Horror games offer players a dread-filled and anxiety-induced stressful experience, which is an extremely enjoyable ride for lovers of the genre. These games are filled with moments that either scare players outright or immerse them in tense sweat-filled nightmares where they need to stay alive long enough to survive an encounter with some sort of paranormal entity.
Horror games come in loads of different formats, with the most common being survival horror. In these games, the gameplay allows players a slight amount of defensive power and tasks them with fighting off or evading their enemies. Another popular branch is psychological horror, which is generally dependent on an eerie atmosphere and sinister setting to keep audiences in a state of panic.
Regardless of the specifics of the genre, horror games are a popular pick for many players and have had a constant stream of releases over the last two decades every year. This list includes 10 such best horror games from the 2010s, with one for every year.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion
10 horror games from 2010 to 2019
1) Amnesia: The Dark Descent - 2010
From developer Frictional Games, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival horror game, which was released on September 8, 2010, for PCs. Set inside the fictional castle of Brennenburg, players take control of protagonist Daniel as he navigates the corridors and rooms of the area.
While initially having no memory of how he ended up in the castle, Daniel seeks to find out more about his situation as he explores the castle. He comes across some disturbing revelations as he runs into various monsters and enemies along the way. He must unlock new areas and solve puzzles to get to them to find a way out.
This horror game is played in first-person mode, as players explore and find items. They are required to solve physics-based puzzles, as well as avoid different enemies and other dangers. This game offers no combat for the player to employ.
It contains a sanity meter that will drop if the player is in the dark for too long. A low sanity means more restricted movement, higher chances of attracting monsters as well as auditory and visual hallucinations.
2) Dead Space 2 -2011
Dead Space 2 was developed by Visceral Games and published by EA in 2011 as a follow-up to the first game, Dead Space. This sci-fi horror game was released on January 25 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PS3. Protagonist Isaac Clarke returns once more as he fights off body horror nightmare creatures known as Necromorphs.
Set three years after the events of the first game, Dead Space 2 sees Isaac Clarke on the space station known as the Sprawl, where he has been kept since the last game. As another outbreak starts turning crewmates into necromorphs once more, Isaac must pick up his trusty plasma cutter and get to the bottom of the source of this problem.
Played in a third-person perspective, this game also works similar to a shooter, just like the first Dead Space. The story is spread across fifteen levels and Isaac will find and unlock new weapons and armor levels as the narrative progresses. The game introduces a competitive multiplayer mode to the series as well.
3) Slender: The Eight Pages - 2012
Slender: The Eight Pages, sometimes simply abbreviated to Slender, is a free-to-play survival horror game developed and published by Parsec Productions. The game was released on June 16, 2012, for PCs, and is a single-player focused narrative game, which includes no co-op or multiplayer modes of any kind.
Players take on the role of a girl known as Kate, who is lost in a dense forest. The game tasks the player with finding eight pages of a notebook, which are scattered across the map. Slender Man appears as players collect more and more pages, trying to hinder the player and take them away.
Players are equipped with a flashlight, which can help them see in the dark, although prolonged use will drain its battery. At the end of the game, Slender Man will still take Kate away, leading into the next game of the series, titled Slender: The Arrival. This was a fully realized retail version of the Slender Man game, with its final level being a homage to The Eight Pages.
4) Outlast - 2013
Outlast is a first-person survival horror game where investigative journalist Miles Upshur investigates a remote psychiatric hospital and gets trapped inside it. Developed and published by Red Barrels, this game was released on September 4, 2013, originally for Windows PCs and later ported for other consoles in the next couple of years.
The psychiatric hospital known as Mount Massive is located in Leadville, Colorado, where Miles finds it overrun with homicidal patients. Trying to find a way out, Miles must avoid any patient he sees and sneak around them, sometimes in complete darkness.
The game is played in first-person, and players are equipped with a video camera with a night vision feature. This allows for players to navigate dark areas, although using it constantly will deplete its batteries. Players can find additional batteries scattered about the game world, while they run and hide from murderous individuals.
5) Alien: Isolation - 2014
Based on the first Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott, Alien: Isolation tells an original story in this universe, occurring adjacent to the movies, and following Amanda Ripley, the daughter of Ellen Ripley. Developed by Creative Assembly and published by SEGA, this survival horror game was released on October 7, 2014.
Played in first-person perspective, players take control of Amanda Ripley as she heads out to the Sevastopol Space Station, which has claimed to have found the flight recorder of her mother’s ship.
As she lands on the space station along with a small crew of people, it becomes clear that something is wrong. This feeling is only further solidified when a 9-foot tall Xenomorph jumps out of a vent in front of Amanda.
After this point, the horror game becomes a sweat-filled adrenalin rush campaign, as players are constantly on the lookout for the alien. Whenever it is on the scene, players will need to react quickly, hide or use distractions to outsmart the Xenomorph as there is no fighting this Apex Predator.
6) Until Dawn - 2015
Supermassive Games is a developer well known now for their interactive horror games. Until Dawn was their first foray into the genre and probably one of the best from their early catalog. Released on August 25, 2015 exclusively for the PS4, this game set the tone for which this developer became well known.
The game follows a group of teenagers who meet up at a remote lodge to have a fun time for a few nights. However, things soon start to go awry as they are attacked by an unseen enemy from the wilderness, and a sinister figure starts putting them through a twisted game of survival. They have to find a way to stop this mad man and figure out what other dangers lurk in the shadows.
Purely based on a compelling narrative, players get to take charge of different teens at various points in the story. Different sections of the game play out at various times, which consist of explorable areas, choice-based dialogue and quick-time events. Actions in either of these might directly or indirectly lead to character deaths, which affects the game’s ending.
A spiritual successor to this game, known as The Quarry, was released in 2022.
7) Dead by Daylight - 2016
A survival horror game, which is also an asymmetrical online multiplayer experience, Dead By Daylight was developed and published by Behavior Interactive. It was released on June 14, 2016 for Windows PCs, and later on for consoles. This game can be played either in 4-player co-op or as a 1v4 asymmetric competitive mode.
Four survivors must work together to fix five generators and open the exit games to escape the hellscape. The fifth player is the killer, whose objective is to capture all the survivors and sacrifice them to a malevolent force known as The Entity. The game will end when all the living survivors survive or are sacrificed.
While a set of characters exists for players to choose to play as, the game also includes many available characters from popular horror movies, shows and other games. Characters from Stranger Things, Evil Dead, Silent Hill, and Resident Evil are all playable in this multiplayer horror game.
8) Resident Evil 7: Biohazard - 2017
After struggling for some time to grapple with what the series was going to be, Resident Evil decided to take the full survival horror route with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Developed and published by Capcom on January 24, 2017, this horror game decided to tell a new story in the world of Resident Evil, with a new protagonist called Ethan Winters.
After receiving a message from his presumably missing wife Mia, Ethan travels to a dilapidated farmhouse looking for her. Ethan soon realizes that despite the state of things in the house, it isn’t deserted and comes face-to-face with Jack Baker, the patriarch of the Baker family, an infected group of individuals holding Mia hostage.
Unlike previous games in the series, Biohazard sets the gameplay in a first-person perspective, which highly intensifies the horror that the game throws at the player. Ethan gains more and more weapons as ammunition as the story progresses and takes down the members of the Baker family.
9) Call of Cthulhu - 2018
Call of Cthulhu is a role-playing survival horror game, which features a semi-open world and explorable areas. Developed by Cyanide and published by Focus Home Interactive, the game was released on October 30, 2018. Players must use investigation skills and stealth to navigate this world inspired from Lovecraftian and psychological horror.
Set in Boston in 1924, Edward Pierce is a war veteran who is currently serving as a private investigator. He is contacted to investigate the Hawkins murder, and heads off to Darkwater Island, which is just off the coast. Once there, he is met with a sour welcome, as the natives are untrusting of any newcomers and outsiders.
This is an interactive drama-based horror game that sees players explore and examine objects in and around the semi-open world. As the story progresses, some new explorable areas become available as certain supernatural elements start seeping into the narrative. The game also includes a Sanity meter, which the players will need to maintain as it factors heavily into the different possible endings.
10) Blair Witch - 2019
Inspired by movies of the same and similar names, Blair Witch was developed by Bloober Team and published by Lionsgate Game. This survival horror game was originally released on August 30, 2019, for Windows and Xbox One. The events of this game takes place two years after the events of the movie titled The Blair Witch Project, which takes place in 1994.
The protagonist Ellis Lynch, a former police officer and war veteran, sets out into the woods of Black Hills Forest in search of a boy who had previously gone missing in the area. Ellis is accompanied on his search by his trusty pet dog Bullet, who also helps Ellis to keep his anxiety under control, as he suffers from PTSD.
Players need to explore the forest, use Bullet to retrieve certain items and search ahead along a path, or in unreachable locations. All the while, they will be experiencing unexplainable phenomenon, blackouts, and discovering mysterious totems, which are the tricks by the Witch to ensnare Ellis. Based on a few gameplay choices by the player, one of three possible endings can be the outcome.
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