This list was originally published in October 2020 and has been periodically updated since.
If you’ve got the stomach for them, horror games can be some of the most immersive and adrenaline-pumping experiences around.
While horror games seemingly went out of fashion on consoles for a while, they’ve always been popular on PC. The result is that there are loads of them available on the format, though many of them aren’t very good. If you’re after the best horror games on PC, simply finding what’s good can be a terrifying process in itself.
Hopefully we can help. As horror fans ourselves, we’ve played most of the supposedly scary titles that have been brought to our attention over the years. And so we’re in a good position to tell you which ones will indeed scare you silly and make you shriek like a little girl. So, without further ado, check out our list of the best horror games on PC.
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Playing through Amnesia: Rebirth is an ordeal in the best possible way.
You’re Tasi Trianon, a woman stranded in a desert in Algeria. On top of being stranded in a place you don’t know, things just don’t seem right. But you have to push on, search for other survivors and ultimately see if you can find any help. With only matches to help you find your way through the darkness, however, and the strange device strapped to your wrist opening portals to a hellish alien world, it’s not going to be an easy task.
Amnesia: Rebirth successfully combines many sub-genres of horror keep you on your toes and terrify you from beginning to end. At the start you’ll simply feel isolated and hopeless, but then other horror elements creep in, until you eventually find yourself being chased by some of the most ghastly creatures you’ve ever seen. Needless to say, if you love horror games, you need to play Amnesia: Rebirth. It’s undoubtedly one of the best horror games available on PC. It might even be the best.
It may be quite old now, but Outlast remains one of the best horror games on PC.
Put in the role of Miles Upsher, an investigative journalist, you’re sent to a run-down psychiatric hospital to find out what’s going on. Overrun with psychotic patients, everything is far from stable, and armed with only a camcorder, it’s your job to delve deep into the hospital and uncover its secrets.
Outlast’s lack of combat makes the game only more tense; when monsters are close, your only option is to run and hide. You’re entirely vulnerable, and that makes for some truly brilliant horror moments. Its sequel, Outlast 2, is also worth a play if you’re after the best horror games on PC. Just make sure you’ve got some fresh underwear nearby when you play them, because you might possibly soil yourself.
Based on the seminal horror film franchise, Bloober Team’s Blair Witch might just be one of the scariest games you can play right now.
It places you in the shoes of Ellis, a former police officer who’s heading to the infamous Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville to search for a missing boy. There’s more than a nod back to the original found-footage film here, and the legend surrounding the forest means you’ll be nervous before you even start.
Blair Witch has atmosphere in droves, keeping you on the edge of your seat. And, unlike many other horror games available on PC, it doesn’t rely on an overuse of jump scares to get your adrenaline pumping. That’s not to say there aren’t a few moments to catch you out, though. It takes a while to really get going, but if you’re looking for the best horror games on PC, Blair Witch is definitely worth a play or two.
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 makes zombies scary again, and that’s quite an achievement.
This remake of the PlayStation classic goes beyond expectations, delivering a horror experience that’s familiar in the right ways yet also unpredictable, exciting and fresh. Anyone that’s played the original Resident Evil 2 will find themselves enjoyably toyed with, while those that haven’t will just enjoy this remake for what it is: a great horror game.
Zombies are plentiful and are harder to put down than ever, creating tense moments as you explore Raccoon City Police Department and its surrounding areas. But of course, there are bigger foes for you to worry about as well, including the mysterious Mr. X who seems to tirelessly pursue you as you go about your business.
Resident Evil 2 has everything: romance, intrigue, action and horror. So, if you’re after the best horror games on PC, you simply need to add it to your collection.
The Evil Within 2
The Evil Within 2, just like its predecessor, is an action-packed example of the survival horror genre that shouldn’t be missed.
Playing as ex-police detective Sebastian Castellanos, you’ll find yourself questioning reality as you move from one harrowing situation to the next, forced to face off against a bevy of grotesque creatures. And while you’re fairly well-armed and quite capable of instantly dispatching some foes if you can creep up on them, The Evil Within 2 can still pile on the scares when it wants to.
The Evil Within 2 is definitely a more horrifying game than its predecessor, managing to unsettle you and freak you out. With twists around every corner, if you’re looking for the best horror games on PC, you can’t go wrong with The Evil Within 2.
Taking obvious inspiration from P.T., Infliction sees you exploring a house from the first-person perspective. Things seem rather normal at first – but dare to look away for just a second, and you’ll find everything changing around you. While you’ll find yourself trekking around the same rooms time and again, the game messes with you in clever and unexpected ways, forever keeping you on your toes.
There’s little action or adventure to speak of in Infliction; its gameplay consists of you exploring the house – and a few other areas – as you attempt to dispel an evil spirit. But it packs in a whole load of atmosphere as you go about your business. It’s tense and creepy from start to finish, and it’s a horror game you’ll struggle to put down until you’ve finished. Needless to say, if you’re after the best horror games on PC, you’d be wise to check it out.
Layers of Fear
You’re never quite sure what’s happening in Bloober Team’s Layers of Fear.
Perhaps the house you’re in is haunted, or perhaps the protagonist is slowly losing his mind. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. Either way, it makes for a genuinely scary horror game. And despite being from a small studio, Layers of Fear is definitely one of the best horror games on PC.
Making your way around an old, seemingly empty house, you’ll solve puzzles and discover clues, helping piece together the story. You’ll soon find that you’re not entirely alone though; there’s plenty of things lurking around corners ready to scare the bejesus out of you. Don’t bother with Layers of Fear‘s sequel though, because we don’t think it’s very good.
Based on the popular movie franchise, Alien: Isolation stands out from the other games on this list because it’s not filled to the brim with monsters and paranormal peril. Rather, there’s just one monster that’s terrorising you: the alien.
Alien: Isolation’s scare factor comes from its tense atmosphere as you carefully peer around corners, wondering where the alien is going to come from next. You never feel safe; you’re always on edge – and that makes for a fantastic horror experience.
Perhaps the best video game ever made that’s based on the Alien franchise, if you have a liking for tense, nail-biting scares, then this is a horrifying game that’s definitely worth adding to your collection.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7 completely reboots the Resident Evil formula by returning to its true horror roots, borrowing many a convention from popular horror films and games of the past. There’s a whiff of Evil Dead in there, a taste of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and an air of Condemned, but Resident Evil 7 is a masterpiece in its own right.
Playing as Ethan Winters, a man who finds himself at the home of the Baker family as he searches for his wife who went missing three years ago, all is certainly not as it seems. Within minutes of stepping through the door and being reunited with Mia he finds himself being attacked by her and her “family”. From then on, Resident Evil 7 is pure nail-biting terror.
Played entirely from a first-person viewpoint, Resident Evil 7 is a bit of a departure for the long-running series but a very successful one. It’s definitely one of the best horror games on PC, and maybe one of the best horror games of all time.
From Frictional Games, the developer of the Amnesia series, SOMA is a survival horror game in the same, terrifying vein.
You’ll take control of Simon Jarrett, a man who’s found himself in an underwater research facility. He has no idea how he got there or why, so it’s up to you to unravel the mystery. And of course, there are plenty of scares waiting for you around every turn.
It’s SOMA’s creepy atmosphere more than anything that makes it a scary game to play. There’s no combat to be found, so a clever mix of stealth and puzzle-solving is employed in order to progress. Freaky human-like robots and a very oppressive environment make SOMA stand out as one of the best horror games on PC. It even has a safe mode so you can enjoy it without worrying about being killed by monsters.