Scariest Horror Games of All Time | MojoPlays

VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Well, we're never playing those games again. Welcome to MojoPlays, and today we'll be discussing the scariest horror games ever. For this list, we'll be looking at what are generally considered to be the eight scariest games of all time and discussing their initial impact, influence on the horror genre, and lasting legacy.
Well, we’re never playing those games again. Welcome to MojoPlays, and today we’ll be discussing the scariest horror games ever. For this list, we’ll be looking at what are generally considered to be the eight scariest games of all time and discussing their initial impact, influence on the horror genre, and lasting legacy.

“Amnesia: The Dark Descent” (2010)

Playing “Amnesia” now just isn’t the same as it was in 2010. The game was developed and published by Frictional Games, and it proved to be a monumental success upon its release via online distribution. It was immediately praised for its dreadful tone, persistent feelings of hopelessness, and the Lovecraftian horror elements, like avoiding direct eye contact with the enemies. And while sales were initially slow, word of mouth quickly spread, and “Amnesia” became one of the most popular games of 2011. It basically kickstarted the whole indie horror craze of the early 2010s and made us all realize that a game doesn’t need expensive production values to be effective.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” (2014)

We know, we know, you hate “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and it’s for kids and yadda yadda. But even the series’ most ardent detractors can’t deny the power and influence of the original. It was created by Scott Cawthon using Clickteam Fusion 2.5, and the entire game consisted of preventing a jump scare. There’s not much to it, each of the titular five nights last about ten minutes. But they are ten unbelievably tense minutes. The game’s atmosphere is incredible, and like the best scary movies, the horror comes from the tension of an unseen threat rather than the “boogedy-boo!” scares themselves. Love it or hate it, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” will always have a place in the indie horror history books.

“Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem” (2002)

The GameCube admittedly didn’t have much, but it DID have “Eternal Darkness,” and really, that’s about all you need to call yourself a success. Like a bully, this game prided itself on tormenting the player through its wholly original and incredibly unique Sanity Effects mechanic. If the player’s sanity meter got too low, the player would be subjected to countless unique psychological effects, including nauseating camera angles, simulated technical malfunctions, and worst of all, fake deleted save files. Oh, how our hearts raced when we thought the game had deleted itself! It was an experiment that worked flawlessly, and we haven’t seen anything like it since.

“Resident Evil 2” (2019)

Throughout this console generation, we have been treated to numerous remakes of old video games, as developers hope to share the magic of generations past. Some of course work better than others, but perhaps the greatest remake in the history of remakes is 2019’s “Resident Evil 2.” This release was a major success in terms of revitalizing a classic game for a new generation. Mr. X was scarier and more threatening than ever, the improved lighting was second to none, and the totally revamped graphics allowed for greater immersion than ever before. The game also managed to retain its signature sense of dread and tension, and it somehow managed to make zombies scary again. “Resident Evil 2” is STILL the undisputed king of the survival horror genre.

“Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly” (2003)

“Fatal Frame” and its sequel are some of the scariest games you will ever play. It’s just too bad that no one did. While the first “Fatal Frame” is a masterpiece, the second builds on its foundation with a much larger world, detailed lore, and a better story. And, like “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” it knows that unbearable tension and forcing the player to overcome their flight response is scarier than just showing them a spooky ghost. Yes, this game contains a lot of ghosts, but it thankfully refrains from the clichés. It forces you to confront your fears and wallow in its oppressive atmosphere. The ghosts are just the cherry on top of this dreadful sundae.

“Silent Hill 2” (2001)

When it comes to survival horror, it doesn’t get much better than “Silent Hill 2.” Released on the PS2 back in 2001, “Silent Hill 2” shattered expectations and shocked the gaming world, and it was quickly labeled one of the greatest horror games - and one of the greatest games period - of all time. Nearly every aspect of the production was praised, from its consistently unsetting atmosphere to the imaginative sound design. Its story was also highly regarded, as it challenged the player with difficult and psychological themes all while presenting a tale filled with dread and despair. “Silent Hill 2” was a mature game that challenged the possibilities of the medium and the controversial notion that video games were for children.

“Alien: Isolation” (2014)

It’s been a long time coming, but we finally, FINALLY got a good “Alien” video game. And to think, this was after “Aliens: Colonial Marines” almost singlehandedly destroyed the whole franchise. “Alien: Isolation” is exactly what “Alien” fans have wanted since the dawn of gaming – a game where you control a victim who is utterly helpless against a tenacious and extremely dangerous threat. No giant Gatling guns or whatever, no superhuman 80s action movie space marines to obliterate the threat. Just you, a pissed off alien, and some conveniently-located closets. Few games are as persistently stressful as “Alien: Isolation,” and there is no other that makes you feel more vulnerable and alone. Now that’s survival horror done right.

“Outlast” (2013)

“Outlast” is perhaps the most famous example of the aforementioned indie horror craze. The premise was simple – you play as a journalist investigating a creepy asylum and you need to avoid the psychotic inhabitants that have run amok. The twist was that you were forced to run and hide any time you encountered an enemy, as Miles literally couldn’t fight to save his life. Of course, this led to many breathless moments of hiding under beds and running through the dark with a homicidal maniac nipping at your heels. Some fans argue that the game went off the rails in its climactic hours, and we can understand that, but the overall experience was one of indie gaming’s most exciting (and horrifying) surprises.