It’s that time again…the time of year when ghosts and goblins come out from their crypts and tombs to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve—the greatest holiday in existence.
Needless to say, October is my favorite month, and Fall is my favorite season. This is the best month to start marathoning horror movies, curling up in bed with a spooky ghost story, or playing a truly blood-curdling video game.
I’m as big a fan of horror video games as I am horror movies, and so, I’ve decided to compile a quick list of the best horror video games you should play this month. This list is in no particular order. I recommend these games to get in the spirit for the Halloween season. Get it? Spirit? Like a ghost. OoOoooOoOoooooo!
Okay, let’s jump right in!
1. Castlevania Requiem
This game is cutting it close: The packaging and reissue of two classic Castlevania titles doesn’t officially come out until October 26 this year, but since you’ll technically be able to play it in the month of October, I’m including it.
Castlevania Requiem consists of the timeless classic Symphony of the Night (1997) and the much-sought-after Rondo of Blood (a Japanese exclusive from 1993). Both games are highly praised entries into the long-standing horror-adventure series, which follows the story of the Belmont family and their quest to purge the world of horrific evils, such as Dracula. Okay, mostly Dracula. And the uncountable ghosts, giant spiders, zombies, Medusa heads, and various other cronies at his disposal.
I’ve never personally played Rondo of Blood or its Dracula X remakes, so this title will be as new and exciting to me as it will be to you! Seeing as it precedes Symphony of the Night in terms of its story, I’m thrilled to get a deeper context and understanding of the overall plot.
As for Symphony of the Night, the game’s legacy speaks for itself. Without spoiling too much, the game follows main protagonist Alucard (Dracula’s son) as he explores his father’s castle following the disappearance of Richter Belmont (the main protagonist in Rondo of Blood).
Both of these games highlight all the hallmark elements of a good Castlevania game: dramatic, moody atmosphere, hauntingly beautiful musical scores, monstrous enemies, and brooding, gothic backdrops. Whether you’re a newcomer to the franchise or a long-time veteran, this collection of games will prove to be a fitting addition to your October must-play list.
2. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Oh boy. When you talk about scary games, you’ll never not hear this title thrown around. Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games is, by far, my favorite horror game of all time. It became an instant cult classic in the gaming world upon its release in 2010 and is widely credited with kicking off the Golden Age of Survival Horror gaming.
Amnesia is the scariest video game I’ve ever played. Fear is, of course, subjective, so others may disagree, but I find this game to be a truly riveting experience. You won’t soon forget your time playing Amnesia. It lays claim to one of the eeriest, most unsettling atmospheres assembled in a game. The winding corridors of Alexander’s bleak, gothic castle are straight out of a Hammer horror film, and the music and lighting sell the experience.
The game is largely based around solving puzzles. I’ve always described it to friends as Portal in a haunted castle. One thing Portal does not have, however, is terrifying flesh-monster experiments roaming the map and lurking behind every shadow.
Solving puzzles is challenging enough, but trying to do it while hearing ghastly shrieks and moans in the not-so-far-off distance is even worse. Not to mention the actual survival mechanics at play in this game, which is where Amnesia truly shines. You can’t fight any of the enemies in the game, and you also can’t even look at them. That’s right––the game forces you to use your wits and find a good hiding spot anytime you might encounter one of the monsters roaming the castle. Once hidden, if you so much as stare at the monster for more than a couple of seconds, you’ll begin to lose control of your senses. Your vision distorts, your movement slows, and the monster will find you eventually.
All this makes Amnesia: The Dark Descent one of the most innovative and intense survival horror games ever created, and what could be more appropriate for Halloween? The game was reissued for PS4 in 2016 and more recently for Xbox One in 2018. I strongly urge you to check it out!
3. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
I wanted to make sure this list was diverse and offered a Halloween-themed experience for everyone. We’ve had a throwback option, a truly terrifying option, and now, an option more accessible to everyone.
Not everyone loves “retro” games, and not everyone loves horror games. Everyone does love Luigi, however, and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is a masterpiece that belongs on this list. Everything about this game and its predecessor is positively infectious. If you’ve ever played either of the Luigi’s Mansion games, you’ll know the rundown of the gameplay and story; but for those who don’t, it’s essentially Luigi bustin’ ghosts around a creepy mansion. It has all the elements of a Nintendo classic: charm, wit, humor, and life.
I’ve always admired the unique Scooby-Doo-like atmosphere and style in the Luigi’s Mansion games. All the usual suspects for a haunted house affair are present: ghosts, spiders, bats, cobwebs, and so on.
Nintendo does a great job of keeping the gameplay simple and intuitive, too. You’ll find yourself hooked from the moment you start playing, and it makes for a perfect, light-hearted addition to our October must-play list. With a confirmed third entry in the series and a 3DS port of the original coming soon, now is the perfect time to check this series out. If you’re looking for some Halloween fun and don’t like being scared too much, try out Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the Nintendo 3DS.
4. Dead by Daylight
It’s a tried-and-true concept that’s never grown old: youths getting cut down by a slasher killer. Slasher films are a staple of horror film history, and Dead by Daylight is a love letter to the genre.
In a gameplay style that’s become gradually more popular within horror gaming, players play cooperatively with one another in an attempt to escape the clutches of a ruthless killer. One player takes the role of the killer, who is tasked with preventing the escape and ideally killing off all the youths.
The “Survivor” players must repair a certain number of broken generators throughout the map to open a locked door and make their escape. Meanwhile, the “Slasher” player must strategically kill the survivors by setting traps and using stealth and other various methods.
The experience is simple, fast-paced, and intense. If you prefer online gaming, and the style of quick match play, then this is the horror game for you. Dead by Daylight does not require much of your time but will require all your nerves. This is one of the most stress-inducing games I’ve ever played—in the best way, of course.
With DLC options featuring iconic horror characters, such as Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger, Dead by Daylight more than earns its place on this list. The game is a horror movie nerd’s wet dream, and you’ll find yourself grinning through the entire experience.
5. Silent Hill 2
Do I even need to explain this one? I have distinct memories of watching my father play this on his PC when I was a kid. It scared the hell out of me then, and it still scares the hell out of me now. The graphics have aged a bit, and it seems relatively harmless by today’s horror gaming standards—but there’s a reason why Silent Hill 2 is remembered above all other entries in the series.
The game brilliantly utilizes a nightmarish, dream-like setting, non-linear storytelling, and unconventional character and level design to build a horrific landscape that is truly its own. You play as James Sunderland—a man who comes to the town of Silent Hill to investigate a strange letter he’s received from his long-dead wife, eerily summoning him there.
From there, the story twists and turns in a wonderfully disorienting fashion that only exacerbates the player’s own confusion and paranoia. Beyond its grisly and haunting atmosphere, the game is genuinely beautiful. There’s a poetic quality to the game’s style that slightly elevates it above just a “thrill ride.”
Although it’s an older game, Silent Hill 2 is not for the faint of heart. It’s aged incredibly well, in my opinion, and still packs the same punch it did in its prime. There is little more I can say about the game without spoiling it for possible newcomers. If you’re looking for a classic scare-fest that’ll really get you in the mood for Halloween, make sure Silent Hill 2 finds its way onto your list.
Honorable Mention: Friday the 13th: The Game
Although it was riddled with bugs and errors at launch, Friday the 13th: The Game has since blossomed into a fun and thrilling survival horror game. Borrowing heavily from the style and execution of Dead by Daylight (which is largely the only reason it didn’t get on the proper list), Friday the 13th: The Game pits Camp Crystal Lake Counselors against Jason himself.
The Counselors are charged with escaping the map before Jason can hunt them down and end their sinful lives. Counselors are offered a variety of escape methods, including calling the police, repairing vehicles, and simply outlasting Jason in his hunt. You can play as Jason from any of the films in the franchise, and the developers did a great job of adding nice detailed touches that celebrate and acknowledge the source material.
If you’re a fan of the film series, you’ll absolutely love this game. The music, the characters, the maps—it’s all lovingly recreated from the films. With the recent single player mode finally making the cut, this month is the perfect time to give this game a try, especially if you’re a PS Plus member (the game is available as a free download right now!).
Well, there you go! I hope you like my short list, and I hope you have an amazing Halloween. I’ll definitely stream some horror video games this month, so stay tuned for those announcements and follow our Twitch and YouTube channels to never miss a video.
Eat lots of candy, dress up, enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!