30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (2024)

Table of Contents
30 Five Nights At Freddy's Took YouTube By Storm Haunted Animatronics Stalk the Player - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 29 The Forest Brings Horror to Open-World Crafting A Father's Desperate Search for His Son After a Plane Crash - Science of Scare Rank: #9 (86 BPM Heart Rate) 28 Battle Internal And External Demons In The Suffering Torque is a Tortured Man Put Through Terrifying Trials - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 27 Condemned: Criminal Origins Dramatizes the Horrors of Crime Solving An FBI Agent Is Framed for Murder While Chasing a Serial Killer - Science of Scare Rank: #15 (79 BPM Heart Rate) 26 Players Have A Limited Amount Of Time To Complete D An FMV Production That's Part-Game, Part-Horror Flick - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 25 Run and Hide, Or Die In Outlast's Mortifying Mount Massive Asylum A Trendsetter for Horror Games Where The Only Option Is Fleeing - Science of Scare Rank: # 12 (83 BPM Heart Rate) 24 Alone In The Dark Was An Early Horror Game Trailblazer A Romp Through a Haunted Louisiana Manor in the 1920s - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 23 Clock Tower Proved Just How Scary Point-And-Click Games Can Be Being Squat Doesn't Make the Scissorman Less Horrifying - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 22 Kuon Is a FromSoftware Survival Horror Classic The Kuon Ritual Has Brought Supernatural Horrors to the Heian Period of Japan - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 21 Spend The Day Preparing For The Night In Darkwood An Ever-expanding Stretch of Forest Encroaches on 1980s Poland - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 20 The Underwater Setting of SOMA Is No Rapture — It's Scarier From a Car Crash to Being Displaced in Time, Simon Needs Answers - Science of Scare Rank: #13 (82 BPM Heart Rate) 19 Layers of Fear Is A Notable Spiritual Successor of Amnesia A Painter Faces Down His Past In a Haunting Victorian Manor - Science of Scare Rank: #16 (77 BPM Heart rate) 18 P.T. Was a Limited Teaser Making The Most Of Its Time A Silent Hill Teaser From Kojima That's Been Lost to Time - Science of Scare Rank: Unranked, but tested. (99 BPM Heat rate) 17 Alan Wake Has Seen A Resurgence In Recent Years A Thrilling Survival Horror Game Where Light is a Tool and a Weapon - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 16 Fatal Frame Is A Picture-Perfect Survival Horror Game A Trendsetter for Ghost-based Horror in Gaming - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 15 Visage Is an Unnerving and Gut-wrenching Horror Game Inspired by P.T. A Haunted House With a Harrowing History That Keeps Getting Worse - Science of Scare Rank: #3 (94 BPM Heart Rate) 14 Home Sweet Home is a Terrifying Thai Production A Homage to Horror Games, Rooted in Thai Culture - Science of Scare Rank: #20 (75 BPM Heart Rate) 13 Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem Is A Cult Horror Classic A Horror Game Infamous for Breaking the Fourth Wall Like No Other - Science of Scare Rank: N/A 12 Amnesia: The Dark Descent Put a Spotlight on Horror Games Awakening With No Memories in a Prussian Castle Leads to Monumental Frights - Science of Scare Rank: #8 (88 BPM Heart Rate) 11 Silent Hill 2 Is Set To Receive A Much-Deserved Remake A Heavy Psychological Horror Game With a Brilliant Narrative - Science of Scare Rank: #23 (74 BPM Heart Rate)
horror games

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (1)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (2)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (3)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (4)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (5)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (6)

By Guillermo Kurten , Michael Colwander , James Lynch , Casey Coates , Jeremy Devoe & Amber Frost

Updated

Thread

Your changes have been saved

Email Is sent

Please verify your email address.

You’ve reached your account maximum for followed topics.

Manage Your List

Follow

Followed

Follow with Notifications

Follow

Unfollow

Link copied to clipboard

Sign in to your CBR account

Since the dawn of time, humans have been fascinated with fear. From cautionary tales to telling ghost stories, fear provokes a primal thrill. Horror games provide players with an experience almost as terrifying as being there in person. Horror may not be for everyone, but when done well, the sensation of being properly terrified can leave a lasting and oddly positive impression on a person.

There are few mediums better suited for horror than video games due to their interactive aspect, often requiring the player to put themselves into the path of an oncoming scare to progress. While some players have particular fears or don't usually startle, some of the scariest horror games can unsettle even the bravest players regardless. Fans of horror games will purposely seek out the horror games with the biggest thrills, and there is a sizable library of horror games spanning the past few decades that offers the greatest frights in gaming.

Updated June 30, 2024, by Jeremy Devoe: Horror games are seeing a steady flow of interest and even some growth overall in popularity during the past few years. As such, this list has been updated to spotlight five new horror titles. We've also reorganized various pieces of supplemental information for each entry and added additional analysis throughout. The Science of Scare Rankings have also been adjusted, though, the list is not an overall ranked list based on these Science of Scare Ranks.

30 Five Nights At Freddy's Took YouTube By Storm

Haunted Animatronics Stalk the Player - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 78/100

Users - 7.7/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 78/100

Critics Recommend - 67%

Related

10 Scariest Animatronics in the Five Nights at Freddy’s Games

Five Nights At Freddy's is one of the scariest horror games out there, thanks in large part to its terrifying lineup of evil animatronics.

Five Nights at Freddy's is an indie game created by Scott Cawthon that was released to fairly favorable reviews. However, it began to take off and set a new trend for the horror gaming sphere after its gameplay garnered millions of views on YouTube, drawing immense amounts of interested players who wanted to see if they could make it to 6 A.M. each night themselves. Five Nights at Freddy's was considered one of the scariest games of its era, with its attention-occupying managing of multiple tasks and resources naturally setting up the game's infamous animatronic jumpscares.

With extensive but difficult-to-piece-together lore, an unsettling environment, and some of the most famous horror game content creators boosting its reach, Five Nights at Freddy's was a massive hit. FNaF has inspired almost innumerable fan games and indie games alike, while also having many sequels and spin-offs produced since its initial release.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (8)
Five Nights at Freddy's
Franchise
Five Nights at Freddy's
Platform(s)
Android , iOS , PC , PS4 , Switch , Xbox One

Released
August 8, 2014

Developer(s)
Scott Cawthon

Publisher(s)
Scott Cawthon , Clickteam LLC USA

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

Engine
multimedia fusion

ESRB
m

29 The Forest Brings Horror to Open-World Crafting

A Father's Desperate Search for His Son After a Plane Crash - Science of Scare Rank: #9 (86 BPM Heart Rate)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (9)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 83/100

Users - 7.5/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 81/100

Critics Recommend - 69%

The Forest is an open-world survival game that is best played with friends despite its story set-up only accounting for a single main character. The forested island where the player crashes down is full of cannibalistic mutants, who are indeed on the hostile side, but will hesitate to jump straight to violence when encountering a player unless provoked. Players will need to scavenge, farm, and craft to maintain a base while they search the expanse of the island to find their character's son.

While the surface of the Island is horrifying enough, the real terrors wait below in the various caves scattered about The Forest's map. These locations contain the best loot, key items, and the most horrific mutants among the enemy roster. There are two endings, with a single pivotal choice deciding which ending players get. One ending returns the player to their base after its conclusion as well, allowing them to continue using their save file and further brave The Forest.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (10)
The Forest

Platform(s)
PC , PS4

Released
April 30, 2018

Developer(s)
Endnight Games

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

Multiplayer
Online Co-Op

ESRB
M For Mature 17+ Due To Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity

How Long To Beat
15 Hours

Number of Players
8 (PC), 4 (PS4)

28 Battle Internal And External Demons In The Suffering

Torque is a Tortured Man Put Through Terrifying Trials - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (11)

Metacritic score (PS2)

Critics - 77/100

Users - 8.2/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

The Suffering, made by the now-defunct Surreal Software and Midway Games, is one of the most intense horror games the sixth generation of consoles had to offer. The Suffering is an action horror game that brings the supernatural to a brutal prison setting amid an earthquake that hits Carnate Island. The game's prison, Abbot State Penitentiary, is the center of the brutality. Players play as Torque, a death row inmate who has no recollection of killing his ex-wife and child as he's been said to have done.

Torque has to fight through Abbot State Penitentiary and across Carnate Island against armies of horrible foes as he seeks answers and his freedom. The truth of what happened to Torque's family is determined through three different endings based on gameplay decisions. This encourages players to brave Abbot State Penitentiary multiple times to experience each of The Suffering's endings for themselves.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (12)
The Suffering
Platform(s)
PC , PS2 , Xbox (Original)

Released
March 9, 2004

Developer
Surreal Software

Publisher
Midway Games, Zoo Digital Publishing

Genre(s)
Survival Horror , Shooter

How Long To Beat
9 Hours

27 Condemned: Criminal Origins Dramatizes the Horrors of Crime Solving

An FBI Agent Is Framed for Murder While Chasing a Serial Killer - Science of Scare Rank: #15 (79 BPM Heart Rate)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (13)

Metacritic score (PS2)

Critics - 81/100

Users - 8.2/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

For most investigation games, the worst events have already occurred, with players normally coming across the aftermath of a murder within a relatively safe setting. 2005's Condemned: Criminal Origins flips that on its head, making solving cases on the scene a terrifying act. FBI Agent Ethan Thomas is an investigator for the Serial Crime Unit and is pursuing a killer known as the "Match Maker" in the fictional city of Metro.

After he is framed for murder, Ehan must juggle chasing after killers, clearing his name, and surviving in the ruthless locales of Metro. Condemned features a unique-at-the-time first-person melee combat system which would eventually become a massively popular trend among later horror games. Between startling jumpscares and ambushes from aggressive but sometimes surprisingly stealthy enemies, prowling a crime scene in Condemned: CriminalOrigins is one of the most tense experiences in gaming.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (14)
Condemned: Criminal Origins

Platform(s)
PC , Xbox 360

Released
November 22, 2005

Developer(s)
Monolith Productions

Publisher(s)
Sega

Genre(s)
Survival Horror , Action

How Long To Beat
7 Hours

26 Players Have A Limited Amount Of Time To Complete D

An FMV Production That's Part-Game, Part-Horror Flick - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (15)

Metacritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

Many games from the mid-1990s are starting to show their age, and some horror games of the era have lost their sting. However, Kenji Eno-directed FMV masterpiece D is a lesson in delivering scares. Beyond the early three-dimensional models and light gameplay, D provides players with a bizarre approach to horror that holds up in its age. Somewhere between a horror-adventure game and an interactive movie, the story follows Laura Harris as she goes to investigate a hospital where her father has gone on a killing spree and barricaded himself inside.

From there, the story becomes a bizarre and surreal journey heavy on investigative functions and light on mechanical elements. It's an intensely creepy game that delves into murder and cannibalism alike, only allowing the player two real-time hours to complete a playthrough of the game. There is no pause or save function available. D is a peculiar experience in horror that any horror fan needs to set time aside for.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (16)
D (1995)

Platform(s)
3DO , Sega Saturn , PS1 , MS-DOS

Released
1995-04-00

Developer(s)
Warp

Publisher(s)
Panasonic , Acclaim Entertainment

Genre(s)
Adventure

25 Run and Hide, Or Die In Outlast's Mortifying Mount Massive Asylum

A Trendsetter for Horror Games Where The Only Option Is Fleeing - Science of Scare Rank: # 12 (83 BPM Heart Rate)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 80/100

Users - 8.3/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 77/100

Critics Recommend - 52%

Related

What Happened to The Thing Video Game?

The Thing video game is oozing out from the icy depths of obscurity, raising questions about what happened to the series and what comes next.

Outlast is a terrifying game from start to finish. Playing as Miles Upshur, a journalist who has wound up locked inside the Mount Massive Asylum, players are forced to navigate the psychiatric hospital with little more than his hand-held camera on their person. Making matters worse, Miles has no way to defend himself against the asylum's dangerous inmates. He's only capable of fleeing and hiding from their assaults.

Even games that rely primarily on stealth usually give players a non-lethal weapon or a defensive item to utilize. Outlast, however, does not, leaving players to timidly navigate the dark with the game's synonymous night-vision filter. Put simply, Outlast's motto is: Hide, run, or die. While many games since have copied the formula it introduced, Outlast is remembered as one of the first horror games to make the player feel entirely powerless.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (18)
Outlast
Platform(s)
PS4 , Xbox One , PC , Linux , macOS , Switch

Released
November 4, 2013

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

Developer(s)
Red Barrels

Publisher(s)
Red Barrels

ESRB
M for Mature: Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Content, Nudity, Strong Language

24 Alone In The Dark Was An Early Horror Game Trailblazer

A Romp Through a Haunted Louisiana Manor in the 1920s - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

Metacritic score (PC) (Alone In The Dark Original Triology)

Critics - 72/100

Users - 7.6/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

The Alone in the Dark series is now extremely well-known but has humble beginnings. The original entry, which set the name for the series, was released on the MS-DOS in 1992 and is one of the all-time greatest retro horror video games. Despite the game's low polygon count, Alone in the Darks' atmosphere is still investing and chilling throughout the entire game. The player can choose either Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood as their player character; both will need to make their way through a haunted mansion known as Derceto.

Players start Alone in the Dark in Derceto's attic, tasked with finding a way through its many twisting corridors and winding stairways to the exit. On the way, there are creepy enemies to find and cryptic puzzles to solve, creating a consistently engaging and startling experience. It's no surprise that Alonein the Dark laid out the groundwork for titles like Resident Evil, inspiring a fair bit of its mechanical design.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (19)
Alone in the Dark

Platform(s)
PC , iOS

Released
1992-00-00

Developer(s)
Infogrames

Publisher(s)
Infogrames

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

ESRB
T For Teen

23 Clock Tower Proved Just How Scary Point-And-Click Games Can Be

Being Squat Doesn't Make the Scissorman Less Horrifying - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (20)

Metacritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

Though it has since spawned a fairly successful series, the first Clock Tower game is still regarded as the series' best. Clock Tower's plot centers on a girl named Jennifer Simpson, an orphan adopted by a wealthy and secluded man named Simon Barrows. Simon's manor shares the game's name, and Jennifer is joined by Anne, Laura, and Lotte, other orphans from her orphanage. Though all seems well at first, things quickly turn for the worse. Early in the story, an entity known as the Scissorman kills either Laura or Anne, kicking off the game.

The game excellently delivers its scares via its narrative and by making the most of its rudimentary point-and-click gameplay. Unwrapping the many layers of Clock Tower's story down to the unnerving truths behind Scissorman proves to be a harrowing journey. An enhanced port is set to be released in 2024, marking the first time the original Clock Tower has been released internationally.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (21)
Clock Tower

Platform(s)
PC , SNES , PS1

Released
September 14, 1995

Developer
Human Entertainment

Publisher
Human Entertainment

Genre(s)
Survival Horror , Adventure

ESRB
M For Mature 17+ Due To Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence

How Long To Beat
3 Hours

22 Kuon Is a FromSoftware Survival Horror Classic

The Kuon Ritual Has Brought Supernatural Horrors to the Heian Period of Japan - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

Metacritic score (PS2)

Critics - 57/100

Users - 7.9/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

Kuon is an early FromSoftware title that deserves better than its reputation as just an obscure and rare PlayStation 2 title. Kuon's Kaidan-inspired atmosphere weighs heavily on the player. Enemies are more readily drawn to them when their character breaks into a run, encouraging tense and silent walks through the dangerous grounds of Fujiwara Manor. The story is broken up into three main parts; "Yin" following Utsuki, "Yang" following Sakuya, and the unlockable "Kuon", which follows a legendary Japanese folklore figure, Abe no Seimei.

Players will unravel a nefarious and frighteningly ambitious plot that revolves around two magical Mulberry trees planted near Fujiwara Manor. These are the sources of the terrible monsters and other-worldly threats that now plague the manor. On top of the natural scares throughout Kuon's narrative and the dread of trying to survive its lethal setting, Kuon's mind-bending story will leave players thoroughly unsettled long after its conclusion.

21 Spend The Day Preparing For The Night In Darkwood

An Ever-expanding Stretch of Forest Encroaches on 1980s Poland - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (22)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 80/100

Users - 8.0/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 77/100

Critics Recommend - 77%

The unnervingly surreal Darkwood is a survival horror game that manages to subvert expectations and deliver genuine scares throughout its semi-open world, able to do so from a top-down perspective, too. Darkwood's day and night cycle is at the core of the gameplay and plot progression. During the day, players can explore and collect materials to improve their situation and bolster a hideout. At night, things change dramatically, and for the worse, as the player must remain inside and ward off the oncoming horrors of the dark woods around them.

Though a relatively simple premise, the game places the user in near-total isolation. Only the occasional NPC provides partial relief from suffering alone in Darkwood's foreboding atmosphere. The game's unique art style, outlandish hallucinogen mechanic, and terrifying enemies rightly place this top-down fright-fest among the scariest indie offerings in the horror genre.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (23)
Darkwood

Darkwood is a top-down survival horror game where players must defend themselves against horrifying entities.

Platform(s)
Xbox One , PS4 , PC , Switch

Released
August 18, 2017

Developer(s)
Acid Wizard Studio

Publisher(s)
Crunching Koalas

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

20 The Underwater Setting of SOMA Is No Rapture — It's Scarier

From a Car Crash to Being Displaced in Time, Simon Needs Answers - Science of Scare Rank: #13 (82 BPM Heart Rate)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 84/100

Users - 8.5/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 83/100

Critics Recommend - 80%

2:32

Related

10 Horror Games With The Best Atmosphere

Some horror video games are known for their characters or bombastic set pieces, but titles like Silent Hill or SOMA thrive from a creepy atmosphere.

The developers of Amnesia: The Dark Descent applied their talents to the world of SOMA — a game with credentials for standout scares that aren't immediately apparent. Set underwater in the PATHOS-II research facility, players must struggle to survive and unlock the mystery of the desperate scenario they find themselves trapped within. The game does have the usual jump scares, though, these are used sparingly. Instead, it relies heavily on its subtle but gradually increasing tension to show its true talents for filling the player with mounting dread.

There are stark and deliberate narrative threads for players to discover along the way. Although its scares are not the most heart-stopping among the scariest games ever, it's easily one of the most accomplished among them. Its atmosphere and narrative more than provide a blanket of unease for players to be huddled further underneath with each turn in the story, its scares are enhanced by their framing rather than their potency.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (25)
SOMA

In SOMA, Simon Jarrett explores an underwater research facility trying to piece together what happened there and his own past.

Platform(s)
PS4 , Xbox One , PC

Released
September 15, 2015

Developer(s)
Frictional Games

Publisher(s)
Frictional Games
Genre(s)
Horror

How Long To Beat
10 Hours

Metascore
84

19 Layers of Fear Is A Notable Spiritual Successor of Amnesia

A Painter Faces Down His Past In a Haunting Victorian Manor - Science of Scare Rank: #16 (77 BPM Heart rate)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (26)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 72/100

Users - 7.3/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 75/100

Critics Recommend - 53%

Layers of Fear is all about its namesake, dragging players along through a warping and twisted journey through the eyes of an unnamed painter over six chapters. While foreboding, but otherwise normal at the very start, Layers of Fear quickly devolves into a supernatural fright-fest with its mansion sitting shifting before the player's eyes and forcing them to experience the haunting presence of their character's past.

As players brave the terrors and terrible truths the mansion is showing them in Layers of Fear, their actions will play a role in which of the three endings will close the story of their playthrough, two of which serve as truly unsettling capstones to the plot. Layers of Fears' scares play with the player's expectations directly, rather than relying on the player being startled alongside their player character, making for a white-knuckled gaming experience.

18 P.T. Was a Limited Teaser Making The Most Of Its Time

A Silent Hill Teaser From Kojima That's Been Lost to Time - Science of Scare Rank: Unranked, but tested. (99 BPM Heat rate)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (27)

Metacritic score (PS4)

N/A

Users - 8.7/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

P.T. was released as a literal playable teaser for the planned Silent Hills entry to the Silent Hill franchise. Though Silent Hills never saw the light of day, what players saw with P.T.was well beyond a proof of concept. Taking advantage of a first-person perspective for the first time, the unknown protagonist awakens in a fairly modern-looking house with no specific goals or intentions other than progressing through their own home.

After the first few minutes, it becomes clear that the house is looping onto itself, with the final door opening to another instance of the same hallway and foyer. With each run through the house, however, subtle changes start to occur and previously out-of-sight scares creep into the edges of players' vision. This builds to an outright menacing and unhinged eruption of terror that bears down on players to the last step. Despite being a playable teaser, the buzz that surrounded P.T. and its amazing execution have given it a legacy that stands among the scariest games of all time.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (28)
P.T.

Platform(s)
PS4

Released
August 12, 2014

Developer(s)
Kojima Productions

Publisher(s)
Konami

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

How Long To Beat
2 Hours

17 Alan Wake Has Seen A Resurgence In Recent Years

A Thrilling Survival Horror Game Where Light is a Tool and a Weapon - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (29)

Metacritic score (Xbox 360)

Critics - 83/100

Users - 8.3/10

OpenCritic score (Xbox 360)

Top Critic Average - 77/100

Critics Recommend - 53%

Though Alan Wake has a somewhat mixed legacy among the player base, there is no denying it did deliver on top-quality scares. In Alan Wake, players take control of the titular protagonist, a novelist suffering from acute writer's block. In the fictional town of Bright Falls, a "darkness" corrupts everything it comes into contact with, turning living beings into creatures known as "Taken." All of this darkness can be driven back by light of any kind, and the stronger, the better.

Alan Wake takes full advantage of this premise. It turns the staple horror game flashlight into the game into a vital component of combat, with enemies impervious to damage until they've been exposed to direct light. Alan Wake supports its uniquely frightening combat with light-based puzzles that hold their own scares. They also support a solid narrative that's only grown better with its sequel, Alan Wake 2, which was released in October 2023.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (30)
Alan Wake

Another game that nails the horror atmosphere while giving more action-oriented gameplay, Alan Wake is a masterclass on mood. Of all the game’s exceptional qualities (of which there are many), the way it builds tension and atmosphere in the environment is incredible, and blew critics and audiences away when it was first released.

Franchise
Alan Wake
Platform(s)
Xbox 360 , PS4 , PS5 , PC , Xbox One , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S

Released
February 16, 2012

Developer(s)
Remedy Entertainment

Publisher(s)
Microsoft

Genre(s)
Third-Person Shooter , Survival Horror

ESRB
T for Teen: Blood, Language, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence

16 Fatal Frame Is A Picture-Perfect Survival Horror Game

A Trendsetter for Ghost-based Horror in Gaming - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (31)

Metacritic score (PlayStation2

Critics - 74/100

Users - 8.5/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

Fatal Frame is a popular series among fans of horror games with many chilling entries, but it's still the very first entry on the PlayStation 2, Fatal Frame, that remains the most terrifying. Set in 1986, the game follows siblings Miku and Mafuyu Hinasaki while the latter attempts to search for a famous folklorist in the haunted Himuro Mansion. Mafuyu disappears amid this venture and Miku winds up going to the Himuro Mansion to find her brother herself, unintentionally wandering into a terrifying mystery.

The horror game popularized the fixed-camera perspective. The accompanying tank controls, assist in bolstering the sense of helplessness and disorientation that haunts Fatal Frame's Himuro Mansion along with its roster of morbidly interesting ghosts. Fatal Frame also featured a unique approach to fending off its horrors — a spiritually enhanced camera that also serves as an investigation tool. With hostile ghosts, cruel rituals, and heaps of paranormal clues to find, the Fatal Frame series started strong in 2001 through its first entry.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (32)
Fatal Frame

Miku Hinasaki searches for her missing brother in a haunted mansion filled with vengeful spirits. Armed with the Camera Obscura, a special camera that can capture and exorcise ghosts, Miku uncovers the mansion's dark history and the tragic events that trapped the souls within its walls.

Franchise
Fatal Frame
Platform(s)
PlayStation (Original) , PC , Nintendo Switch

Released
December 13, 2001
Developer(s)
Koei Tecmo
Publisher(s)
Koei Tecmo

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

ESRB
T For Teen Due To Blood and Gore, Violence

How Long To Beat
8 Hours

15 Visage Is an Unnerving and Gut-wrenching Horror Game Inspired by P.T.

A Haunted House With a Harrowing History That Keeps Getting Worse - Science of Scare Rank: #3 (94 BPM Heart Rate)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 81/100

Users - 5.5/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 78/100

Critics Recommend - 79%

Related

10 Horror Game Cliches Fans Still Love

Jump scares, dramatic villains, and zombies are welcomed clichés that have their place in horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

Despite its short length and simple premise, P.T. has proven to be to be an immensely influential horror game. One of the best games P.T. influenced is the psychological horror game Visage. Visage puts players in a large, seemingly empty, home — a classic horror setup. Though, as soon as the opening cutscene, it's clear that something much worse is happening. Players play as Dwayne Anderson, who wakes up in his home after killing his family and taking his own life.

Dwayne's home is now taken over by the paranormal, and he's seemingly unable to leave it or reach the outside world otherwise. Each chapter of Visage explores the life and death of each of the previous inhabitants of Dwayne's home, with bone-chilling paranormal phenomena rife throughout. Visage was a product of heavy and open inspiration, but it more than stands on its own as a horrifying gaming experience worth getting scared by.

14 Home Sweet Home is a Terrifying Thai Production

A Homage to Horror Games, Rooted in Thai Culture - Science of Scare Rank: #20 (75 BPM Heart Rate)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (34)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 66/100

Users - 6.6/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

Top Critic Average - 67/100

Critics Recommend - 31%

Home Sweet Home starts with players in an upsetting situation from the get-go — the player's character awakens in an unfamiliar place, his wife nowhere to be found. However, it quickly worsens, with players encountering a ghost girl who can teleport through bloody portals, and she's ready to chase the player down with a box cutter. Home Sweet Home expands into a dangerous journey rife with unsettling beings from various facets of Thai culture, like Preta and Krasue.

Choosing to forego combat, Home Sweet Home has players always using the flight half of their flight-or-fight response to stay alive when encountering the various foes that will stalk them throughout the game's halves. While not reviewed as highly as some of the other scariest games, many players agreed that the game did a frighteningly great job with its horror elements. It does so well enough that it remains memorable for its atmosphere and scares rather than its mixed reception.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (35)
Home Sweet Home
Platform(s)
PC , PS4 , Xbox One

Released
September 27, 2017

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

Developer
Yggdrazil Group

Publisher
Yggdrazil Group

How Long To Beat
5 Hours

13 Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem Is A Cult Horror Classic

A Horror Game Infamous for Breaking the Fourth Wall Like No Other - Science of Scare Rank: N/A

Metacritic score (GameCube)

Critics - 92/100

Users - 8.9/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

Releasing only on the Gamecube in 2002, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem proves that Nintendo can produce strong entries in genres besides family-friendly adventures. The game is a third-person Lovecraftian-inspired story with interesting navigation mechanics and a unique inventory system. Many items serve multiple purposes in various combinations outside their typical use. Players take control of a new character with each passing chapter, and those chapters span many eras of human history.

However, what is most memorable about Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem are the scares that kick in once the player's sanity drops low enough. Ranging from faking the deletion of the player's save file to decapitating their player character with no warning, letting them wander about headless. Beyond these, however, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem proves to be foreboding with its less gimmicky scares.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (36)
Eternal Darkness

Platform(s)
GameCube

Released
June 24, 2002

Developer(s)
Silicon Knights

Publisher(s)
Nintendo

Genre(s)
Action-Adventure

ESRB
M For Mature 17+ due to Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence

How Long To Beat
14 Hours

12 Amnesia: The Dark Descent Put a Spotlight on Horror Games

Awakening With No Memories in a Prussian Castle Leads to Monumental Frights - Science of Scare Rank: #8 (88 BPM Heart Rate)

Metacritic score (PC)

Critics - 85/100

Users - 8.6/10

OpenCritic score (PC)

N/A

N/A

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is an indie horror game designed by Thomas Grip. When thinking of terrifying games, even if someone hasn't played this indie gem, its name is likely to be in their mind. Amnesia: The Dark Descent broke ground by proving that independent developers could make top-of-the-line horror experiences. They could create scares just as harrowing, if not more so, than other horror productions from larger studios.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is set from a first-person perspective that forces the player to confront the waking nightmare their character is experiencing. The point of the game is to have Daniel, the amnesiac protagonist, escape the monster-filled Brennenburg Castle, but such a task is far from easy. Amnesia: The Bunker builds on its foundations, but The Dark Descent's atmosphere and thrills have yet to depreciate all these years later.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (37)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Franchise
Amnesia
Platform(s)
PlayStation 4 , Nintendo Switch , Android , Xbox One , Microsoft Windows , macOS

Released
September 8, 2010

Developer(s)
Frictional Games

Publisher(s)
Frictional Games
Genre(s)
Survival Horror , Indie Games , Adventure , Action , Puzzle

Engine
HPL Engine, HPL 2 Engine

ESRB
t

How Long To Beat
8 hours

11 Silent Hill 2 Is Set To Receive A Much-Deserved Remake

A Heavy Psychological Horror Game With a Brilliant Narrative - Science of Scare Rank: #23 (74 BPM Heart Rate)

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (38)

Metacritic score (PS2)

Critics - 89/100

Users - 8.5/10

OpenCritic score (N/A)

N/A

N/A

Silent Hill as a franchise has long been remembered as one of the grandfathers of survival horror games. While the franchise is known for many unsettling entries, Silent Hill 2 is its most popular by far. Its story and characters are nearly synonymous with horror gaming for many players, especially the iconic Pyramid Head. Silent Hill 2 has scares, but it earns its spot among the scariest games for the nerves and suffocating atmosphere it creates, with its creatures and warped locales emphasizing them.

James Sunderland finds himself in the haunting town on a quest to find his wife. Playing as Silent Hill 2's questionably immoral protagonist, players must navigate the fog-blanketed town of Silent Hill with limited resources and minimal overt guidance. Besides being spine-tingling, Silent Hill 2 is remembered most for its narrative. It's a surreal delve into heavy subjects that holds up as one of the best stories told in gaming.

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (39)
Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill 2 follows James Sunderland, who receives a mysterious letter from his deceased wife, summoning him to the eerie town of Silent Hill. As James searches for answers, he encounters grotesque creatures and disturbing characters that reflect his guilt and inner turmoil. The town's foggy streets and haunted buildings reveal the dark secrets of James’s past, leading him to confront the truth about his wife’s death and his own actions.

Franchise
Silent Hill
Platform(s)
PC , PS2 , PS3 , Xbox (Original) , Xbox 360

Released
September 24, 2001

Developer(s)
Konami

Publisher(s)
Konami

Genre(s)
Survival Horror

ESRB
M For Mature 17+ Due To Blood and Gore, Violence

How Long To Beat
8 Hours
  • Games
  • horror games
  • Resident Evil

Your changes have been saved

Email Is sent

Please verify your email address.

You’ve reached your account maximum for followed topics.

Manage Your List

Follow

Followed

Follow with Notifications

Follow

Unfollow

30 Scariest Video Games Of All Time (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 6146

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.