We all know the popular mainstream horror games that have being buzzing for the past few years. Some are good like Amnesia and Outlast but others were not like the later Resident Evil games. However, there are horror games that have been released throughout the past decade that are seriously overlooked and do not get the attention they deserve.
That's why I've created a list of the eight horror games that are way too underrated and require more attention from horror gaming enthusiasts. Let's start with:
1. Cold Fear
Horror games are always better when they force you into uncomfortable and dangerous conditions alone. Imagine you are a lone Coast Guard who is sent in to investigate a mysterious freighter out in the middle of the ocean during a violent stormy night. One false move and you could slip or be thrown off the ship... oh, and the entire crew has mutated into violent zombie-like creatures. That's pretty much what Cold Fear has to offer and it can actually be pretty pulse pounding and frightening at times.
The game released a mere two months after the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 4 and it shows. Cold Fear borrows the 3rd-person aiming mechanic that made Resident Evil 4 popular and the enemies of Cold Fear are also reminiscent the crazed villagers. It's tense, it's scary and it's even a tad creative at times. Be sure to check this out next time you're on Steam.
2. The Thing
Now, I have to admit that I don't think this game is really as good as other people think it is. It boasts a lot of ideas and delivers on very few of them. The story doesn't fit into the movie that well and the characters, especially the protagonist, are very boring and forgettable. The only thing that The Thing has going for it is the combat gameplay. It can be pretty intense going up against a bunch of mutated "things" and you have to shoot and burn them in order to kill them. The design of the things can also be pretty creative and gruesome as well and captures the original film's designs to a tee.
The rest of the game mostly ranges from OK to below average. It tries the idea of a trust system between other characters like from the film the game is based on but it's ultimately pointless to the gameplay. The story becomes so convoluted and strange that it can't help but feel like a forced tie-in to the movie. However, the game can still offer plenty of scares and thrills for any horror game enthusiast. I'd recommend The Thing solely for that.
3. Haunting Ground
Even though it's fairly obvious Haunting Ground borrows a lot of its premise and ideas from the classic Clock Tower series, they still managed to create a fairly intense and terrifying video game. The premise is that you play as an overly sexualized girl named Fiona who must must navigate through a creepy castle while evading the castle's crazy occupants including the creepy groundskeeper, the jealous maid, and the hooded castle keeper.
There is little means of defending yourself, so you must run and hide from your enemies as best as you can. One of the main selling points of Haunting Ground is the inclusion of Hewie, a dog that Fiona befriends at the beginning of the game. Fiona can command Hewie to defend her against enemies and check suspicious places for helpful items. However, he won't always listen to you because you have to build up a relationship with him and that could really lead to some intense, heart-pounding moments.
If you have access to a PlayStation 2, then I highly recommend this terrifying game. You won't be disappointed... unless the over sexualization of Fiona annoys you because the game does that a lot.
4. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Silent Hill is one of those franchises that was big for the time it was first released but has now pretty much lost it's momentum after the release of Homecoming and Downpour. The series looked like it was coming back strong with Silent Hills but that project was unfortunately ultimately cancelled sadly. But even though Silent Hill looks like it's on its last leg, they still tried to keep the franchise fresh and new with a remake of the very first game but remastered with some newer ideas. A lot of it worked but some of it didn't.
The game really takes a new spin on the psychological horror which is what made the original games popular and it really works to the game's advantage. You'll be asked questions constantly through out the game that will change the gameplay and story drastically. Unfortunately, Shattered Memories doesn't offer up much more scares than that as there are no enemies to fight off in the real world. The Other World isn't anything really to be scared about as they've taken away the hellish red colors and replaced them with a more calming blue shade that doesn't really offer the same effect.
But where the game does shine is it's psychological horror and the creepiness of constantly being alone in a big empty town. If you still have a Wii lying around, I'd recommend this underrated classic.
Imagine The Faculty but instead of aliens, the school was filled with Lovecraftian creatures from the deepest parts of your nightmares. Obscure follows five students who get locked in their high school overnight and find that the place as become overrun with terrifying creatures and monsters. All the stereotypes are present including the geek, the hot cheerleader, the jock, the stoner and the annoying little sister.
Unlike the other games on this list, you can actually experience the horror of Obscure with a friend in cooperative gameplay. Each playable character is actually kind of likable in their own way and they each have their unique talents to keep the gameplay interesting. But be warned, once a character dies, they are dead for the duration of the game and you have to play as someone else. Obscure may have a few problems but its still a fun, scary and even creative horror game, I'd say you should check it out on Steam sometime. The sequel however... not so much.
6. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
I'll admit that this game takes a little too long to get off the ground and really get going. The stealth elements aren't very fun or interesting as they mostly feel like a chore and certain objectives can get tedious and repetitive at times. However, once you get through the boring first hour of the game, you'll be in for a pulse-pounding and terrifying adventure. The scares are perfectly placed and the monsters look like they jumped out of H.P Lovecraft's dementedly creative mind.
The combat mixes gunplay and stealth almost perfectly as you won't always have enough ammo to fight your way out of a situation. The story is also very interesting and offers constant twist after twist to keep you intrigued in the mystery shrouding the mysterious village. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is very slow at first but once you get into it, you won't be able to put your controller down.
7. Clive Barker's Undying
Clive Barker's Undying managed to something that's almost seemed impossible to accomplish. The game has you play as a man with survival training, gives you a fully loaded weapon and still manages to scare living crap out of you. This is mostly because of the amazing atmosphere and the nightmarish creatures you fight. You navigate through a darkly gothic mansion on a pitch black and stormy night while fighting demonic monsters that move like something unlike this world.
Undying also throws enough scares and surprises at you to keep you on your toes but also keep you afraid of what's going to happen next. Sometimes the lightning outside will subtly change a picture on the wall and sometimes you'll look in the mirror and something jump out to scare you but nothing is really there. The story even manages to keep you intrigued in what the characters are going through and how its all going to resolve itself.
Clive Barker's Undying is atmospheric, intriguing and crap your pants terrifying. I highly suggest playing this one with the lights out.
8. Eternal Darkness
Many Gamecube gamers already know and rave about the terrifically terrifying Eternal Darkness but that is a small minority and we have still yet to see a re-release or remastered version of this game. Eternal Darkness will not only scare the sh*t out of you but it will also make you question your sanity at the same time. Eternal Darkness incorporates a sanity meter that you can't let deplete or the game will instantly start to mess with your mind. Certain effects will take place like things appearing on screen that aren't really there, random exploding body parts and even simulated game crashes. You try to stay calm when the game seemingly crashes right after your head just randomly explodes off your shoulders.
Never has a game broken through the fourth wall so intensely. Eternal Darkness grabs you by the throat the moment you start the game and doesn't let go until you press the power button. If you get a chance you play this amazing experience, I highly recommend that you take it.