What are the best horror games in 2023? We’re not talking about the best horror games that have come out this year, but the best ones to date. With gaming having a 1,000-year history, it can be hard to know what games are currently standing atop the mountain of contenders and shouting “Yo, I’m the scariest game; look at me!”
The other issue is more complicated: different people think different things are scary. While some people may view the idea of having an office job as the one true horror, most people are more scared by demons and being hunted and stuff. We’ve stuck with the latter for a slightly easier to parse list. If your horror is one caused by living in a capitalist dystopia then, well, you could always move to the UK. On the other hand if what you’re looking for is monsters and uncomfortable brain itches then we’ve got you covered.
Best Horror Games 2023
It’s worth noting that if you want a more action-packed horror game, you could do a lot worse than the likes of Elden Ring and Bloodborne. While Bloodborne is an obvious choice, you can quite easily end up a little too powerful for it to be a horror game, at least for some. Elden Ring is similar, but it’s not as obviously horror.
The horror in Elden Ring is less in your face, with the world being so beautiful to run around, but you only have to pay attention to the grafted enemies, the terrifyingly warped Caelid dogs and birds, and the shivering Two Fingers to start to realise that everything in that world could be turned into a horror game antagonist with ease.
Let’s kick things off with a game many might not have had the chance to play, but absolutely should if they’ve got a VR headset. Westworld Awakening is set in the same universe as the Westworld show, and puts you in the shoes of a host called Kate. Kate has started to gain self-awareness, and isn’t happy about the role she has to play.
That’s because her role is to be constantly murdered by Hank, a hulking host who introduces himself to you by holding your head and stabbing you in the face. Keep in mind this is in VR, so it’s especially haunting. You then get to spend the rest of the game trying to find out why things are like this, and to try and escape the horrible circumstances.
Resident Evil Village
This spot is kind of a toss-up between Resident Evil 7 and Village. In the end, the thing that clinches it for Village, at least in our eyes, is the whole doll section, and also the fact that you’re *SPOILERS* hunting for your daughter’s still living body parts.
Resident Evil Village is a truly absurd game with a cast of villains chasing you, a constant stream of nightmares waiting for you around every corner, and just a deeply messed up core plot. It can feel a little too actiony for some fans, but it’s still a very solid horror game.
If you like your horror to be a bit more existential in nature, then good news, SOMA is here to really mess you up. This first-person horror game is set on an underwater facility called PAHTOS-II, and has you running around with no radio, little food, and surrounded by robots that have all begun to believe they’re human.
It’s a boiling pot of disturbing circumstances that’ll leave you fearing every small sound, constantly questioning whether or not what you’re doing is right, and probably screaming every now and then too. Also, you can’t fight here, so don’t expect an action movie ending.
Layers of Fear
Nothing is more deeply unsettling than the idea of having a creative job. Do you really want to have to find inspiration every day? Layers of Fear has you playing as a painter who is desperate to finish their Magnum Opus. The only issue is, the whole thing is driving you out of your mind, and you’re beginning to wonder if this strange Victorian mansion is the best place for you.
Layers of Fear is an especially entertaining horror game because it’s constantly playing with you as the player. Images will flicker constantly, the house will move and shift, and you’ll constantly doubt your own experiences with the game as you play.
Outlast lets you live out the most horrifying role of all, that of a journalist. You play as Miles Upshur, and your job is to explore and investigate the Mount Massive Asylum. While it’s not an especially original setting, the way the horror plays out, and the personal nature of much of it, make this game deeply unpleasant.
You’ll need to navigate through the world while being constantly hunted by beings you can’t harm. Plus, the game takes things a little further by taking inspiration from real cases of criminal insanity and real asylums.
The Quarry is the newest entry on our list, and takes place in a summer camp. Again, not an original setting, but boy oh boy is it scary. It takes inspiration from a variety of different sources, and lets you guide the characters in it down different paths and different horrors as you do so.
This game’s horror is deeply tied to how much it makes you like the characters in it. It’s also an excellent game to play with other people as you all try and decide which paths to take to try and keep people alive.