Halloween is getting closer and closer, and people are getting more and more involved in the classic festivities that are often associated with it. One of the most interesting aspects of Halloween is how the horror and fright connotations that accompany it can translate into a wide variety of media, and video games are no exception.
Horror video games have proven to be a staple of the gaming industry over time, with different horror games pushing the boundaries of the video game experience in a variety of genres. One of the most popular sub-genres in this vein is survival horror, and there are many extremely well-received survival horror titles that are worth playing for those who want to fully immerse themselves in the Halloween spirit.
The Best Survival and Horror Games to Play for Halloween
1. Alien: Isolation
Survival horror fans have an obvious candidate for Halloween chills with Alien: Isolation, a 2014 title set in the spooky and gripping world of Alien. Widely regarded as one of the best video game adaptations of the iconic franchise, Isolation sees players take control of fan-favorite character Amanda Ripley aboard a vast space station, daughter of Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, encountering a litany of hostile survivors and creatures that can be approached in a variety of ways.
As a true survival horror title, much of the gameplay formula of Alien: Isolation relies on the player’s freedom of choice in their approach to combat, with stealth being a much more nuanced but effective approach in most situations in the game. Apart from enemies such as rogue survivors and hostile androids, the main antagonist of Isolation is undoubtedly the alien Xenomorph who stalks the player for most of the title.
The Xenomorph from Alien: Isolation is considered by some to be one of the best antagonists in survival horror history; the title uses a mix of rigorous AI to ensure that the Xenomorph acts with an intimidating level of intelligence and combat IQ. To add to the imposing nature of this antagonist, the Xenomorph cannot be killed and must be avoided throughout the game as it is alerted by sounds and certain actions of the player. Receiving very positive reviews due to the constantly tense nature of its gameplay, Alien: Isolation is a must-have game for survival horror fans this Halloween.
Outlast is another survival horror title that has become synonymous with the sub-genre, and is perfect for tense Halloween gameplay. The title was originally released in 2013 and, for many, marked a shift in what could be expected from survival horror video games, possessing a first-person perspective that is often depicted through the lens of a night vision camera.
Developed and published by Red Barrels, Outlast sees the player take control of an investigative journalist exploring an abandoned and remote mental hospital, making it a typical Halloween gaming experience. Predictably, the game received high praise for its intense atmosphere and mood, with hostile hospital patients populating the dimly lit corridors and rooms of the facility.
Like Alien: Isolation, Outlast also relies on the sense of power and menace behind the game’s enemies, with stealth mechanics often taking precedence over a more direct approach when encountering the many ominous figures that lurk in the hospital’s passageways. Due to the near-total darkness surrounding the game’s protagonist, the night vision camera that serves as the player’s vision is an essential survival tool, meaning the player must always be on the lookout for extra batteries or be plunged into darkness. Despite its age, Outlast remains a classic, more contemporary title in the survival horror genre, and is perfect for a first game or even a Halloween revisit.
3. Resident Evil Village
Resident Evil Village is a much more recent addition to the survival horror genre. Released in 2021, it received remarkable attention from fans and critics alike, which was another success for Capcom. The latest installment in the popular Resident Evil franchise, Village benefits from the prestige and foundation of one of the most defining survival horror franchises for its gameplay.
Village sees players once again take control of Ethan Winters, who was the protagonist of Resident Evil Biohazard, released in 2017. Set entirely in a decrepit Eastern European village, the player must negotiate a series of antagonists inspired by European folklore, with supernatural elements at the heart of the game’s narrative and core gameplay.
From a first-person perspective, Resident Evil Village follows the framework of previous Resident Evil games by making resource management and recovery a top priority. The player can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies in the title if they run out of ammo or healing supplies.
Since the puzzles and collectibles are as important as the scares in this game, Resident Evil Village can offer a truly complete and captivating game experience for Halloween. In addition to setting the tone for the upcoming festivities, this is the perfect time to explore the Village for the first time. The game’s upcoming Winters expansion will arrive soon and will bring a compelling new story, new playable characters, and even an ambitious third-person mode that brings the title closer to the old Resident Evil installments.
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