10 Scary Games That Aren't Slender or Outlast

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An old one, but a good one. Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a great game that uses the environment to scare you and keep you tense throughout the whole game. Just as you're getting comfortable in an area, you discover you're not alone.

The graphics are a little older and certainly aren't next-gen, but the hours of wandering around this creepy castle are well worth it--especially once things start to fall in to place in terms of plot and Daniel's past.

  • Jump Scare Rating (things that jump out and scare you): 7
  • Environmental Scare Rating (the need to pee your pants from walking around): 9

This game is available on PC on Steam.

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SCP Containment Breach is a free game that you can download here. The idea is that you're a participant in the SCP Containment Facility, which holds strange anomalies and entities that threaten "the normality of the world."

The graphics aren't splendid, but they'll do; there are also a couple of minor glitches that you may run in to given that it's in a pretty early build. The voice-acting however is pretty good.

There are some interesting mechanics at play, as you can see above. Plus bonus Day9 corgi costume.

  • Jump Scare Rating: 9
  • Environmental Scare Rating: 6

SCP Containment Breach can be downloaded for free at the link above.

More of a classic and one that won't wow you on its graphics, System Shock 2 (1999) is one of the first games that really explored the FPS genre in terms of survival horror.

You play the role of a lone soldier trying to quell a genetic infection that has completely destroyed the inhabitants of Von Braun and Rickenbacker. Included in your gameplay experience are zombies and a rogue AI named Shodan.

Developed by Ken Levine, Bioshock is supposed to be the spiritual successor to System Shock 2. Raise your hand if you'd like to see a true next-gen reboot.

  • Jump Scare Rating: 8
  • Environmental Scare Rating: 8

System Shock 2 is available on Steam and most online retailers.

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Dead Space is a personal favorite of mine. The first one is one of the best horror games I've played, complete with a pretty deep story. The graphics are very neat and polished, though they've aged.

Isaac, the protagonist, is quested with boarding the Ishimura to repair its communications after the ship comes in contact with an alien artifact. Terror ensues.

I didn't particularly enjoy the second or third installments, so this rating is only for the first title.

  • Jump Scare Rating: 10
  • Environmental Scare Rating: 9

Dead Space and 2 are available on Steam; Dead Space 3 is available on Origin. Both sequels are placed in the original Dead Space universe, and the third introduces a multiplayer feature.

The Silent Hill  franchise, while varying in quality (in my opinion), is an excellent option for gamers looking for a scare. Obviously, the graphics quality will improve as you move down the line (the first was made in 1999), but the experiences they offer are definitely one of a kind.

Silent Hill focuses on a different player character from installment to installment...

  • a man looking for a missing loved one (the first and second, Homecoming)
  • a teenager tied to a cult (the third)
  • a man locked in his apartment (the Room)
  • a man who saves a girl from a burning building (Origins)
  • a prisoner stranded on Silent Hill (Downpour)

Shattered Memories is more of a redo of the first game and isn't an actual installment in the series; The HD Collection is a rerelease of the second and third titles; Book of Memories was developed for Vita and was the first to explore Silent Hill from a bird's eye view, and to include multiplayer.

Hint: The movies are not adequate replacements for the games. Especially the second film.

  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 8
  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 9

Silent Hill: Homecoming is the only title available on Steam. The rest (nine titles total) can be found on Amazon for PC, PS/2/3/Portable, and Xbox 360.

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The F.E.A.R franchise is obviously a given. Just look at the name. The older installments will have weaker graphics, but the latest, F.E.A.R 3, was very well done.

Much in the way of Dead Space and Amnesia, the plot unfolds gradually as you progress through the game. As part of the First Encounter Assault Recon, you're tasked with dealing in paranormal threats--like this one. While your mission is to kill the villain, who is using telepathically controlled soldiers to evade escape, you constantly come face to face with a little girl named Alma; or, at least, a hallucination of her. Maybe.

  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 9
  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 8

All F.E.A.R. games can be found on Steam.

Developed by the same studio that brought us Amnesia, Penumbra is an older project that many claim to actually be scarier than Amnesia. I'll leave that up to you.

All three games follow the same protagonist and exist in the same universe. The gamer plays as Philip in Overture, who firstly receives a letter from his supposedly dead father after the passing of his mother; then, Black Plague follows the ending of the first game into a new installment as an email sent by Philip to a friend; Requiem finishes up the series as Philip writes "Kill Them All."

  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 8
  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 8

All three games are available on Steam.

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Metro 2033 is a survival horror game (that uses the music from 28 Days Later in this trailer, strangely enough) from 2010. 

After nuclear war, Russians have taken to using metro tunnels and stations to survive underground. Artyom, one of the first born in the metro, must get help for his station as strange creatures start to invade. But is that all they're after? Are they the only enemies to watch out for?

One year later, in Metro: Last Light, Artyom faces enemies in both the creatures and humans, as two factions fight for dominance and resources. 

Though both are heavier on the action side, they still have interesting survival horror aspects to them.

  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 6
  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 7

Both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light are available on Steam.

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is an extremely underground (well, probably not so much anymore) Korean game that was never developed for the West. You'll have to download a modded version in order to play in English. 

Because of the game's current state (read: abandoned), it's free to download straight from the developer, meaning no pirating! Just be sure to grab the English version unless you want to change your PC to Korean.

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School was deemed one of the scariest games of all time--or would have been, had it been released in the West. Some of the mods have actually toned the game down due to complaints that it was too scary to complete.

You play a young Korean student who transfers to a new school, and immediately falls in love with a fellow classmate who happens to lose her diary. As White Day (one of Korea's romantic holidays) is upon him, the protagonist sneaks in to the school at night to plant her diary and chocolates in her locker. Little does he know that the school is about to turn into a never-ending horror house.

  • Jump Scare Rating: 10
  • Environmental Scare Rating: 9

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is only available through download on the official developer site or through a mod community. Download with caution!

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Fatal Frame is probably the first Camera Obscura games developed. Known as Project Zero in Europe, Fatal Frame has been one of the most well-received horror games to date. Obviously, given age, the graphics will vary from title to title, but Fatal Frame 4 was the best selling of the series in Japan.

Fatal Frame follows a young girl as she searches for her brother in a mansion--upon discovering that she's locked inside, she must use an old antique camera to escape. 

Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly focuses on twin sisters as they happen across an old village and an ancient ritual that damns one sister. 

Fatal Frame III: The Tormented shows a young photographer who ends up taking a picture of her dead fiance in a mansion; she then has recurring dreams that turn into nightmares. This installment touches on previous characters and events in the first two games.

Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse was developed for Wii in 2008. Three kidnapping survivors return to the location of their kidnaps to remember what happened.

  • Jump Scare Rating (Overall): 8
  • Environmental Scare Rating (Overall): 10

Unfortunately, these titles are only available on Playstation and Nintendo consoles.

Published Mar. 12th 2014

Former Staff Editor

whale biologist.

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