The horror game genre has been taken to a whole new level with advancements in VR. The immersive nature of the medium amplifies the atmosphere of horror games and magnifies it to thoroughly freak you out. In this sense, Nikolas Sullivan’s preview of Kobold notes how it combines horror cinema with VR gaming to provide gamers with an immersive cinematic experience. This time we’d like to take a look at five horror games that will raise your heart rate and make you want to flee. So, let’s turn off the lights and strap your headset on.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Touted as the most immersive and horrifying VR experience in gaming, Capcom’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a prime example of how to do VR right. From the compelling story to the chilling music and the terrifying positional audio, it’s the type of game that will make you toss your headset away, swearing to never expose yourself to such jump-scares ever again. IGN commented that Resident Evil 7’s strongest moments were the ones where the game just lets you exist in its world. From standing in a dimly lit yard outside the house where the story takes place, to making your way down a dark creepy hallway, to leaning over to check around the corner, all are incredibly terrifying experiences and a testament to the power of VR.
One of the very first VR horror games to surface, Dreadhalls is neither visually impressive nor is it known for its immersive story. What does stand out about this gem from White Door Games are its mechanics and subtle special effects and its sound effects that can be so horrifying that even the bravest of gamers will be calling for mommy in the dark. Taking place in a series of claustrophobic dungeons your character is only armed with their wits (your wits rather), a map and a lantern, nothing more. You have to escape these dark mazes by collecting eyeballs to unlock doors and hide in the dark from the various frightening monsters that lurk along the halls. Dreadhalls is described as devastatingly scary, a game that will assault your senses and trigger your fight or flight response every time.
Icelandic game designers Sólfar Studios’ In Death is a challenging rogue-like bow shooter that gives you no quarter and will try its best to brutally terminate you at literally every turn. Despite possessed monks, zombies and crusaders constantly trying to kill you, the game and shooting mechanics are rock solid, so the learning curve isn't as steep as you first might think. The game is beautifully rendered and you’ll be treated to incredible Gothic architecture that features a tainted Escher-style mismatch of church steeples and monastic courtyards suspended above the clouds. The overall VR experience is incredible and while there is no ambient audio occlusion, the positional audio enhances the gameplay for an incredibly convincing experience. The ‘Best VR PC Games’ list by HP features In Death, noting how it's filled with not just gore, but also ultra-realistic gameplay, a great recipe for sheer immersive horror. Overall, it’s a well-realized game and at the same time frustratingly hard, but will keep you coming back for more Purgatory bow and arrow action.
A first for VR adventure games that gets an entire story mode right, as opposed to other VR games that just feature individual challenges, Vertigo Games’ Arizona Sunshine is one of the best VR experiences out there. What makes this game so cool is that it lets you live every zombie apocalypse fantasy you’ve ever had! If you’re a fan of <em>The Walking Dead</em> this is your chance to experience it in first person. What makes it so scary is the dread it induces when you realize you’re all alone in a terrible apocalyptic world. While not a traditional jump-scare horror game, your heart will be pumping when a horde of zombies is barreling down on you from all directions and you only have 2 clips left for your weapon.
A Chair in A Room: Greenwater
With such an odd title most people would be discouraged from trying Wolf & Wood Interactive’s creepy room-scale experience, but then they'd be missing out on a uniquely terrifying experience. You’re a patient in a mental hospital and you’re attempting to get your memory back by trying to understand what’s going on. Rather than being a classic jump-scare for cheap thrills, A Chair in A Room relies on setting a very creepy and unsettling atmosphere of fear and tension. More of a puzzle-solving escape-room style game; it slowly builds tension and gets scarier the further you progress.