A game doesn’t have to fall within the horror genre to give players a little fright. If some video game developers have taught us anything, it’s that a bit of horror can go a long way, especially if you’re not expecting it. Throughout every console generation, there have been titles that are more focused on action or adventure that effectively integrate terrifying moments.
The following 6 games may not have been designed for the frights, but there is little denying that they handled horror segments in a way that would make any horror fan giddy.
Batman: Arkham Knight
The Batman franchise has always had its moments of horror. The Long Halloween was one of its greatest links to horror and the Halloween season, but Batman: Arkham Knight wasn’t without its own terrifying touches. As the Caped Crusader is exploring Gotham on the hunt for the Arkham Knight, he has a few memorable encounters sure to give gamers a fright.
One of Batman’s more deformed villains, Manbat, pops in at inopportune moments. The grotesque bat-face appears soaring over Gotham and pulling off unexpected jumpscares. Manbat’s entire sidequest feels like it’s ripped out of a horror movie – and it’s a delightful treat for fans of the genre.
It’s also impossible to forget the first-person segment as the Joker as he squares off against an army of Batman statues. The creepy atmosphere and the anticipation of what awaits within one of those gloomy statues builds an surprising amount of tension for such an action-packed game.
Ark: Survival Evolved
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to have a giant set of teeth barreling down on you? Ark: Survival Evolved lets you experience such terror, except you’re half-naked, unarmed, and just woke up on a mysterious island with a strange stone embedded in your arm. It’s a nightmare scenario, one you’ll revisit time and time again as the prehistoric beasts of Ark hunger for your flesh.
Ark may be far from a horror title, but every moment is pure terrifying tension as you struggle to build shelter, hunt for food, and not die. While the dinosaur’s in Ark aren’t the only things looking to ruin your time on the island, they’re by far the scariest part. Especially the much larger varieties that inhabit both sea and land.
The early game is by far the most horrifying part of Ark as the fear starts to subside when you advance your weapons, tame bigger beasts, and control an army of teeth and claws.
Gears of War 4
The Gears of War series has always featured its welcomed moments of horror. Gears of War 4 really doubled-down on the series’ ability to be a little scary with the mid-game scene that ultimately set JD and crew on a quest to rescue Reyna and Oscar. As Reyna’s village is raided by blurs of unknown creatures, a lumbering brute comes into play and gives us a glimpse at the horrors that lie ahead on our journey.
There’s something scarier about not being part of the nighttime action that makes this scene work so well. It’s quick, and we don’t get to see much, but what we’re treated to is enough not to make us excited about what perils lie ahead.
Complementing this scene is our introduction to what awaits in those squishy pods. It’s a horror movie plot through-and-through as products of human harvesting pop out and rush at you from all over.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Hideo Kojima is no stranger to working elements of horror into the Metal Gear Solid series. That introduction to Grey Fox in the original was horror gold, and even the sloppier fifth entry in the series has its own touches sure to build tension and frighten players. The Skulls may not have been as impactful as Fox Hound, but their zombie-like appearance and supernatural speed and strength make them quite the adversary.
That they always appear in a blinding mist and come at you in groups only amplifies the terror. The Skulls appear on multiple occasions, and at no point are they not intimidating with their spooky eyes, smoky aura, and resistance to everything you can throw at them.
The Phantom Pain also throws an “outbreak” storyline in our paths that, while not scary, feels more like a suspense horror movie. Especially when we’re forced to do the unthinkable.
Detroit: Become Human
During Detroit Become Human’s 11th chapter, players find themselves crawling through mud and rain after literally coming back to life. It’s difficult to describe without going into spoiler territory, so we’ll just say it’s not the best scenario you’ll find yourself in throughout Quantic Dream’s narrative-driven adventure.
What follows is an eerie segment that takes you through an android graveyard. Just because the corpses strewn about are robots doesn’t make the chapter any less creepy. It’s a brief section of a much longer game, but it plays out like a slow-paced zombie title as mechanical bodies come to life with infrequent but effective jump scares.
That you’re also tasked with either showing them mercy or leaving them to suffer doesn’t help brighten the mood.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar is known for its quirky Easter eggs. In Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, it was an encounter with Bigfoot. In Grand Theft Auto V, there are quite a few, including a return of Bigfoot and a shark that protects the edge of the map. Red Dead Redemption 2 features a supernaturally charged Easter egg that has players hunting a specter in the Bayou.
Perform a series of events in just the right order at precisely the right time, and you’ll come face-to-face with the spirit of Agnes Dowd. Between the hours of 9 PM and 3 AM in Bluewater Marsh, players can find Dowd a total of 16 times, and each time they’ll be treated to new dialogue that unravels the truth behind her death.
The disembodied voice of poor Agnes Dowd emanating from the mist hovering throughout Bluewater Marsh really amplifies the creep factor of the whole scenario.