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These Are The Best Horror Games Of 2014

John Robertson

Feature


The horror genre is increasingly popular these days, but 2014 should be the best year for the genre in a long time. Here's what you have to look forward to.

Published on Jan 24, 2014

From top-down indie survival to triple-A mega franchises or procedurally generated hospitals to point and click adventures, it seems that everyone is trying their hand at scaring the life out of us in 2014. 

With so many different approaches to horror videogames due for release this year, the diversity is genuinely exciting.

We've selected eight of the most promising that we think you should be keeping an eye on. 

Could it be that 2014 is remembered as the year of the horror game?

The Forest

Set in a living and open environment in which plants grow and die, ocean tides rise and fall, food must be scavenged and fires lit to keep you warm, The Forest is the literal survival horror game. 

While relatively safe during the day, night time in The Forest sees an aggressive race of mutant humans on the prowl - it's your choice to fight them or hunker down in the handmade residence you've (hopefully) spent the daylight hours building.

The Evil Within

Given his work on the venerated Resident Evil and the underappreciated Dino Crisis, there's every reason to get excited when you see the name 'Shinji Mikami' attached to a horror title. 

We don't know quite as much about The Evil Within as we'd like, but it's that being left in the dark that plays a large part in making the game so enticing.

Playing as detective Sebastian Castellano, what's been shown so far seems very much in the same vein as Mikami's previous work - namely morbid lighting and visual design combined with sense a of desperation and a feeling that you're always one step behind that which threatens you.

Asylum

Point and click adventures don't all have to concern themselves with lost item mysteries, affable pirates and bespectacled time-travellers, they can also set themselves the challenge of scaring the pants off of you.

Set in the 100-plus room Hanwell Mental Institute, developer Senscape has declared that the goal with Asylum is to create the most "immersive, oppressive, depressive" atmosphere an adventure game has ever seen.

If trailer and teasers are anything to go by, they might just be on to something.

Dark Souls 2

Not horror in the same sense as most of the other games featured here, Dark Souls 2 is all about creating fear and tension through the ever-imminent threat and probability of death and significant loss of progress.

The 'prepare to die' mantra of the previous game seems to be more than present-and-correct this time around, with From Software again focusing on providing a difficult challenge that will maximise the sense of achievement for those that can overcome it. 

Without exaggeration, Dark Souls 2 has 'game of the year' potential written all over it.

Darkwood

Thanks to the rise of digital/self publishing, 'top-down, procedurally generated, crowd sourced indie offering from Eastern Europe' is not the label of individuality it used to be.

Don't let that put you off Acid Wizard's Darkwood, though, a horror game that associates itself as strongly with Don't Starve and Teleglitch as it does with David Lynch.

Playing with the idea of whether the protagonist is going insane or simply experiencing a nightmare, Darkwood is about the fear of the unknown and your place within it.

Alien: Isolation

Thanks to years of being fed uninspired fodder, the 'Alien' branding has become synonymous with generic movie-to-game cash-ins. That's why Isolation looks so promising, because it's nothing like previous Alien games.

Set on a claustrophobic ship in a remote area of space, it's you and a single, over-powering xenomorph. Trying to hunt it is futile, in this game it's you that's the prey. It's you that needs to avoid being attacked.

Think Amnesia but in space and trying to recreate the feel of Ridley Scott's original 1979 film.

Routine

Abandoned lunar station. Permadeath. Oculus Rift support. No health packs. No HUD.

Everything about indie offering Routine shouts thrown-in-at-the-deep-end. A "non-linear" experience is promised in which you must search the moon base for clues and answers as to what has caused the disappearance of everyone that once lived and worked there.

Where faux-horror sci-fi Dead Space failed to engage fully with the idea of inducing fear, Routine looks to have the potential to succeed.

Daylight

Set in a procedurally generated, abandoned hospital, the most obvious lure of Daylight is its promise that no two playthroughs will ever be the same.

Not only will the layout of the environment change, but the core content and occurrences will also be different.

If Zombie Studios can pull off such a feat in a meaningful way then Daylight could be very special indeed, especially when you take into account that you play a particularly vulnerable protagonist with absolutely no access to any form of weapon or traditional means of defending yourself.

 

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