What are the most important elements of any horror gaming experience? Well-executed scares are a must, as are terrifying monsters and haunting sound design. While these elements are essential, of course, the glue that holds any horror experience together is the setting in which these scares occur.
A good horror setting should make the player expect danger at every turn, but be curious enough to keep exploring. Whether it’s haunted mansions, derelict spaceships or cursed cities, horror games offer a wide range of iconic and terrifying locations to explore. After all, if a game can’t scare players with its setting, how can it hope to scare them with its monsters?
ten The Crater (Subnautica)
Subnautical isn’t technically a horror game per se, but anyone who claims to have gone through the game unscared multiple times is telling an outright lie. Despite its bright color palette and stylized art direction, Subnautical regularly manages to evoke scenarios of pure panic, especially among thalassophobes.
This is largely due to the crater, the setting of the game. The waters of the crater are deep, very deep, and they are populated by vicious sea beasts that are bigger, faster, and hungrier than the player. Staring into a dark abyss knowing that danger can come from any direction seems to evoke the cerebral terror of lizards in a way few games are capable of.
9 The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (The STALKER Games)
The dark Soviet vibes of the area are a big part of why the HARLER franchise works as well as it does. A player is intensely immersed as they traverse the rainy, irradiated wasteland that forms the setting of the game, scavenging for supplies and other resources as they go.
It doesn’t help that in tall grass or underwater there are grotesque mutants that want to eat the player. The dark atmosphere and struggles of survival contrast perfectly with the moments of respite provided by campfires, making The Zone feel like a richly detailed and atmospheric setting to explore and spook.
8 The small town (pathological)
Pathological, a cult classic survival horror title from 2005, sees a player struggling to survive as they attempt to uncover the mysteries of a dying city. An otherworldly plague seems to be suffocating the life of the city itself, and it’s the player’s goal to figure out how to stop it – if they can stay alive, of course.
PathologicalThe city of is memorable not only for being scary, but also for being poignantly sad – this city is fading and the locals know it. The setting, aided by a deliberately obtuse game design, helps to confuse the player, aiming for a sense of confusion, hopelessness, and hopelessness.
7 The forest (Darkwood)
dark wood is an excellent, if somewhat obscure horror title that fans would do well not to overlook. While some diehard fans of the genre might scoff at the idea that a top-down game is scary, those who take a chance dark wood you’ll find that its setting makes it one of the scariest games in recent memory.
Woods are alive in this game and they change people. Even during the day, they obscure much of the player’s view, hiding threats between their branches. At night, they cover the game world in total darkness, and the player must hope that they have shelter and supplies to make it through the night.
6 The Baker House (Resident Evil 7)
The Baker House is where the player spends most of their time Resident Evil 7. A spooky Louisiana estate inspired in equal measure by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and evil Dead (two movies you should watch if you like resident Evilby the way), this creaky ramshackle house is one of the creepiest locations in the venerable horror franchise.
In effect, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the comparisons are fair, and not just because of the many chainsaws featured in the game. Resident Evil 7 scares players with TCMis the familiar rural grime. This house is falling apart and being forgotten, but it also hides a terrifying malevolence.
5 USG Ishimura (dead space)
The USG Ishimura is a Planet Cracker class starship featured in the original dead space. This rusty industrial carcass perfectly channels sci-fi horror classics like Extraterrestrial and creates an unforgettable atmosphere for the dead space players.
Damp metal corridors and gasping air vents suggest a worn-out old machine. It looks like a plausible vision of where people in the future might live and work, which makes it all the more terrifying when this richly detailed ship becomes the home of the game’s bizarre necromorphs. , so putting a new coat of paint on this classic decor is a great opportunity to improve on the original. dead space live.
4 Spencer Mansion (Resident Evil)
The Spencer Mansion is the spooky mansion that more than any other is responsible for where horror games are today. Featured in The Game That Started It All – 1996 resident Evil — The Manor terrified players of the era with its long, dark corridors filled with danger. The original Resident Evil is full of little details that encourage replays and make the house feel alive.
While the mansion’s foundations were firmly established in the original, it’s the 2002 remake of the same name that really lets it shine in all its spooky glory. The still camera is deployed perfectly, creating a classic horror movie vibe, and the creaks and groans of the mansion give it that quintessential haunted house feel.
3 Sevastopol Station (Alien: Isolation)
The 1979 classic Extraterrestrial is one of the best sci-fi horror films of the 1970s, and its influence is felt throughout the subgenre, not only because of its titular alien beast, but also its fantastic sense of setting and from production design. The Nostromo, the ship featured in the original film, felt uncannily real, lending an intense sense of believability to the plot.
Although the Extraterrestrial franchise has inspired many video games, this is 2014 Alien: Isolation who really understands what made the movie set work as well as it did. Le Sébastopol, the station where Isolationunfold, is a near-perfect reinterpretation of the film’s clunky industrial aesthetic and the horror that accompanies it.
2 Yharnam (blood-borne)
FromSoftware’s hit action RPG, transmitted by blood, has strong horror DNA. Although the souls the franchise has always flirted with horror, transmitted by blood takes a bigger step in this direction than its predecessors. The setting of the game, the city of Yharnam, absolutely exudes an ominous gothic atmosphere.
Spires and archways stretch into the moonlit sky, resembling the teeth of a huge beast. The dark aesthetic combined with the impressive architectural design help make this sprawling city one of FromSoft’s most appealing settings, as well as one of the studio’s spookiest.
1 Silent hill (silent hill)
The titular city appearing in the silent Hill franchise needs little introduction. This iconic, cursed city is a big part of why the silent Hill the games remained so enduringly scary. The city defies reality itself, its true nature forever obscured by a thick layer of otherworldly fog.
Perhaps the scariest thing about Silent Hill is that the town can appear any way it wants. The city will be different for different people, which is reflected in its many appearances in the series. This kind of surreal psychological horror helped make silent Hill in one of the most influential horror games of all time, and that influence is very well deserved.
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