Hello, and welcome back to Silver Linings where I find the best and weed out the worst.
Halloween is my favorite time of the year. I get the perfect excuse to dig out the monster movies and games (like I really need an excuse considering I already covered two horror movies last month). They eat up the entire month of October for my girlfriend and me, and I wouldn't have it any other way!
However, I couldn't help but notice that too many horror games in the last 20 years revolved around zombies, and, to be honest, I'm actually kind of sick of them. As it turns out, I'm not the only one. Even the YouTube game reviewer "Angry Joe" Vargas spoke of being sick of them in his "Dying Light" review. It's gotten to the point that people ostensibly connect the terms "horror game" and "zombie game" like they're one in the same.
So, I decided to comb through the last few console generations and find some great games to dig out for Halloween that largely leave out the walking dead. In alphabetical order, here are 15 great titles to play with the lights off this month.
'Alan Wake' (PC, Xbox 360)
Alan Wake is one of the most creative horror shooters ever. The plot revolves around a writer who gets trapped in a nightmare that appears to have been written by him, and the less I say, the better. The atmosphere is thick as pea soup, the gameplay is fantastic with some very creative boss fights, and the story is as ambiguous as Kubrick's film of The Shining.
'Alien: Isolation' (PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
'BioShock' (PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
'Castlevania: Symphony of the Night' (Playstation, Saturn, Xbox 360)
'Clock Tower' (Playstation)
'Condemned: Criminal Origins' (Xbox 360)
While the second Condemned game got WAY too silly (including fighting a bear), the first really felt like a playable season of The X-Files. The fights with the various drugged-up psychos are intense (especially in melee), the levels are set up to keep you completely paranoid, and the trip out sequences are completely WTF in all the best ways.
'Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem' (GameCube)
'Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly' (Playstation 2, Xbox)
'Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location' (PC)
'Genma Onimusha' (Xbox)
'>OBSERVER_' (PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One)
While Bloober Team's Layers of Fear was just OK, their follow-up >OBSERVER_ knocked it out of the park! You play a detective who uses technology to dive into people's minds. The atmosphere is unbelievable, and the stealth segments are some of the most chilling ever designed. This is a cyberpunk nightmare where you truly can't trust what you see.
'Outlast' (PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One)
'Resident Evil 7: Biohazard' (PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One)
'Silent Hill' (Playstation)
'Until Dawn' (Playstation 4)
Until Dawn is the closest any game had ever come to being a playable slasher flick. The visuals and voice acting are perfect, bringing the various protagonist tropes to life. The butterfly effects can lead to numerous endings. You can save all the kids, or you can get them all killed. The choice is yours.
I know I left out plenty. What's on your Halloween playlist? Let me know, and game on!