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The Scariest Horror Games Of 2020

Survival horror continues to be a robust video game genre in 2020. While this year probably didn't see any original horror titles that are going to launch a new franchise, like a Silent Hill or a Resident Evil, it still offered plenty of jump-scares, gore, and disturbing scenes that will stick with you long after you've beaten the game.


While there were plenty of great indie horror titles and new properties from bigger studios, the best games of the year were mostly sequels or follow-ups that either matched or exceeded their predecessors. While they didn't exactly reinvent the wheel, they made the most of the survival horror tropes that have fueled these games for decades. But if you love the genre, sometimes all you want is something familiar.

Most likely, these games will all receive sequels of their own — one of them is the second chapter of eight planned entries — so it will be fun to see how those developers evolve their franchises. But for now, here are three great horror titles from 2020.

Amnesia Rebirth

Amnesia: Rebirth from Frictional Games had some pretty big shoes to fill. It's the third overall game in the Amnesia franchise and the direct sequel to 2010's Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which is better known as the game that terrified PewDiePie and went viral. Rebirth moves away from the jump-scares but offers no less of a memorable experience, according to critics.


Like the last game, the player takes over a character trying to recover lost memories. This time, the protagonist is the unfortunate Anastasie "Tasi" Trianon, a French archaeologist who's crash landed in the Algerian desert in 1937 and needs to track down her missing colleagues. The danger is often more psychological than physical, as Tasi is forced to confront both real monsters as well as her personal demons.

Rebirth uses a classic survival horror formula: Tasi is much less powerful than her enemies, and it's often best to simply hide rather than fight them. The game also uses light and darkness to great effect. If Tasi stays in total darkness for too long, she'll go insane. The only way to stave off insanity is a light source, but lamp fuel and matches are scarce. 


Th Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope

If you like horror games that focus on storytelling and characters more than trying to get you to pee your pants, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope is for you. It's made by Supermassive Games, the same developer behind 2015's interactive horror title Until Dawn, and it's the second of eight planned games planned for the Dark Pictures series.


"Little Hope" refers to the game's setting, a small New England town straight out of H.P. Lovecraft. The story follows four college students and their professor who get stuck in Little Hope when their bus crashes during a field trip. Sure enough, they discover that Little Hope has a Dark Secret: a history of witch hunting and brutal persecution that isn't entirely in the past.

Like its predecessor Man of Medan, Little Hope plays out like a scary choose-your-own adventure story for grown-ups. Rather than fighting, the game relies more on exploration, branching dialogue trees, quicktime button-prompts, and choices that affect the story — as well as which characters will die. And the choices you make really do feel significant. These kinds of games really lend themselves to multiple playthroughs.


Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil is the zombie franchise that just won't die. Capcom gave the long-running series a much-needed shot in the arm with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard back in 2017, which shifted away from the action-oriented gameplay found in more recent titles and back towards the suspenseful vibe that made the originals so memorable — resulting in one of the creepiest games of the decade. The Resident Evil 2 remake in 2019 continued that trend, but this year's critically-acclaimed Resident Evil 3 remake moved back towards the shooty end of the spectrum.


Like the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the remake takes place concurrently with the events of Resident Evil 2 and pits Jill Valentine against the aptly named "Nemesis," an ultra-menacing living bioweapon that takes the form of a huge disfigured zombie. Nemesis appears throughout the game in scripted interactions and boss fights, dogging Jill as she tries to stop a T-Virus outbreak in Raccoon City. Nemesis is the perfect Villain Who Just Won't Die, like Mr. X was in Resident Evil 2.

It makes sense that this game is more combat-heavy, since the original was also action-oriented. It's may not give you nightmares, but it's still fun to shoot zombies.