The horror genre is not shy of receiving a new plethora of video game titles on a regular basis and within the genre is several other subgenres with their own collection of great video game titles. We’re putting our focus on the psychological horror genre which is full of incredible fan-favorite video game titles and fan favorites from over the years such as the much beloved Silent Hill franchise. These are the video game titles that are terrifying to play but focuses more on the atmosphere of the game rather than the jumpscares.
Instead of focusing on the genre history as a whole we’re going to look at the best psychological horror titles that you can enjoy right now. These are the games that have launched within the past five years and are currently available generation of platforms. We will, of course, keep this article updated so expect some video game titles to be removed or others to be added. For now, take a look at the current top psychological horror titles you don’t want to pass up on.
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#8 Outlast Series
- Developer: Red Barrels
- Publisher: Red Barrels
Outlast is a first-person survival psychological horror title by development team Red Barrels. The game follows a freelance investigative journalist named Miles Upshur who is searching out a remote psychiatric hospital.
However, what Miles finds is not only disturbing but dangerous leaving him to fight for his life. Being more of a survival horror title, players are encouraged to use stealth to their advantage while maneuvering over various obstacles. Likewise, a big portion of the game is based on the use of a night vision camera to see what is around the area. However, limited batteries are required to run the camera forcing players to seek out replacements as they progress through the narrative campaign.
Outlast 2, by development team Red Barrels, follows similar game mechanics of the first installment of the survival-horror franchise. Players this time around will take on the role of Blake Langermann, an investigative journalist alongside his wife as they uncover clues to a murder of a pregnant woman.
In their journey, Blake and his wife become separated after their helicopter crashes. Much like the last installment, gamers are not suited with the ability to combat the enemies that lurk about. Instead, our protagonist will mostly have to hide and run away from any nearby danger.
However, since Blake is already a cameraman, he is equipped with a more advanced camera that will offer clearer footage, zoom, an audio detection system, and of course night vision. Gamers will still have to hunt down new batteries for the camera when it drains from night vision use just as they did before making it tough to know just when you should put down your camera and when to pick it back up again.
- Developer: Frictional Games
- Publisher: Frictional Games
Frictional Games are fantastic developers who know how to create terrifying video games as they previously released Penumbra and Amnesia. Their latest release falls right in line with the past two IP launches. Soma is a survival horror title that puts players into an underwater remote research facility.
Within the game, players take on the role of Simon Jarrett who must uncover the truth behind the facility that’s gone rogue with machines taking on more human characteristics.
If you’re familiar Amnesia, Soma takes on the similar gameplay style in that players will be keen to take a stealthy approach when dealing with the enemy. It’s best to avoid danger when possible while searching for clues and solving puzzles.
#6 The Evil Within Series
- Developer: Tango Gameworks
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
The Evil Within was directed by Resident Evil series creator, Shinji Mikami as the game focuses on Sebastian Castellanos a detective that gets pulled into a distorted world during an investigation. Staying true to the survival horror genre, The Evil Within will have players struggling against a fight with nightmarish creatures while avoiding traps, sneaking around the world and solving complex puzzles.
It did not come as a shock when it was announced that a new installment in The Evil Within franchise would be coming to market. The title takes place three years after the events of the first video game, where Sebastian once again, takes on a new investigation filled with horrifying creatures to face against. However, this investigation touches close to home for Sebastian as he will get the chance to tie up loose ends to his past.
#5 Remothered: Tormented Fathers
- Developer: Stormind Games
- Publisher: Darril Arts
Remothered: Tormented Father’s is a psychological horror game that follows Rosemary Reed, a woman who is seeking out the disappearance of a young girl named Celeste. However, during her investigate, reality seems to drift away.
Within this psychological thriller, players will have the ability to play the game in a variety of ways. Gamers can opt to be more strategic, stealthy, or simply attempt to overpower the enemies as an action game. Likewise, players won’t have a health bar to gauge how their character is doing so you’ll need to keep a close eye on how the character’s body is holding up.
- Developer: Konami
- Publisher: Konami
It was during Gamescom 2014 that P.T. was announced. This was a demo being released on the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 4 that gamers could download. Everything regarding the demo was mysterious and the demo itself was made to take players a long time to uncover all of the puzzle solutions before it would be completed. With that challenge in place players worldwide took to the game and progressed through this survival horror title in order to find out more. After so long gamers started to find out all the cryptic clues and completed the demo for it to play a cutscene which featured Norman Reedus and the official title, “Silent Hills” a brand new installment to the love beloved survival horror franchise.
Gamers were instantly interested in the game as it was being headed by the world-famed developer, Hideo Kojima, who previously spoke of his interest in working on a Silent Hill title. At the time he was working for Konami, owners of the IP and for fans of the franchise, this was looking more like a very promising installment to a franchise that has become a bit stale over the past few years. Then out of nowhere Hideo Kojima and Konami split ways after years of working together. We may never know just why the developer made the split but with Kojima’s departure, the development studio decided to completely scrap Silent Hills. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anything else is in the work for the franchise as Konami has yet to make any announcements regarding another studio or an in-house team working on a Silent Hill title. Likewise the game demo was removed online so gamers can no longer download it to enjoy.
#3 Little Nightmares
- Developer: Tarsier Studios
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
In Little Nightmares, players will be taking on the role of a young girl named Six who had been kidnapped from her home and forced to work at a place known as The Maw, an underwater resort.
This resort caters to the powerful elite, forcing Six to serve their needs. One day, Six is presented with a way back to freedom, though during her journey out of the unpredictable world of The Maw, Six catches the glimpse of the corruption of modern happiness though the journey to freedom is long and treacherous.
#2 We Happy Few
- Developer: Compulsion Games
- Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
We Happy Few is an indie survival horror video game that comes from developers Compulsion Games, previously known for their release of Contrast. Overall, within the game, players are set in an alternative timeline in Europe where citizens are forced to consume a daily drug, hindering them away from the realities of the world.
The game will feature protagonists who have refused to take the drug causing them to see the corruption and horror within the world. Now as they venture out to solve their own mysteries they’ll have to carefully stay under the radar to avoid bringing unwanted attention.
There’s even a permadeath option if you’re feeling lucky and want a real challenge going through the game, but again, it’s an option that you don’t have to take on.
#1 Layers of Fear
- Developer: Bloober Team
- Publisher: Aspyr
Layers of Fear is a psychological horror video game by developers Bloober Team. The video game follows a painter who is attempting to finish his masterpiece though as you roam the mansion, disturbing secret information begins to bleed out.
This is more of an exploration and puzzle-solving video game with a variety of jump scares littered throughout.
Likewise a DLC campaign was released shortly after called Layers of Fear: Inheritance where gamers take on the role of the painter’s daughter who returns to the old house.