What do we think the best PS4 horror games are? As the PS4 turns 5, Bloody Disgusting lists the best horror on Sony’s juggernaut console.
The PS4 celebrates its fifth birthday today. In that time it’s gone on to become the king of the consoles for this generation and Sony has produced a procession of critically-acclaimed exclusives that helped cement its place at the head of the table.
It’s also racked up an impressive roster of horror games, and in honor of this fifth anniversary, we’ve selected eleven of the best PS4 horror games from the last five years. We’ve excluded remasters, so there’s no room for A sadly.
The Evil Within 2 (2017)
The original The Evil Within left survival horror fans with lofty expectations. After all, it was Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind Resident Evil’s greatest entries, back in the genre with a brand new game. It frustrated in places, but there was no denying the deft touch of Mikami was present.
The Evil Within 2 dialled up the crazy and produced a far more inventive take on survival horror. Set inside a corrupted simulation of a small town, you face vicious monsters and an everchanging environment as you aim to cleanse the corruption and find the soldiers who were sent in before you.
The only real downside of The Evil Within 2 is its first-person sections, which take the tension of the stealth in the rest of the game and replaces it with wonky frustration. Thankfully, it’s a rarity.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (2017)
Not only is Hellblade a truly effective horror game, it’s a mature and well-intentioned look at the effects of mental illness. The latter is what makes the former true, as the titular Senua sees and hears her personal demons everywhere, with the Dualshock controller’s speaker even emitting the whispers of multiple voices in her head (some are helpful, some malicious).
Senua’s trip to Helheim (the Norse realm of Hell) is fraught with physical dangers too, and her already fragile psyche is in peril every time she has to confront and attack the denizens of the underworld.
Yes, Hellblade is full of monsters and you literally go to Hell, but the true horror is in that mental health representation and how effectively it conveys the terror many go through on a daily basis.
Arkane has proved itself to be adept at building self-contained worlds filled with detail and depth with its Dishonored series. Prey certainly continues that with an intricate space station filled with inky alien beasts out to murder you. Oh, and some of them can mimic inanimate objects so you can’t look at a Coffee mug again without the temptation to lug a wrench at it.
The star of the show is Talos-I, the space station itself. A sprawling maze of corridors and departments filled with a variety of horrifying threats. In the tradition of System Shock and Bioshock, the environment does a great job of telling the story, allowing you to get on with making a stairway out of futuristic glue blobs to escape a monster that was a stapler five seconds ago.
Death Road to Canada (2018)
A hybrid of old-school text adventure and a top-down survival game, Death Road to Canada is a celebration of the zombie apocalypse that’s not afraid to take the piss out of it at every turn.
The meat of the game is looting locations whilst keeping the growing zombie horde at bay, but in between, you’re on that ‘Death Road to Canada’ and having random situations flung at you.
You might chance upon a crazed bear, or enlist the help of a lethal dog as a companion. Death Road to Canada is deliciously silly and yet still manages to recreate the panicked gorefest of post-apocalyptic survival. It may take you through a lot of survivors to get to Canada, but the journey is always entertaining.
Layers of Fear (2016)
First-person horror games where you’re relatively defenseless has been a winning trend in recent years, so to stand out from a growing crowd you have to do something pretty different.
Bloober Team’s Layers of Fear did just that with its consistently trippy, creepy horror set in a dilapidated mansion of a mentally-tortured painter. Every time you turn your virtual head, something has changed in the environment. Sometime’s it small, other times it’s big and bonkers.
There was no reliance on cheap scares or bloodletting, just a steady stream of unease. It stands out for doing something a bit classical in the realm of horror games.
Dying Light (2015)
Techland was all hype and shoddy trousers with previous open-world zombie co-op game Dead Island but in 2015 it released Dying Light and righted a lot of wrongs.
Dying Light refined its formula, threw in an attractive day/night system, and laid on a thick layer of parkour for good measure. The day brought swarms of sluggish undead to jump over and hack to pieces as you searched for supplies in the slums of a virus-ridden city. When night fell, a far nastier form of infected came out to play, and you’re the toy.
The adrenaline rush of escaping that first nighttime encounter by the skin of your teeth is among the purest horror moments in gaming this decade. It’s a more intimidating experience alone but played in co-op, Dying Light becomes a goofy, gory hoot. Throw in the vehicular madness of its expansion The Following and you’ve got the best pure zombie game around.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (2017)
By the end of the previous console generation, Resident Evil was more successful than ever, but steering further and further away from what made it a survival horror force. The series needed a fresh start and in 2017, we got just that with Resident Evil 7.
Resident Evil 7 returns to a puzzle-filled homestead, a shift to first-person, and some of the most memorable villains Resident Evil has seen for some time. It’s clearly inspired by the likes of Texas Chainsaw in its grimy, Southern hostility, especially in its twisted Baker family.
Then there’s the series using virtual reality for the first time with Sony’s PSVR. The already intense opening hours take on a whole new level of terror when you actually feel like you’re in that crumbling backwoods home.
This side-scrolling horror from Red Candle Games takes inspiration from real-life political issues in 1960’s Taiwan where martial law ruled all, and also takes on religious elements with Taiwanese culture and mythology. By blending these into one game, Detention is perhaps the closest a game has got to the Guillermo Del Toro school of horror storytelling.
The game focuses on the two remaining students trapped in a school due to an incoming typhoon. Things begin to get very strange and ultimately horrifying for the duo.
There’s nothing else on this list quite like Detention. It has a stumble towards the end, but for most of the time, it’s a slow-building cycle of dread and terror with a bit of a worthwhile history lesson thrown into the mix.
Until Dawn (2015)
Stuck in development hell for a long time, Until Dawn arrived to little fanfare, but before long, it gained a following and is repeatedly brought up when discussions concerning modern horror games arise, and for good reason.
Until Dawn is a choose your own adventure meets teen slasher movie and in the spirit of the latter half, having an audience really ramps up the enjoyment factor. The cast of young things (including Hayden Panettiere and Rami Malek) can all fall to the cruel hand of fate at multiple points in the story, giving the player the job of role-playing as director. If you wish to go traditional Final Girl route, that’s totally an option, but you can just as easily have a bleak no survivors playthrough or a relatively happy finale with the majority of the cast still breathing (but where’s the fun in that?).
The game takes an interesting turn or two with its plot and characters, and in doing so, it goes beyond simply being a homage to slashers and becomes a fantastic hybrid that remains one of the PS4’s best surprises.
Alien Isolation (2014)
Not only is Alien Isolation the best Alien anything in the last couple of decades, but it’s also the purest form of what made the xenomorph a terrifying entity since the original film.
Alien Isolation takes the gorgeous aesthetic of Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic as its inspiration too. Every clunky monitor and beige padded wall panel is represented when Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda boards the Sevastopol space station and discovers things are going south rapidly thanks to a rogue Xeno deciding to call the place home.
After an extended introduction to the space station, you finally meet the beast, and so begins hours of being hounded, watching every vent, dreading every ping of your motion tracker, and hiding under desks in a futile hope the slathering insectile bastard will leave you alone.
As if dealing with the xenomorph wasn’t bad enough, the remaining crew isn’t exactly friendly either, and the local android population has gone a tad haywire. You can shoot them of course, but that brings the unpleasant risk of the alien showing up.
The final hours take a slightly unpleasant turn, but it is at least in line with the balance of power found in the rest of it. The important thing to remember here is that Alien Isolation is still an utterly fantastic Alien experience in spite of any issues.
Few games revel in their ultraviolence quite as much as Id’s 2016 reboot of Doom. This is a game that rewards the act of ‘Rip and Tear’, after all. As one angry soldier obliterates the minions of Hell whilst on Mars (naturally).
The fast-paced action sees Doom Guy display his full range of gory executions to each and every one of disgusting residents of the underworld for no other reason than he feels like it. What a guy.
It’s quite possibly the most metal video game in history, with a soundtrack that drives that point home like a fist down a demon’s throat. 25 years on from the original Doom, the series is still as relevant and exciting as it ever was, and 2016’s Doom is a big reason for that.
What do you consider the best PS4 horror games to be? Anything you’d add to this list? We’ll be expanding it in future so let us know!