The Hardest Horror Games Of All Time, Ranked

Highlights

  • Horror games are not meant to be mechanically challenging, but they often have elements that stop players from progressing.
  • Immersion in a horror game requires a certain level of challenge to stay alive and engaged.
  • Many horror games, like Amnesia, Outlast, and Resident Evil 2 Remake, force players to find a balance between survival and stress, making for a more intense and immersive experience.

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Horror games are not necessarily meant to be mechanically challenging and most of them are not. However, most players have stumbled upon an element in one of these games that would stop them from progressing. Sometimes it’s a surprise zombie followed by another, other times it might be an especially hard boss to beat.

RELATED: 10 Best Survival Horror Games For People Who Scare Easily

One way or another, horror games might be frustrating on top of being scary. Many players would say that horror games cannot be too easy, though. One will never feel immersed in a horror game that does not offer any challenge for the player to stay alive in it.

Updated on October 20, 2023 by Gabrielle Castania: With spooky season in full effect, we’re updating a handful of our horror game lists to make sure you’re getting the best scares possible in your hunt for Halloween horror.

10 Amnesia: Rebirth

Amnesia - A dark scary place

Amnesia: Rebirth

Franchise
Amnesia

Platform(s)
PS4, PC

ESRB
M For Mature 17+ due to Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language

Developer(s)
Frictional Games

One of the most famous horror games, Amnesia is hard to finish due to its constant stressful atmosphere and gameplay mechanics. The player cannot stay in the dark for too long, as it drives the protagonist insane.

The problem with this, though, is that by not hiding in the dark, you’re left vulnerable to the weird creatures that you’re not able to fight back. Amnesia does an amazing job of forcing you to find a stressful, constant balance.

9 Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

Fatal Frame 2 - the girl lost inside a dark and old Japanese house

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly is more than your typical horror game, using many elements of survival horror gameplay and combining them with deep-rooted Japanese culture. The result is a story filled with ghosts, jump scares, and terrifying moments.

It doesn’t start off as the most challenging game, per se, but it still is above your average difficulty. Especially towards the end when things develop to a whole new level. Fatal Frame is one of those games that made a PS2 the best console for fans of the genre.

8 Outlast

Outlast - writings on the wall

Outlast

Outlast is a survival horror game in which you play a journalist looking into the mysterious events of a psychiatric hospital. It has since spawned two sequels.

Platform(s)
PS4, Xbox One, PC, Linux, macOS, Switch

Developer(s)
Red Barrels

ESRB
M for Mature: Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Content, Nudity, Strong Language

Another game in which players are defenseless, Outlast does not care about making you feel powerful. In fact, the game constantly tries to do quite the opposite, making for one of the best games horror games where you can’t fight back.

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Dark sections are especially worrying, since are you playing the game through the lens of a camera, you also have to account for its battery life. Strike a balance between hiding and careful movements, but don’t let your battery die, or you just might as well.

7 Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake - Leon points the gun to a zombie

Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Franchise
Resident Evil

Platform(s)
PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC

ESRB
M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Intense Violence

Developer(s)
Capcom

Resident Evil 2 Remake demands some level of conservative gameplay, cautious exploration, and good aim, since wasting your incredibly limited ammo is never a good plan.

This game caught many people by surprise when they were first trying it. Resident Evil 2 Remake was the first triple-A horror game in a long time that would make players be more careful about using their resources instead of holding their hands throughout the journey.

6 Bloodborne

Bloodborne - Fighting a godlike entity

Bloodborne

Platform(s)
PS4

ESRB
M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Violence

Developer(s)
From Software

Bloodborne is an action RPG horror game that plays a lot like Dark Souls. It has Victorian influences, gothic architecture, werewolf-like monsters, Lovecraftian influences, and many scary things that give this game a unique sense of dread.

On top of all that, most enemies can kill the Hunter with only a few attacks. Even with all your available upgrades, most bosses can kill the Hunter with a few hits. The only thing scarier than the monsters themselves is how often they’ll kill you.

5 Dead Space

Dead Space - Isac aims at a necromorph

Dead Space (2023)

Franchise
Dead Space

Platform(s)
PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC

ESRB
Rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, and Intense Violence.

Developer(s)
EA Motive

Necromorphs are one of the most annoying basic enemies in survival horror – not only they do not die easily, but they are also quick, tricky, and deadly. When playing Dead Space for the first time, you’ll die frequently to these mutant zombie things that hunt you down.

And what makes Dead Space harder is the fact that players do not play a military guy. The main character is not a soldier, and the bad controls for aiming make you feel like he may not have any training with guns. It’s also one of the best horror games set in space ever made.

4 GTFO

GTFO - An aberration being attacked

This is not your usual horror game. GTFO is a cooperative, survival-horror first-person shooter. The game isn’t the most complex in gameplay, reminiscent of games like Left 4 Dead, but it has a much more distinct visual identity.

In GTFO, four players must cooperate and go down into an underground area in order to complete tasks delivered to them by someone named The Warden. The game is fun and scary, but it is also quite a challenge that demands coordinated actions and tactical thinking.

3 Alien: Isolation

Alien Isolation - pointing the flamethrower at the Xenomorph

Alien: Isolation

Franchise
Alien

Platform(s)
PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Switch, PC, Android, iOS

ESRB
M for Mature: Blood, Strong Language, Violence

Developer(s)
Creative Assembly

Though you do get a gun in Alien: Isolation, it’s only useful against synths. They are not a major nuisance in the game, but they can be super annoying bullet sponges that will block your progress from time to time.

RELATED: Games For Fans of Classic Horror

Once you first meet the Alien, prepare to get frequently stressed and scared. The Xenomorph can show up out of nowhere from tunnels, rooms, or the ceiling and instantly kill Amanda Ripley. No amount of bullets will change that.

2 Siren

Siren - Amazing rainy and foggy graphics on the PS2

For fans of Japanese horror movies, Siren is the perfect title – it’s dark, grim, and constantly thrilling. It has a gray-washed color palette, creating a constant feeling of sadness and fear. The foggy scenarios and the constant rain only add to make this game feel thrilling every single second.

If players do not really know what to do to progress the story, Siren might cause a lot of stress. The game isn’t always clear in its directives, making it easy for players to commit huge, terrifying mistakes.

1 Ebola 2

Ebola 2 - Pointing a gun at a zombie that is attacking

Ebola 2 is hard – it does not let players save the game when they want, and the zombies of the game can withstand a lot of bullets. And being a first-person shooter drives the players paranoid about what comes from behind them.

Players must hit the zombies on their heads, and they also must burn the bodies of the fallen zombies. The game is hard to a point that one must wonder if it is even fun.

NEXT: The Best Psychological Horror Games Ever Made

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