In games like Until Dawn, we are forced to assess the consequences of our choices. While zombies and ethereal entities can be terrible, the horror of making the wrong decisions under duress can be the scariest thing. Just ask The Evil Within 2 and Telltale’s The Walking Dead about this. The best video games, like Until Dawn, challenge us intellectually. Until Dawn is a great example of a game that excels at providing players with a variety of options and different ways to complete the story. So grab a torch and join us as we celebrate the best games that use gamified moral dilemmas.
1. Man of Medan
Supermassive Games knew it had a hit on its hands when Until Dawn was published to great fanfare. With Man of Medan, the Dark Pictures Anthology hopes to meet the growing desire for more narrative-driven, interactive horror games. All eight games in the series will be standalones, but Man of Medan centers on a group of four young adults who have been abandoned on an abandoned ship. Based on Until Dawn’s gameplay mechanics, this game adds a “movie night” multiplayer option where players can switch control of a single character by passing the controller back and forth between them. It’s a clever technique, considering that Until Dawn was as enjoyable to watch as it was to participate in.
2. The Inpatient
The Inpatient is a must-play if you still have doubts about the Blackwood Sanitorium after finishing Until Dawn. PlayStation VR transports you back in time to a mental facility in the 1950s, where you take on the role of an amnesiac patient. Jump scares and a novel twist where NPCs respond to what you say (or scream) owing to voice recognition technology keep the experience fresh. A terrifying prequel to Until Dawn, the outcome of this story is entirely dependent on the decisions that you make in this prequel.
3. Detroit: Become Human
With Detroit: Become Human, Quantic Dream continues to refine its branching narrative style that it has been honing for years. The game takes place in a future where androids are as commonplace as cellphones, yet the plot revolves around a fundamental subject in science fiction: can robots have emotions? Each character is susceptible to permadeath, and the outcome of the story is heavily dependent on the player’s decisions. Despite the fact that this is not a tale of the paranormal, if you look closely enough, you may find a chapter that borrows strongly from the horror film genre. However, even if you don’t, Detroit: Become Human remains an enjoyable interactive drama.
4. The Evil Within 2
Shinji Mikami is the father of survival horror, a genre in which players face terrifying monsters and are either powerless to defend themselves or obliged to do so under conditions of scarcity. Resident Evil was Mikami’s first foray into the genre, while Evil Within was his return. Sebastian Castellanos, a detective in The Evil Within 2, is searching for his missing daughter in a psychological realm called STEM (imagine The Matrix multiplied to the power of Insidious). At any given moment, you’re in grave danger in Until Dawn, and it only takes one jump fright to make you feel like you’re about to die in the dark with only two rounds left in your gun.
On an island in the middle of the ocean, instead of adolescents besieged on a snowy mountain, they’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. It’s your job to investigate and test a local folklore that claims that tuning a radio to certain frequencies may allow you hear ghostly whispers as blue-haired Alex, who’s on vacation with her friends and her new stepbrother. Oxenfree’s heartbeat is learning more about the island’s past and the complicated relationships between its cast members without giving away any more plot points. As much as it’s a horror story, this is a tale of adolescence in its own right. This is a world you’ll want to get lost in, thanks to its pastel colors and frosty lighting.
6. Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Telltale, what a wonderful word. The Walking Dead, a choose-your-own-adventure story set in the comic book universe, was a key hit for the studio before it shut down. Clementine, a little child who the player must protect as the apocalypse ravages American cities, was introduced in the first season, which was released in 2012. The authors alternate between making gut-wrenching decisions and reflecting peacefully with Clementine, and the resulting play of light and shade created one of the best adventure stories of the previous decade. There are few better times than now to relive The Walking Dead’s last season, which ended this year.
7. State of Decay 2
In State of Decay 2, the unexpected are the finest. When a seemingly safe building is home to a Feral zombie, the game’s “let’s ransack one more house” loop comes to life. In this game, you assume control of a group of survivors amid a zombie outbreak, and as your group develops, you can transfer between characters whenever you like. There is no respawn for the fully voiced characters, each of whom has a unique narrative and behavioral quirks. Toe-curlingly frightening interactions with the Feral Zombies occur here because of Until Dawn’s terrible permanency. There isn’t a clear story here, but if you liked the unpredictable nature of Until Dawn, you’ll like this just as much.
8. Life is Strange 2
Until Dawn and Life Is Strange both feature teenagers and strange incidents, but they go quite different routes. Two brothers are compelled to flee after one of them gets a strange power in Life is Strange 2. Life is Strange, on the other hand, is all about the heart — and not the kind that is ripped out of a person’s chest. In this account of contemporary American life, seen through the eyes of two young men on the edge of maturity, themes like masculinity, racism, drugs, and politics are explored. Make sure to examine all of your options carefully, as there are numerous pathways to choose and major decisions that will effect the story’s outcome.
To play a horror adventure game that isn’t just about the jump scares and shocks is nice. As a modern-day scientist-turned-vampire, you play Dr. Jonathan Reid in Vampyr, which takes place in London during World War I. Expect major in-game decisions that will effect the story (would you sacrifice Reed’s humanity, or try to spill as little blood as possible?) again. There are, however, far more shots and kicks to unleash here than there were in Until Dawn. There is no better place for those who prefer their horror served with a firearm than the cobbled streets of Vampyr.
10. Batman Arkham VR
Batman Arkham VR is a brilliantly designed game. In order to avoid motion sickness in virtual reality, the developers created a game that focuses on Batman’s other abilities. You have to use the tools at Bruce Wayne’s disposal (as well as his ol’ noggin) to solve the mystery of what happened to Nightwing after he goes missing in Arkham VR. There are a couple jump scares and a visit to a mortuary in the movie, but it’s also very creepy. Unlike Until Dawn, Arkham VR has a captivating mystery at its center, and you’ll have a great time solving it.