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Welcome to the world of psychological horror games! This genre is one of the most fascinating and captivating in the gaming industry, offering an immersive and thrilling experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Psychological horror games often involve complex narratives and intense psychological themes, making them more than just regular games.

As you explore these games, you'll find yourself in dark and mysterious worlds filled with Fear and suspense. Step into the unknown and experience the thrill of psychological horror games for yourself! Grab your controller and prepare to be scared.

Psychological Horror Games

These games are a type of horror video game that focuses on creating a feeling of dread and tension through psychological manipulation and horror themes. They may also include puzzle-solving, exploration, and survival horror elements to create a more immersive and engaging experience.

1. Outlast

Outlast

Outlast is a psychological horror video game developed and published by Red Barrels. It was released for Microsoft Windows in 2013, PlayStation 4 in 2014, Xbox One in 2014, Linux in 2015, and Nintendo Switch in 2018. The game begins with Miles entering the asylum with only a camera and a night-vision setting.

As he progresses through the game, he encounters various creatures, including mutated humans, which he must fight, run away from, or hide from. Outlast was praised for its horror elements and atmosphere, with some critics comparing it favourably to Amnesia: The Dark Descent. It also garnered praise for its audio design and visuals.

Outlast is an example of psychological horror game. It uses psychological horror elements such as jump scares, disturbing environments, and a sense of dread to create an intense atmosphere. The game relies heavily on psychological tactics to frighten and unsettle the player.

The game's sound and visuals also contribute to the horror elements. The game also utilises its environment to create a sense of claustrophobia and isolation and build tension and dread.

2. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a game developed by Frictional Games. It was released for the PC on September 8, 2010, and later released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November 2016.

A man who has no recall of how he came to a castle upon awakening. As Daniel explores the court, he is plagued by psychological horrors, such as visions, hallucinations, and supernatural phenomena. He must also battle his sanity, as his mind slowly deteriorates as he progresses.

The game also features several puzzles the player must solve to progress. The game is known for its dark atmosphere and its use of sound to create tension and suspense. The game also features an innovative physics system, allowing players to interact with the environment by opening and closing doors, pushing objects, and manipulating the environment to progress.

The game has been praised for its atmosphere, innovation, and horror elements and has become a classic in the genre. Overall, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a psychological horror game known for its dark atmosphere, innovative physics system, and use of sound to create tension and suspense.

3. Soma

Soma

Soma is a game developed and published by Frictional Games. It was compatible with OS X, Linux, Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation 4 on September 22, 2015. The game takes place during the year 2104 in an underwater research facility called PATHOS-II. The facility has been taking on water for years, and the player must traverse the depths of the facility while trying to survive.

The player takes on the role of Simon Jarrett, a man brought to PATHOS-II to help research a mysterious signal coming from the facility. The player must explore the facility and solve puzzles to progress through the game.

The player must also contend with the game's horror elements, such as the presence of strange creatures and the fact that corrupt artificial intelligence is slowly taking over the facility. The game also features a morality system, in which the player's choices and actions will affect the game's outcome.

It is a game of exploration and survival, where the player must make choices that will have consequences. The game features a unique setting, a strong story, and an immersive atmosphere, making it an exciting and often frightening experience.

4. Until Dawn

Until Dawn

Until Dawn is a game developed by Supermassive Games and released in 2015. It is set in the fictional Washington town of Blackwood, where a mysterious killer is hunting eight friends on the anniversary of a tragic event. The third-person viewpoint is used to play the game and focuses on quick-time events and decision-making. 

Players take control of each of the eight friends, who take turns surviving the night in a race against time. The players' choices will determine who lives, who dies, and the overall outcome of the game. The game has several different endings, determined by the choices made throughout the game.

The game has horror elements such as jump scares, suspenseful music, and creepy visuals. The environment is also designed to scare the player with its dark atmosphere, eerie locations, and strange noises. The psychological aspect of the game comes from the choices the player has to make and the consequences of their actions.

These choices range from minor decisions, such as who to trust, to life-or-death decisions, such as whether or not to shoot an evil character. Overall, Until Dawn is a horror game that focuses on making the player feels Fear and suspense while making difficult decisions that determine the game's outcome.

5. Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear

A layer of Fear is a game developed by Bloober Team and published by Aspyr. It is a story-driven game set in a Victorian-era mansion, where the player takes control of a mentally unstable painter attempting to complete his magnum opus.

Throughout the game, the player explores the mansion, discovering clues that shed light on the painter's troubled past. The estate in Layers of Fear is filled with surreal imagery and auditory cues that create a tense atmosphere. As the player advances throughout the game, they will encounter a variety of puzzles and traps designed to hinder their progress.

Additionally, the player will be stalked by an unseen entity, creating an atmosphere of dread and suspense. The game features a unique art style that is heavily influenced by the paintings of the Victorian era. The visuals are supplemented by a haunting soundtrack composed by Arkadiusz Reikowski.

The combination of visuals and sound creates a unique experience that adds to the game's horror. With its unique art style, haunting soundtrack, and intense atmosphere, it is sure to leave an unforgettable impression.

6. Dead Space

Dead Space was developed by EA Redwood Shores and released in 2008. It is a third-person shooter game set in a futuristic, sci-fi-themed universe. As protagonist Isaac Clarke, the player is pitted against a mysterious alien race known as the Necromorphs.

The game is set on an abandoned mining ship called the USG Ishimura. The Necromorphs have overrun the ship, and the player must make their way through the ship, fighting off the Necromorphs and uncovering the mystery of the Ishimura. The game utilises several psychological horror elements to create an atmosphere of tension and dread.

These elements include its dark and spooky soundtrack, its intense and violent combat scenes, and its use of sound design to create a feeling of unease. In Dead Space, the player is often forced to confront powerful and relentless enemies and must use their wits and weapons to survive. The game also incorporates survival horror elements, as the player must scavenge for resources and manage their inventory to stay.

The game also has a strong emphasis on story and character development. You will learn more about Ishimura's mysteries as you advance through the game and the Necromorphs and learn more about the characters that inhabit the ship.

The game offers branching storylines and choices, allowing players to decide and shape the story's outcome. Overall, Dead Space is a compelling psychological horror game that utilises a variety of horror elements to foster a tense and fearful environment.

7. Alan Wake

Alan Wake was developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows in May 2010 and followed the story of Alan Wake, a best-selling author suffering from writer's block and on an extended vacation in the small town of Bright Falls, Washington.

The third-person viewpoint video game has an open-world setting. It has an episodic structure, similar to a television series, with six episodes in total. The game focuses heavily on psychological horror and suspense.

The player must explore the environment, solve puzzles and fight off the "Dark Presence," an evil force slowly consuming the town and its inhabitants. The game features a variety of weapons, including a flashlight, a revolver, and a shotgun, which can use to battle the "Dark Presence ."The player can also use environmental objects such as flares and flashbangs to distract and disorient enemies.

The game also strongly emphasises light and darkness, and the player must use light sources to fend off the "Dark Presence ."The game also features an original soundtrack composed by Petri Alanko. Overall, with its intense atmosphere, engaging story, and engaging gameplay, it is a must-play for fans of the horror genre.

8. Condemned: Criminal Origins

Condemned Criminal Origins

The 2005 psychological horror game Condemned: Criminal Origins was created by Monolith Productions and released by Sega for the Xbox 360 and Windows. As an FBI agent looking into a series of killings connected to an unidentified cult, Ethan Thomas' story is followed throughout the game.

The game utilises a first-person perspective, and players must use a variety of weapons and items to combat enemies. The game also features various puzzles that must solve to progress through the story. The game is known for its intense atmosphere and horror elements.

It features various psychological horror elements, such as disturbing images, jump scares, and sound effects. The game also features dark and disturbing environments and a variety of alarming enemies. The game has received accolades for its powerful atmosphere and distinct approach to psychological horror.

Critics have praised the game for its unique use of sound and visual elements and its intense and disturbing atmosphere. Overall, the game features an intense atmosphere, disturbing enemies, and a variety of psychological horror elements that make it a great game to play.

9. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Resident Evil 7

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard was developed and published by Capcom. The game is the eleventh major Resident Evil instalment and the first main series title to be played in first person. A guy named Ethan Winters, played by actors, is looking for his wife, who vanished on a vacant property that the Baker family calls home, a murderous family of cannibalistic backwater hillbillies who turn out to be infected with the same virus that caused the zombie outbreak in the original Resident Evil.

The game features an intense atmosphere of Fear, dread, and paranoia as Ethan searches for his wife while being hunted by the Bakers. The game also features psychological elements such as hallucinations, a strong emphasis on survival horror, and a haunting soundtrack.

It also utilises the RE Engine, a heavily modified RE4 engine, to create a more realistic and detailed world. Its combination of psychological horror, horror-survival mechanics, and a haunting atmosphere make it a must-play for any horror fan.

10. Resident Evil

Resident Evil is a series of psychological horror games created by Capcom. The story centres on a group of individuals attempting to survive in a world populated by zombies and other creatures.

The games feature a variety of survival horror elements, such as finding weapons, solving puzzles, and using limited resources to survive. The games also feature a psychological aspect in which players must confront their fears and anxieties to progress. The games are intended to give the player a sense of dread and unease as they explore a world filled with unknown horrors.

The games also feature a variety of horror themes, such as the supernatural, the occult, and the undead. The intense atmosphere and realistic graphics further enhance the psychological horror elements.

11. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame II Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly was developed and published by Tecmo for the PlayStation 2. It is the follow-up to the first Fatal Frame book. It follows the story of twin sisters, Mio and Mayu Amakura, who become lost in a mysterious village in the Japanese countryside.

As they explore the village, they discover its dark secrets and connection to the supernatural. Players take on the role of Mio, who must use her camera to capture the spirits of the village's cursed inhabitants and solve puzzles to uncover the village's secrets and save her sister.

The game features a unique control system that requires players to use the camera to capture the spirits to defeat them. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is noted for its intense atmosphere, horror elements, and unique gameplay mechanics.

12. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Amnesia A  Machine for Pigs

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is developed by Frictional Games. It is a sequel to the first Amnesia game, released in 2013. The game is set in 1899 and follows the story of Oswald Mandus, a wealthy industrialist who returns home from a business trip to find his two sons missing and his mansion full of strange and horrifying machines.

He sets out to uncover what happened to his sons and what is happening in the mansion. The player experiences intense psychological horror throughout the game as they explore the dark and twisted environment.

The game has numerous puzzles that the player must solve to progress through the story. The game also features an intense soundtrack, adding to the dread and terror atmosphere. Players will experience intense tension as they encounter Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, a horrifying and absorbing game.

13. The Last of Us

The game follows the story of Joel, a survivor of a zombie-like pandemic, and his companion, Ellie, as they travel across the United States searching for a cure to the disease. The game's setting is a post-apocalyptic planet where a mutant strain of the cordyceps fungus has wiped out all human life.

As Joel and Ellie travel across the United States, they must fight through hordes of infected humans and other survivors to survive. The Last of Us's intense atmosphere is well-known and has horror elements.

The game features stealth and action-adventure elements, focusing on resource management and survival. Players must make difficult decisions that affect the story's outcome throughout the game. Additionally, the game is also known for its dark and gritty narrative, as well as its mature themes.

14. Outlast 2

Red Barrels created and released the video game Outlast 2. It is the sequel to the 2013 game Outlast and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 25, 2017. Outlast 2 takes place in the fictional Arizona town of Temple Gate, where a cult known as the Testament of the New Ezekiel is based.

The protagonist of the game is a cameraman named Blake Langermann, who is looking into the unexplained murder of a pregnant woman only known as Jane Doe. As Blake and his wife Lynn traverse the treacherous landscape, they encounter various enemies, including cult members and supernatural creatures. The game's emphasis on psychological horror makes it particularly unsettling and disturbing.

The game's environments are dark and oppressive, the enemies are relentless and terrifying, and the atmosphere is filled with tension and dread. Outlast 2 uses sound design and visual effects to create a truly horrific experience, and its intense and disturbing content is unsuitable for all audiences.

15. Prey

Prey is a psychological horror game developed by Arkane Studios and released in 2017. It follows the story of Morgan Yu, a scientist on a space station overrun with hostile aliens. The player must use problem-solving, stealth, and combat to survive and uncover the station's secrets.

The game focuses heavily on psychological horror, using the environment, sound design, and atmosphere to create a sense of unease and dread. The use of psychological elements such as hallucinations, paranoia, and jumpscares further add to the game's horror.

The player must also manage their stress and fear levels, which can affect gameplay. Overall, Prey is a unique psychological horror game that combines horror elements to create an eerie and unsettling atmosphere.

16. Bloodborne

Bloodborne was released in 2015. The action takes place in the made-up city of Yharnam, corrupted by a mysterious plague that turns its citizens into beasts. The Hunter is a role that players assume, a character who must traverse the city and fight off the infected creatures.

Along the way, the Hunter must solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and uncover the mysteries of Yharnam. The game utilises a unique combat system that rewards players for taking risks and rewards them with upgrades for doing so.

The game also features a variety of weapons and tools and has a unique level-up system that allows the player to customise their character. Bloodborne features a dark and eerie atmosphere filled with horror elements, such as grotesque monsters, dark and twisted environments, and haunting music.

The game also has a vital psychological element, as players must confront their inner fears, doubts, and anxieties to survive. Bloodborne has become a cult classic among horror fans and is widely considered one of the most successful and influential psychological horror games.

17. Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 is a game developed and published by Capcom. It is the follow-up to the first Resident Evil movie and was released for the PlayStation in 1998. The game follows rookie police officer Leon S. Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield attempting to escape from the fictional Raccoon City.

At the same time, it is overrun by zombies and other monsters. Along the way, they must fight off hordes of enemies, solve puzzles and uncover the truth behind the outbreak. The game features multiple endings and emphasises horror, exploration, and puzzle-solving.

The game's original version was praised for its atmosphere and graphics but was criticised for its clunky controls and slow movement speed. In 2019, the game was remade and released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

The remake was praised for its improved visuals and sound design, as well as its enhanced combat mechanics and updated puzzles.

18. Resident Evil 4

Capcom created and released Resident Evil 4. The sixth Resident Evil movie was removed and the first to be released for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The game follows Leon S. Kennedy, who is tasked with rescuing the U.S. President's daughter from a mysterious European cult. The game is set in a rural area of Spain and features a variety of puzzles, horror elements, and action sequences. 

Among the top video games ever made is thought to be Resident Evil 4 which is credited with revolutionising the survival horror genre. It has been praised for its detailed visuals, tense atmosphere, and dynamic camera angles, heightening the tension and dread.

The game also features an inventory system, which allows the player to store and manage items. The game also features a variety of weapons, which can upgrade, and a variety of enemies, which can defeat with various strategies. Resident Evil 4 is a thrilling and intense experience game.

19. Dead Space 2

Visceral Games created Dead Space 2, which was published in 2011. It is the sequel to the 2008 horror game Dead Space. The game follows protagonist Isaac Clarke as he fights against an alien force known as the Necromorphs.

The Necromorphs are aliens infected with a virus that turns them into gruesome monstrosities. In Dead Space 2, Isaac is haunted by the memories of his dead girlfriend Nicole and is trying to find a way to save himself from the Necromorphs. 

The game is set in a space station called the Sprawl, and Isaac must explore the station while fighting off the Necromorphs and other enemies. Players must use various weapons and tools to survive, such as the Plasma Cutter, Line Gun, and Force Gun.

The game also features zero-gravity areas, puzzles, and upgradeable weapons and tools. Dead Space 2 is a psychological horror game meant to unsettle and horrify its players. The game features intense combat and horror sequences, and its atmosphere is dark and oppressive. The game is praised for its atmosphere, sound design, and visuals and is considered one of the best horror games.

20. Clock Tower

Clock Tower is a psychological horror game released in 1995 for the Super Famicom console. The game follows teenage protagonist Jennifer Simpson, who is pursued by the demonic Scissorman while searching an abandoned clock tower for clues to her past.

The game features a unique point-and-click interface and a variety of puzzles that must solve to progress. Various endings are also included in the game, based on the player's decisions. Its eerie soundtrack, sound effects, and detailed and often disturbing visuals enhance the game's atmosphere and tension.

Clock Tower is often cited as one of the first games to explore psychological horror and is considered a genre classic.

21. Rule of Rose

Rule of Rose was developed by Punchline for the PlayStation 2. It was first released in Japan in 2006 and later released in Europe and North America in 2007. The game follows the story of Jennifer, a young orphan girl in a mysterious and dangerous world called the "Rose Garden."

The game focuses on horror's psychological and emotional aspects, such as Fear, loneliness, and despair. Throughout the game, Jennifer must explore the world and interact with the other children who inhabit it. She must also face the dangers of the Rose Garden and the monsters that inhabit it.

Rule of Rose also features an in-game "relationship system," which allows the player to build relationships with the other children. The game has been praised for its atmosphere and storytelling but criticized for its slow pacing and lack of puzzles.

22. Silent hills

Silent Hill is a psychological horror video game series created by Konami and developed by Team Silent for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, and mobile platforms.

It is the most successful and influential horror franchise in gaming history. The series focuses on the town of Silent Hill, a foggy, lonely, and desolate village in the American midwest. It is set in a horror-fantasy world where the player must battle various environments and characters while trying to unravel the town's mysteries. The games are known for their psychological horror themes, intense atmosphere, and immersive soundtracks.

The series has produced several follow-ups and spin-offs, including the film adaptation of Silent Hill (2006). Numerous honours have been given to Silent Hill 2, recognised as one of the best horror games. The series has also received critical acclaim for its visuals and sound design. 

The games in the series often contain puzzles and exploration, as well as combat elements. The player can usually choose their gender, and the main character must confront monsters and other supernatural beings.

Silent Hill is a classic example of psychological horror, as it puts the player in a desperate and isolated situation, forcing them to confront their fears and weaknesses. It is an example of how horror games can be used to explore psychological themes without relying on jump scares or gore.

23. The Last Door

The Last Door is a point-and-click psychological horror adventure game developed by The Game Kitchen. It leads the user through a collection of brief narratives, each focusing on a new personality.

The game is set in Victorian England and follows Jeremiah Devitt, a former schoolmate of the protagonist. Devitt is drawn into a supernatural world of horror, mystery, and suspense as he investigates his old friend's mysterious disappearance. The game features hand-painted pixel art visuals and a haunting musical score created by Carlos Viola. The game employs a variety of psychological horror elements, such as jump scares and a surreal atmosphere.

Additionally, the game features a variety of puzzles and exploration elements designed to keep the player guessing and on their toes. The game references classic horror literature, such as H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. 

The Last Door is a unique and terrifying experience, perfect for those looking for a good scare. It features a gripping story, atmosphere, various puzzles, and exploration elements. The game will keep you up late at night, second-guessing your every move.

24. Get Even

Get Even is a psychological horror game developed by The Farm 51 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The first-person shooter game combines a psychological thriller story with an intense horror experience.

The game revolves around the protagonist, Black, as he attempts to uncover the truth behind his past. He is aided by an AI companion, RED, which helps him explore the game's various levels. The game features multiple environments, including underground bunkers, abandoned prisons, and eerie forest areas. The game features various puzzles, exploration elements, and combat and stealth sections.

It also has a unique horror experience, with the game's horror elements getting increasingly more intense as Black progresses through the game. The game also features multiple paths, allowing players to choose the direction they want to take to reach the end of the game.

Get even is an intense and thrilling psychological horror game that will have players on the edge of their seats as they experience its unique horror elements. It is a unique horror experience with players questioning their sanity as they progress through the game.

25. The Cat Lady

The Cat Lady is a psychological horror video game developed by Harvester Games. It follows the story of Susan Ashworth, an emotionally broken woman who sought to end her life. She is visited by a figure called "The Queen of Maggots," who offers her a chance to live on in exchange for killing five "parasites" polluting the world.

As Susan embarks on her quest, she must confront her inner demons and face the consequences of her actions. The game features a unique visual style, a haunting soundtrack, and intense psychological horror elements.

The Cat Lady is a highly acclaimed title and has been praised for exploring heavy themes such as death, depression, and suicide. It is an excellent example of a psychological horror game and is highly recommended for those looking to experience an alarming adventure.

Conclusion

Psychological horror games are a unique gaming experience. They perfectly blend horror and psychological themes that can leave players deeply unsettled. From the haunting atmosphere of Silent Hill to the psychological dread of Outlast, these games can leave players feeling emotionally drained and deeply disturbed.

With their ability to create many emotions, psychological horror games are some of the most powerful and effective horror experiences available. If you're looking for an intense, thrilling, and emotionally charged experience, then psychological horror games are worth a try.

FAQ's

Yes, psychological horror games are terrifying, and they typically focus on creating an atmosphere of suspense and unease, which can be frightening.

Some examples of psychological horror games include Silent Hill, Outlast, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Psychological horror games are generally unsuitable for children due to their intense themes and scare factors.

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