It’s finally October, and we all know what that means. It is that time of year to have horror movie marathons and playing through the scariest horror video games. If you are not doing anything scary for the month of October, then you are not Octobering right. To help those who are still figuring out what scary games to play for the month, here is a list of the five best horror video game franchises. There have been many great horror games to come out these last few years, but many of these games are mostly fledging franchises. The franchises that are about to be listed are well-established series that most gamers will know. As a rule for this list, a game needs to have at least have released two games to be considered a franchise.
With so many classic horror franchises, it was almost an impossible task to come up with only a handful to be considered to be the best. Yet we tried our best, and here are the horror franchises that are the best to play for the month of October.
Special Mention – Five Nights at Freddy
For a franchise that is only three years old, Five Nights at Freddy was able to become a very popular game series in such a short amount of time. This may be due to the fact of its simple and effective gameplay mechanic. The main mechanic of the game has you mostly stay immobile in one room, while you fend off the animatronics of a local pizzeria from getting to you. It’s a time management nightmare, where you use cameras from different rooms to keep watch of all the animatronics, while doing other tasks to make sure you do not lose power or sanity. There has been some major backlash towards the series, criticism aim towards to how cheap it looks and that there is actually very little gameplay in the series.
However, despite that, it is still impressive that one man was able to single-handily created the entire series and have it be as popular as it did. Even though some people may see the series’ mechanics as an un-fun gimmick, many more see it as clever considering the budget it was created under. Also, love them or hate them, the franchise has provided a great deal of content for YouTubers with their reaction videos and let’s plays.
5. Fatal Frame
Fatal Frame franchise has provided gamers a taste of what J-horror is, giving them a video game series that is primarily centered on Japanese myths. In the Fatal Frame series, you find yourself trapped in a place that is haunted by ghosts. Your only weapon is a camera, which fortunately has the power to trap ghosts if the player takes a good enough picture. Ghosts are almost always scary, and the ghosts in Fatal Frame are very evidently based on the Japanese horror movies of the past.
Atmosphere in these games are intense, and the fact that you need to get up and close to these ghosts to take their picture is absolutely frightening. It is a game series that deserves more recognition in the West, and it is a franchise that any J-horror fan will love.
4. Dead Rising
Dead Rising isn’t really a scary game franchise. There are definitely scary moments in them, but the series has always had this tongue-in-cheek tone in their stories and settings. It doesn’t mean there isn’t real pathos or stakes in these games; it is just that there is some campiness thrown in as well. The games may be about the zombie apocalypse, yet that doesn’t mean you cannot have fun with it. These games usually have the protagonists be stuck in a very limited area, and forced to use whatever there is around them to create the greatest anti-zombie weapons. Anything can be a weapon in these games, including a wheelchair.
There is so much creativity with these games; these games give players so much freedom with how they can play. Beneath all the wackiness in these games, there are some very likable lead characters. Everyone remembers the journalist Frank West, with his charming personality grounding the events in the first game. Then there is Chuck Greene from the second game, who spends most of the game trying to cure his daughter of the zombie virus. All these leads have some pathos within them, which is why players find these games so interesting. Throw in some silliness, and you have one of best horror franchises in gaming.
3. Dead Space
This franchise has been dormant for a few years now, though it is only a matter of time for this series to return from the dead and scare gamers all over again. Dead Space came in at an interesting time in gaming history. The go-to video game horror franchises were not scaring players the same way as they use to. Resident Evil was becoming more action orientated, while Silent Hill was suffering from a series of games with questionable qualities.
Dead Space was able to fill in that horror niche that gamers’ were missing, delivering a trilogy of horror games that truly made gamers feel uneasy. The main gameplay of the Dead Space gamers are shooting – it was the environment and creatures you were shooting at that were the sources of the discomfort. The places you visited oozed atmosphere, almost suffocating the playable character with the amount of dread it presented itself. The monsters you face in these games are honestly some of the freakiest looking creatures you’ll ever face in any franchise. Unfortunately for Dead Space, the third game in the franchise followed the route that Resident Evil was going through at the time, and delivered a game that focused more on the action rather than horror.
Let’s hope that Dead Space 4 can recapture the magic that the first two had
2. Silent Hill
The power of the Silent Hill series does not stem from its gameplay; it is all derived from how psychological these games are. These are games tap into the fears that we all have in our subconscious, feeding the paranoia that we all suffer from. Each game’s protagonists have issues that they are dealing with, and the enemies and environments they face are physical representations of those fears and insecurities. The namesake town of Silent Hill is
The namesake town of Silent Hill is the home of a cult who wishes to draw the power of an alternate dimension to birth their god. This alternate dimension is where the physical representation of all the character’s fear stems from, forcing them to confront their problems head-on. One of the main themes of the game is how everybody has their own demons to face and depending on how you play the game will determine what type of ending you get. Will you get the happy ending, where the main characters resolve all their problems and live happily ever after? Or will get a sad ending where you fail at your objective and are forced to witness the worst possible outcome? Or will you be abducted by aliens, a common joke ending within Silent Hill? As mention, the ending is up to the individual player.
These games admittedly have not found the same kind of critical success they had in the original trilogy, with almost all other games after the first three being divisive at best. With that said, there is always something creepy to find in all these Silent Hill games, and those first three games are definitely some of the best horror video games out there. It is a series that has inspired many horror games, including the Resident Evil franchise. The franchise will live on, either through more sequels or through the countless inspirations, and there will always be room for gamer’s hearts for this gaming franchise. Also, THE CANCELLATION OF SILENT HILLS IS BIGGEST TRAVESTY IN ALL OF GAMING!!!
1. Resident Evil
Was there any doubt it was going to be any other franchise? Resident Evil (or Biohazard in Japan) is probably the most well-known horror video game franchise out there, and for good reason. The games are effectively simple in concept, they are essentially about fighting the undead, however, the games have had brilliant executions. Everyone remembers the Spencer Mansion of the first, were every room was soaked with dread and uneasiness. Zombies were used effectively in the early titles – zombies were actually threats in the early games.
Throw in some zombie dogs and other weird monsters, and you have some of the greatest enemies in all of gaming. There is an unfortunate time when the Resident Evil was leaning more on the action aspects of the series. Resident Evil 4 is easily the most celebrated title in the franchise, yet it was the also the game that led to the much more action-orientated RE 5 and 6. It was during this time that seems as if the Resident Evil of yesterday was gone, and that was something that upset players greatly.
Then Resident Evil 7 came out, provided fans the series long-awaited return to being a pure horror franchise again. Taking obvious inspiration from P.T. /the canceled Silent Hills game, RE 7 brought back the horror aspects that fans remember and loved. Gone was Chris punching boulders like an over-the-top action hero, and gone were the convoluted world-domination plots. The story was simpler and more grounded – a breath of fresh air among the seas of games with high stakes. Resident Evil 7 proves that the franchise still has it, and giving fans a brighter future for the series.