It Must Suck To Be Dracula’s Castlekeeper
Are you ready for this spooky Halloween sequel? Welcome back to our best horror video games list of the past three decades. Last week, we focused on horror games of the 90s, but this time we’ll cover the top horror games from the apocalyptic era that was Y2K. Now, each title on this list is thoroughly researched and ranked according to Metacritic score but is also adjusted for its historical impact in the gaming industry. Like all these lists, I try to be as unbiased and fair as possible, though I will admit while a game ranks ‘higher’ for things like gameplay quality or story, it is by no means the primary measure for scariest games by a longshot. That said, here are all titles for the best horror video games from the 2000s.
10. Left 4 Dead + Left 4 Dead 2
Ranked as one game back-to-back because each was only set a year apart, the Left 4 Dead series challenged conventions of the traditional zombie co-op. Set after a zombie pandemic, Left 4 Dead has you play as one of four survivors attempting to reach safe houses to escape several oncoming hordes of zombies. Though its objectives were simple, the levels and creative monster designs, like the screaming witch or exploding boomers, were genuinely both creepy and challenging. Left 4 Dead was unique to the industry, in that its AI would do things like measure how far away you were from teammates, place desperately needed ammo besides hidden monster zombies, and even swarm you at your most vulnerable moments, accordingly. It was the first time a well-known horror AI was playing you as you were playing it.
9. Silent Hill 2
With a story inspired by Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and art based on the works of David Cronenberg and Lynch, Silent Hill 2 went full-on psychological trauma this time around. The experience is a third-person game focused on guilt manifested as humanoid terrors even more terrifying than before. This highly acclaimed sequel introduced many horrors to audiences, including both Pyramid Head and the sexy Bubble Head Nurses, and added more utility to its low lighting features and survival situations. With an emphasis on map usage and uncovering more of the town’s hidden secrets, revealed to be a small-town America built by the psychological trauma of its inhabitants.
8. Demon’s Souls
Less a horror and more a difficult combat RPG game set in a gothic setting, Demon’s Souls is special in that dying is integrated into the relevancy of its gameplay. Yet, between the game’s constant state of leaving players feeling vulnerable, the necessity for accurately timed combat, and the ominous feeling of dread in a foggy-filled demon world, Demon’s Souls really captures that feeling of being a lone knight against the world. Taking place in the kingdom Boletaria, what brings Demon’s Souls together is its magical use and abuse of the aptly called Soul Arts. Magic which angered the fury of the Old One, who covers the kingdom in a demon-spawning fog. But it’s all good in a world where death is only semi-permanent.