Horror games don’t often share the limelight with major AAA titles, despite telling some of the most unique stories in video games. Although you’ll find more horror games on PC, the PS4 still offers a treasure trove of spooks and scares. Here are our best PS4 horror games, with everything from Bloodborne to Inside.
Most of the games below are simply walking simulators with little in the way of mechanics. Story is the focus for the majority of this guide, so if you’re looking for a little more action, make sure to check out our list on the best PS4 games overall.
Stoking the woes of Cyberpunk 2077’s delay, Observer drops players into the slums of 2084 Krakow, Poland. The game is made all the more well-rounded with its detailed cybernetic world, a mind-boggling narrative that has two different endings, and a cast that includes Blade Runner alum Rutger Hauer. Following a cryptic phone call from his long-lost son, Daniel Lazarski is lead to the tenant building slums of Class C, where a mysterious murder case unfolds involving a severed head, a group of anti-corporate terrorists, and a menacing cybernetic monster.
As an Observer of the Fifth Polish Republic, Daniel is the most well-equipped individual to solve the case. Using his trusty tech and bio sight implants, he can detect various forms of evidence faster than the naked eye. Plus, his additional Dream Eater abilities allow him to plug into any victim or witness to experience their memories. Observer is set apart from all the rest of the best PlayStation 4 horror games not merely for its original narrative but also for the unending cast of characters that make up the Class C building.
Both Outlast and Outlast II are exemplary of the horror video game. Like most survival experiences, the player in both iterations has no weapon and must perceive the world through a video camera, paying homage to the cult classic Blair Witch. Despite the first game having a relatively over-the-top story involving a psych ward and an MK Ultra cover-up, its sequel only reinvigorated the narrative via a helicopter crash survivor and his quest to save his wife from a menacing backwoods cult. With an upcoming VR experience on the way, titled The Outlast Trials, it’s the best time to dive into these interactive found-footage masterpieces.
Left underrated and forgotten to the past, Get Even is a narrative staple in survival horror gaming. Though the game does use an immense amount of jump scares throughout the playthrough, they are used in such a way that evokes the main premise of the story: Conflicting memories and the challenges of recollection. From the very start of the game, it’s clear not everything Cole Black perceives is real on the surface. The player is provided a phone with various perspectives, like infrared and surface tracking, as well as a silenced pistol.
Get Even harkens on choice and consequences. As players dive deeper into the memories of Cole Black, they begin to unravel the darker mysteries and terrifying realities that surround his story. While it may have been released back in 2017, Get Even still exemplifies video game horror through an original narrative and everlasting themes on how our choices ultimately shape who we are, which in the end can never be altered.
Moons of Madness
For the cosmic horror enthusiasts, Moons of Madness is the perfect blend of SOMA and Event Horizon. Rock Pocket and Dreamloop Games developed a masterpiece of interactive Lovecraftian horror, sending players to the crimson planet as a troubled astronaut named Shane Newehart. The story takes place in the fictional universe of Funcom’s The Secret World, with the aforementioned game’s Orochi Group playing a large role in Moons of Madness. While IGN may have given it a lowly 5/10 review score, this cosmic horror experience is still worthy of the many long hours of ever-descending madness it so eloquently provides.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Revered not merely as one of the best PS4 horror games but among the best horror games of all time, The Dark Descent takes players down a path of winding and grueling insanity. Amnesia, as the name implies, tells the story of an amnesiac named Daniel, who has awoken in a castle with no recollection of how he got there. The deeper he saunters into the bowels of the Brennenburg Castle, the more his mind begins to unravel.
Given the game’s survival horror atmosphere, players have no other option but to escape from various enemy creatures, main among them being the now-iconic Gatherers. These monsters aren’t the only terror lurking in the dark, as so expertly proven by the game’s sanity meter, drawing attention to the ever-descending madness Daniel is privy to as the story progresses. Much like Outlast, Amnesia has remained a staple in the horror genre. Despite the relatively lackluster sequel, A Machine for Pigs, the series has continually inspired various creations since its 2010 debut and, with the upcoming sequel Rebirth slated for an autumn 2020 release, it’s the perfect time to once more lose oneself in the depraved darkness of Brennenburg Castle.
Home Sweet Home
Brought to life by Thai folklore, Home Sweet Home is an eerie horror adventure that uses myths and legends as its driving mode of terror. The story tracks Tim on a quest to find his wife, who has suddenly vanished following a disturbing revelation. As Tim dives deeper into the mysteries that likewise plagued his wife, so too will he become lost and forgotten in a tangled web of angry ghosts.
Home Sweet Home is often overlooked, mainly due to its indie status, yet this is exactly what makes it so superb. The infused bit of Thai intrigue broadens the experience. The only downside to the game is the extremely limited playtime. Still, Yggdrazil Group has developed a horror masterpiece, one that even spawned a sequel, which unfortunately is only available on Steam.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
What sets Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture apart from all the rest of the best PS4 horror games is its lack of a dark and tortured atmosphere. Instead, these concepts are brought to life more so via the lost inhabitants of the small English town players will be adventuring throughout in the game. The story follows the aftermath of a rapture-like event, akin to a video game version of HBO’s The Leftovers. The player must interact with various objects and floating orbs of light to progress through the narrative by learning what brought about the disappearance of an entire town. Though it may lean more toward adventure and art-house gaming over horror, the variety of dark and disturbing stories learned from the immense exploration only intensifies the reality of being totally and completely alone.
Like Outlast and Amnesia before it, SOMA is a testament to the power of horror gaming. With themes that harken on consciousness and humanity, it’s certainly not a game for the faint of heart. After waking up in an underwater facility, Simon Jarrett must not only uncover the reasons for his being there but also for his very existence. The player is reliant upon only stealth and puzzle-solving in order to progress through the utterly bonkers story, which will ultimately leave players speechless in its devastating culmination. What made SOMA such an immediate success was not only the expertly crafted gameplay and narrative but also a superb marketing campaign that gave potential players the perfect dose of insight and intrigue.
The Evil Within
Designed by Shinji Mikami and published by Bethesda, The Evil Within and its sequel are survival horrors that do away with the conventional first-person perspective. Instead, players are graced by the fluid actions of Sebastian Castellanos, lead detective for the Krimson City police. Following a routine investigation of a brutal mass murder, the detective, along with his police counterparts, Juli Kidman and Joseph Oda, falls unwittingly into an otherworldly dimension, not unlike Silent Hill’s own Otherworld. It is here where Sebastian is separated from his team and must discover a way not only for getting back to them but also for escaping the demonic realm. Both The Evil Within and its sequel generated acclaim for a variety of in-game concepts, main among them its innovation of the horror genre and meshing of narrative with gameplay to keep players focused on the action.
Inside is intended for younger audiences, yet it still expounds upon the horror experience through the infusion of puzzle platforming. It comes via the creators of Limbo, yet another puzzle-platformer that draws on horror tropes to enliven the experience and add a fresh twist to the genre. In Inside, players control a young boy in a dystopian world, solving puzzles to progress through the various levels and areas associated with this limbo-like reality. Playdead’s expertly crafted horror puzzle game is a well-rounded experiment that paid off, garnering not only praise but also a variety of theories as to the nature of its story. Who is the boy? Where exactly is he traveling to and from? The open-ended nature of Inside’s narrative only elevates the experience.
Those Who Remain
Slated for its PS4 release on May 15, Those Who Remain is more like a spiritual successor of Silent Hill. Given its grounded adventure mechanics alongside the dark and foggy atmosphere that surrounds it, Camel 101’s game is a breathtaking new way of experiencing interactive horror. As revealed in a Polygon feature, Camel 101 founders and brothers Bruno and Ricardo Casteiro explicitly state Those Who Remain is not specifically a horror game, but more so a psychologically tense and atmospheric adventure structured with consequences as the driving theme.
The narrative tracks Edward Turner’s investigation into the whereabouts of a missing woman. The case draws him to a dark and, at first, seemingly desolate Washington town called Dormont, wherein depravities of unknown scope watch over the protagonist at every turn. Though it may not be a horror game in the eyes of its creators, any horror fanatic will automatically glimpse the many aspects reminiscent of the abruptly canceled Silent Hills P.T.
Bloodborne is among the greatest PS4 experiences despite being both extremely difficult and time-consuming. From Software, known for its love affair with making exceptionally painful experiences, like Demon’s Souls and Sekiro, breathed life into a Lovecraftian-style action RPG set in the deteriorating city of Yharnam. Upon the protagonist’s arrival to the city, an endemic illness changes the inhabitants into mindless creatures and terrifying beasts, leaving it up to the player to save them from total damnation.
Though it may not be specifically horror, Bloodborne still enlists many horror tropes, especially in the various creatures and beings that inhabit its exceptionally detailed world. Though it’s certainly the most difficult title among the best PS4 horror games, the list wouldn’t be complete without it.
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