5 narrative-driven horror games to play while you wait for Resident Evil 4 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake is one of the best horror titles with a gripping narrative (Image via Capcom, Steam)
Resident Evil 2 Remake is one of the best horror titles with a gripping narrative (Image via Capcom, Steam)

The long-awaited remake of the fan-favorite game Resident Evil 4 has been officially announced to come out sometime in 2023. Fans were ecstatic about the remake as the original is considered one of the best titles in the Resident Evil franchise. With previous entries in the series, Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, getting full-blown RE-engine remakes, a similarly remade Resident Evil 4 will be a sight to behold.

To prepare for the horror-filled adventures of Resident Evil 4, players might want to dive into some of the best narrative-driven survival horror titles. We have compiled a list of some of the best games in the genre with intense horror sequences and a gripping story. So without further ado, here are some of the best narrative-driven horror games to play while awaiting the release of Resident Evil 4.

Five best story-driven horror games to experience in anticipation of Resident Evil 4 Remake

1) Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 is unanimously considered the very best Resident Evil game in the franchise. The game perfectly infused the tense horror and survival gameplay of the original game with a campy but fun narrative.


With the original Resident Evil game getting a proper remake for GameCube in 2002 and subsequent HD remasters for the seventh and eighth-generation consoles, fans had been asking Capcom to remake Resident Evil 2.

Although it took quite a while for Capcom to acknowledge and deliver on the request, in 2019, they finally did it. Resident Evil 2 Remake was released to an overwhelmingly positive response from critics, fans of the original RE2, and even newcomers. The game improved on every aspect of the original and even added some new puzzles and scenarios of its own.

The Resident Evil 2 Remake was developed using Capcom's proprietary RE Engine, giving the game's visceral and serene atmosphere an almost photorealistic appearance. Capcom also promised players a full 60-FPS experience, regardless of the platform. And for the most part, they delivered on this promise, with minute frame drops on the base PlayStation and Xbox One consoles.

The narrative, although left practically unchanged from the original, has a few small details that were changed to make it a cohesive experience.

The game lets the players experience the fall of Racoon City from the perspective of Rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy, who unfortunately gets trapped in an undead-infested police station on his first day of joining duty.


The story is very cheesy at times, as a Resident Evil game should be, filled with corny dialogue and over-the-top action setpieces. Once players finish Leon's campaign, they can jump right back into the game as Claire Redfield, a college student and sister to the series' alpha, Chris Redfield.

Claire's campaign lets players experience the game from a completely new perspective, with new weapons, puzzles, and even boss battles. Both the playthroughs are necessary to get the game's true ending and also to fight the actual final boss of the game.

The developers at Capcom meticulously converted the original's fixed camera angles to an over-the-shoulder third-person camera. They also improved the original's tank controls to make them more in line with modern survival horror games. Moreover, the game retains all the enemies from the 1998 classic and even changes the placements of a few to keep players guessing.


Despite getting a complete visual and gameplay overhaul, the game never felt out of place for fans of the original, and that is a testament to how passionate the developers are regarding the original RE2. Given that the Resident Evil 4 Remake will be receiving the same RE Engine overhaul, RE2 Remake makes for the perfect game for players to delve into.

2) The Evil Within 2

The Evil Within is the brainchild of Shinji Mikami, also known as the father of the survival=horror genre, and his team at Tango Gameworks. After leaving Capcom, Mikami wanted to pursue his own development ambitions, and thus The Evil Within was born.


The game was a full-on throwback to Mikami's earlier work in the survival horror landscape, which includes the original Resident Evil 4 itself. Although The Evil Within offered a pretty good horror experience, it never gained much attention from fans. This, in part, is due to its abstract story and numerous technical issues.

With the sequel, however, Tango Gameworks was not only successful in fixing the original game's shortcomings but also added a fresh spin on the survival horror aspect of the franchise.

The Evil Within 2 is a linear experience with an excellent narrative to boot. But for the first few chapters of the game, Evil Within 2 offers an almost open-world-like gameplay for players. The game also lets players undertake a handful of side-quests alongside the main storyline quests. These side-quests mostly involve the open sections of the game and reward curious players with new weapons, upgrades, and story tidbits.


The gameplay is about the same as the previous game, with the standard action survival horror mechanics. Players, over the course of the game, gain new weapons and tools to take on the countless horrors lurking around in Union. There are also several active and passive skills that players can acquire by spending green gel, the game's currency.

Even though the gameplay is roughly the same as the original game, the overall experience was improved, with better and more reactive enemy AI, improvised stealth, combat mechanics, and more. The highlight of the game, however, is its story.

The game continues with the story of Sebastian Castellanos, who is once again plugged back into STEM, but this time to rescue his presumed dead daughter, Lily. The story is very well-paced this time around, with more emphasis on direct storytelling via cutscenes and gameplay instead of expository dialogue.

The story is also way less convoluted than in the last one, and despite touching and acknowledging the last game's events, it does not hang on to the original game's narrative for too long.


The Evil Within 2 is a perfect mix of visceral survival horror gameplay and an excellently written and well-paced story. With massive improvements made to the original game in the franchise, The Evil Within 2 certainly makes for a satisfactory horror adventure to be experienced before Resident Evil 4 Remake comes out.

3) Dead Space

Dead Space is essentially Resident Evil but in space. The game borrows heavily from the RE franchise, especially Resident Evil 4. The story of Dead Space, however, is much more thought-provoking and serious here than in any of the RE games.


Dead Space tells the story of Isaac Clarke as he travels through Kellion, a maintenance spaceship, in search of his girlfriend Nicole on a planet called Aegis VII, where most of the crew and human colonies have either died or turned into Necromorphs, the game's version of zombies.

The story follows Isaac as he descends deep into Kellion's bowels and uncovers the secrets of the Necromorph outbreak as well as his own past. The narrative follows many twists and turns to keep players second-guessing the story and Isaac's own motivations. By the time the story ends, players are bound to feel awestruck by some of the revelations made over the length of the game.

The story sees Isaac encounter a wide range of foes, which he can either choose to run from or engage head-on using makeshift weapons. These weapons are craftable using blueprints at several workbenches scattered across the game's levels.


Dead Space employs a unique dismemberment system in its gameplay, where players are encouraged to defeat Necromorphs by cutting or shooting different limbs off of them. This also helps the game keep the experience fresh for every other level where it introduces different variations of Necromorphs that require specific parts of their anatomy to be dismembered in order to be dealt damage.

Dead Space is a great game that provides a unique spin to the traditional survival horror gameplay with its dismemberment mechanics and gut-wrenching story. Dead Space is also followed by two direct sequels that expand on the foundations laid by the original game.

4) Metro Exodus

The Metro games by developer 4A Games are the perfect blend of survival horror, tight fight-person shooting mechanics, and a deeply engaging story. Based on the books by Dmitry Glukhovsky, the Metro series doesn't shy away from indulging players with a gripping narrative while keeping them hooked to its stellar first-person gameplay.


Metro Exodus, the latest title in the trilogy, is quite possibly the best game in the series. Previous Metro games relied on the tense atmosphere of Moscow's underground metro tunnels engulfed in darkness. There are countless horrifying creatures lurking around each corner, and a lighter is the only source of light for players.

Metro Exodus, too, revels in creating such a tense atmosphere but is not confined to underground tunnels as the story takes players to unique landscapes across post-apocalyptic Russia. Players take on the role of returning protagonist of the series, Artyom, as he and his allies go on a continent-spanning journey.

The story, although it is linear in structure, has certain junctions where players can make choices, depending on which the story's ending is shaped. The game is divided into chapters, with each chapter being a new zone for players to explore.

The survival aspect is in full effect in these games as players need to regularly keep switching mask filters to avoid dying from radiation poisoning and are constantly scavenging for scraps and ammunition.

Exodus is one of the most immersive and intense survival horror experiences out there.


Metro Exodus' gameplay revolves around players partaking in main-story quests while also indulging in various side-quests. The side-quests here mostly involve helping fellow survivors or clearing rebel camps around the vast sandbox levels. The first-person shooting at play in Metro Exodus is top-notch, where every single gun feels unique to play with.

Metro Exodus makes for a great survival horror title to play with satisfying first-person gameplay and an excellent narrative for players to get immersed in. With the added bonus of multiple endings, missable side-quests, and a couple of DLC expansions, Metro Exodus is well equipped to keep players in its survival horror loop until Resident Evil 4 Remake arrives.

5) The Last of Us

Naughty Dog's storytelling magnum opus is one of the best video games of the decade. The Last of Us, without a shadow of a doubt, is arguably the best narrative that has ever been told via the medium of video games.


The game, besides having a phenomenal story, is also a great survival horror experience at heart. The game is structured in the form of linear chapters where every other chapter is segregated via cutscenes that transition players from one chapter to another.

Gameplay is the basic survival horror loop of scavenging resources using stealth or makeshift tools and weapons to fend off human and undead enemies called Clickers. The gameplay, although it is a generic survival horror affair, is highly polished in The Last of Us, making it quite possibly the most refined and grounded survival horror game to date.

The story of The Last of Us sees players take on the role of Joel Miller, who lost his daughter during the chaos of the apocalypse that ravaged the world. He is tasked with escorting Ellie, a young survivor who is also apparently immune to the Cordyceps infection, to a Firefly base to create a vaccine out of her immunity.

The story beautifully depicts Joel and Ellie's journey and how they try to find some closure for their past sorrows in one another. The way both these survivors, despite having lost parts of themselves, still try to find brief moments of joy in the dark and miserable world is sure to leave players completely engrossed.


The Last of Us makes for a fun and emotional ride for anyone looking to indulge in a more grounded survival horror experience with the narrative depths of Oscar-worthy movies before they jump back into the not-so-serious story of Resident Evil 4 Remake.

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