Top 5 Scariest Videogames

By Kimberly Cleave on Mar 5, 2013 4:04 PM CST
Games & Animation
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Amnesia: The Dark Descent\


All of the previous games on this list share two things in common (well, other than being horror themed games,): one, they are all last-gen games and two, they all came from big publishers. The reason there aren’t more contemporary games on this list is that most “horror” games by the big publishers nowadays are done in the vein of Resident Evil 4, which sacrificed scares in favor of unrelenting action. While I love games like RE4 and Dead Space, they’re more based around the sense of tension and stress that comes from being surrounded, rather than the traditional scares of the original Resident Evil or the psychological horror of Silent Hill. I love the newer horror games because they’re so much fun to play, but at the same time, I can’t help but miss the traditional horror of older survival-horror games.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent, by small Swedish developer Frictional Games, proves that modern games can be just as scary as their classic counterparts. Basically an adventure game, Amnesia casts you as (surprise) an amnesiac British man who wakes up in a castle in the 1800′s and has to get out by solving a series of environmental and physics-based puzzles… but as you navigate through the castle’s darkened corridors, you’re stalked monsters, and you’re given no weapons to defend yourself. Basically, the only option you have if you want to stay alive is to run and hide, but even if you manage to elude the monsters, hiding in the shadows for too long will slowly cause you to go insane, resulting in a game over.

The game is the ultimate test of wits, as you not only have to be clever to solve the castle’s various puzzles, but you need to maintain a careful balance of evading monsters to protect your health, while at the same time spending enough time out in the open to preserve your sanity. Amnesia is a mostly quiet game that always somehow manages to find the right moment, just when you think you’re safe and you’re starting to feel comfortable, to spring a monster on you, and unlike other horror games where the game stops being scary as soon you become comfortable with the combat, Amnesia stays scary throughout. Amnesia is, at the time of the writing of this article, currently on sale for Steam for $4, which is a steal for a game of this caliber. It’s probably the only modern game that will one day be remembered along with the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill as the definitive horror games.

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