Survival horror games have recently become more popular these past few years, with VR and detailed graphics enhancing the experience even more. Good games of this genre have a story that is equally as good as the horror aspects. Today, we will be covering the best survival horror games on PC. Whether you like being faced with hundreds of jumpscares or more action-packed fights, get ready for a world of horror.
List of the best survival horror games:
Alien Isolation | Outlast | Dead Space | Five Nights at Freddy’s | Dead by Daylight | Amnesia: The Dark Descent | Silent Hill | The Last of Us | Man of Medan | The Evil Within
There’s nothing scarier than being hunted down by a monster, not knowing when or where it can ambush you. This is precisely what you go through in Alien Isolation. Playing as Amanda Ripley, your crew goes on board the Sevastopol space station for a rescue operation, only to find that almost everyone has been slaughtered by an alien. Due to a lack of resources, you need to find materials to craft tools and weapons. The alien is highly attracted to sound, so you can use this to your advantage and create distractions. This also means you can’t just sprint whenever you want though.
There is a surprising amount of lore in the game, and you can listen to journal entries from crew members to piece together what happened. While you need to complete certain objectives, you can also freely roam the space station. The alien isn’t your only foe, with hostile survivors and androids lurking around.
Get the game from Humble Bundle.
As a freelance journalist, you take it upon yourself to investigate the psychiatric hospital, Mount Massive Asylum. In this first-person horror game, you have to navigate around the dark environment and interact with objects to escape. You can use your camera to activate night vision (acting almost like a flashlight), but this will drain its power quickly. You will need to frequently scavenge around for more batteries.
This game definitely prides itself with gore. You can expect to find corpses and dismembered body parts everywhere, with plenty of enemies and jumpscares as well. The main point of Outlast is that you don’t have any weapons to defend yourself with. This means that you need to rely on hiding, vaulting over obstacles and running away. You never know what’s lurking around the corner.
Get the game from Humble Bundle.
You play as an engineer (Isaac) aboard a mining spaceship, which has just been breached and overrun by horrifying Necromorphs. Dead Space takes things to the next level, where it becomes difficult to differentiate between reality and hallucinations. The player user interface and view is often twisted.
Dead Space showcases a brutal combat system, where you can dismember and tear apart your enemies. All Necromorphs have specific strengths and weaknesses, so you have to approach things strategically. What makes things worse is that they tend to attack in packs, and will attack you at full force. Every now and then, you will have to deal with boss encounters.
I would say the most unique aspect of this game is the lack of user interface. Since there is no HUD display for health, you will have to look at Isaac himself; he has a display meter attached to his spine. The spaceship’s environment is full of gore and horrors. Dead Space actually has similar gameplay mechanics as Alien Isolation, as you need to scavenge around for resources like ammunition.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
Five Nights at Freddy’s is a classic horror game. Working as the security guard for a pizzeria, you need to survive five nights while animatronics try to kill you. With access to security cameras, you can switch between rooms and keep track of these animatronics, which will only move randomly when not being watched.
The game has quite a few auditory cues. If you think something’s nearby, turn on the hallway lights to check the corridors. As a last resort, you can shut the security doors to your office, but this will significantly drain your power supply. Before you know it, you could be interrupted by an unpleasant jumpscare. There are also a lot of game mechanics that players can learn overtime, like where a certain animatronic can go and its particular behavior.
Dead by Daylight
Dead by Daylight is an online multiplayer game, where four survivors are pitted against a killer. All survivors were essentially brought into this dark realm of the Entity. As a Killer, you can injure a survivor by hitting them. If you attack a survivor twice, they go into a ‘bleeding out’ state and you can put them on a hook. Others can rescue the hooked survivor.
The survivors have to complete generators around the map to power an exit gate. Along the way, they can find objects (like flashlights and toolboxes) to help them. With a huge range of characters to choose from, each killer has their own special abilities. For example, you can throw hatches with the Huntress or be everyone’s worst nightmare as Freddy. Everyone can unlock and equip unique perks, which can give a range of benefits for both the killer and survivor.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent puts a twist on the horror narrative, with you having to explore an ominous castle. The twist is that you can’t remember anything, besides your name and that someone (or something) is hunting you down. The game features a lot of puzzle solving involved, and you can discover the lore by reading diary entries and getting flashbacks.
The game’s designer states that “darkness itself should be an enemy”. You have a sanity meter, which will reduce the longer you stay in dark areas or look at monsters. Having a low sanity will attract more enemies and cause hallucinations. You may start to hear cries for help or whispers too. Whenever you run into a monster, you can interact with nearby objects (like doors and barricades) to hold it off, while you hide or run away. Amnesia: The Dark Descent also explores medieval torture and unspeakable acts at its finest.
Silent Hill was first released in 1999 and still manages to capture the essence of horror. Searching for your missing daughter, you venture into the desolate town ‘Silent Hill’. With third-person mechanics, you need to solve several puzzles and defeat monsters. Around the map, you can find. A certain item actually adds to the game’s horror aspect. When you collect the portable radio, it will start to cause static whenever an enemy is nearby. Just like Dead Space, there is no heads-up display in this game. This means you’ll need to look at a separate interface entirely to see your health, which can cause a lot of unpredictability.
What’s impressing is that this game has multiple endings (including a parody one) that you can get depending on your actions. I highly recommend Silent Hill, and would even go as far as to say that it is better than some horror games nowadays.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is definitely the most cinematic game from this list. You follow the journey of Joel, a man who has become untrusting and hardened by the zombie apocalypse. The game starts with an action-packed introduction level, where you learn that zombies aren’t the only threat. Battling against both the dead and alive, Joel starts to eventually take care of a young girl (Ellie) and they form a close father-daughter bond.
The game really focuses on this relationship, as well as your morals. Since Ellie is actually immune to the zombie infection, you have to battle this internal conflict between helping the world and your love for her. While this game practically resembles a third-person shooter and doesn’t necessarily focus on horror, there are plenty of jumpscares and frightening moments.
That being said, the prequel of this game has received quite a lot of backlash. The Last of Us is still an absolute masterpiece though, perfectly balancing the story narrative and combat with stunning realistic graphics.
Man of Medan
Man of Medan is unique as it is mainly story-based with dialogue and branching. Every chapter you play as a different character, whose life is in your hands. You can explore your surroundings, make important life-or-death choices and find clues. There are also plenty of quicktime events, which can help you survive or progress through a level quicker.
A group of friends run into an old shipwreck of the ‘Man of Medan’. With tension in the air, you have to deal with supernatural creatures and visions aboard the haunted ship. Making the wrong choice can lead to a brutal death (and in most cases, jumpscares), which will severely impact the game’s outcome. Once a character dies, there’s no re-doing things.
Man of Medan is part of the Dark Pictures Anthology, which will feature other similar style games. As a bonus, you can play an online co-op campaign with another player (controlling different characters).
The Evil Within
The Evil Within definitely focuses on supernatural horror. You play the role of a detective, who is tasked to look into a mass murder. Unfortunately, you are then confronted with spiritual horrors and monsters. There is danger at practically every corner, so you really have to take a stealthy approach to things and avoid traps.
There are several different enemies you can run into, with disfigured creates and humanoid psychopaths. Depending on what you do, you may find yourself descending further into madness. With secret locations, altering pathways and hallucinations, The Evil Within distorts reality as we see it.
The game follows a chapter-based progression system. There are also checkpoints you can use, which comes in the form of mirrors that bring you to the ‘Safe Haven’. Unlike some other games on this list, you actually have a decent shot at fighting back against enemies. However, it’s important to know when you should fight, and when you should run away,