What’s a reverse horror game? Well in this list, we’re looking at it in a few different ways. This is a collection of titles where players are taking the role of monsters, villains, or antiheroes. You’ll find games where you believe you’re the hero only to reach the end of the game and realize the entire time you’re the actual mastermind of a disastrous plot. With that said, be cautious as there are going to be a ton of spoilers ahead. The list is not ranked in any particular order as well. I’ll try to refrain from spoiling everything in some of the games below, but since there’s plenty of titles where the game has a twist ending revealing that they are the actual antagonist all along, be forewarned reading too far ahead.
#40 Heavy Rain
Heavy Rain is one of the more popular video game titles from Quantic Dream. If you played a Quantic Dream game before then you know what to expect. These are more interactive drama titles with plenty of exploration, QTEs, and choices to make along the way. Depending on your actions will determine the ending you’ll receive. As for this game, we’re tossed into a world where a serial killer has been kidnapping children, locking them in different areas where they drown after heavy rainstorms. Players are following multiple characters throughout the game as you attempt to find the latest child that was kidnapped. One of the characters is a private investigator named Scott Shelby, who was hired by one of the victim’s families in hopes of finding any pieces of evidence left behind from the killer. Throughout different portions of the game, you take the role of Scott Shelby where you slowly uncover little bits of information about who the killer is. As you can likely guess from this list alone, the killer is none other than Scott Shelby who is not aiding in any investigations but getting rid of any evidence left behind from previous kidnappings. After a flashback reveals a young Scott Shelby was helpless when his brother gets stuck in an area where he eventually drowns from a rush of rainwater which sparked this mad man’s plan to make others suffer just as he did.
#39 Spec Ops The Line
Spec Ops The Line is a third-person shooter where players are leading a squad of soldiers into a ruined Dubai in order to take out a rogue soldier causing mayhem. It’s a constant battle as you fight back a skilled commander leading a group of soldiers as well. With back and forth firefight throughout the area and seeing countless lives taken along the way, we finally get to the end where we face off against this mysterious rogue soldier. However, we soon realize that this rogue soldier is deceased. A flood of memories unlocks where we learn the entire time we are the rogue soldier suffering from intense PTSD. The protagonist is responsible for the chaos from massive destruction across the area along with unleashing a white phosphorus strike on innocent civilians. From there, players could unlock four different endings which either allow our protagonist to fall deeper into PTSD or break out for a moment of clarity.
#38 Star Wars KOTR
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, or better known as Star Wars KOTR, is one of the more iconic Star Wars video game titles to have ever released. This RPG took place years prior to the movies where we take on the role of a character waking up on a ship under distress. This Republic ship was under attack from the evil Sith lord Malak who is seeking out a Jedi Knight. Making it off the ship, players are essentially going through a big journey where they train up to be a Jedi. With the hope of taking out Malak, slowly our group of heroes is able to uncover a map that reveals just where Malak’s empire is stationed, leading to a big battle. After finally getting a chance to capture Malak, the Sith lord reveals to our protagonist that you’re no saint. Long ago you were the master of Malak, the heinous Sith known as Dark Revan. The Jedi managed to brainwash you to join their side. From their players have two potential endings which are either staying with the light side and defeating Malak or giving in to the dark side, defeating Malak and reclaiming their role as the Dark Lord.
#37 Dead By Daylight
Dead By Daylight is a pretty popular game right now. This title puts players in a group of survivors facing an enemy antagonist that’s controlled by a single player. Here, the players that are the survivors are attempting to make their way through escaping the area. However, in order to do that, the players need to fix up several generators scattered about in order to actually leave through an exit. In the meantime, the player taking the role of a monster is tasked with seeking out the survivors to prevent them. Of course, there are means for the survivors to avoid the killer, such as knocking down different objects to block a pathway. Meanwhile, if a killer is downed or trapped, then other survivors are able to rescue them unless their HP is depleted completely from being knocked down too many times.
#36 Among Us
There are quite a few different deception video games out there, but the one that’s on pretty much everyone’s radar right now is Among Us. It’s your typical deception game as well, but the title blew up in popularity. Here in the game players are taking on the role of a member at a space station doing different routine tasks. However, among the group are a few impostors that are taking out different players without getting caught. When a member’s body is discovered or an emergency meeting is called, the group of players is able to talk and attempt to decide who among them is the killer. When decided, the group can vote a player off the space station whether they are correct with their guess of whom the killer is or not.
#35 Silent Hill 2
When our protagonist James receives a letter from his long-deceased wife, we head to the town of Silent Hill in hopes of uncovering where she’s staying. If you played the first installment of the Silent Hill franchise then you knew what you were getting into. A town full of horrifying monsters, cryptic puzzles, and a ton of exploration. Outside of the sequel being on a new generation video game platform with visual upgrades, the reason so many players fell in love with this game was the story. James is striving to find his wife and after fighting so many monsters and a bizarre cast of characters, we learn that James was the reason his wife died. It was a guilt manifestation that drew him to the town in order to be punished. Blocking out that he grew tired of his wife slowly dying off from a disease, James rediscovers that he smothered his wife with a pillow to be done with her. Talk about a twist ending.
#34 A Way Out
A Way Out was a big co-op game when it launched. In fact, this game required two players to go through the game so you would need the help of a friend or another player online to complete the title. At any rate, A Way Out followed two inmates that partnered up in hopes of figuring out a way to escape the prison. So right off the bat, you’re a criminal. It’s a pretty thrilling game as well to play because the display is split so you’re constantly seeing what the other player is doing. This means when one player is stuck in a cutscene, the secondary player may have the ability to wander around and continue on with the mission. There’s also a good bit of cooperative gameplay mechanics which requires the players to time out different button presses or causing distractions so that a secondary player can sneak around restricted areas. Each has their reasons for escaping to finish up some business on the outside, but you can expect a twist ending which I’ll avoid from spoiling here.
Prototype throws players into a seemingly average person named Alex Mercer. Waking up in a morgue, you have no memories of what happened, but suddenly you’re a military target. With these strange new mutated abilities, Alex escapes and vows to figure out what’s going on. Sure, you can unleash havoc on the city with your new powers, but we get the feeling that Alex is just after finding out who is responsible for his condition and the conditions of others with this new virus flooding the city of Manhattan. It’s a big superhero brawling kind of battle throughout the game until you discover what happened. You’re not a hero but one of the members responsible for the virus which you unleashed onto the world. When the project personnel was being eliminated and the virus scrapped, Alex manages to escape, only shortly before being gunned down. In an act of vengeance, Alex breaks the virus open to release into the public. The only reason our protagonist is alive is the virus mutation that entered his body during the process.
Haze is a game we don’t see brought up too often, but it had a pretty interesting storyline. Released exclusively for the PlayStation 3, players went through this FPS title thinking that they are working for a corporation out to help save the world. Within the game, soldiers are administered a drug called Nectar which gives them an edge for combat making the different battles easier. Meanwhile, the group of soldiers is tossed into a country where they are tasked with taking out a dictator. Along the way, players are gunning down the dictator’s army in hopes of liberating the innocent civilians, or so you think. It turns out that the drug produces hallucinogens that force the soldiers to see innocent civilians as the opposing army force. The entire time, players are not taking out soldiers of a dictator but just innocent people living within the country. After this discovery, players switch sides and attempt to fight back the corporation they once plead their allegiance to.
Braid is a pretty iconic indie game and it gained so much attention because of the narrative. At the start of the game, players are attempting to rescue a damsel in distress from an evil antagonist. It’s a side-scrolling platformer, but as players continue to seek out the female, they discover that the game was played in reverse, as players were actually a psychotic stalker that is attempting to kidnap the person they believed were in need of saving. This is by far one of the more popular video games to get recommended around as an indie classic with a twist ending.
If you ever watched Jaws and thought it would be cool to become the iconic flesh-eating monstrous shark, then you’re in luck. Maneater puts players into a shark where you’re roaming around the oceans looking for smaller prey to feast on. As you continue to consume smaller prey you’ll eventually become a bigger and nastier shark. This will allow players to devour more prey until you are dealing with the biggest predator among them, man. There’s something really enticing jumping out of the ocean and scarfing down a fisherman clean off his boat. Come on, don’t tell me Maneater doesn’t sound enticing to try out today.
#29 Grand Theft Auto Series
You knew that this was going to be on the list. Rockstar Games became a household name from this video game series and with each new installment comes a flood of controversy along with massive sales. Units fly off the shelf with these games as they put players into an open world either as a criminal looking to make a big score or a character simply looking for a way out from the life of the crime. It was a bit common to see this franchise come out with a new installment somewhat regularly, but after Grand Theft Auto V was released in 2013, we haven’t seen a new game since. We know that a new installment is in the works and after so many players fell in love with the cast of characters from Grand Theft Auto V, the number of activities that were available, and the lively city of Los Santos, there’s a ton of anticipation on just what the next mainline installment brings to the table.
#28 Mafia Series
The Mafia series isn’t really all that long-running. We have three installments with the earlier installments being available for the PlayStation 2 era of console platforms. Meanwhile, the series was picked back up for a new installment with Mafia 3 back in 2016. Each installment puts players into the role of a mobster as they venture into organized crime. Likewise, each installment takes on a different era and even areas of the United States. Within the games, players are taking on the life of crime as you battle against different groups for territory and power. It’s worth bringing up the fact that there was a remastered edition released for the earlier titles that really revamp the visuals and mechanics.
#27 Red Dead Redemption Series
While Rockstar Games may be best known for the Grand Theft Auto franchise, their reputation for these games gave some notoriety for Red Dead Redemption. This series is just like Grand Theft Auto but set in the old wild west. We’re trading in SMGs for shotguns, supped up cars for horses, and the bustling city life for smaller established towns. There are two installments available that are worth checking out with Red Dead Redemption following the life of John Marston, a former outlaw gang member that’s forced into hunting down his former gang for the law. Meanwhile, we have a sequel that actually acts as a prequel to Red Dead Redemption. While the first title was centered around capturing the old gang, the prequel follows this ragtag group of criminals that’s raising hell, seeking a quick payday, and cutting a piece of American land to call their own. Although the game narratives do give players the ability to side more with the law and do some good deeds, players can dive deeper into the life of crime and raise a bounty for their head.
#26 Saints Row Series
Saints Row is a bit of a competitor with Grand Theft Auto. While Grand Theft Auto has its obscene and wacky moments in the narrative, Saints Row is a franchise that looks to thrive with over-the-top absurd gameplay. It’s mainly a series revolved around a gang that ends up becoming incredibly popular and practically celebrities for their insane crimes and chaotic missions. So far several years since we see this franchise hit the marketplace, but perhaps this latest generation of video game console platforms may prove to include enough power and resources to really make a new installment standout. After all, it was unveiled that a new installment was in development at least back in 2019 during a THQ Nordic financial report. There’s no telling just what level of criminal activity that Volition Studios will be able to bring out next.
Carrion is a horror game with a twist. Here in this game players take the role of a monster that was kept in a research facility. Upon breaking free, the creature begins searching around for a means to escape. Meanwhile, you have scientists looking to keep you contained, which means you’ll have to take them out through the use of your different abilities that are unlocked or upgraded. It’s certainly a different take to the horror genre that most of us are familiar with, but it blew up in popularity upon release.
BioShock is another great series to point towards, but we’ll focus on the first game in this point. Players step into a protagonist going on a trip when a plane crashes down into the ocean. Finding a lighthouse, you managed to escape the ocean and head into an underwater city known as the Rapture. Something has gone wrong in this weird dystopia city, but with a friendly voice on the radio system, you’re able to take out the threats and get a second chance at life. With so many crazed characters to battle against, it’s a bit of a relief when you complete some of the tasks however upon meeting the man behind the radio, you discover that our protagonist was born in the Rapture before sending him off to the world above. To make things even worse, the whole reason you ended up in the Rapture was the fact that our protagonist was brainwashed with a trigger phrase that forced the character to do whatever is commanded. Everything from the plane crashing to the people being slaughtered in the Rapture was all because of you. There are even two endings here, one that is actually pretty depressing, but I won’t spoil anymore.
#23 Kane & Lynch
Kane & Lynch are pretty brutal criminals. The first game throws these two together when they were inmates heading to prison only for the bus to be halted by another bus full of mercenaries. Our protagonist Kane is claimed to have stolen money from this shadow group of thugs and with a time limit to give them the money, Kane is forced to helping as the group had kidnapped his family. Failure to bring the money results in a brutal execution of his wife and daughter. Thus, our duo works together in an over-the-top heist to secure the money and save the day. However, Lynch has severe mental psychosis problems resulting in violent outbursts. When a heist goes sideways, hostages are killed, police become mowed down, and the duo ends up in a fast downward spiral.
#22 The Last of Us Part 2
Alright, this might be a controversial pick, but The Last of Us Part 2 mainly follows Ellie who is on a pathway seeking revenge. Everything is just brutal here, the kills along with the world factions you meet along the way. With a clear-cut antagonist, Abby, that you’re after, the game flips things around and puts you into the role of this character we instantly came to hate. It’s a new perspective, one that attempts to show their side of the story. There’s a good split on whether they are team Ellie or team Abby, whatever the case ends up being for you, it’s tough to decide just who really is the monster of this game.
A crackdown puts players into a role of a super cop where you’re battling against gangs that take control of different parts of a city. Players essentially dwindle down the gangs by brute force, which is deemed positive. After all, the gangs are proving to be a problem for civilians as they duke it out for more power and territory. When you successfully clear the city out from the factions, you discover the Agency, an organization that you’ve been working for, was actually responsible for gearing the gangs up with weapons. It was all a ploy to cause havoc and allow the Agency to use their officers to clear out the groups and grow their empire.
#20 Lego Batman
You might find this a bit odd to see on the list. Lego Batman: The Videogame is already a solid title experience that gets recommended by players to try out. Players take the role of the Dark Knight as they venture through Gotham City, stopping villains and completing a series of puzzles. However, did you know that you could play as the villains in this game? If you complete the first chapter of the game, you could exit out of the campaign and head into the Batcave. From there you just need to pull the switch that showcases The Riddler along with Clayface. You’ll then get to start the game of playing as the villains rather than playing everyone’s favorite caped crusader.
#19 Postal Series
The Postal series is based around dark humor and each game plays a bit differently as for this example we’ll focus on Postal 2. In Postal 2, players are going through the game where you’re meant to complete a series of mundane chores, like going to the store and picking up some milk. However, the entire town is pretty terrible and it’s difficult for players to complete tasks without confronting civilians or outright harming them. Again, it’s a title series where we are getting dark humor, but you can expect quite a bit of chaotic gameplay. There are a total of three installments available with a fourth currently in early access. With that said, players can also expect quite a few DLC expansions as well to further add to the gameplay experience.
#18 God of War
While the reboot for God of War gives players a softer side of Kratos, the god-killing machine was anything but kindhearted in the original series. This was a brutal character as he sought vengeance against the Greek gods, and he did so by any means necessary. A lot of lives fell because of this character as he was blinded by rage. For instance, just one moment off the top of my head was the soldier Kratos sacrificed in order to gain passage from Poseidon. While the soldier begged to be freed so that they could return safely back to Athens, Kratos carried out the sacrifice without much care in the world to the soldier.
#17 Plague Inc.
Plague Inc. is a bit of a tough game to really enjoy now thanks to the actual pandemic happening across the world, but at the time of this game’s release, it was a huge hit. Players were releasing a virus into the world in hopes of causing total annihilation. As you unleashed the virus into the world, you’re slowly able to build up points to further mutate the virus. You can tweak the virus to allow for faster spreading, more immunity to different types of drugs, along with causing more conditions when a person is infected. It’s a battle to get the virus to become deadly while you watch the world scramble in closing borders, establishing different safety measures, and developing drugs to fight back against the virus.
#16 Destroy All Humans
Destroy All Humans is all about putting players into the role of an alien seeking to save his race. However, in order to do so, he has to head towards Earth and collect DNA. It’s more of a lighthearted game where players have the ability to roam around in their flying saucer, dropping down, firing advanced rayguns at the military and civilians, using supernatural telekinesis powers, or even probing humans. As you gather more DNA, the more humanity puts up a fight, forcing players to battle against a shadow government organization. This series has even continued on with a few more installments again that puts players into the role of an alien, but it’s worth noting that a remake has since come out in 2020 which gave players a chance to enjoy this game once again or for the first time.
#15 Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is a pretty iconic PlayStation 2 game that has been released, updated, and released again on multiple generations of Sony platforms at this point. It’s a game where players are attempting to bring back a loved one from the grave. We learn that by killing off several beast monsters that roam around in this world, our protagonist would possess the power to raise the dead. However, after slowly slaying down each of the monsters we soon find out that this was a trick to raise a demonic monster. You were essentially killing these innocent beasts all along.
To make the story a bit simplistic here for Nier, the game follows a father trying to save his daughter from a disease. In order to do so, you have to battle against these different hostile creatures. Pretty straightforward right? Well, the game has players go through the campaign twice in which new content is unveiled, we’re not killing off random creatures but instead mankind. The story does get a bit deeper than that obviously, but it’s a game that players could have easily gone through playing once and could have completely missed the full story by failing to go through the game a second time.
#13 Evil Genius 2: World Domination
Evil Genius 2: World Domination is all about being an evil genius. Players are building up their lair, creating a cover, and slowly building a means to take over the world. Now in order to do so successfully, players will need to make the necessary upgrades and tweaks to keep their lair in working order, filled with henchmen, and fighting off agents that break-in. It’s a wacky RTS title and while lighthearted, the game very much wants you to be the most heinous villain of all the world. Let the diabolical laughter begin.
Lucius gives you the means to be terrified of children. This is a survival horror game where players take the role of a young little boy named Lucius, the son of Lucifer. Unveiled to be Satan’s son in a dream, the boy is tasked with killing off everyone in the manor he resides. In order to do so, players will need to make sure that every death appears as an accident. Deaths are usually handled through various household items such as locking a maid in a freezer or through the use of different supernatural powers that is acquired over time.
Manhunt was developed by Rockstar Games and as you can imagine, just like with their Grand Theft Auto franchise, Manhunt was also quite controversial. Within the game, players are taking on the role of a man named James Earl Cash, who was due to be executed by lethal injection. However, instead, Cash was only sedated and handed over to a mysterious character. Claiming that Cash would be sent free if he plays along with his snuff films, players are tasked with executing a series of characters. These characters are not innocent either as they mainly are made up of other terrible criminals. However, a good portion of the game is forcing players into sneaking around and setting up big cinematic kills for the camera. From using bladed objects to suffocating a person, the goal is to do enough kills to warrant your freedom. As you can imagine, there are some twists and turns along the way, but I’ll avoid saying much more than that. We only received two Manhunt games, and they tended to do well outside of the controversy. The last installment was released back in 2007 and it’s uncertain if we’ll get another game for this IP. After all, the series was highly controversial and deemed to be cruel or sadistic in plenty of countries, resulting in some areas outright banning the IP from releasing.
Punisher is a bit of a tough sell for some. You’re not really a villain, but at the same time, you’re not much of a hero. This character is an antihero where you’re able to take out enemies with no holding back. Most superhero video games and media typically don’t show these characters killing off enemies. Beat them up, sure, tie them up for police absolutely, but outright killing is not really a thing for normal everyday criminals. With that said, players in the Punisher games are gunning criminals down. In fact, the PlayStation 2 adaptation has players pulling off some brutal executions as well, and it’s not that much different from the likes of Manhunt.
Hatred is the biggest controversial game on this list and for good reason. This game is mainly hated and I don’t plan on talking too much about it here. You’re a terrible person who is dying and you decide to take out as many innocent lives as possible in a twin-stick-style shooter.
#8 Lord of the Ring Conquest
Lord of the Ring Conquest is quite a bit like Star Wars Battlefront. Instead of players fighting for the Empire or Republic, you’re on either side of the Middle-earth war. In this game, players can take the role of Orcs in a variety of battles. You had different iconic characters, mounts you take a ride into battle, and again for once, we got to step into either side of the war. However, the gameplay was a bit mixed with critics. It wasn’t the Star Wars Battlefront killer that Lord of the Rings fans was likely hoping for.
#7 Goldeneye Rogue Agent
While listed as a 007 video game, this is not a game where players are taking the role of James Bond. Instead, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent follows an M16 agent that had his eye shot by Dr. No. Leaving him striving for vengeance. Ultimately, this led to the agent being removed from the M16 after the organization felt he was unfit for the job. However, this prompted another Bond villain, Goldenfinger, to pick up the scraps. Giving the former agent a job offer, players decide to take on the life of crime. With the organization fitting the character with an advanced eye that would allow players MRI vision, our new agent is even deadlier than before. Fortunately, the game doesn’t have us going on mass terror, but while we are apart from an evil organization, the main focus here is taking out Dr. No, a common enemy between the two parties, as our protagonist wants his revenge and Goldenfinger needs to mark off a troublesome competitor.
OverLord is a mixture of action, RPG, and real-time strategy. Overall, the game follows players as an OverLord, raised from the dead by minions who are tasked with taking out seven heroes that have slain the previous OverLord. Taking on the job, players begin to reign terror and evil once again across the lands as they battle against the heroes who have all fallen towards seven deadly sins. As mentioned, the RTS gameplay comes out by unleashing your minions to do some of your biddings during battles. Throughout the game, players are given some choices which determine how evil they really want to be in the game. As a result, you’ll end up getting one of several different endings which again may prove OverLord is not completely terrible, or endings where the protagonist continues to pillage and terrorize the world.
#5 Fable Series
Speaking of Fable, we should bring this game up on the list as well. The series has been an iconic one as each game provides players with a journey of good versus evil. However, players are able to determine what side they really want to fight for. Much like OverLord, there are decisions made along the way, although Fable gives players a clear choice of being good or evil. This doesn’t just affect the game ending and character, but the entire world outlook as well. You’ll see your character visually change as your raise or lower your morality meter. For instance, the more evil things you do and the more your morality drops will ultimately cause the people around the world to either hate or fear you. It was an interesting concept and one that kept up with the franchise. We’re certainly interested if this continues on with the upcoming reboot that’s in the works for Microsoft.
#4 The Sopranos Road To Respect
The Sopranos was a breakthrough hit television series. Everyone was talking about this show and it helped inspire so many other television projects afterward. However, no one really talks about the game as it wasn’t all that well-received. In this title, players are taking a story based on Bonpensiero’s son taking on a role in the mafia under Tony Soprano. Here, players are working their way through the ranks while the overall game was more narrative-focused and as a result, linear. Still, the game used the same actors for the voice-overs and it was praised for the acting. Meanwhile, the game is centered around the mafia side of the game, whereas the television series worked on the family side of things that were impacted by a life of crime.
#3 Stubbs the Zombie
Stubbs The Zombie In Rebel Without A Pulse is a pretty popular video game. Players take the role of a poor traveling salesman in 1930 who fell in love with a girl. However, when her father discovered this, he kills you and throws your body in the wilderness. Years later, Stubbs raises from the grave as a zombie who is out to find his true love. This requires players to essentially sinking their teeth into the flesh of innocent civilians wandering around. The more you infect the better your odds are at taking over and finding your girl. It’s a wacky game, and while Stubbs may be in love, he has a funny way of showing it by turning the town into a crazed zombie infestation.
#2 Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
In 1994, Warrior took over Super Mario Land with his own video game. The villain character is on a quest to secure a massive castle that is more impressive than Mario’s. However, in order to fund the castle, Wario sets off to an island where pirates have supposedly stolen a large golden statue of Princess Peach, which Wario intends to steal and sell back to Mario. It’s a wacky side-scrolling platform that acts quite a bit like Super Mario. However, there are some different little powers that Wario has, such as bashing an enemy by rushing into them.
#1 Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Hyrule Warriors brings out the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors while focusing on The Legend of Zelda franchise. Set in Hyrule, we get a look at an intense battle against swarms of enemies while iconic characters help keep the world safe from the likes of Ganondorf. The reason we have this game on our list is the fact that in the game you can actually take the role of Ganondorf. Of course, there are some hoops you have to jump through in order to unlock Calamity Ganon. Now if we can just get a game centered around playing as Ganon from start to finish.