All gamers have their favourite genre, whether you like first player shoot ’em ups, racing games, or psychological horror. Over the years, graphics and other details have moved on amazingly, bringing a real edge to these already chilling games. Virtual reality is adding even more, giving the player a chance to feel totally immersed in their surroundings. If you like to scare yourself silly while playing games, here are the best psychological horror games we have found so far.
There is nothing much scarier than a psychiatric hospital for a horror game. Outlast features Miles Upshur, an investigative journalist who goes on a mission to break into the local Mount Massive asylum. He has been tipped off that inhuman experiments are taking place. This asylum already has dodgy owners in the form of a mysterious Corporation with a reputation for unethical treatment, so the ante has been set high from the start. Deciding it would be a good idea to break in (when most people would have stayed far away, but you know, for the sake of a good game, common sense cannot prevail), he unleashes way more than he could ever have imagined. As you play as his character, you will find the staff have been mutilated, and their corpses are left lying around. With his entrance now blocked and not usable as an exit, he learns from the one remaining living person that the deaths were caused when the deranged inmates were released from their cells. They are now roaming the grounds causing chaos and threatening the very safety of miles and the one other staff member. It’s pretty gritty, and each step takes you deeper into the horrific world of the asylum.
Those Who Remain
If you like games that get under your skin and mess with your head, then this could be the way to go. It has atmosphere in spades and makes you question every decision you make. It is a multiple-choice ending game, depending on what you choose to do throughout the play. There are some stunning graphics, and the gameplay holds the attention for way longer than you should probably spend staring at a video screen. Those Who Remain is set in Dormont, an American town that somehow got cursed by a demon leaving the whole place in darkness. Generally, people don’t even notice it or go there, but of course, to create the game, you need to go. Your character is Edward Turner, and you soon discover that the town’s inhabitants are a pretty messed up bunch. They have no contact with the outside world, and they can’t escape. It wasn’t a great time to plan a vacation to Dormont, but you’re there now, and all you need to do is stay in the light as this is your route to survival. Some monsters and creatures are pretty happy to indiscriminately kill you for no reason other than the fact you are there in the supernatural darkness. It’s a pretty horrific psychological adventure but, despite being the stuff of nightmares and keeping you up at night, it’s a popular game for people who love this genre.
Layers of Fear
As the name implies, there is nothing cute about this game. The developer of this game is rapidly becoming known for psychological horror genre games. They are the Polish group, the Bloober team, and they have some pretty gripping storylines. Your character in this game is a painter who is set on completing what he hopes will be his Magnum Opus. His muse is his late wife, and it is set in a very eerie Victorian mansion, and spiral’s his dissent in two madness. The graphics are very realistic, and the game creates many twists and turns to make you doubt yourself. For example, you may walk through a door and turn back round to discover a solid wall, and the door has disappeared. It’s a bit of a gaslighting game; you start to feel deranged, slightly mad and completely confused. It is incredibly well written and is one of two games by the same name, with layers of fear 2 being a completely different storyline. Both are pretty good and will certainly mess with your mind, but if we had to choose, we would say stick with the first incarnation as it’s the better one.
Our final pick for this list is soma. This is an atmospheric plot twist game that keeps you guessing and looking over your shoulder all of the time. Your character in this game is Simon Jarrett, who has thankfully survived a car crash but managed to come out with some pretty bad brain damage. You agree to a brain scan which is experimental and possibly should have been your first hint to stay away, but again, to make a great game, you go along with a dubious storyline. Whilst you’re in the scanner, there is an accident, and something goes wrong and causes you to pass out. When you finally regain consciousness, you are inexplicably at an underwater research centre that has been abandoned. It takes a while to find someone to help you. Still, when you finally do, a lady called Catherine Chun, with whom you establish radio contact with drops the bombshell that this is 2104, a comet has destroyed earth, and you are pretty much the last survivor. If this doesn’t leave you too scared to close your eyes at night, we’re not sure what will.