Our longtime fans might remember this list we did once. Unfortunately, once we lost the server data, we also lost our posts.
Fear not (hehe, pun intended) for we have re-made the list, evaluating and re-evaluating some entries! Behold and enjoy!
Please note: This list is based on the games’ atmosphere and immersion factors rather than the scare factor. Anybody can make a game filled with jump scares… we aim for atmosphere in our top ten survival horror games till 2013.
#10 – The Fatal Frame Series
While many of our fans might jump out of their seats and ask us “Why did you place Fatal Frame in the last spot?!”, we will point out that we appreciate this series. It is scary, the atmosphere is awesome, the concept is brilliant… but our list has barely started. Fatal Frame hands you a camera and asks you to take photographs of ghosts in order to put their souls to rest (so to speak, without giving away spoilers).
Instead of hiding from them, you actually have to look for various elements that scare the living daylights out of you. Fun! 😀 We placed it last though because the jump scares are the norm for this game, which is a shame.
#9 – Home ( you can find it on Steam)
How can a bunch of pixels hold so much information for your brain to digest/create/replace/enhance? You wake up in a house and you are looking for a way to get home. The way is filled with dangers.. but not in the way you would expect.
This is one of those gems that one could easily overlook. It plays with you without playing with you. Give it a shot if you want to know what we meant by that.
The human brain… such a marvelous device!
#8 – Condemned: Criminal Origins
You’re a cop, hunting a bad guy. Nothing new here… until your mind goes berserk and you don’t know what is real and what isn’t. It is a First-Person Shooter in which you analyze clues, search for missing elements and do your best to survive. The melee combat is particularly well made.
It is disturbing, yet not subtle enough to score higher on our list. If you want atmosphere with a LOT of action, this might be the game for you.
#7 – CZHO Mythos –free download here–
Ah yes… what a brilliant series that spans over four games:
- 5 Days a Stranger
- Trilby’s Notes
- 7 Days a Skeptic
- 6 Days a Sacrifice
You play as various protagonists who do their best to understand the story surrounding the CZHO Mythos. Yes, a story within a story.. how much of it is real, though, we may never know. Or will we?
This game shows you that it doesn’t take too many pixels to make you sleep with the lights on. I actually wanted to make a movie based on the quadruplogy and I’ve sent an e-mail to the author who, sadly, never replied.
#6 – Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit)
Rarely you will find a game that makes you feel guilty and panicked in the first 10 seconds after you take control of your character. While many people say that the story goes haywire towards the end, it is still a game that you must play.
If you are a movie director, a painter, a city worker or even a carpenter who never played a game in his life, you will enjoy this experience (even though it might take a while to get used to the controls). This game will make you take quick decisions that you will think of a long time after you shut down your PC.
Is it replayable? Definitely.
#5 – Heavy Rain
The Spiritual Successor of “Indigo Prophecy”, Heavy Rain will hit you emotionally on multiple levels. I can’t say much about this game without spoiling it for you.
Interactive movie experience? Not really… more like a “Choose your path” type of game. The music is stunning and you could easily get lost in the moment.
Of course there is a bad guy/girl in this… and I have never been so angry towards a fictitious character before. It really hits you. It does.
#4 – Amnesia: The Dark Descent
The atmosphere is so thick… it leaks out into the loading screens. (Not kidding)
Dark and mysterious, it makes you ask yourself multiple questions. One of the most intriguing that came to mind, as I was playing, was: “What the hell is breaking down the door to my room and WHERE do I HIDE IN HERE?!”
The story is.. big. The scares are yours, not the game’s. By that, I mean, it doesn’t “cheat-scare” you… it just shows you a dark room and lets your brain fill it with whatever you think might be down there.
In a way, you try to remember things that don’t exist.
#3 – Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason
What can one write about a game that doesn’t really speak to you.. but to a certain part of yourself, buried deep, down there? It is, indeed, a game that puts reason to sleep, for it is an adventure of the soul. Yeah, it does have survival horror elements, enemies, health stuff, whatever… but you will end up ignoring all those just to see what’s in the next room. Or in the next hallway.
To hear the ice melt around you, to see how your presence brings back to life certain parts of the frozen ship… it’s like the game brings back to life certain parts of you that you have long forgotten.
It is poetry. It is visual poetry.
#2 – Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Did I actually see that? I asked myself as I hastily wiped my monitor’s screen. I get up and turn on the lights. There was nothing on my desk or around it.
With a sigh, I turn the lights back off and continue playing. Am I imagining things?
The clock on my desk pointed out that it was much too late for anyone to be playing games. In the game, I lay my head on a dirty pillow, resting and trying to forget the rotting images implanted in my subconscious. In real life, I thought that I should do the same. Another glance at the clock seemed to confirm my thoughts… however, a loud knock on my door throws me out of my sleepy state.
They were here for me. They finally decided to kill me. Just like the others.
I get up and stumble across the floor, darting for the window. I barely manage to reach it when I hear a loud gunshot behind me. I’m hit. The heavy footsteps I hear closing in are signaling me to get the hell out of there. …and if you want to know how this story ends, you’ll play this game :3
#1 – Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams
“I got a letter. The name on the envelope said… “Mary”.
My wife’s name.
It’s ridiculous… couldn’t possibly be true. That’s what I keep telling myself.
A dead person can’t write a letter.”
A true work of art. The type of game that leaves you pondering long after you completed it.
Is it scary? …depends on the way you relate to the main character, the other characters, the town itself and the overall feeling of loneliness…
Will it make you jump out of your chair? …no, but it might make you get up on several occasions and walk through your house, digesting feelings related to certain aspects of the story… or maybe not..
Is it disturbing? …most likely, depending on your own inner demons.
Why should I play it? …I’m not saying you should. It’s not for everyone. 🙂
Think we missed a good game? Write it in the comments!
P.S. Oh and, yes, we know about Slender and the other Slendy series that it spawned, including the official game. We didn’t include it because it is just one major jump scare. It’s a brilliant jump-scare, but just that.