror experience overall? Well, let’s find out. Here is a list of the best horror games of 2018 so far.
Released in January 2018 on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, The Inpatient is a psychological horror video game that serves as a prequel to the 2015 game, Until Dawn.
Unlike its predecessor, this game is played from a first-person perspective through the eyes of a patient at the Blackwood Sanatorium, who suffers from amnesia and is battling to regain fading memories. The gameplay will be familiar to you if you’ve experienced a title by Supermassive Games before. It largely plays as an immersion-based cinematic experience where the choices that the player makes can have drastic consequences on how the story plays out.
The game begins with the character waking up face-to-face with Dr Bragg, the owner of Blackwood Sanatorium who had long been dead prior to the events of Until Dawn. After this initial interaction, you are wheeled back to your room from where the journey begins in starting to figure out exactly who you are. Despite the story being brief, it was well written and thoroughly engaging right until the game’s conclusion.
The game has impressive and smooth visuals which, especially if playing on PSVR, make for an immersive experience. Equally as impressive is the audio for the game. It does a great job at creating a chilling and intense atmosphere that can easily mess with your mind. It is also possible to enable voice control in the game which adds another level of realism to the gameplay and runs very efficiently.
This game is, overall, a great experience for both PS4 and PSVR gameplay, and is certainly one of the better horror titles to have come out of 2018 so far. To find out more, watch the video below.
Call of Cthulhu
Being released just in time for Halloween on October 30, Call of Cthulhu is a role-playing survival horror game available on multiple platforms. Created by game developer Cyanide, it is based on a short story of the same name written in 1926 by H. P. Lovecraft.
While, admittedly, I have not read Lovecraft’s original text, the story is interesting and captivating in equal measures. The player takes on the role of Boston-based private detective Edward Pierce, who takes on a mysterious case to solve the death of a family who met their end peculiarly in a fire. With little clues to go on, Pierce travels to Darkwater Island to discover the truth, and in doing so encounters the ‘Great Old One’ Cthulhu.
Played out in a first-person perspective, the game is atmospherically slow with moody lighting to set the tone of both Lovecraft’s world and Pierce’s frame of mind. The player can improve attributes in investigation, eloquence, psychology, and other things in order to become a better detective. Your levels in said attributes have a demonstrable impact on how you are able to interact with NPCs and objects throughout the game. The game also contains some typical video game detective work in the form of its reconstruction mode. During these sequences, players move around a location and interact with different clues in order to trigger an otherworldly manifestation of past events.
Call of Cthulu looks set to become one of the best horror games of 2018. With its deep story and atmospheric setting, this title looks like the perfect game to get your hands on just in time for Halloween. To find out more, check out the video below.
Through the Woods
Through the Woods is an indie horror adventure game by Norwegian developer Antagonist. Despite it being initially released on Windows in late 2016, the game makes it onto this list due to its release to wider audiences on the PS4 and Xbox One in May 2018.
The game started out as a student project that became a reality through a Kickstarter campaign and is a thoroughly impressive and immersive horror experience, especially considering the size of the small team that assembled it.
The game, which is heavily themed on Norse mythology is played from a third-person perspective and follows a widowed mother by the name of Karen, who lives in a cabin in the woods in western Norway with her son Espen. They appear to have a tenuous relationship, ultimately leading to Espen disappearing after running away one day. I particularly enjoyed the story in the game and it is very effective in the way it tells the story of and develops the relationships between the characters.
In terms of gameplay, there is a lot of adventuring and exploration that some critics have pointed to as a tedious and monotonous feature. In my opinion, though, this allows to set the tone and mood of the story and gives the pacing a sense of realism that helps the player become immersed in the story. Karen encounters various Norse creatures throughout the game and must surpass them in order to progress on the story, and with the absence of a combat system, this has to be done by figuring out how best to avoid their paths of movement.
All in all, Through the Woods is a very neat and complete horror-adventure experience that is aided by a beautiful soundtrack and some impressive and smooth visuals. This is a game that feels more like a journey than a compilation of cheap jump-scares and thrills, and one that is definitely worth trying. To find out more, watch the video below.
The Forest is an open world survival horror game released for Microsoft Windows in April 2018 by game developer Endnight Games. It is also scheduled for a PlayStation 4 release in November 2018.
In The Forest, players take on the role of Eric Leblanc who, along with his son Timmy, is involved in a plane crash that leaves them on a remote cape land densely populated with trees. Although they both survive the crash, Timmy is abducted by a war paint clad tribesman as his father helplessly looks on. From here on, the player must subsist on the island in order to piece together the clues of his son’s disappearance. In doing so, the player must endure attacks from feral creatures and wild cannibalistic mutants.
Although the presiding element of gameplay is survival based, the game can feel terrifying at times as players frantically traverse the open world in order to build, explore and survive. The nocturnal mutant cannibals that coexist on the island are primitive in nature and make for some interesting interactions. Although not hostile by default, they generally take an aggressive stance towards the player and seem to be thoroughly intrigued by the player’s presence on their native island. Their unpredictability makes for an unsettling atmosphere.
Most of the game takes place above ground, crafting basecamps out of materials salvaged from the wilderness to maintain the character’s water, food, and sanity gauges. Yet, another component of the gameplay takes place below ground in mysterious caves that contain puzzles for the player to unravel. These caves can be frustratingly dark, but they yield some game-changing secrets and trinkets that make worthwhile the at times torturous exploration.
This is a game that I enjoyed immensely. It has a unique take on the survival horror genre due to the interesting interactions that you have with the island’s inhabitants and creates a tense atmosphere through its story, sound, and visuals. The Forest is a game that all lovers of this genre simply need to try. To find out more, watch the video below.
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Richard, Blog of Games