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You can kill your 2023 backlog and prepare for Halloween with these 7 creepy games

Dedicated gamers have two specific, and often competing, goals whenever October comes around. On one hand, the fall season is a sign that the year is winding down. Anyone who wants to finish off their backlog of games released in 2023 before the 2024 flood begins needs to start finding ways to cut down their backlog. Though there are even more pressing matters in October: it’s spooky season! With a month-long Halloween celebration in full swing, October is also the perfect time to marathon some creepy games. Usually, that might mean going back to play some classics like Silent Hill 2, leaving little room to catch up on new games.

But what if you could kill two vampires with one stake? Well, you can this year because 2023 has been a wild year for horror video games. From two high-profile remakes to a slew of indie greats, your backlog this year might already be full of great, creepy games. To help organize your October, we’ve put together a list of seven eerie 2023 releases that double as great Halloween games. You can fly your freak flag and cut down your list of game to play in one go — that’s efficiency!

Resident Evil 4

Leon fights off a parasite in Resident Evil 4's remake.
Capcom

If you only have time to play one horror game this month, make sure it’s Resident Evil 4. It’s not just a nostalgic remake of one of the finest Resident Evil games of all time, but also a fiendish reinvention that stands on its own two feet. Capcom’s latest doubles down on the original’s horror-action gameplay by making Leon S. Kennedy deadlier than ever. He’s a true action hero, parrying flying axes and roundhouse-kicking people’s heads clear off. It’s still a horror game at its heart though, full of disgusting parasites and enormous monsters that can obliterate Leon. Even if you’ve already beaten it this year, now’s a good time to jump back in. As a bonus, Resident Evil 4‘s new Separate Ways DLC is a solid extra chapter that lets players cause some more bloodshed with Ada Wong.

Dead Space

Isaac Clarke aims at a necromorph in Dead Space.
EA

Resident Evil 4 alone would have made 2023 a banner year for horror games, but it isn’t the only great genre remake in town. Dead Space also got the remake treatment earlier this year, and it’s just as much of a can’t-miss experience. While it’s much more of a 1:1 upgrade of the original, the remake ups the ante with a grotesque flesh system that let’s Isaac Clarke peel his necromorph foes like bananas. It’s downright disgusting — and that’s exactly why you should play it this month. The Dead Space series offers some masterful body horror, making it one of the more unsettling mainstream horror series’ you can play. Pair that with some legitimately great jump scares and a dose of psychological torment and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect Halloween game.

Dredge

A boat sails through a passage in Dredge.
Team17

If you’re squeamish, but still want to play something eerie this month, Dredge is the way to go. At first glance, it looks like a normal fishing game where players pilot a boat and reel up some undersea creatures. There’s something much creepier under the surface, though. Dredge is a Lovecraftian horror game that gets weirder the more you play. Not only is the sea full of monsters and mutated fish, but players also have a sanity meter that they need to manage. When it runs out, they’ll start seeing illusions in the ocean that are sure to put them on edge. While it isn’t full of jump scares, Dredge is a slow-burn psychological horror experience that’ll stick with you long after you play it.

Amnesia: The Bunker

The player looks at fire in Amnesia: The Bunker.
Frictional Games

With how loaded 2023 has been, I couldn’t blame you if you missed Amnesia: The Bunker. The survival horror game launched quietly earlier this year, losing some of its spotlight to bigger games like Resident Evil 4. That’s a shame, because the latest Amnesia game is perhaps the scariest I’ve played this year. In this game set during World War I, players find themselves trapped in a dark bunker. They need to find an escape while dodging terrifying enemies that persistently stalk the dark corridors. What’s especially spooky is that the entire bunker runs on a generator that players need to keep fueled up at all times. When it runs out of gas, all of the lights go out. It’s a perfect late-night game so long as you’re prepared for some wild nightmares afterward.

Lies of P

Lies of P boss fight
Neowiz

While not exactly a horror game, Lies of P still fits nicely into the Halloween season. The bizarre action-RPG turns Pinocchio into a Soulslike. That may sound hilarious on paper, but the end result is actually as freaky as Dead Space. Players need to battle through a dark world full of mechanical puppets that are out for blood. Each creature is an absolute abomination — and a deadly one at that. From evil donkeys to maniacal parade masters, each boss is a total creepshow that you’ll want to plunge your sword into (and we know the best weapons to get that task done).

El Paso, Elsewhere

James dives in a meatpacking level in El Paso, Elsewhere.
Strange Scaffold

If you’re looking for some more traditional monsters to slay, how about some vampires? El Paso, Elsewhere is full of them, making it an ideal game for the season. Inspired by Max Payne, the third-person shooter is a retro throwback that has players blasting their way through a supernatural hotel with slow-motion powers. It’s a dark neo-noir that calls back to films like Blade. There’s a lot more to it than mindless vampire shooting, though. El Paso, Elsewhere is one of this year’s most narratively rich games, commenting on drug addiction, breakup grief, and more. It’s a must-play (and you can do so easily if you have Xbox Game Pass, as it’s included on the service).

Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals

A triangular portal opens up in Oxenfree II: Lost Signals.
Night School Studio

You don’t need to be an action game aficionado to get some digital thrills this month. Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals is a perfect pick for those who want a less physically demanding gameplay experience. The supernatural narrative adventure game follows Riley, who returns to her hometown to investigate some mysterious radio signals. As you can imagine by the fact that it’s on this list, things get a little creepy from there. With choice-driven dialogue and simple exploration, players can sit back and enjoy an atmospheric ghost story without fiddling with controls; it’s like an interactive young adult horror movie.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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