There are a lot of things that make the survival horror genre hard to do well. These games need to find a good balance between fun gameplay and a few scary momentsștii. If the game leans too far in one direction or the other, it can quickly become a parody of an action game or a scary but boring walking simulator.
Thank goodness, the PS4 and Xbox One console generations were full of great horror games. Even though it didn’t reach the heights of the genre in the late ’90s and early ’00s, players still got a good selection of scary games that were also a lot of fun to play. Which survival horror games from the past 10 years are the best?
Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water
Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Wii U, PC
The first three Fatal Frame games are some of the scariest survival horror games ever made. Even though they are getting old, they are still worth looking for. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is the most forgiving and hands-on main game in the series. As a result, it might be the worst of the bunch.
Even though it doesn’t come close to being as good as its predecessors, Maiden of Black Water still has some scary ghost designs and scary scares. It’s not a must-play for horror fans like Fatal Frame and Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly, but Maiden of Black Water is a good choice for anyone looking for a good scare.
Survival horror is a part of Arkane Studios’ Prey, but the game can also be played as a more traditional shooter if the player prefers. The game’s premise, on the other hand, is straight out of horror: Morgan Yu wakes up in a space station that seems to be empty, but there is an unwelcome visitor roaming the halls. Learn what happened on Talos 1 if you can stay alive.
Prey is a game with a lot of tension and atmosphere. It combines fun first-person gunplay with an interesting story. It’s not a very scary game, but it has everything a survival horror game should have.
Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
A Machine for Pigs was originally made as downloadable content for the first Amnesia game, The Dark Descent. However, it did so well that its publisher, Frictional Games, decided to release it as a separate game. It turned out that it was the best thing to do.
The second Amnesia game fixed most of what was wrong with the first one, but it also kept everything that made the first one a great survival horror game. A Machine for Pigs is a must-play for any fan of the genre because the gameplay is smoother and the story is interesting and mysterious.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
When comparing Outlast 2 to its predecessor, the core gameplay stayed mostly the same. Players still moved around scary places with the help of a night-vision camera to see where they were going, but changes to the setting gave the second game in this critically acclaimed series a very different feel.
The developers had to create a different atmosphere than in the first Outlast because the game takes place in an abandoned town in rural Arizona. In the first game, the Mount Massive asylum was a great place for jump scares and bloody fights. In the second game, however, the scary parts come from an unsettling atmosphere and the way the game tells a story through its surroundings.
The Evil Within
Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
When people first heard that Bethesda was making a linear survival horror game, they were sceptical about what the game would have to offer. Bethesda is known for making games with a lot of bugs. These kinds of problems are understandable in huge, open-world games like The Elder Scrolls or Fallout, but they could ruin the experience of playing The Evil Within.
Thanks to the fact that there were no bugs, the game turned out to be a great throwback to the days of third-person action/horror games like Resident Evil 4 and Alan Wake. Tango Gameworks, a Japanese studio, was given the job of making the game. They did a good job of making an immersive, scary, and (maybe most importantly) smooth experience. The Evil Within did not in any way change the rules of the genre. Instead, it took what made it great and turned it into a good game with a story that kept people interested.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Oculus Quest, Amazon Luna
It’s hard to make good games based on popular movie series. These kinds of titles often end up being lazy attempts to cash in on a movie’s success at the box office. They are constantly compared to the source material and criticised for not being faithful enough or being original enough.
Luckily, this didn’t happen in Blair Witch. It came out well over a decade after the Blair Witch Project series was at its most popular, and three years after the bad remake. There was no hype around it, so the Polish developers from Bloober Team could focus on making their vision come to life. What happened? A scary single-player game that lasts between 6 and 8 hours and has hard but interesting puzzles and one of the best dog companions in recent years.
Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Tormented Souls, one of the last survival horror games for the PS4 and Xbox One, takes players back to the late 1990s. This survival horror game was heavily influenced by the old-school fixed-camera games, especially the early Resident Evil games. So, a person’s enjoyment of this release could depend on how much they miss those PS1 games.
In Tormented Souls, Caroline Walker goes to a scary hospital to look for two girls who have gone missing. The premise is simple and doesn’t offer too many surprises, but it does what it needs to do: it gets players to a place where scary things are happening. The game is hard to play and sometimes frustrating, but this makes the tension during fights even higher.
Martha is Dead
Survival horror game Martha is Dead takes place in Italy during the last years of World War II, when it was ruled by the Germans. The game came out in February 2022. At this point, it may be best known for being censored on PlayStation consoles. Some of the game’s more violent parts were taken out of that version. On both Xbox and PC, the game is still uncensored. Because the game was banned, the Streisand effect happened, and now more people know about it than would have otherwise. Martha is Dead is a truly terrifying (in the best way) experience, even with the parts that have been edited out (or left in on Xbox and PC).
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent came out in 2010, but new platform releases have kept this game alive for nearly a decade. In this game, the player wakes up in a dark castle, only remembering their name and the fact that something is after them. As players sneak around the castle trying to remember what happened, they will have to solve puzzles, which is the main part of the game. But the castle is full of horrible enemies that will kill the player character and make them lose sanity.
This level of sanity shows how healthy you are. If the game is not managed well, the player will start to see scary things happen, which will eventually lead to their death. Instead of fighting back, the game is mostly about running away and taking cover as you hide from the enemy. As you try to get away from danger and hope that the enemy hasn’t found you, your heart rate will go through the roof.