Today’s Game of the Year countdown is the Top Four Horror Games of 2014 – The year of 2014 was a great one for gamers. While it lacked the grandiose releases of a Grand Theft Auto and two new consoles, it was a solid year overall. Gamers around the world hacked into Chicago, tried to survive against impossible odds, joined each other online to take down raid bosses, replayed remastered versions of older games, and collectively wondered how many triple A titles could launch with broken parts. Join us as we begin to rank the top games genre by genre, leading up to the overall game of the year. Twice a week we will release a list of the top five shooters, RPGs, handheld games, and so on. Today we will be covering the top horror games of this year, which didn’t have that many standout introductions. Outlast was previously released on PC, and other entries were simply so-so. However, the winner this year was an easy decision.
Not only is this game a true adaptation of the world we saw in the film Alien, but is also an amazing recreating of how frightening the Xenomorph is. You can’t kill it, you can only hide and rarely run away from it. The Xenomorph is faster, stronger, and clever. It will react to noise and adapt to your strategies if you don’t mix up the distractions. The space station you are stranded on, the Sevastopol, is drenched in darkness and deadly threats besides the Xenomorph. Androids stalk the halls with only their glowing eyes visible. Other humans are desperate to live and scared, shooting at anything that moves. And you control Amanda Ripley, who simply wanted to find out what happened to her mother fifteen years ago. The anxiety you feel when the Xenomorph drops down from a vent is hard to express, you simply have to experience it with headphones on and the lights off.
The Evil Within
Shinji Mikami’s name was really pushed during the promotional run for this title, which meant they were banking more on his name than the title itself. Thankfully, the game delivered and has become something of a true follow up to Resident Evil 4. You play a police detective who is thrown into a world falling apart as people succumb to some affliction causing them to seek only your death. The action is plentiful but retains the frantic feel as enemies weigh in on you from all sides. Ammo is scarce and stealth is available but clunky. The main story treads more along the lines of psychological horror and a bit laughable at parts, but this title proves Mikami still knows whats up when it comes to survival horror.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
If you were ever a child who attended or knew of Chuck E Cheese then you can easily relate to the premise for Five Nights. You play a security guard watching over an entertainment center housing various animatronics. However these animatronics are active at night and roam the halls freely, stuffing anyone they find into mechanical suits, killing them in the process. You are tasked with avoiding death as the difficulty ramps up each night. Your only tools are cameras, flashlights and being able to temporarily close the door to each entrance. The simple gameplay mechanics make it easily playable, and the light story allowed players to begin forming their own theories about the animatronics murderous intent. I always questioned why you wouldn’t immediately leave.
While the title stands for “Playable Teaser” this is still very much a video game. Free to download, the game is a lead-in and tease for the upcoming Silent Hills. However you don’t need to know any of that to appreciate it. P.T. is perhaps the single most brilliant and scariest horror game I have ever seen. The internet sensation created by the mysterious puzzles and announcement of the title itself caused people to band together on message boards to help each other solve every puzzle. You see, P.T. is just a single hallway that you progress through again and again, each time solving a puzzle that is never explained. The way the developer used one lone hallway again and again without it ever becoming less horrifying is brilliant. Along the way you encounter Lisa, a ghost who will give you nightmares. In fact, the entirety of P.T. will give you nightmares. It is specifically designed to subvert your expectations. P.T. frequently throws different colored overlays just to mess with you, and exhausts you with anxiety. I will forever remember the night my friends completed the entirety of P.T. I doubt Silent Hills can live up to the horror within that single hallway.
And those are the top four horror games of 2014! You can always voice your own opinion in the comments about what your favorite horror game was, whether it was Outlast on consoles, The Forest beta, Neverending Nightmares, or something completely different. And continue to check back for more Top Five lists as the month goes on, with overall game of the year premiering in the first week of January. Next will be the Top Five Action Titles of 2014.