The horror genre is probably one of the few exceptionally polarizing videogame categories, you love it or you hate it. Well, for the ones that love it, or at least are trying to, check out these suggestions of some great horror games you can play on Xbox Game Pass.
1. Back 4 Blood
Being included in the list of the 5 most promising new game IPS in 2021, this game had to be a part of this selection.
Considered a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, with some of the same developers working on this game, it features identical gameplay. Back 4 Blood’s PVE campaign game mode puts you and a bunch of other survivors on a post-apocalyptic zombie world, where you have to fight your way through different types of zombies in order to survive.
While the gameplay is mostly similar to Left 4 Dead, there are a couple of new mechanics worth mentioning. Firstly, the new card system. At each level, the player can build a deck of cards that improve various aspects of gameplay, like health, stamina, damage, etc. Secondly, the zombie AI also has access to these cards, called Corruption cards, that can buff the zombies and their hordes, increasing the number of zombies or even buffing their stats.
Due to the classical co-op aspect of these types of games that every zombie fan knows and loves, Back 4 Blood, in my opinion, is a must-have if you are a fan of shooting some monsters next to your buddies. Also, with the addition of the new card system mentioned above, the game gives absolute control to the player when it comes to stats customization, which is another great advantage.
2. The Evil Within
Part of the survival horror genre, The Evil Within is a single-player story directed by Shinji Mikami, the creator of the Resident Evil Series. The game follows the character Sebastian Castellanos as he is pulled through a distorted world full of nightmarish locations and horrid creatures.
Played in a third-person perspective, the story is arranged in chapters that have to be completed by the player in order to progress through the game. Being a survival horror, the game gives the player a limited amount of items, which are scattered throughout the map, that will help their journey and their fights against the monsters. Players must also be aware of other dangers, like bear traps, bombs, and barbed wire traps.
The Evil Within features a system of upgradable skills, that can be utilized at the mental hospital, a safe house called ‘Safe Haven’ that can be accessed during scripted events and by finding mirrors along Sebastian’s journey.
As for weapons, the player has access to a multitude of firearms and melee weapons, such as a revolver, a shotgun, a sniper rifle, and a knife, among many others.
The horror genre owes a lot to Shinji Mikami, and if someone asks you why, just show them this game. It ticks all the right boxes when it comes to elements you want to see in a horror game, with a dirty, brutal, and challenging world where every location feels like a rollercoaster ride.
3. The Medium
The Medium is a psychological horror video game developed and published by Bloober Team. It was released back in January 2021.
Played in a third-person perspective, the game is set in post-Communism Poland, where Marianne, a medium who possesses abilities that allow her to travel into the spirit realm, tries to find answers for her troubled past. During Marianne’s journey, controlled by the player, multiple supernatural entities try to prevent her from achieving her objectives.
Making use of a split-screen feature, Marianne is able to travel between two dimensions. These different worlds allow the player to solve puzzles that can only be completed when interacting with elements in both dimensions, the real and the spirit world, in order to unlock new areas and progress through Marianne’s journey.
These psychic powers can also be utilized to neutralize the hostile forces that chase the player, being able to recharge these abilities when interacting with spirit wells, which are energy spots scattered throughout the game.
For me, this is one of the most disturbing and unsettling horror games I’ve ever experienced. Its creepy atmosphere involves you from minute 1, which can only be seen as a compliment when talking about great horror experiences.
4. Alien: Isolation
The definition of old but gold. It would be a crime If I didn’t include this horror classic in the list.
Focusing on stealth and survivability, the game takes place fifteen years after the events of the original Alien movie, where Amanda, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, embarks on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. However, this mission went terribly wrong, forcing the unprepared Amanda to fight for her life.
One interesting aspect not yet present in this list is the stealth gameplay, and Alien: Isolation is heavily based on stealth mechanics. The player is provided with limited weapons and ammunition, having to utilize items like flashlights and motion trackers to traverse the space station without encountering the Alien. However, the use of these tools will draw the Alien to the player’s location, so an incorrect use of these items can dictate Amanda’s demise.
If you are a fan of the survival horror genre, like me, you have to play Alien: Isolation. It is a perfectly paced game with a thrilling environment that will leave you terrified (which in this case is a good thing) throughout the entirety of it.
5. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Last but not least, we’ve got Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Based on the Norse and Celtic mythology, the game follows Senua, a member of the Picts, a group who lived in what is now northern Scotland during the Early Middle Ages. Although Senua suffers from severe psychotic mental illness, making her hear voices and hallucinate moments from her past, she embarks on a journey to save the soul of her lover, Dillion, who is in Helheim, the Norse underworld ruled by the goddess Hela.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’s gameplay focuses on combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving, featuring a classic dodge, parry, and guard system. By blocking and striking enemies with her sword, Senua builds up her Focus, enabling her to temporarily slow down time when a certain amount of Focus is reached. When it comes to exploration aspects, the game introduces Lorestones, points in the game where the player can collect information about the legends of the Northmen, the Viking group responsible for the murder of Dillion.
Although not my favorite, I must say, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is still an amazing horror experience, that amazingly combines the combat mechanics with the horror ones, forming one of the most suspenseful horror experiences out there. If you are also a fan of great story-driven single-player experiences, then you have to try this one out.
Although we are not really in spooky season, there is no bad timing to get jump scared and experience some great horror games. Do you like horror games? What do you think of this selection? Would you change anything? Let me know in the comments down below!