By Martin Shore
It’s that time of year once more – Pumpkins, ghosts and ghouls will all be upon us very very soon. So naturally us gamers will be locking ourselves away and loading up the biggest Halloween fright-fests we can think of to whittle away the night of telling children how scary they are and handing out hundreds of pounds in sweet, sweet candy. Keep in mind this is my pick, so yeah you probably won’t agree with it – I am a bit of a scaredy-cat. They’re also not really in any particular order. For now, enjoy some of the treats you could be scaring yourself silly with come Halloween night!
5. Alien: Isolation – PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
The atmosphere here is what gets me. Everything that the devs turned out felt really thematic, as they tried to make everything look exactly like it did in the original movie. I mean, obviously the main fear is being stalked by that incredibly smart apex predator with nothing but a bleeping motion sensor as you crouch breathing heavily in a corner. Sure, you have the flamethrower to occasionally thwart the Alien but otherwise, get ready to run away. A lot.
It might be a bit too long and there might be parts where you’re just annoyed by androids, but those first few encounters where it’s just you avoiding the alien on the Sevastopol spaceship… chills. The audio department deserve incredible praise here.
4. Siren: Blood Curse – PlayStation 3
The reason this is here is really based on the Sightjacking mechanic. I know it controls quite poorly and its story is a bit out there, but there are few other games that have caused me more dread than Siren. When avoiding enemies or hiding from them, Siren lets you pop into the shoes of your pursuer and see the world through their eyes. And that is pant-wettingly terrifying.
Jump scares feel cheap after a while with the unexpected shocks eventually grinding to a halt. However, being unable to tear yourself away from watching the possessed, murdery police officer slump closer and closer to the cupboard you’re weeping in only to see him stop, inspect and finally pounce all through his eyes? Not fun.
3. PT – PlayStation 4
Feels like I don’t really need to say much here. You all know why PT is so damn scary. It’s the Silent Hills teaser that was so unfairly cut short by Konami (still bitter). The intense puzzling at the outset to work out just what was happening, the foetus, the talking bag, the radio… So many just amazingly scary moments. Couple with the near photo-real graphical power of the PlayStation 4 and some chilling sound design, PT was a treat accompanied by sooooo many tricks.
It’s a little bittersweet to include this seeing as how you can’t pick it up to play any longer, but if you have a short amount of time to while away on Halloween and you hung onto PT on you PS4, don’t waste anymore time and get back into it, right?!
2. Luigi’s Mansion – GameCube
Okay so it’s not exactly a frightening game, but it’s sure thematically suited for Halloween. Dust off your Poltergust 3000 and don your green cap for a GameCube title that has aged beautifully. It still controls intuitively and the graphics still hold up well even if you have dig out a Wii or GameCube and some old VGA cables to play.
Sure, it won’t sidle up to tear your limbs off like a Necromorph and the ghastly ghouls you’ll spend all night sucking up and forcing back into paintings won’t scare you like Lisa did, but Luigi’s Mansion is an absolute classic nowadays and it is begging to be replayed come the witching hour.
Plus, I’ll admit that the first baby boss made me cry when I was younger okay? If you want it to be scarier, how’s about reading up on that supposed extra portrait ghost from the Safari Room?
1. Outlast – PlayStationS4, PC
Oh boy. Okay, this is probably the most scared I’ve ever been playing a video game, bar none. There is something far, far scarier about only being able to run away from the terrifying psychotic enemies of Outlast than if fearless journo Miles Upshur was toting a shotgun or something.
Outlast has all your horror staples – Body horror? Definitely. Creepy setting? Check. Terrifying enemies? Yes. Yes yes yes. You might find yourself sitting in a cupboard and wetting yourself for ages, but Outlast makes you realise that you physically cannot do that. Eventually, you’ll have to get out and sprint for your life away from the brainwashed inmates of a remote asylum. Throw in the Whistleblower DLC and you can watch yourself get mutilated in first-person view. Truly terrifying stuff.
Special mention here goes to Amnesia – if you’re after some slightly deeper and more psychologically focused horror but with all the fear of sprinting away from some terrifiying nasties, definitely switch this one out for either Amnesia title.
So there you are, five titles that I think will truly make for a spooktacular Halloween evening. Is there a title you think should have been included? Let me know in the comments below!