Nothing spices up a horror experience like having it projected directly into your eyes
What if I told you there was a device. One that was strapped to your face, cutting you off from the real world, and through that device, an unrelenting river of jump scares could be streamed directly into your eyeballs as you clumsily flailed about, trying to balance the need to flee in terror with the desire not to smash up your living room or trip over the dog.
Sounds like the SAW franchise has really run out of ideas, doesn’t it? But, it’s actually the sales pitch for some of the best VR horror games on the market.
The arrival of inexpensive headsets, like the Oculus Rift, has seen VR revolutionize a number of sectors, and the gaming industry is taking control with every conceivable notion, from poker to fishing. The immersive nature of VR goes together with the horror genre like cookies and milk, producing some downright terrifying VR games. Immersion has always been the key to the horror game genre, and nothing helps with immersion like the well-implemented use of VR.
So, if you are thinking of purchasing a video game that will force you to make a series of high-pitched animal fear noises while waving your hands around like a madman, here is our list of the top five best VR horror games.
Dreadhalls – Oculus Rift / HTC Vive / Gear VR
Dreadhalls benefits from having a very reasonable price point, making it an excellent entry game for people looking to dip their toe into horror gaming. It also has an immense level of replayability, because each game involves you navigating your way out of a randomly generated dungeon filled with randomly generated traps and monsters.
It’s a bit like a horror Skyrim in that sense, except you don’t have any weapons to defend yourself and, much like Skyrim, it will have you shouting garbled nonsense at the screen every time a monster appears, but more out of abject terror than any fancy dragon powers.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood might not be the most original game you have ever played, but that doesn’t stop it from being hugely fun
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood – Playstation VR
The original Until Dawn, a non-VR game, was praised for its clever storytelling and subversions of classic horror tropes. The VR edition has somewhat dumbed that down in favor of a somewhat more simple proposition; What if you were on a roller coaster that was being attacked by evil killer clowns?
Don’t let the fact that the premise was clearly written at 4:45 pm on a Friday put you off. The gameplay more than makes up for any lack of trope subversion. The game has a shooter mechanic combined with increasingly harder monsters popping up to attack you as the ride advances that is replete with jump scares and requires you pay close attention to your peripherals.
Resident Evil VII VR – PSVR
The current MVP of the horror VR genre, Resident Evil VII VR combines the complex storytelling, game length, and production values of a AAA title, with the usual fare of jump scares, mutations and terrifying zombie variations.
The game adds a fresh new spin on the Resident Evil franchise, bringing back the moments of genuine fright that have been missing from the last few titles.
The Forest VR – Rift / Vive
The Forest VR is essentially Minecraft if the creepers were rendered in terrifying high-definition graphics. A combination of open-world survival sim and horror survival game, The Forest will have you crafting items, scavenging supplies, building shelters, and then cowering in them as mutant cannibals rock up to try and eat you as soon as night falls.
The game also features both single-player and multiplayer support, meaning both you and a friend can run around madly waving a torch at the darkness until you get eaten.
The Forest VR has been voted “Number one game to put you off camping for the rest of your life
The Persistence – PSVR
The Persistence is a first-person stealth shooter with strong horror elements and an interesting hook. You are expected to die.
When you do die, a new body is 3D printed for you and your skillset is upgraded. However, the sci-fi setting you are trying to escape from has re-arranged itself and all-new monsters are waiting to jump out and gib you.
The Persistence draws from a number of games, from the venerable System Shock 2, to more recent titles like Dead Space and the Deus Ex sequels, to make a smooth and enjoyable game that combines scares with solid stealth mechanics and fun gunplay.
Overall the horror genre has very much benefited from the rise of VR technology, with a range of excellent games that combine horror with other mechanics to create all-new ways to make you scream and throw your expensive VR headset across the room.