The 34 Best Survival Horror Games That Will Scare You to Death

Loveleen Kaur / ONE37pm

Zombies. The Pyramid Head. Necromorphs. And other unspeakable horrors that want you dead are the regular types of terrifying beasts that haunt you in the best survival horror games.

Since the term originally got coined for the original 1996 release of Resident Evil, an avalanche of survival horror titles has hit the scene. But even before Capcom's classic franchise scared everyone half to death, games like 1989's Sweet Home and 1992's Alone in the Dark laid the blueprint for what survival horror games are supposed to be. The 34 titles we're about to celebrate on this list represent the epitome of quality games in the thriving sub-genre of action/adventure experiences.

These titles are perfect for an October playlist or just a terrifyingly good time while you're playing them in the dark at any time of the year.

1. ‘Alone in the Dark’

Infogrames' Alone in the Dark is regarded by all survival horror connoisseurs as the very first 3D game in the genre. As the forefather of every other title on this list, this initial pick features all the quintessential elements that define the modern-day survival horror experience. The non-linear approach to exploring, the bevy of puzzles, the supernatural adversaries that haunt your every move, and the brooding nature of it all makes up the winning foundation for Alone in the Dark.

2. ‘Resident Evil’ (2015 HD Remaster)

Capcom's original Resident Evil installment is most definitely a bonafide gem. But the Nintendo GameCube remake that's been given a well-deserving HD remaster is the best way to play out the initial mansion mission Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine had to endure. The graphics are a million times more impressive, the lighting evokes even more fear than ever before, and the music is way more haunting. The addition of an extra creepy bio-weapon (Lisa Trevor still haunts our nightmares!), plus the presence of all the previous frights from the original version must be seen (and shot repeatedly!) to be believed.

3. ‘Resident Evil 2’

When the second Resident Evil dropped in everyone's hands, gamers walked away from it fully confident of its everlasting greatness. Resident Evil 2 introduced the world to series mainstays' Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield, who must trek through a downtrodden Raccoon City that's overrun with all sorts of zombies & bio-weapons. The expanded locales provided even more jump scares (that sewer section will never leave our subconscious thoughts...) and adrenaline-pumping moments that players will never forget. This amazing follow-up is recognized by many as one of the greatest video game sequels ever made.

4. ‘Resident Evil 3: Nemesis’

Jill Valentine made her welcome return in the third mainline entry in the Resident Evil franchise. And this time, she was forced to defend herself from the walking & crawling monsters the Umbrella Corporation is responsible for flooding Raccoon City with. The biggest bio-weapon of them all is the seemingly unstoppable Nemesis, who added an extra sense of paranoia to everything players had to do in this game. The Resident Evil formula still worked like a charm here, plus the ability to craft your ammo and make split-second choices that impact the plot gave this game its best signature traits.

5. ‘Resident Evil – Code: Veronica X HD’

Claire Redfield's love for her brother forces her to make a valiant effort to find him ever since his disappearance. And in the process, she gets captured by Umbrella and dropped onto an island that's full of the types of creatures that want her dead. Resident Evil - Code; Veronica X HD is the definitive version of Capcom's most impressive Sega Dreamcast release. The visuals get a welcome bump in graphical fidelity, some extra cutscenes come into play, and the origins behind Umbrella's rise to power come into focus. As one of the longer games in the franchise, this series entry gives players a lot of bang for their buck and a heartwarming Redfield family reunion.

6. ‘Resident Evil 2’ (2019)

Capcom truly outdid itself with this astounding realization of Resident Evil 2 in the form of a full HD remake. The tumultuous events that fans remember from the original game are revisited and done even better due to amazingly lifelike visuals, a new & improved third-person shooter control scheme, and the same satisfying exploration loot that exists within the best Resident Evil games. A few changes to the formula are included, but they improve rather than take away from everything that longtime fans have come to adore. As far as video game remakes go, this is one of the very best.

7. ‘Resident Evil 4’

Resident Evil 4 truly revolutionized the third-person shooting genre as a whole. Similar games that came after it knowingly adopted its camera viewpoint and aiming/shooting mechanics because it works so well. Besides its genre forwarding elements, Resident Evil 4 deserves kudos for giving fans a more mature and battle-hardened version of Leon S. Kennedy. Taking control of him was a blast as you were forced to fend off crazed villagers and a whole assortment of bio-weapon threats. Escorting Ashley to safety is an annoying endeavor, sure. But that part of the game is still not enough to dull the shine of this prominent Resident Evil series installment.

8. ‘Resident Evil 7: Biohazard’

"Welcome to the family, son!" That fearsome phrase comes from none other than the towering father that hails from the Baker Family, Jack Baker. He and the rest of his clan scared the living daylights out of everyone that encountered them in the Resident Evil game that revisited its roots for the better. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard switches the camera viewpoint to a first-person variation, which brought the night terrors even closer to your face (especially in VR!). A series resurgence was brought on by this game for good reason - it focuses on the horror elements fans have come to champion by incorporating a deeply disturbing journey through a whole new derelict mansion.

9. ‘Resident Evil Village’

The formula that was mastered in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was thankfully brought back for its equally satisfying follow-up. Resident Evil Village feels like a first-person take on Resident Evil 4 - it throws the latest series protagonist Ethan Winters into a hellish landscape in search of his missing baby girl. Unfortunately, he's forced to make his way through werewolves, hideously mutated fish creatures, mechanical monstrosities, and more in order to do so. A major change in scenery lends itself well to the newfound Resident Evil recipe. You haven't experienced true fear until you've paid a visit to this game's dollhouse of horrors.

10. ‘Dino Crisis’

Agile dinosaurs. Massive dinosaurs. And all types of other revived lizards have it out for you the crimson-haired Regina in Capcom's survival horror spinoff, Dino Crisis. This late 90s PlayStation gem introduced a new type of fear in the form of bloodthirsty dinos that could knock your weapon out of your hands and quickly overwhelm you. The classic Resident Evil playstyle got applied to this game and it ended up being a total win in the process. It's about time Dino Crisis got a proper remake at this point, right?

11. ‘Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly’

Tecmo's worthwhile contribution to the survival horror genre lies in the Fatal Frame series. The finest entry in the entire franchise has and seemingly always will be the very first sequel, Crimson Butterfly. Perusing through a ghost town with your sister nearby truly brought the strongest of frights to anyone that was brave enough to confront them. The clever usage of a camera to document each & every haunting environment and do big damage to some vicious spirits improved for the better with this series installment.

12. ‘Silent Hill 2’

When Konami stepped into the arena ruled by Capcom's Resident Evil, it came strong with the Silent Hill series. When the most infamous small town in all of gaming came to PS2, survival horror fanatics were given a new classic to hold up right next to the genre's other greats. Silent Hill 2 takes players on a stress-inducing ride into a town that pushes James Sunderland to find his deceased wife. Making your way through the game's fog-filled hellscape meant you were treated to nightmare fuel in the form of monsters, locations that changed for the worse, and horrific revelations. Want to know where Pyramid Head originated? Look no further than this one.

13. ‘Silent Hill 3’

Silent Hill 3 gave the lead protagonist role to a debuting young woman named Heather, who gets caught up in all the madness and dread that the small town's cult gets entangled in. The same strong qualities that propped up the previous game made their welcome return here. While there wasn't a ton of innovation applied to this follow-up, Silent Hill 3 still ends up being a significant piece of quality within the survival horror genre's long-running legacy. Everything about the "Otherworld" from this game still affects players deeply in the worst way possible.

14. ‘Dead Space’

When Electronic Arts and its Redwood Shores development house took inspiration from the juggernauts in the survival horror genre, they knocked it out of the park with this fearsome trek beyond the stars. The first Dead Space follows Issac Clarke, an engineer that has his mind warped due to a manmade device known as a "Red Marker." That same device leads to the uprising of hideous Necromorphs, who do everything in their power to eliminate Clarke. Dismembering those space terrors, dealing with rampant hallucinations, and combing through every part of the USG Ishimura gave way to a harrowing experience that's still worth replaying to this very day.

15. ‘Dead Space 2’

Even though Dead Space 2 injected more action into the series' formula, it still managed to offer a good dosage of terrifying sequences that kept the tension high. Issac Clarke made his return here and was once again forced to blast off the limbs of returning & debuting Necromorph horrors. Players were now tasked with exploring a new massive space station called the Sprawl, which featured even more expansive internal areas and tricky platforming sections that tested players' mastery of maneuvering through zero-gravity rooms. Kudos to this game's multiplayer mode for being way more fun than it should've been, too.

16. ‘Alien: Isolation’

Alien: Isolation isn't about trying to light up a hallway full of xenomorphs with your fellow marines. It follows the template of the first film in the series by evoking the feeling of being helpless against the threat of a singular alien that's seemingly always close by. This first-person survival horror encounter is a must for fans of the films who want to meet Amanda Ripley's daughter and see what's been happening in the 15 years since the first film's events. Alien: Isolation is quite the traumatic game that pushes you to sneak around, hide, and pick your spots carefully when it's time to defend yourself from any & all threats.

17. ‘The Evil Within’

Shinji Mikami is the lauded creator behind the Resident Evil series, so it comes as no surprise when you learn that everyone got excited about his newest survival horror project. Once it was finally released, fans were more than pleased with the finished result. The Evil Within delves into the twisted mental expanse of a disturbed individual whose memories come to life in the form of horrifying creatures & creepy locales. The general gameplay felt like a refined version of everything introduced in Resident Evil 4, which matches up well with The Evil Within's original plot elements.

18. ‘The Evil Within 2’

The Evil Within 2 took some huge steps forward for the series as a whole. Its visuals went the extra mile to make its main character Sebastion and all the unsightly creatures that he confronts look even better than the ones in this sequel's predecessor. The linear level design gets expanded upon here thanks to the addition of open-world exploration that's not too overwhelming to completely comb through. The new batch of boss battles, chase sequences, and highly unstable baddies Sebastian must confront all come together wonderfully for a sequel that goes above & beyond to achieve greatness.

19. ‘Outlast’

Publisher/developer Red Barrels has done an awesome job of causing gamers to panic live on stream while playing Outlast. It gained tons of popularity and sales since its original launch, which is great to hear. Outlast deserves all the praise in the world thanks to its deeply disturbing first-person gameplay. Taking on the role of investigative journalist Miles Upshur meant players were forced to run and hide from all the violent inhabitants of the game's dilapidated psychiatric hospital. Staying on the move, stuffing yourself into a locker, and making sure you put your camcorder's night vision to good use is what you'll need to do to stay alive in Outlast.

20. ‘Alan Wake Remastered’

This Xbox 360 original garnered quite the strong cult status among gamers that fancy themselves some Stephen King tales. Shout out to development studio Remedy Entertainment for never forgetting about Alan Wake and deciding to revive it for a modern audience. This remastered edition of the troubled author's harrowing search for his missing wife is everyone's preferred way to play it. All the previously released DLC is present here, plus there's a cool new Easter Egg included that points to the game's connection to Remedy's Control. Alan Wake Remastered is a well-put-together third-person shooter that's backed up by an equally well-constructed plot worth seeing through to its conclusion.

21. ‘F.E.A.R.’

That eerie little girl named Alma forever haunted our dreams ever since we had the unfortunate honor of meeting her in the first entry in the F.E.A.R. series. This horror-fueled first-person shooter does a fine job of spooking you into pausing the game to catch your breath and raising your adrenaline levels during its extreme firefights. F.E.A.R. has the perfect mix of blockbuster action movie shootouts (which never got old thanks to the inclusion of bullet-time mechanics) and the types of moments that make you think twice about walking down all those dark hallways.

22. ‘P.T.’

Konami really put the kibosh on something truly amazing that was set to come from this "playable teaser." This demo came out of nowhere in 2014 and fascinated everyone that tried their hardest to get to the bottom of its trippy mystery. And for a good while, P.T. was all anyone could ever talk about - its mind-bending gameplay loop stayed interesting throughout due to the abundance of eerie sights and sounds players came across at random intervals. P.T. is a bewildering proof of concept that paved the way for Silent Hills (which Konami canceled, sadly).

23. ‘Parasite Eve’

Squaresoft was on fire during its run of JRPG releases back on the original PlayStation. When the Japanese publisher/developer decided to try its hand at making a Resident Evil RPG, it hit a home run with everyone that gave it a try. It must be mentioned that Parasite Eve's opening cutscene forever embedded its way into us and everyone else's memory banks. Aya Brea takes the fight to Eve and her mitochondria-infused monsters via a clever battle system that incorporates real-time combat and an Active Time Bar system. The excellent enemy designs, moody soundtrack, and remarkable main villain all have everyone chomping at the bit for a proper remake of Parasite Eve.

24. ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’

True immersion could be felt as players dove right into this interactive nightmare. Amnesia: The Dark Descent takes place within the confines of Castle Brennenburg, which traps the main character Daniel within its massive space. And while trying to help him navigate its many hallways and rooms, players must steer clear of some truly horrific monsters that always give chase at the sight of them. Since Daniel's incapable of fighting back, it's always imperative that you ran away and lived to solve another puzzle in order to keep progressing. The ominous nature of this game remains strong from start to finish - Amnesia: The Dark Descent is some high-quality survival horror fare.

25. ‘Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem’

This Nintendo GameCube classic always gets the respect it deserves from the survival-horror-loving crowd. And for good reason! It tried something experimental that worked way better than anyone could have ever expected - a wealth of onscreen tricks were implemented in order to cause players to question their own sanity. You haven't experienced true fear until you've seen this game pop up with a "full memory card data deletion" notification message on your TV screen! Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem also earns a spot on this list thanks to its limb-targeting combat system, time-hopping plotline, and unnerving atmosphere.

26. ‘Soma’

Getting trapped underwater is something that most folks have an innate fear of. Soma injects that whole scenario into its adventure by placing players in the boots of a man named Simon Jarrett, who's trapped within an underwater research facility. And to make matters even worse, he's forced to deal with the presence of bio-mechanical horrors. This first-person venture emphasizes psychological horror, in-depth exploration, and a whole lot of puzzle-solving to boot.

27. ‘Condemned: Criminal Origins’

If you got yourself an Xbox 360 at launch back in 2005, then you probably took a chance on this one. And if you did, we're convinced that you still sing its praises to this very day. Condemned: Criminal Origins was all about navigating the worst parts of the city of Metro and trying to find the mysterious Serial Killer X. Which means players were treated to close encounters with crazed individuals who could be taken down with a wide swath of melee weapons and one-shotted with firearms. Those same foes usually scared the hell out of you before you started beating them down, which always keeps players on edge in this one. And damn those mannequins!

28. ‘Condemned 2: Bloodshot’

Condemned 2: Bloodshot kept the horrific times rolling along as players are thrown right back into Metro City and forced to deal with an ongoing trend that has driven its homeless population to madness. The serial killer from the first game is still a force to reckoned with in this game, which means the search continues. Defending yourself got even riskier this time around as your melee weapons would now break after repeated usage. The jump scares got even more intense and investigating all those crime scenes added to the strong sense of tension present throughout.

29. ‘The Suffering’

It's a crying shame that this IP has been put on ice nowadays. When Midway Games was still an entity within the world of gaming, it dropped one of the most slept-on hybrid first-/third-person survival horror shooters in The Suffering. Torque's stay in Abbot State Penitentiary on Carnate Island gets a million times worse after an earthquake marks the arrival of ruthless supernatural baddies. The Suffering may not be frightening on every level, but its "unique" creature designs and well-tuned gunplay still manage to earn it a spot on this list. The morality system and multiple endings also got this game some extra replays out of us, by the way.

30. ‘Doom 3: BFG Edition'

The original Doom 3 took the series in a completely different direction by emphasizing more horror elements over action-packed demon busting. While you can still blast apart the denizens of Hell on Mars, the number of enemies you encountered weren't as overwhelming as they had been before. But when they popped up on you, chances are you got spooked every now and then. The preferred way to enjoy Doom 3 these days is by checking out the BFG Edition thanks to its introduction of improved visuals, playable copies of the original Doom games, and the inclusion of previous Doom 3 expansions. The ability to hold the flashlight up while holding a weapon makes playing through Doom 3 so much better, too.

31. ‘Siren: Blood Curse’

At one point, Sony Interactive Entertainment had its very own survival horror IP called Siren. The first two games weren't all that extraordinary by any means. It's the third game in the series that stands out as the strongest take on the Japanese horror-inspired franchise. Siren: Blood Curse took the episodic approach and dished out its nerve-wracking gameplay across 12 episodes. The evil shibito always kept players on their toes and forced them to be as stealthy as possible in order to stay alive. The clever "Sight Jack" ability played a huge part in intensifying the frights as it let you see through the eyes of the monsters hunting you down.

32. ‘System Shock 2’

System Shock 2 has earned the distinction of being a cult classic that's inspired equally amazing games such as BioShock. This first-person shooter puts players at odds with a deadly spaceship computer AI and a whole host of infected creatures. Players are treated to some nightmare-inducing sights and sounds at every corner of the abandoned ship they must explore. The well-tuned gunplay is just the cherry on top for a game that does right by its horror-themed attributes.

33. ‘Dying Light’

Techland is most known for the Dead Island series. But its true magnum opus is the very first Dying Light. Dodging past the ruthless undead in a vast expanse via slick parkour moves makes up the gamut of this game's incredible exploration tactics. But there's more to enjoy about this first-person struggle against a country ravaged by shambling zombies - the melee combat has that nice sense of heft & danger to it that makes every battle feel like it could be your last, plus the nighttime runs are nail-biting affairs. Dying Light has gotten a ton of upgrades up until this point and is next-gen compatible, so you have no excuse not to give it a shot.

34. ‘The Thing’

John Carpenter's film adaptation of John W. Campbell Jr.'s novella Who Goes There? got lambasted by negative reviews during its original release. But over the years, it's grown to become a favorite among hardcore science-fiction movie fans. The 1982 film finally got a video game adaptation all the way in 2002 that excelled beyond everyone's expectations. The Thing is a quality third-person shooter that featured some of the most resilient enemies in all of survival-horror history - completely offing them meant shooting them down to weaken them enough to burn them. The game's Fear/Trust system, unnerving atmosphere, and NPC infection feature also proved crucial to its success.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Thumbs Down