Who doesn't love a good scare? What with the recent onslaught of terror-inducing games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and the Dead Space series, the survival horror genre is still going strong! We've compiled a list of the top 10 scariest games for the 360 drawing upon newer titles, as well as some time-honored classics. These chillers are certain to get your blood pumping!
#10 F.E.A.R. 2
Shortly before the conclusion of the events in F.E.A.R., Delta Force operator Michael Becket is sent to take Genevieve Aristide into custody for her own protection. However, when his unit arrives, Aristide's home is already under attack from a black ops team from ATC Security. Upon rescuing Aristide, Becket learns of a project called "Harbinger" which could be the only way to stop the supernatural force known as Alma, whose paranormal rage threatens to overtake the very fabric of reality.
Fans of the first title will be please to know that F.E.A.R. 2's AI is a natural evolution of the already clever and exploitative AI from the original game. Players are able to use more of the environment in combat for situations such as blocking and hiding, as well the ability to use mechs during parts of the game that take place in vehicles. With more supernatural enemies than ever before, F.E.A.R. 2 does not disappoint!
#9 Alone in the Dark
Edward, an amnesiac paranormal investigator is in deep trouble. Held captive in an unknown building by armed guards, he is about to meet his ultimate demise when suddenly, an invisible presence kills the guards and enables Edward's escape. From there, he meets Sarah Flores and learns of a mysterious stone which is revealed to be responsible for the deaths of the guards, among other gruesome and unexplained circumstances.
Released in 2008, this eponymous 5th installment of the AitD series is somewhat of a departure from previous games, in that it is highly episodic. Players can choose to skip sections of the game if they become stuck, and can also switch back and forth between first and third person perspective.
#8 Fallout 3
While technically more of an RPG with survival horror elements, Fallout 3 is considered by many to be the strongest game in the series. Shortly after the player-created character turns 19, he or she escapes Vault 101 to search for missing father James. Aided by favorite canine companion, Dogmeat, the player must venture into what was once Washington, D.C., and face various factions of survivors, including the Brotherhood of Steel, the Outcasts, and the Enclave.
Fallout 3 features top notch voice talent, including Liam Neeson, Malcolm McDowell and Ron Perlman, as well a very classy vintage soundtrack. Items and weapons can degrade over time, and the health system is particularly unique in that it involves both overall health in the form of a primary damage bar, but also divides secondary health among various body parts, which can take individual damage and eventually become disabled in combat if the player is not able to heal quickly.
#7 Resident Evil 5
This 5th entry in the wildly popular series sees players take control of either Sheva Alomar or Chris Redfield who are tasked with apprehending suspected terrorist threat Ricardo Irving, as he is suspected of plotting to sell a powerful bioweapon on the black market.
Long-time fans of the series will be familiar with Resident Evil 5's inventory system, as it is quite similar to that of Resident Evil Outbreak and Resident Evil Outbreak File 2. The third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective remains consistent with that seen in Resident Evil 4, as well. However, Resident Evil 5 offers a heavily expanded slew of new weapons, as well as online co-op, and split-screen local play.
#6 Silent Hill Homecoming
Silent Hill is one of the most revered survival horror video game franchises of all time, inspiring two film spin-offs (yes, you've read that correctly. A second one is being filmed right now) and countless Pyramid Head internet memes. However, the series seemed to lose some of its bite with the current console generation's titles until Silent Hill Homecoming came along.
Players become Alex Shepherd, a soldier who has just returned home from active duty to find his father and brother missing, and his mother left behind in a coma. Filled with unsettling psychological thrills and revelations about characters and monsters alike, Silent Hill Homecoming is the strongest recent title from this series, and definitely worth playing.
#5 Left 4 Dead 1+2
This series, while not the first to deal with a zombie apocalypse, was groundbreaking in terms of its co-op play and the ways in which players needed to work together to successfully complete campaigns. Combining modes of gameplay formerly seen only in warfare style games, both games in this series manage to combine the need for skilled FPS play, as well as the real life ability to communicate and coordinate with teammates.
It sounds cheesy, but players depend on each other for healing, extra ammo, and sometimes even to be freed from various obstacles. When one dies and respawns in a closet, one can do little else but yell for someone to come open the door! Definitely a must-play for fans of zombies and shooters alike.
#4 Dead Space 2
This direct sequel takes up approximately three years after the events in Dead Space. Isaac Clarke is still alive, but has amnesia and does not remember the horrors he encountered at the hands of the necromorphs. Just as he is being released from the hospital, where he has apparently been a mental patient, there is a necromorph attack in which Franco, the protagonist of Dead Space Ignition is killed and turned into a necromorph himself, before removing Isaac's straight jacket. Isaac must then fend for himself as he also begins to receive clues about the origin of the Marker, which has caused the necromorph infestation.
A third-person over-the-shoulder perspective works well with the lack of heads-up display, as players must rely on visual indicators of health that are built into Isaac's back. Weapons are able to be purchased at stores throughout the game, as well as upgraded at various points. Dead Space 2 also features multiplayer mode in which two teams of four go head-to-head as humans vs. necromorphs, each trying to accomplish a specific objective.
#3 Condemned 2
Ethan Thomas returns from the original Condemned, but his life has gone considerably downhill. After the events in the first game, Ethan has become a homeless alcoholic, suffering from paranoid delusions and hallucinations. When it is learned that his old enemy, Serial Killer X is possibly still alive, Ethan is recruited to the Serial Crime Unit to investigate. What he and partner Rosa discover, however, goes far deeper than the twisted imagination of one killer.
Featuring the same first person combat as the original game, Condemned 2 also incorporates aspects of adventure games as well as chained attack combos and quick time events for finishing moves. Be warned, though: relying too much on melee weapons is unadvised. They now break after a handful of strikes.
#2 Deadly Premonition
Players take on the role of Francis York Morgan, an FBI agent who is investigating the death of Anna Graham, a young woman from the small town of Greenvale. It sounds like a simple enough premise, but throw in the fact that Francis has a partner in split personality named "Zach", and neither individual seems to possess very well developed "people skills", and things quickly become more complicated, especially when interacting with the local police and townspeople.
This open-world game is particularly effective at delivering a good scare, largely due to the day-night cycle which runs at one-third of real time. Additionally, all the various NPC inhabitants have schedules of their own, which further enhances the feeling of being immersed in an actual lucid world.
#1 Alan Wake
From the makers of Max Payne comes Alan Wake, a novelist who, with his wife Alice, seeks refuge in the sleepy town of Bright Falls to alleviate his two-year long writer’s block. As someone who’s suffered from it from time to time, I can totally relate with Wake’s wanting to get away.
When Alice goes missing, it sets in motion a sinister plot that envelopes the town of Bright Fall in a mysterious darkness. Alan realizes that the events reflect the pages of a manuscript written in his handwriting, and knows that he’s the only one who can get to the bottom of it. Armed with only a flashlight and a gun, he sets out into the dark to recover missing pages of the manuscript, intent on solving the mystery and figuring out how the story ends.
Like Max Payne before it, Alan Wake is an excellently written action thriller that not only plays well, but reads well.