10 best horror games to play in 2023, from Resident Evil to Amnesia

10 best horror games to play in 2023, from Resident Evil to Amnesia
Images via EA | Frictional Games

Written by 

Tarran Stockton

Published 

30th Oct 2023 16:50

Horror games have the capacity to reduce even those with the strongest fortitude into shivering messes, and luckily there are plenty of great games out there we think you'll want to play - with 2023 seeing some of the best releases in years.

Mediums like movies and literature can represent horror in all its terror, but only the very best of the horror game genre possess the unique trait of asking you to face those fears yourself. Whether you’re tilting forward the joystick or holding the W key, it’s all on you to meander your way towards the end - so here is a list of 10 of the scariest games ever made for you to try and conquer.

WARNING: Some content in this article may be upsetting for some readers.

Great horror games to play right now

10 - Amnesia: The Bunker

an image of Amnesia: The Bunker gameplay
Click to enlarge
Image via Frictional Games

  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Release date: June 2023
  • Key features:
    • Immersive sim mechanics
    • Cat and mouse gameplay
    • Return to classic survial horror

Amnesia: The Bunker goes in a very different direction than its forefathers. While titles like Amnesia: The Dark Descent set the benchmark for the hide-and-seek type of horror that dominated the 2010s, The Bunker returns to the roots of survival horror, while experimenting with an open-ended structure and immersive sim elements.

The game traps you in a WWI-era bunker with an unkillable stalker while you creep around trying to figure out a way to escape. You need to be quick though, as the bunker's lights are on a timer and fuel is scarce unless you want to make the long trip to the depot - which always carries the risk of alerting the stalker. If you're still not convinced, check out our Amnesia: The Bunker review to learn more.

9 - Alan Wake 2

promo image of Alan Wake 2
Click to enlarge
Image via Remedy

  • Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Release date: October 2023
  • Key features:
    • Medium-bending presentation
    • Free-form gameplay
    • Some of the best visuals of this generation

Alan Wake 2 is the newest horror title on this list, but it's made a massive mark on the survival horror genre almost immediately, with Remedy pulling out all the stops. As a follow-on from the first, which was a more action-oriented entry, Alan Wake 2 veers into survival horror far more, creating an oppressive atmosphere.

The game also stands out with its imaginative gameplay and somewhat open structure, allowing you to swap back and forth between protagonists Alan and Saga in different scenarios, and alter levels by using an evidence board that ties together the various mysteries. It's a modern masterpiece of the genre, and a sign that there's always room to experiment in the confines of survival horror

8 - System Shock 2

gameplay of System Shock 2
Click to enlarge
Image via EA

  • Platforms: PC
  • Release date: August 1999
  • Key features:
    • Emergent gameplay systems
    • SHODAN is an iconic villain
    • Player choice

Immersive sims and horror are genres that go hand-in-hand thanks to series like System Shock - the first of which received a remake in early 2023. System Shock 2 in particular is a haunting experience from the beginning to its infamous and endlessly memed ending.

It has open-ended gameplay inspired by RPGs that allows players to feel in control, only to reign it back in with the haunting atmosphere and existential sci-fi horror that makes them think twice about every door to hack and vent to open. It’s considered one of the greatest games of all time for a reason, and it undoubtedly belongs on this list for its powerful presentation alone.

7 - Dead Space Remake

image of Dead Space
Click to enlarge
Image via Motive

  • Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
  • Release date: January 2023
  • Key features:
    • High graphical fidelity remake
    • Unique combat style based around targetting limbs
    • Atmosphere of the space station

Dead Space is considered a titan of horror gaming, with the original entry drawing from the action horror and camera of Resident Evil 4, the body horror of Silent Hill, and the space horror of Event Horizon to make something exciting and entirely new.

The remake that released in early 2023 pushes this formula even further, modernising the more dated aspects, expanding on the worst segments of the original, and increasing the graphical fidelity to make the body horror even more viscerally disgusting.

The game also has a lot of focus on immersion, thanks to the iconic diegetic HUD and the atmospheric soundscape based on realism and the unnerving sounds of industrial machinery. This goes a long way in drawing you into the world and keeping your mind there even when it's screaming at you to stop playing.

Check out our Dead Space Remake review for more details on our thoughts.

6 - Resident Evil 7

the dinner scene from Resident Evil 7
Click to enlarge
Image via Capcom

  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Release date: January 2017
  • Key features:
    • Reinvention of the series
    • Different segments inspired by horror films
    • Classic survival horror gameplay loop

Due to the utter trainwreck that was Resident Evil 6, Capcom returned to the drawing board for the next entry in the series and managed to develop one of the greatest comebacks (and best horror games) in gaming history. Resident Evil 7 returned to the series' roots by focusing on a smaller, more refined setting loaded with puzzles, and then simultaneously changed it up by offering a new first-person perspective.

Even though Resident Evil had shown a willingness to change and evolve before, this was an unexpected turn that was welcomed. Dropping you into a decrepit Louisiana bayou manor, hunted by the sadistic Baker family and their army of mould men, made for a memorable experience with some of the scariest moments of the entire series. Plus, Jack Baker might be the greatest video game stalker of all time.

5 - I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

image of gameplay from I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream
Click to enlarge
Images via Cyberdreams

  • Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
  • Release date: October 1995
  • Key features:
    • Adaption of an iconic short story
    • Explores more personal horror
    • Despondent ending

Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is one of the most viscerally terrifying short stories of all time, portraying a post-apocalyptic Earth where a malevolent A.I. called AM has exterminated humanity, and the handful of survivors have been rendered virtually immortal allowing them to be physically and mentally tortured for eternity.

The video game adaption is a point-and-click that dives deeper into the short stories' characters, where AM has constructed metaphorical adventures for them all based on their flaws. Ellison himself wrote the script and voiced the omnipotent AI, bringing a sinister authority to the character.

It touches on some horrific themes such as insanity and paranoia - pulling back the simple veneer of post-apocalyptic fiction to present one of the most frightening realities ever conceived. 

4 - F.E.A.R

combat in F.E.A.R
Click to enlarge
Image via Warner. Bros

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
  • Release date: October 2005
  • Key features:
    • Energetic combat
    • Unique combination of influences
    • Advanced AI

Monolith Productions has a near-unrivalled horror pedigree in gaming with the F.E.A.R and Condemned series. The former managed to combine the bombastic, kinetic energy of a shooter, with Japanese-inspired psychological horror to create one of the most iconic games of all time.

This horror game is best known for its incredibly advanced AI systems that constantly challenge the player, careful use of silence to enforce paranoia, and the memorable antagonist Alma - a paranormal little girl who haunts you throughout. F.E.A.R is an experience that has never been replicated, and an example of how to scare players even when they inhabit a superpowered soldier with bullet time.

3 - Silent Hill 2

combat in Silent Hill 2
Click to enlarge
Image via Konami

  • Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC
  • Release date: September 2001
  • Key features:
    • Incredible narrative and underlying themes
    • Visual style
    • Haunting atmosphere

Silent Hill 2 is one of the most haunting portrayals of guilt in all of video games. The series itself is a staple of survival horror that we're all desperate to see return, but the second instalment is a legendary title that will be forever petrifying on a human level.

Explore the titular town as James Sunderland, as you’re cursed to face off with manifestations of his grief and trauma, which is a spine-chilling prospect. During a time when games were in their relative infancy, Silent Hill 2 stood high as an example of games as art.

Horror often doesn’t get the fair shake it deserves in most mediums, but this game proved that it could be more than vapid scare-fests. Instead, it presents a fully realised dive into the mind of a grief-stricken man, battling with the turbulence from his wife’s death and the complicated emotions that arise from such a situation.

2 - Alien: Isolation

gameplay of Alien Isolation
Click to enlarge
Image via Sega

The Xenomorph is one of horror cinema's most iconic creations, a perfect killer that can knock out its victim before its offspring bursts from their chest and grows ever stronger. This makes Alien: Isolation seem like one of the most obvious ideas for a game ever - trapping you on a space station with a terrifying extra-terrestrial in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Well, it’s as scary as it sounds, and without a doubt makes for one of the finest horror experiences in gaming.

You play as the daughter of Ellen Ripley - the protagonist of the movies - and through stealth and some shrewd crafting, you'll manoeuvre your way around whilst avoiding and outsmarting the Xenomorph, and humans whose morality has been lost to fear.

It features an atmosphere faithful to the movies, complemented by the retro sci-fi and industrialised space aesthetic, excellent sound design utilising the recordings from the original film, and alien AI that learns from your actions to surprise and challenge you. In space, no one can hear you scream, but with Alien: Isolation your neighbours certainly will.

What is the best horror game?

1 - Resident Evil HD Remake

an image of Resident Evil
Click to enlarge
Image via Capcom

  • Platforms: Gamecube, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Release date: March 2002
  • Key features:
    • A reimagining of the first game
    • Curated horror with camera angles
    • Resource management

As number one on our list of the greatest horror games, this remake of the classic that kicked off one of gaming's most iconic franchises, the first Resident Evil, is often replicated but never bettered. The Spencer Mansion is a famous location for a reason; the dissonance of its opulent halls and statues paired with the horrific zombies and mutated monsters created by the T-virus has embedded itself into the minds of entire generations.

The static camera angles and tank controls also made for effectively curated horror, letting the developers decide exactly what they want you to see and when. The feeling of slowly creeping down a hallway, whilst the camera is positioned directly on you, not knowing when the camera will change and what will be revealed on the other end is a haunting prospect - and one Resident Evil genuinely brought to life.

Check out our lists homepage for more gaming recommendations if you're on the lookout for something new to pick up. Alternatively, here are our picks for some games like Alan Wake 2.

Tarran is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon. He previously wrote reviews for his college newspaper before studying Media and Communication at university. His favourite genres include role-playing games, strategy games, and boomer shooters - along with anything indie. You can also find him in the pit at local hardcore shows.

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