Top 10 Best New Horror Games of 2017
A corruption that slowly crawls its way up your arm like a metaphor.
That said, not all of these games can be specifically labelled as horror in the Chainsaw Massacre kind of way. These games won a spot on this list for psychological horror and an atmosphere that will keep you jumping at your own shadow, or wondering how easily one horrible fate can happen to you.
Perhaps a traumatic event can drive you to the edges of madness. Or what appears to be a curse is just the effects of specific pattern of thinking. Whatever the case maybe, let’s dive into the world of creaky floorboards and heavy breathing.
See Also: Top 50 Scary Games of All-Time
10. Friday the 13th: The Game
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Publisher: Gun Media
Release Date: May 26, 2017
This is the only game on this list that functions entirely via online multiplayer. Unfortunately, it is not a couch co-op, so hopefully all your friends have a copy of the game and on the right system. Though this is a major downside to the game, it is for good reason. You wouldn’t want everyone else knowing where you were hiding.
The premise of the game, however, is exactly like the movies. Six players take on the role of counsellors at Camp Crystal Lake. The seventh plays Jason Voorhees and it’s up to him to find and kill as many of the others as possible. For those who love a tense chase and hide, this is perfect. Unfortunately for the counsellors, Jason is also very tough to kill. So even a confrontation can end fairly badly for the brave player who tries it.
Once again, despite this unique concept, the game is low on the list for the rather expensive flaws. It just doesn’t seem like nearly as much fun if a group of friends can’t play a horror game together on a split screen.
Buy it on Amazon | Buy it at GameStop
Developer: Ultra Ultra
Publisher: Ultra Ultra
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Quite the indie game, I apologize for never hearing about it earlier. Echo is another graphically stunning game with one very interesting mechanic. The player takes on the role of En, who after a very long journey across space arrives at her destination. A palace with seemingly endless halls, stairs, and rooms. This palace is described as possessing “forgotten technologies.” En plans on using the latter to resurrect someone named Foster.
But there’s a hitch. All the enemies are you. They look exactly like En and do what she does. They learn and adapt from what the player does, predicting what the player might has planned and act accordingly. This can drive the player to commit some unusual acts just to get through the various puzzles within the game.
Luckily, every now and then the palace “resets,” uploading the latest information. During this blackout, you are free to act however you please without consequence. A time, if you will, to book it and shoot whoever is in the way. As such, fans of the game state the AI lives up to expectations, so be sure to check it out.
8. The Land of Pain
Developer: Alessandro Guzzo
Publisher: Alessandro Guzzo
Release Date: September 13, 2017
This game was made on the CryEngine by one developer: Alessandro Guzzo. And let me tell you, it looks beautiful. This isn’t the level of Horizon Zero Dawn by any means, but I would be selling it short if I didn’t say that the in-game forest looks stellar.
If you’ve ever been hiking in the Rockies, you’ll find the environment of The Land of Pain quite similar. That said, the beauty of a forest in the rain doesn’t take away from the growing fear and dread you’ll feel playing this game.
The horror is slow, with well spaced sounds and events that have you thinking twice before leaving another closed door behind you. The game is not fully voice acted, but you bet your bottom dollar the sound is as great as it would be for an AAA game. Again, that only one guy made this game is wild to me.
The Land of Pain is a slow build, but the mechanics and puzzles will keep you busy between scares. Also, the game tells the story through the environment so be sure to explore as much as you can to put the pieces together. Sometimes what you imagine can be far more terrifying than the reality.
7. Little Nightmares
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Developer: Tarsier Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: April 28, 2017
For those more into a gothic macabre than the creeping horror of unknown monsters. If you want a game still in the theme of horror, Little Nightmares will keep you wondering just who is in the little yellow coat, and who these grotesque monsters are. These monster could haunt anyone with half a mind after dying to one of them.
Though Little Nightmares may just be a regular platformer in the end, the environment tells a horrific story – even if the details are still missing in the end. Though the latter does tie most of the game together, and in a rather shocking way at that.
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If you haven’t played it yet, I highly recommend it – if only for the beautiful art style. If you have played Little Nightmares before, it might be worth playing again to discover those extra details you might have missed in your rush to get out of the way of a swiping hand. Perhaps you’ll even manage to get a closer look at the other children like Six.
Also for those who have completed the game, the DLC is coming out soon, though not before Halloween. The DLC follows the story of The Runaway Kid, another child in compliment to Six. I believe the release date is pegged at November, and then January from the chapter after that.
Buy Little Nightmares Complete Edition on Amazon | Buy it at Gamestop
Platforms: Xbox One and PC
Release Date: August 1, 2017
This is probably the least visually scare out of all the games on this list. In fact, there’s even a happy ending for all the characters. What I believe makes Tacoma so frightening and worth being on this list, is the very real and familiar world the people in the game live in. That, and a robot commanded to murder a spaceship full of humans.
In Tacoma, your employer, your university, everything, is a corporation; like Amazon or Google. Capitalism has toppled the government and there is no safety in that. The idea is the more loyal you are to a company, the more employment opportunities you have to continue working for them. Notice I did not say job security. Relationships and families have been torn apart as a result of this system.
In addition to all that, is the idea that one’s very education is so blatantly owned by a business for profit. That’s basically the case right now for most North American post-secondary schools, we’re only a logo change away.
Or something like loyalty points and corporations owning our lives in this way is not that much different from our current status. We joke about Big Brother Google watching us, but the fact is, they really are, just with a focus on targeted ads. What if that kind of power meant our death, as it does in Tacoma. Only by lucky circumstance is there a happy ending here.
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5. Resident Evil 7 biohazard
Platforms: PS4, PSVR, Xbox One, and PC
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Okay, whip out your blood scented candles and put on your VR headset. This should be played right after or before The Evil Within 2 for optimal scariness. If you have a PSVR set and for some reason don’t have this game yet, now is the perfect time of year. Not that RE7 isn’t a great experience on consoles either. In fact, some folks might prefer it is the PSVR isn’t your kind of cake walk.
As stated before, RE7 is fairly scary until we get to the cycle of monsters, keys, and back tracking. But it’s hidden well inside strategically placed scares or misplaced objects. Or the sudden and strange reappearance of an old woman in a wheelchair. There is certainly nothing more frightening than the confrontation of death and old age.
However, if you like a good story with your horror, the previous games on this list are a better bet. But if you love blood and gore, Resident Evil 7, The Evil Within 2, and Friday the 13th: The Game, would be the best choices for you.
Buy RE7 biohazard on Amazon | Buy it at GameStop
4. The Evil Within 2
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Release Date: October 13, 2017
The only horror game releasing in October and luckily it’s a good one. This is another game like Observer that mixes a great deal of detective work with horror. Or at least the first game in the series did until a certain point. After that point, it’s weird zombie monsters and we’ve already seen a few of those in the trailers for Evil Within 2.
They’ve changed up the gameplay this time around, apparently, so you can use more stealth and avoid combat. Though combat is likely not completely unavoidable and you’ll eventually be gunning down enemies as usual, which is a lot less scary.
That doesn’t mean you’ll be squeaking by unaffected. A few trailers have implied that there will be a cost for your progression. Something like hallucinations and doubt if any of it is real. But we shall see what that actually turns out to be.
It seems that The Evil Within 2 will tread the same path as Resident Evil 7 – a focus on monsters, a fucked situation, and a perfectly sane main character that needs a variety of items before they can escape. That said, The Evil Within 2 is still sure to make a great horror game. Out on the fabled Friday the 13th, it’s a game that will complete any Halloween experience.
Pre-order The Evil Within 2 on Amazon | Pre-order at GameStop
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Developer: Bloober Team
Release Date: August 15, 2017
There are jump scares, and sure some problems in the gameplay, but overall Observer takes on a cyberpunk horror journey. But it’s not Alien: Isolation or Dead Space, you’re not running from humanity’s latest amble into science and zombies. Observer can almost be called a detective game for how expertly it tells the story visually. It’s up the player to put pieces together and figure out the mystery.
In addition, the main mechanic of essentially jacking into peoples last moments of death, has a price. Each upgrade has a real and immediate cost to your sanity. The very world around you begins to deteriorate and the differences between a jack and reality become more and more blurred.
The horror of Observer lies within your investigation and the conclusion of it. The atmosphere and design of the world is top notch. This is a game that will have you on the edge of your seat all the way to the end.
2. What Remains of Edith Finch
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Developers: Giant Sparrow
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Call if a walking simulator, but this game sure knows how to tell a story. You play the part of Edith Finch, the last of the Finch line. As you explore the strange and wonderful Finch household, you begin to unfold what happened to the deceased members.
Your true mission however, is to find out why you are the last. Each story tells something slightly more sinister than the last. From something like child abuse, all the way to an act of bravery turning into a severely tragic death. All of these deaths have very different seemingly unconnected causes. But how could happen to so many people and sometimes is such quick succession.
If nothing else, What Remains of Edith Finch is a story about death and power of myth over the mind. These are the family legends, stories that are funny or remarkable. You tell them over and over again to anyone willing to listen. What if yours, lead to your death instead of laughter?
1. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Platforms: PS4 and PC
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Ninja Theory
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Here’s an example of a game that isn’t quite labelled as horror. Hellblade is a game about a warrior who goes into the Norse underworld to retrieve her lover. That’s the least of it. On your way through this apparent underworld you will meet your fair share of horrors. Monster that seem to have come visiting from Dark Souls, a corruption that slowly crawls it’s way up your arm like a metaphor each time you die, and most importantly, the many voices whispering and shouting in your year.
Hellblade is the experience of madness, of mental illness. It’s being inside the mind of someone already over the edge and falling deeper with each passing moment. This game shows the player not only what it is to have a mental illness like schizophrenia, but also that some causes are completely understandable. So much so, that it could happen to anyone.
As with the next game on this list, the horror of Hellblade is much more to do with thought provoking events and the what if game than jump scares and blood sacrifices.
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