Horror as a whole media is in a dying state. The quality of horror films, games and TV shows (if there are any that can be labelled as that anymore) have slowly diminished in the last 20 years. It’s a shame as the genre itself has an amazing reach and a huge audience. I’ve been a horror fan for as long as I can remember and have always enjoyed watching a good horror movie or playing a good horror game. Even though the genre is fleeting – there are still some great horror games on the horizon and so here are eight horror games you shouldn’t miss in 2014.
Outlast – “Night Vision Terror”
If you haven’t seen my Outlast review yet – be sure to check that out here. It’s currently the only game on this list that is out at the moment and it’s a great start. While it did come out in 2013 on the PC, I only got the chance to play it when it released at the start of February on the PS4. Outlast is a game packed full of jump scares but at the same time mixes in a great dose of dread and fear. Playing as a defenseless journalist is a terrifying experience and stems from the roots of games like Slender and Amnesia. Managing your night vision and the battery life within the camera is difficult but adds to the experience. The inmates are terrifying and the whole asylum is twisted and demented in the best way possible for a horror fan. If you haven’t played Outlast yet – now is the time to do it.
Daylight – “Things go bump at night”
Another game that’s coming out very soon for both PC and PS4 is Atlus’ terrifying game Daylight. Like Outlast, you’re defenseless and the only way out is to run. The actual game is said to only last around 30 minutes but is randomly generated each time you play offering an infinite amount of replayability. Something like this has rarely been done before especially in the horror genre and I’m genuinely excited for its release. It’s been scheduled for a Q1 release so it isn’t far off at all. I know I’ll be getting it day one.
The Forest – “What really happened on Lost”
You’ve survived a plane crash. Bravo. Now you’re on an island filled with cannibals. Not so good. The Forest is an indie game coming out quite soon. It acts somewhat like Minecraft where you’re able to craft items, scavenge food and build shelter. The obvious difference to Minecraft is that your enemies are cannibals and they’re trying to eat you. The game looks genuinely awesome and I can’t wait to play it. The concept is great and the ability to craft, build and scavenge freely is something that interests me greatly in a game like this.
Outlast: Whistleblower – “He’s giving you the finger”
Yes, there is a sequel (or well, prequel) coming out this year. You play as the person who actually tips off the main character in the original game to visit the asylum. This one is sure to bring up some scares and continue in the wonderful footsteps of its predecessor. I’m hoping for a PS4 release and I’m adamant this game will be a terrifying, yet engrossing look back into Mount Massive Asylum.
The Evil Within – “Japanese Horror. Enough Said”
Shinji Mikami is the master of horror. If you don’t recognize that name, he directed Resident Evil 4. That’s all I need to say. He put a lot of work into the original Resident Evil games and he hasn’t been on a horror game for quite a long time. The Evil Within is marking his return and the game looks really damn good. You play as Detectvie Sebastian Castellanos and when you’re rushed to a scene that involves a grizzly mass murder, a darker evil awaits. You lose consciousness when you arrive and awake in a place with monsters lurking around every corner. Not just those silly monsters you can kill with a couple of rounds, big monsters with chainsaws that want to saw you in half. The Evil Within looks like a much welcomed return for Mikami to the genre he helped define. This is by far my most anticipated horror game releasing this year and it looks like it’s going to be bringing the scares. I can’t wait.
Dying Light – “Good night. Good luck”
Dying Light looks to combine two games that I really enjoyed (Dead Island and Mirrors Edge) and mash them together for a zombie-filled apocalypse party. Maybe not so much a party, but there is a zombie apocalypse. Being able to navigate buildings sprawled across for miles with the ease of a couple of button presses looks genuinely awesome and mixing that in with the RPG and fighting elements of Dead Island seems like a great idea. The daytime zombies look like your average George A. Romero zombies – ones that sort of walk around at a half limp making weird noises, often flailing at you only to be cut in half with an axe. Come night time however, they transform into these crazy ballistic zombies that chase you. I love the idea of it and it makes the night sequences that much more thrilling and chaotic. This is a highly anticipated game (for me anyway) and while it isn’t essentially a jump scare-filled horror game, it makes up for that with zombies – and lots of them.
Among the Sleep – “The Boogeyman Strikes”
Among The Sleep puts you in the role of a two-year-old child who decides to go on a little walk about to find mummy and daddy. It’s an atmospheric horror game that is looking a little bit like Gone Home except with scares involved. There really isn’t a lot about Among The Sleep at the moment but it seems as though the child you play as might start imagining terrible things and they start popping up everywhere. Here’s hoping there aren’t any clowns involved.
Alien Isolation – “Not as horrific as Colonial Marines”
Yeah sure, shrug your shoulders and assume this’ll be like Aliens: Colonial Marines. I assure you it won’t. Alien: Isolation casts you as Amanda Ripley – the main characters daughter from the movies who tragically died while Ripley was floating through space. Your task is to get out of there. Simple as that. Only problem is that you’ve got a nice old Alien stalking you. The game is taking cues from other titles like Outlast, Amnesia and Slender in the fact that you can’t actually attack it. Expect this game to be one that’s full of terror, jump scares and fear. In space, no one can hear you scream – but in your apartment your neighbors will. Unlucky.
So there you are – eight horror games you should not miss this year. It really seems like we’re getting a great mix of titles this year from both indie developers and the big developers. What I know is that 2014 is going to be a great year for horror games. Better get the old heart ready.