The Best PC-Exclusive Horror Games

Throughout the history of horror games, a fact often forgotten is that many of the originators of the genre were made for home computers. 3D Monster Maze, possibly the progenitor of the modern survival horror game, and other influential titles like Alone in the Dark, were made for the PC.

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In recent years, the PC has been the platform to debut a lot of smaller-budget but still influential horror games like Amnesia, Slender, and Five Nights at Freddy’s. While those titles eventually got ported to other platforms, there are still a bunch of great horror games that are exclusive to PC, both old and new.

Updated October 24, 2023 by Jack Pierik: Whether old or new, you’d probably be willing to admit there’s something special about playing a game exclusive to a specific platform. This is likely, or at least in part, the reason people are willing to buy consoles like the PS5 or Nintendo Switch, or to build or purchase their own PC. In this update, you’ll find three new horror games to check out, each with their own unique mixes of genre, art style, and overall experience. Oh, and only one of these new additions is multiplayer, so hopefully you have the nerve to handle horror games alone.

11 Sons Of The Forest

Sons of the Forest: Lab Notes Providing Tips On Demons

Sons of the Forest is the successor to the open world, survival horror game The Forest. In a nutshell, you’ve been tasked to find some missing billionaire on an isolated island. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that this island is absolutely infested with creepy, dangerous cannibals and demonic, mutated horrors.

Also, you’ll have hunger, thirst, stamina, and health bars to worry about, so you won’t be able to run or hide from enemies forever. If you don’t want to face the island alone, Sons of the Forest does have online co-op.

10 Darkest Dungeon 2

the exemplar boss in darkest dungeon 2

If you like the idea of a dark fantasy world with a grim art style packaged into a tactical, turn-based, roguelike RPG, Darkest Dungeon 2 will likely be right up your alley. The game can be harsh and difficult at times, but that becomes less of a problem as you learn how to optimize your gameplay and unlock traits and skills.

Each run has you form a four-person party, and you set off by carriage into an unforgiving and terrifying world. You’ll have to learn not only how to create synergy within your party to defeat your foes, but also manage your party’s emotional, physical, and psychological needs.

9 Propagation VR

Zombie From Propagation VR best free horror games on steam

Propagation VR will be a great experience if you’re looking for a horror game that melds itself with wave-based, shooter mechanics and elements. The only potential downside, given the name, is that you will need some kind of Virtual Reality headset to play.

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Unless you’re practiced enough to be comfortable shooting at targets and reloading various firearms in a VR environment, this game is sure to get your adrenaline pumping as you’re assailed by larger and larger waves of zombies, spiders, and other horrific creatures.

8 SCP – Containment Breach

An encounter with an SCP from SCP Containment Breach.

In 2012 and 2013, some of the most popular horror games included Slender and SCP – Containment Breach. Based on the SCP Foundation website, a collection of fictional, supernatural objects and entities, the game is a procedurally generated horror title that involves you escaping imprisonment while evading various SCPs from the source material.

While still scary, the game has since been surpassed by multiple titles in the genre. SCP – Containment Breach does have a lot of content to it, though, and with good mod support, you can sink a ton of time into this game.

7 Stalker

Being near a camp fire in Stalker.

Developed by GSC Game World, Stalker is a first-person survival horror series set in post-apocalyptic Chernobyl in Ukraine. Chernobyl is the only place affected, though, not the whole world. The gameplay in Stalker is primarily first-person shooting with light RPG elements.

The atmosphere is great, but because of the heavy gunplay focus, it might not be scary for everyone. It’s about as frightening as Doom 3 or Fear. Stalker offers solid modding support, so you can get mods to make it scarier if you want.

6 Penumbra

Using a hammer to break a lock in Penumbra.

Frictional Games is the developer behind such titles as Amnesia and Soma, but before all those games, it made Penumbra. Penumbra should feel right at home for players of Amnesia as the game runs on the same engine, has the same stealth horror gameplay, and even has some of the same UI. However, Penumbra focuses more on solving puzzles than Amnesia, especially in the third game.

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The atmosphere in the games is great, like all of Frictional’s titles. Suppose you suffer from any sort of color blindness. In that case, these games will be a bit difficult, though, because there are a lot of complicated puzzles involving color.

5 Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle Of Flesh

Sneaking around a police officer in Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh.

The Phantasmagoria series are FMV horror titles with adventure game elements. They’re made by Sierra, but thankfully, they’re not brutally difficult like most Sierra games. If you love FMV titles for their cheese factor and so bad its good nature, Phantasmagoria will be a good time.

Both Phantasmagoria 1 and 2 are fun, but the second game takes the edge. It’s more polished and has a more focused story. The titles aren’t scary, but they’re equivalent to a fun horror b-movie.

4 Elvira 2: The Jaws Of Cerberus

An encounter with a giant grub worm in Elvira 2.

The Elvira brand has a pretty good track record when it comes to gaming. The three Elvira pinball tables are excellent, with Scared Stiff being one of the best pinball tables of the ’90s. Then there are the two PC Elvira games. While the first game was pretty good, Elvira 2 is on a new level.

The imagery in this title is some of the freakiest stuff at the time, and the campaign also includes an insect area with giant bugs. If you have a fear of insects, don’t play this game at all. While Elvira 2 is a spooky good time, you might want to play with a guide. The title is Sierra-esque with its unwinnable situations and doing tasks in the wrong order.

3 Most Games By Puppet Combo

Witnessing a butcher doing his work in Stay Out of The House by Puppet Combo.

For a long time, the indie scene lacked a strong retro survival horror presence until developers like Puppet Combo came around. Puppet Combo is a horror-making machine launching multiple games yearly, and most are excellent. Some titles are on console, but the majority of them are still PC-exclusive.

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All the games have that distinct PS1 retro look, which makes them scarier. There’s something about that old look that gets lost in modern graphics. Puppet Combo’s catalog is diverse in gameplay, too, as some of the games are classic survival horror, while others have more modern gameplay where you’re defenseless and need to escape while evading a pursuer.

Finding and accessing all of Puppet Combo’s games may prove more difficult than average. While a handful of games, such as Power Drill Massacre and Babysitter Bloodbath, can be found online, others can only be accessed through a specific subscription level on their Patreon.

2 Scratches

Entering the creepy basement in Scratches.

Scratches is a horror game by the now-defunct Nucleosys. It’s a point-and-click adventure game that spans three days in the Blackwood estate. Similar to a lot of horror movies, the beginning is very slow.

Day one is the longest and most uneventful, but stick with it. The game picks up dramatically in the later days. Scratches has a great story, along with an excellent atmosphere. Any player will hate being in the estate’s basement for the first time, and you’ll want to leave fast.

1 System Shock 2

System Shock 2 - the moment you meet Shodan.

System Shock 2 is the 1999 sequel to the first title and is one of the most acclaimed PC games ever made. The game is an ARPG horror title where you explore the Von Braun in search of what happened to you and the ship.

System Shock 2’s story and atmosphere are just as excellent as the first game. The notorious Shodan returns and is as intimidating as ever. Looking back at the title, it really is one of the most influential games of its time. It paved the way for games like Prey (2017) and the BioShock series and still holds up among them.

NEXT: Best Horror Games For Beginners

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