Yes, Halloween is upon us soon. With it comes the promise of dark cold nights, and eerie unnatural sounds that echo in the rooms around you; the whisper of your unconscious playing on your fears. Shadows flickering from jack-o-lanterns. Lonely evenings with no friend in sight to tell you it's just your imagination.
So, basically, the perfect time of year to play some creepy horror games, and scare the shit out of yourself.
In the spirit of helping you on your path to mental insanity, I've compiled a list of the 5 top games you should be playing as Halloween draws near. These games are so good, so scary, you probably don't even need me to tell you. Still, just in case you've been spending too much time in a white room somewhere, here they are.
Because if Hell created a game, it would be this. Besides having heard certain other GameSkinny team members make noises and exclamations of horror while playing this game, Outlast takes on high quality graphics, the abandoned haunted-house horror genre, and a touch of reality to give you an experience that, if you believe Joystiq, is "...the perfect nightmare."
The story-line is set in Mount Massive Asylum. All the inhabitants and setting of the game are inspired by real life. Just in case you needed the extra holy-shit-this-just-got-real factor. You play journalist Miles Upshur, who breaks in to discover the Asylum's secrets, but gets more than he bargained for.
This YouTube video is almost entertainment enough for a Halloween night. The game itself, although again drudging up the familiar abandoned building scene, certainly adds some unique concepts to it.
The building you find 'Anna' in actually exists in real life, as you will see if you watch the trailer above. It's in Italy, which is where the indie developers come from. Anna actually responds to your behavior in the game, thus adjusting your scares to what you do in response to things. Your actions also determined which of the 8 total endings you will see.
Anna has a graphical art taste that I particularly like, and I think this gives it a different feel than other horror games. The Extended edition features basically "more" and "improved" of everything that made up the original version.
OK, so this one isn't the real trailer, either. I figure, you're going to scare your own pants off soon enough so you might as well have a few laughs beforehand... while you still can. This video is funny enough with the thumbnail still of a spiked-collar pig, but seeing a grown man scream every few seconds is pretty hilarious, too.
Amnesia isn't new on the horror game scene, so by now you may be pretty familiar with it. I cheated and put both games here, because well, why not?
For Amnesia: The Dark Descent you play Daniel, who slowly but surely unravels the mystery of the abandoned castle he wakes up in. Not knowing how or where he is, the game play starts of slow and builds into a terrifying climax.
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs has you play wealthy Oswald Mandus, who awakes into--you'll never guess--an empty abandoned household! However, you will also have the added pressure of having to save Oswald's children.
To change things up a bit, I've added the actual trailer to this one, and we've taken things into outer space. There is only so much scary-ness you can find on one planet, after all.
Set on planet Tau Volantis, you follow along with protagonists Isaac Clarke and John Carver who face a lot of challenges, including at times having to keep track of oxygen levels. Reanimated bodies controlled by Aliens slightly reminds me of Mass Effect, but that's probably the fan girl in me. The unique location setting of this game allows for not only antagonists to challenge and scare players, but the environment to play an active factor as well.
A cult classic, Deadly Premonition put the weird in horror. In the game you play as an FBI detective who is on a murder case in the town of Greenvale. You have a particular affinity with coffee. You talk to yourself occasionally, and refer to this invisible person as 'Zach'.
Deadly Premonition isn't just about a horror game full of odd, quirky people. It's a town that is fully interactive, and open-world. Even the time is kept here. You can get paid for work you do, and when you run out of gas, you're gonna need it.
It may not be as physically dark of a location setting as other horror games, but it will still leave your heart pumping.