For this list, we're looking at the best horror games that are not overly reliant on leaping out at the player in order to scare the bejsus out of them. It doesn't mean jump scares are completely absent from these titles, but are few and far in between." />
For this list, we're looking at the best horror games that are not overly reliant on leaping out at the player in order to scare the bejsus out of them. It doesn't mean jump scares are completely absent from these titles, but are few and far in between." />
Top 10 Horror Video Games That Don't Rely on Jump Scares

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Top 10 Horror Video Games That Don't Rely on Jump Scares

VOICE OVER: Todd Haberkorn WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
All the fear, without the constant heart attacks. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Horror Video games That Don´t Rely on Jump Scares.

For this list, we're looking at the best horror games that are not overly reliant on leaping out at the player in order to scare the bejsus out of them. It doesn't mean jump scares are completely absent from these titles, but are few and far in between.
Transcript
Script Written by Mark Sammut

Top 10 Horror Video Games That Don't Rely on Jump Scares


All the fear, without the constant heart attacks. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Horror Video games That Don´t Rely on Jump Scares.

For this list, we’re looking at the best horror games that are not overly reliant on leaping out at the player in order to scare the bejsus out of them. It doesn't mean jump scares are completely absent from these titles, but are few and far in between.


#10: “Fatal Frame” (2001)


A classic horror franchise from Tecmo, in terms of scares, "Fatal Frame" peaked with its first two entries. The original following Miku, a young woman who can see spirits, and heads into a decrepit mansion in search of her brother. Along with some stellar sound design, "Fatal Frame" creates a tense atmosphere thanks to the use of the Camera Obscura, an item that allows supernatural entities to be seen and harmed, meaning Miku has to actively seek out the mansion's many terrors. The dark and gloomy visuals further enhance that sense of fear from knowing that something is definitely out there...you're just not quite able to see it.


#9: “The Forest” (2018)


Starting as a relatively typical survival game where the primary goal is to manage resources, "The Forest" quickly reveals itself to be a mysterious and often terrifying experience. After surviving a plane crash, Eric lands on a seemingly deserted island and sets out to find his kidnapped son, not knowing that the wildlife is far from the biggest threat. "The Forest" excels at being unpredictable, as the island's cannibalistic inhabitants react organically depending on the situation. While the unknown is always unsettling, the fear factor skyrockets whenever the sun goes down, as the forest becomes a symphony of blood-curdling screeches and howls.

#8: “Darkwood” (2017)



Complex and intricate plots are all well and good, but sometimes horror benefits from simplicity. While there isn't a complete lack of narrative drive, "Darkwood" is primarily about surviving the night in a society that has gone insane. The gameplay loop is straight-forward: Explore the forest-covered terrain during the day and barricade yourself at night. Regardless of whether the sun is up or down, death could be just around the corner. Even though there are NPCs, most have already taken leave of their senses, making "Darkwood's" world feel truly desolate and hostile.

#7 “Blair Witch” (2019)


A sequel to 1999’s influential found footage horror film, “Blair Witch” finds a war vet and his trusty pooch, Bullet, heading to Black Hills Forest to aid in the search of a lost child. While not exactly short of jump scares, and these moments ultimately grow tiresome, the same cannot be said about the tense atmosphere created by the eerie and engrossing atmosphere. Like the original movie, “Blair Witch” leans heavily on its soundtrack and audio effects to cultivate a sense of impending doom, along with the always-present dread that something tragic may ultimately befall Bullet. Stay away from my dog!

#6: “Alien: Isolation” (2014)


OK – technically, most game overs in this masterfully nightmarish title are directly preceded by a jump scare, but that's only a small slice of the horror pie. More than anything, "Isolation" does a brilliant job of establishing the iconic Alien as an unstoppable beast that is always the hunter, and you, always the prey. If the Xenomorph is near, players must hide and hope that the Alien's radar is on the fritz. Despite having access to all sorts of weapons, Amanda Ripley is nearly always at the mercy of the Alien, making every stealth section inherently nail-biting.

#5: “P.T.” (2014)



How could a single hallway be this horrifying? Along with being a fantastic teaser for a "Silent Hill" project that never materialized, "P.T." serves as a perfect example that sometimes less is more. Taking place in just a small handful of rooms, "P.T." traps players in a seemingly never-ending cycle of torment, with nerve-wracking puzzles, creepy sound effects, and Lisa standing in the way of salvation. There is one utterly pants-wetting jump scare, but otherwise "P.T." is a horror game that relies on crafting a claustrophobic atmosphere that, once entered, is just as inescapable for the player as it is for Norman Reedus.

#4: “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” (2010)



Taking a minimalist approach to both the gameplay and story – at least in the opening hours – "Amnesia" is arguably one of the most important horror games of the 2010s. Presented in first-person, this hailed indie is all about fear's ability to break someone's grip on reality, in this case, that person happens to be an amnesiac who wakes up in a strange castle filled with monsters. While not entirely devoid of jump scares, most of the game is spent searching the castle's dim chambers for light and cowering from the many terrifying beings that patrol these halls, especially that damn, invisible water monster!

#3: “Silent Hill 2” (2001)



Building on the original "Silent Hill's" impeccable foundations, this sequel set a new standard when it comes to psychological survival horror. The story revolves around James Sunderland, who is summoned to the town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his definitely deceased wife. From the twisted Nurse to the iconic Pyramid Head, grotesque creatures roam the town's foggy and desolate streets, and that's to say nothing of the equally unnerving human characters. While the minute-to-minute gameplay is unquestionably intense, "Silent Hill 2's" true horror lays in the narrative's exploration of the protagonist's fractured and guilt-stricken mind.

#2: “System Shock 2” (1999)



Part-RPG, part-FPS, and all horror, "System Shock 2" was a landmark release in gaming that remains as effective today as its day of release. Taking place on two spaceships that are infected by parasitic worms who can take control of humans, the gloomy sci-fi setting is punctuated with deadly and frightening mutations that are accompanied by chilling voice work and sound design. Uncertainty is a crucial ingredient of horror, and "System Shock 2's" sparse storytelling and nonrestrictive gameplay forces the player to push forward, with SHODAN – one of the evilest gaming characters ever – as a guide.


#1: “Eternal Darkness: Sanity´s Requiem” (2002)


Where horror is concerned, Nintendo is typically the last company on anyone's mind; yet, a GameCube exclusive produced near-perfection in the genre. "Eternal Darkness" is a time-traveling adventure game with 12 playable characters, a deep weapon and magic system, and a central mystery that blurs the line between reality and insanity. Layered in subtlety and patiently disturbing, the game sustains a dreary ambiance throughout its long and complex campaign. Rather than jump scares, the terror arrives through the application of a sanity meter that – once low enough – sends the character spiraling towards the mouth of madness.
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