We’re already looking forward to a load of new horror games in 2021, some of which could inject a new lease of life into a genre that has taken a back seat in the last few years.
Yet, as we look ahead, we should also have a moment of appreciation for some of the great horror games from the past. For those of us who still own an Xbox 360, you’ll enjoy today’s post. Without further ado, here are 5 of the scariest horror games for Xbox 360.
5. Alan Wake
Alan Wake is a psychological thriller that was lauded by those who played it upon release in 2010. Yet, it never really did as well as it should have in terms of initial sales, largely because it was released in the same week as Red Dead Redemption.
Receiving universal acclaim from gamers and critics alike, Alan Wake follows the life of a famous writer who vacations in the picturesque mountain village of Bright Falls with his wife to overcome a period of writer’s block.
After his wife, Alice, is dragged away from the cabin by mysterious forces, Alan blacks out in his attempts to rescue her and doesn’t regain consciousness until a week later.
There are some predictable character tropes found throughout the game, but it really doesn’t detract from the mystery and intriguing journey that players are sent on. The story is, at times, grippingly absurd, and the visuals and soundtrack are hauntingly atmospheric. This game is a classic and is one of the best horror games for the Xbox 360, no doubt.
4. Alice: Madness Returns
Alice: Madness Returns is a largely forgotten psychological horror game by Spicy Horse that presents a dark twist on Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The game is a sequel to the 2000 game American Mchee’s Alice, and is equally as weird. Players follow Alice Lidell as she traverses Wonderland in third-person 3D action-adventure format. The visuals are impressive and there is always a lot happening on screen at any given moment. It is artistic as it is enjoyable to play, and the bizarreness of the gameplay is complemented by an ambient and spooky soundtrack.
The horror aspect largely comes from the creepy characters that you encounter throughout the journey. It is short in jump scares, but high in disturbing material. The combat is a fairly monotonous hack and slash system with little variation, but there are a number of challenging puzzles to sink your teeth into.
Alice: Madness Returns is one to try for the gamers looking for something different within the horror genre.
3. Condemned: Criminal Origins
Condemned: Criminal Origins is another psychological horror entry into this list. It is a game that is the epitome of atmospheric lighting and settings, and it is also a masterclass in horror storytelling.
You play as Ethan Thomas, an FBI agent tasked with tracking down serial killers. The game starts with Ethan investigating the “matchmaker” killer, but it isn’t long before you are framed for the murders yourself, initiating a story that revolves around proving your innocence.
As you can imagine, though, this is no simple task. Along the way you will encounter terrifying visions, a dark and mysterious cult, and a torturous serial killer.
It was a controversial game when it was first released, mainly due to the graphic nature of the violence. Indeed, the game focuses heavily on melee combat, and you will undoubtedly witness some disturbing gore as the game is played from a first person viewpoint.
Yet, this shouldn’t put you off the game, Condemned: Criminal Origin’s main attribute is its story, and once you settle into the game, you’ll be in for some chilling twists and a psychological rollercoaster. For other perspectives, check out Gamespot’s in-depth Condemned review.
2. Resident Evil 4
Anyone who has played Resident Evil 4 will know why it is on this list. For those who haven’t, you simply must try it if you are a horror aficionado. The game has stood the test of time, too, and is still thoroughly enjoyable to play through.
The story, characters, and plot twists in Resident Evil 4 are among the best in the entire series. You play as series regular Leon, who now works as a special agent for the government after being promoted from the police officer position he had in Resident Evil 3. The president’s daughter has been kidnapped by a cult, and Leon is tasked with getting to the bottom of it.
The graphics are impressive given its era, and the moody visuals and appropriate soundtrack combine to create one heck of a spooky gaming experience. It is also a challenging experience, and RE4 requires thought and planning to complete – there are limited resources available and you must use them wisely.
This is one of the best examples of survival horror in gaming history, and is undoubtedly one of the best Xbox 360 horror games around.
1. Dead Space
This may ruffle a few feathers as there are many people who don’t find the Dead Space series that scary. For me, though, the Dead Space series are among the best horror games for the Xbox 260 and pack a substantial amount of dread into the gameplay.
It is often said that Dead Space is just a series of jump scares put together, but there is so much more to the game. Admittedly, the jump scares are abundant, but they wouldn’t mean anything if the game didn’t build the suspense and atmosphere in the way that it does. At times in the game, turning every single corner feels like a chore, and there are moments where you will want to look anywhere but the screen. Yet, it’s equally as satisfying to gun down the Necromorphs with one of the many weapons that protagonist Isaac Clarke has at his disposal.
The developer is aptly named Visceral Games – that haunting feeling that you get in your gut will stay with you for a while. The fun doesn’t stop at the end of the first game either, and there are two further (arguably better) entries into the series to enjoy afterwards.
If you’re looking for a scary Xbox 360 game, look no further than Dead Space.
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