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5 PC Horror Games to Play for Halloween

horror PC indie

With Fall comes the best holiday of the season for horror-enthusiasts: Halloween! For those of us who enjoy a good scare, the month is rife with horror films and people looking for something to make them jump out of the seat.

Although there is certainly no lack of games in the horror genre to try, finding truly scary or interesting ones can be tough at times. If you’re someone looking for a worthwhile horror gaming experience then take a look at this list. Chances are, there’s at least one game here which even a horror aficionado has yet to pick up.

 

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent


How can anyone make a list of worthwhile horror games on PC without mentioning this modern classic? Frictional Games has been working on games for a while now but somehow this is the game which ended up being their blockbuster hit. Most of us have played this through, but if you haven’t, then definitely give it a shot. There is a reason why there are zillions of videos of people freaking out playing Amnesia online - it’s good at being scary!

What made it such a success? Those who have only experienced more modern horror games probably aren’t much familiar with games where you aren't given ample bullets and ways to destroy everything in your path. Instead of going out guns blazing, Amnesia forces you to be prey for some strange, inhuman being. Making players fear for their life works well, and creates many tense situations. If you’ve already played this, consider looking at Frictional’s Penumbra series. That, or wait for Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs in early 2013.


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Downfall


Are you someone who has played Lone Survivor or Home, or does either game appeal to you? If so, perhaps checking out Downfall would be worth your while. This is an indie adventure game developed by Harvester Games which didn’t end up getting much publicity back in 2009. Regardless, it pushed boundaries that few studios have ever touched, and did so well. It’s especially impressive considering the game was in fact Harvester’s first game - and a one man effort to boot.

The game focuses around a man who is traveling with his wife. She begins to act strange so he decides the best course of action is to stop for a night in a motel. Of course, once he wakes up he finds her missing and the story progresses onward from here. If you’ve ever heard of this game before, it’s probably due to the massive amounts of gore and sick stuff tackled during play. Sometimes it can be a bit overdone, but for the most part it is refreshing and works with the story. Check it out, and if it’s not quite your thing (or is completely), maybe the more polished Sanitarium will quench your horror adventure gaming thirst.


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The Path


Here’s a game that doesn’t really fit what many may expect from a horror game. With this title, Tale of Tales took quite an unusual spin on the Little Red Riding Hood story. Taking control of one of six sisters, the game simply prompts you to “stay on the path” to grandmother’s house. Of course, being curious young girls, you can’t help wonder what lies beyond it. As players, the compulsion to venture into the wood is too strong, so of course most everyone wanders in.

What happens off the path? Each sister has her own tale, but searching through the woods feels quite worrisome. It’s not due to the fact that you disobeyed orders so much as once you’re out there you realize there was probably a good reason such a rule was given to the children. Some may find it slow, but if you’re willing to get invested in the world, the disturbing and even mystical events that unfold are totally worth playing it for.


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Pathologic


Of all the games on the list, this is probably the hardest one to recommend wholeheartedly, although those devoted to the horror genre should still definitely check it out. What exactly is Pathologic? It is a game developed by the Russian team Ice-Pick Lodge which focuses in on a town of which a doctor played by you has just entered. The inhabitants in this town are not well, however, as a disease is slowly killing off the entire population. What can you do? There’s only one thing to do and that is to try and save the diseased around you, or at least save yourself.

The ideas brought forth in this game are incredible and deserve to be looked into more by other games. Earlier I said this is a hard one to recommend and that is due to parts of the game rather than its whole. For one, the translation from Russian to English is rough and doesn’t create the best script. Secondly, the graphics were rather poor at the time of release and now definitely will appear crude and even humorous to some now. Still, if you can get past these facts, as well as some tough missions, then Pathologic is quite the horrific journey.


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Scratches


Do you play many point-and-click adventure games? If not, is it due to the confounding puzzles or stigma that they can’t be scary? If so, then push all those thoughts out of mind and start up Scratches. This game focuses in around a mansion who has a really awful history with its owners. Unexpected death, suicide, and disappearances have all occurred in this manor, but it doesn’t stop a novelist from taking up residence there to work on his book. However, he is barely given any time to enjoy his alone time to write, as he begins to hear scratching sounds from somewhere in the building.

Just the setup is a bit creepy, but actually playing the game makes for an excellent horror experience. For a point-and-click game, it is actually light on puzzles that rely on ridiculous “logic”, instead focusing on fewer overall. The game manages to scare thanks to a fantastic atmosphere, soundtrack, and ambient sounds. Slowly uncovering the history of the house is interesting, and only grows scarier as you progress. The buildup to the finale is something that horror fans owe to themselves to experience.

 
While there are many great horror games to be had on consoles, it seems that some of the most creative and daring titles only ever make it to PC. And with so many games on PC, it’s even hard to make a list of notable titles, because there are always more coming out. Hopefully some of the games on this list are ones you agree with, or are now on your list to play. Whatever the case is, enjoy getting scared from the comfort of your computer and have a happy Halloween!


3 Comments

I'm going to recommend Hotline: Miami for this list as well. It's very creepy, intense, and fun. Mostly creepy, though. The disorienting visuals and wicked atmosphere build a rising horror-tension combo. It's quirky and difficult, but worth it.

Also, I should mention that Scratches and other great horror titles are in the new Indie Gala bundle. Check 'em out!
I wish consoles were still a viable platform for new and interesting survival-horror games. All of these titles look promising but I'm just not a PC gamer.
Out of all these The Path sounds the most intriguing, yet oddly it's not part of Steam's Halloween sale. Go figure.

I got Pathologic in the Indie Royale Halloween bundle, but I have yet to play it or even install it. As for the others, I don't have them and don't really know much about them. I don't think Amnesia is really my thing due to the lack of any combat options, and I don't like first-person point and click games (thanks to Myst) so I doubt I'll play Scratches. As for Downfall...well, I can't seem to figure out where to get it. Legally. :\

 

 

 

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