Virtual reality (VR) possesses a unique ability to completely immerse us in gaming worlds like no other system. By shutting off our peripheral vision, the VR headset allows us to see and experience only what it presents. This intense immersion creates an extraordinarily realistic experience and evokes genuine emotions as if we were truly present in that reality.
For those willing to face the frights in horror games, virtual reality can be a beguiling medium to check out. With its potential to take players on an intimate and spine-chilling journey into nightmarish realms, VR can intensify the fear factor and create an unprecedented level of immersion.
This new era of horror gaming immerses players directly into the heart of the terrifying action, throwing you into a golden age of horror games where the fear is palpable, and the excitement reaches new heights.
The following list presents some of the most spine-chilling VR games that promise unforgettable and haunting experiences. Indeed, some of these games were already fear-inducing on conventional platforms. But once you don the VR headset, they will take on a whole new dimension of dread.
Fans of the Alien franchise won’t be able to resist Alien: Isolation, as the game stands as the finest video game adaptation of the franchise. The game puts players in the shoes of Amanda, Lieutenant Ripley’s daughter. Her mission is to journey to the Sevastopol space station and retrieve the flight recorder from the Nostromo, her mother’s ill-fated spaceship.
Upon reaching Sevastopol, Amanda discovers the station in a catastrophic state. It was plagued by a relentless alien creature, which is mercilessly hunting down its inhabitants. As the narrative unfolds, players must employ cunning strategies to outsmart this intelligent alien, as killing it is not an option.
Initially released on 2D platforms in 2014, Alien: Isolation now offers a thrilling virtual reality experience through a user-friendly mod. To enjoy this VR immersion, a simple installation process entails dragging and dropping a file into the game’s installation folder.
With the addition of the VR mod, Alien: Isolation transforms into one of the most captivating, atmospheric, and visually stunning VR games. Without a hint of doubt, it will send shivers down your spine while wearing your VR headset.
For those who would rather not face the supernatural alone, Phasmophobia allows you to immerse in a spine-chilling experience with your friends. Yet, it remains uncertain if this is the best way to conquer your fears – Phasmophobia stands as one of the most terrifying virtual reality experiences available.
In this game, a team of up to four players becomes a group of ghost hunters, equipped with special gear like EMF meters and night vision cameras. Their task is to record paranormal phenomena while exploring haunted houses. Each playthrough becomes a unique experience due to different locations, tasks, and various types of ghosts they encounter.
An intriguing feature is the voice recognition, enabling players to summon ghosts by uttering their names aloud.
Similarly to Alien: Isolation, Phasmophobia was initially designed for 2D platforms and later received a VR mode. If the intensity becomes too much to handle, players can switch back to 2D mode. Yet, for maximum immersion and fear, the VR headset is a must. The game’s “insane atmosphere” becomes especially pronounced in virtual reality.
If you prefer to brave the horror solo, Phasmophobia also allows for a single-player mode, freeing you from the reliance on other players.
The Exorcist: Legion VR
The Exorcist: Legion VR brings to life the renowned novel by William Peter Blatty, the mastermind behind the screenplay of the classic movie. In this chilling virtual reality experience, players assume the role of a Boston police officer determined to uncover the truth behind a series of supernatural cases. As they delve deeper into the mysteries, they find themselves confronting ancient demons and unwillingly following the path of an exorcist.
The game unfolds through five distinct episodes, each with its own unique setting and narrative, while simultaneously contributing to an overarching story. These haunting episodes transport players to various eerie locations, including a blood-soaked church, a menacing mental hospital, a creepy attic, a contaminated quarantine area, and an unsettling excavation site. To defend against demons and horrifying hallucinations, players must utilize traditional exorcist tools like crucifixes and holy water.
Despite each episode lasting only half an hour, the atmosphere is incredibly eerie and unsettling. The Exorcist VR provides a “borderline experience,” showcasing the immense power of virtual reality to elicit fear and suspense.
Regarded as one of the finest entries in the horror series, Resident Evil 4 has made its presence felt on nearly every gaming platform. For the very first time, the horror-filled journey of Leon S. Kennedy unfolds from a first-person perspective, providing a more immediate and immersive gameplay experience.
For the uninitiated, Resident Evil 4 embarks players on a mission to a remote Spanish village to rescue the daughter of the US President, abducted by a cult with nefarious plans to control humanity through a mysterious parasite.
The VR port of the game is outstanding, introducing hand interactions with pistols, guns, and knives, elevating the gameplay to a whole new level. Furthermore, the menus and inventory systems have been thoughtfully adapted to cater to the immersive VR environment.
Even six years after its release, Resident Evil 7 remains unmatched as the pinnacle of VR horror gaming. Capcom’s masterpiece doesn’t merely provide the scariest virtual reality horror experience. It also stands as one of the longest, finest, and most mature VR games ever created.
With its seventh installment, the series veers away from the action-oriented direction of its predecessors and returns to the core qualities that made the franchise legendary. The plot centers around a singular location that masterfully instills fear in the player. For the first time, experiencing Resident Evil through the eyes of its protagonist amplifies the intensity of the gameplay.
As the protagonist Ethan Winters, players embark on a desperate search for their missing wife in a dilapidated farm nestled within the southern state of Louisiana. This farm and its surrounding plantation belong to the enigmatic Baker family, who vanished years ago under mysterious circumstances.
The eighth installment of the series, Resident Evil Village, sets new standards for VR adventures. It boasts an expansive scope, deep gameplay mechanics, and a wealth of intricate details. The harrowing quest to find a missing daughter takes you into a nightmarish world in Romania, blending action, puzzles, stealth, and exploration into a compelling mix.
The game’s stunning visuals contribute to an immersive experience, perfectly adapted to leverage the capabilities of the VR headset. The vibrations of the headset enhance the intensity of gunfights and fierce boss battles, adding an extra layer of realism and excitement to the already gripping gameplay.
The Walking Dead
Set in the remnants of post-apocalyptic New Orleans, three years after the zombie outbreak, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners draws its content from a blend of comic books, TV series, and Telltale’s video game adaptations. This VR game offers a unique gameplay experience, intertwining survival combat and crafting elements with a compelling narrative and impactful decisions that shape the course of the plot.
Regarded as one of the finest and most comprehensive VR games available, Saints & Sinners continuously receives support and expansions. Not merely another zombie game, it centers on the human experience in a zombie apocalypse. Its atmospheric world unfolds gripping tales, while the crafting system proves highly motivating. The environment and characters exude a sense of life that immerses players deeper into the experience.
Do not mistake Saints & Sinners with the less favorable VR game, The Walking Dead: Onslaught. Saints & Sinners is an exceptional journey that should not be missed by any VR gaming enthusiast.
For fans of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, the second installment dubbed The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Chapter 2: Retribution is a must-play. In the first installment, players were transported as tourists to a walker-infested New Orleans. Weapons, supplies, factions of warring survivors and a legendary treasure awaited them.
Chapter 2: Retribution feels more like an extension of its predecessor rather than a completely new game. Nonetheless, it introduces new weapons, two fresh zones to explore, and an exciting continuation of the established storyline. It infuses the streets of New Orleans with a breath of fresh air amid the ongoing zombie apocalypse.
The story is a seamless continuation of the previous events. You’ll meet familiar factions and characters and learn how the city has changed since the events of the first game. Thanks to the transferable save game, you can access collected weapons and crafting recipes from the beginning if you wish.
Propagation: Paradise Hotel
Built upon the foundation of the popular and free PC VR demo, Propagation, the game inherits its combat mechanics and a weighty, oppressive ambiance. However, Propagation: Paradise Hotel takes the experience to a whole new level, delving into a captivating story that surpasses the original. This addition makes it a compelling and essential inclusion in any VR horror library.
Enter the nightmarish world of Propagation: Paradise Hotel, an immersive and atmospheric VR horror game. Here you will find yourself trapped within the confines of a terrifying hotel, home to unspeakable creatures. To compound the horror, you are separated from your sister, Ashley.
Get ready for one of the most fear-inducing experiences ever encountered in gaming. Propagation: Paradise Hotel avoids cheap scares and instead immerses you in a classic horror film atmosphere. Survival and the salvation of your sister hinge on your wit and ability to solve cunning puzzles while facing off against menacing zombies.
Cosmodread is a “child” of VR veteran Sergio Hidalgo, known for crafting one of the earliest VR horror games, Dreadhalls. The game takes players on an eerie journey. Stranded on an abandoned spaceship devoid of its crew, you must unravel the mystery of their disappearance and find a way back to Earth.
As you explore the colossal vessel, messages left behind by the crew reveal snippets of what transpired before their vanishing act. Sinister undertones surface quickly, with certain rooms overtaken by an alien tissue that appears to be spreading relentlessly through the ship. But this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Cosmodread offers a roguelite experience, introducing an element of unpredictability to each playthrough. After every death, the inventory, room layouts, and distribution of items and foes are reshuffled, generating a fresh and unique storyline each time.
Dreadhalls was meticulously crafted to provide a truly immersive VR experience. The core premise is deceptively simple: trapped in a vast labyrinthine castle, your objective is to find the exit and escape. However, it’s the game’s exceptional ability to create an eerie atmosphere that sets it apart.
With every corner you turn, your heart races, even when there appears to be nothing there. Dreadhalls skillfully delves into your mind, conjuring terrifying imagery that becomes far more spine-chilling than in-your-face gore.
The uniqueness of the game lies in its procedurally generated map layout. No matter how many times you play, you’ll never grow accustomed to the castle’s arrangement, as it morphs into a completely different maze with each new attempt after death.
Prepare yourself for a nerve-wracking and psychological journey in Dreadhalls. Here fear is not just in what you see, but what your imagination conjures in the face of uncertainty and terror.
Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul
Drawing inspiration from the renowned Paranormal Activity film series, The Lost Soul weaves a distinctive narrative set within an ordinary home. What sets this series apart is its effectiveness in placing paranormal encounters within a domestic setting that closely resembles your own, forever altering your perception of your surroundings.
The game ingeniously replicates this eerie experience, as you navigate a dimly lit house armed with only a flashlight as your guide. However, you must be cautious, as the flashlight’s battery power depletes, leaving you in the shadows.
As you realize that you are not alone in the house – an unsurprising revelation given the context – the otherworldly terrors steadily escalate to hair-raising levels. Swift action is essential as you endeavor to unravel the mystery behind the house’s haunting before something sinister befalls you.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted
If you have even a passing interest in horror games, chances are you’re familiar with the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise. The original game was released for PC in 2014 and quickly gained a devoted following on YouTube, thanks to its spine-chilling jump scares. Over the years, several sequels and spin-offs have been added to the series.
With Help Wanted, the franchise enters a new dimension by being purpose-built for virtual reality. Staying true to the PC originals, Help Wanted seamlessly translates the game mechanics to the VR headset, resulting in the best and most terrifying Five Nights at Freddy’s experience to date.
In Help Wanted, you assume the role of a night watchman tasked with monitoring a pizza restaurant’s main attraction: larger-than-life plush animatronics. However, as night falls, these robots come to life, wander the restaurant, and pose a threat to anyone in their path. Sitting in the control room, you track the animatronics’ movements via security cameras. Your sole goal is to survive the night unscathed.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted is wholly dedicated to delivering jump scares. Yet, though it’s an exhilarating VR horror experience, it may not be suitable for everyone.