The 13th Floor

Horror Wins Big! The Ten Scariest Video Games of E3 2016

2016’s Electronic Entertainment Expo ended last week, and while every possible kind of video game was represented, horror was the big winner. Below is a list of ten horror games that really impressed us. 

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OUTLAST 2

Horror fans that played Red Barrels’ surprise hit OUTLAST were nearly universal in their praise for the claustrophobic, stripped down FPRH (First-Person-Run-and-Hider). Judging from my time playing the demo on display at E3, the sequel expands the scope of the original, and takes the action outside of the insane asylum, to a spooky cornfield, a school classroom, and other haunted locations. You’ll still have a night vision video camera, but this time, you’re wearing glasses too, which gives you another vulnerably: Lose your glasses and the world becomes fuzzier and even harder to survive.

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RESIDENT EVIL VII

To draw attention to the latest in their long-running series, Resident Evil developers Capcom plopped a sinister looking, slasher-movie house right in the middle of E3’s convention hall. The new game is a return to the horror focus of the original Resident Evil games, and it features more personal scares instead of armies of zombies. The addition of a VR element should add new levels of immersive dread.

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NARCOSIS

Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of NARCOSIS. It’s not a high-profile game from a AAA publisher, but this virtual reality survival experience was the most unexpectedly cool thing I played at the show. In NARCOSIS, you are a deep-sea diver, stranded at the bottom of the ocean. The otherworldliness of the setting is a perfect match for the strangely unsettling experience of virtual reality, and although there are no supernatural elements, this game doesn’t need them–the reality of being trapped under the ocean while your air runs out is scarier than a thousand zombies. If you have an Oculus Rift, you’ll want this one when it comes out this summer.

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WE HAPPY FEW

This creepy, retro-future title snuck up on a lot of gamers, but the gameplay video released at E3 looks stunning.   With nods to BIOSHOCK and FALLOUT, WE HAPPY FEW is set in a dystopian London in 1964. The people there seem to live underground, and take pills called “Joy” if they start to become aware of their dismal surrounding. You play a “downer,” someone who won’t medicate himself, and chooses to face the horror of your messed-up world. We can’t have that. Check out the WE HAPPY FEW E3 2016 gameplay video and tell me it isn’t amazing.

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DEAD RISING 4

Photographer Jack West from the original DEAD RISING returns, with his love of murdering zombies unabated. We’re back in the Willamette Mall, too, and holiday shopping season is kicking off with a very black Friday. DEAD RISING 4 comical take on zombie-fighting is uniquely over-the-top. It features all the weird weapons you could ask for, and this time, you can wear a mech suit and can even kludge together your own armory with duct tape and a prayer. There’s even 4-player co-op. Check out our Five Reasons to Get Excited About DEAD RISING 4.

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FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE GAME

While the video game version of the famous slasher series wasn’t playable at E3, developers Gun Media did drop a new video and a ton of gameplay details on this asymmetrical multiplayer game. Check out my in-depth look at how the game will be played.

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VAMPYR

Quirky developer DontNod created this horror game. They are the people behind evocative, realistic LIFE IS STRANGE, and while VAMPYR is a more traditional action-RPG, it takes some of the complexity and character-development from LIFE IS STRANGE and puts it in a horror context. You are a physician in London in 1918. You are also a vampire. With the city ravaged by influenza, you must keep the citizens healthy in order to feed on their blood. The gameplay goes deeply into the moral quandary of vampirism, allowing you to get to know your victims before you murder them. Your choice in dinner will affect other lives, so be careful who you feed upon. This is one to watch, for sure. Check out the video to see what I mean.

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DAYS GONE

Whether you like zombies a lot or a lot of zombies, DAYS GONE is a game for you. While there’s nothing all that original about a game where a badass mows down the undead, DAYS GONE separates itself from the pack based on sheer numbers. DAYS GONE has a lot of zombies. Like a metric crap-ton of zombies. DAYS GONE uses all of the PlayStation 4’s impressive processing power to create massive hordes of literally thousands of fast-moving zombies. It’s like a playable version of WORLD WAR Z.

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PREY

There’s something uniquely unsettling about space travel, and this sci-fi, horror/action title aims to take advantage of that fear. Set in a secret space station in 2032, you are the subject of an experiment meant to alter humanity forever. All is well until aliens show up. Not much is known about this “reimagining” of the PREY universe, but there is some sort of time-travel element as well. I’m intrigued.

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HERE THEY LIE

I’m convinced that horror is the “killer app” of virtual reality, and this game/tech-demo for Sony’s VR system is evidence. With its deliberately slow pace, attention to sound design, and its vibe straight out of THE SHINING, HERE THEY LIE is reason enough to plunk down $400 on a VR system. I can’t wait to see what it becomes.  Check out the HERE THEY LIE video.

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