If there’s one genre for which VR is absolutely perfect, it’s horror. There are few gaming genres that can inspire such visceral emotion as horror, so removing one of the barriers to immersion – that is to say, the player’s distance from the action – makes things even more tense and thrilling. As you can probably imagine, developers have already begun to take advantage of this opportunity, and as such, there are tons of VR horror games out there. They’re not all created equal, though, so let’s take a look at the 10 best VR horror games you can play right now.
1. Resident Evil 4
In its normal incarnation, Resident Evil 4 is a pretty terrifying horror game, but in VR, it becomes a completely different experience. Leon’s journey through a village of plague-ridden peasants, sinister monks, and frankly horrifying monsters takes on a new aspect when viewed from first-person, and the ability to move while shooting adds a new tactical edge to the gameplay as well. Even if you’ve already played and loved Resident Evil 4, you’ll almost certainly find something new to enjoy in its VR incarnation.
2. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
The Resident Evil series has fully embraced VR, and when playing Resident Evil 7 this way, it’s easy to see why. Although Resident Evil 7 is sadly only compatible with the PlayStation VR headset (the original incarnation, not the new PS VR2), if you do happen to own a unit, you owe it to yourself to give this already-unsettling horror game a try in VR. Doing so will show you just what Ethan Winters is going through as he makes his way through the Baker family’s farmstead.
3. Resident Evil Village
Okay, this is the last Resident Evil entry on the list, we promise. Resident Evil Village is a somewhat inconsistent experience; its final moments are a little too absurd, and some of its challenges aren’t quite up to the series’ usual standards. However, the game is worth experiencing in VR for one specific section alone, which we don’t want to spoil. The rest of Village is also great fun in VR thanks to responsive combat, a surprising amount of variation in level design, and lots of enemies to face down.
It’s often been said that multiplayer makes a horror game less scary, but the people who say that have obviously not played Phasmophobia. Experiencing this ghost-hunting title in VR will give you a new appreciation for the folks who do this sort of thing professionally, although in the world of Phasmophobia, the ghosts are very real indeed. Explore abandoned and dilapidated locations, find the spirits that haunt them, and try not to throw off the headset in terror when one appears in front of you.
5. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted
Rather than simply recreating the classic Five Nights at Freddy’s gameplay style, Help Wanted presents a series of original minigames set in the sprawling expanded universe of the iconic horror franchise. That doesn’t make it any less terrifying than its stablemates, of course; imagine how scary FNAF is outside of VR, and now imagine that you’re going through everything your character is going through up close and personal. That’s the feeling Help Wanted gives you.
6. Half-Life: Alyx
The Half-Life series has always flirted with horror, and Alyx contains at least one overt horror chapter, so we’re including it on this list even though it’s technically more of an action-packed first-person shooter. If you have a PC VR headset, then Alyx is an absolutely essential purchase. It continues one of the most venerated first-person shooter franchises of all time, and far from being a simple spinoff, actually contains some story beats that imply there’s life in the series (no pun intended) yet.
7. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
The horror in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners comes more from the human condition than it does from the series’ titular shambling walkers. That’s not to say you won’t encounter a ton of zombies as you play; you will, of course, and you’ll need to scavenge supplies and learn to use your weapons to take them down. However, you’ll also meet other survivors, who may treat you with kindness or may turn against you and force you to make difficult decisions in order to keep surviving.
8. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Supermassive Games is the kind of studio that knows how to create great horror experiences. If you’ve played Until Dawn or The Quarry, you’ll know that firsthand. We’re including Rush of Blood here rather than the somewhat disappointing The Inpatient, because Rush of Blood is a great VR horror experience that puts you on a rollercoaster ride you won’t forget in a hurry. It’s essentially a rail shooter, but with Supermassive’s characteristic terror shot through its pulsating veins.
9. The Brookhaven Experiment
In the world of The Brookhaven Experiment, something has gone horribly wrong, and the world as we know it has ended. You must fend off the terrors that stalk the lands now that everything is over, while trying to get to the bottom of what caused this apocalypse and determine whether or not you can reverse it or avert further harm. If you want a more action-oriented VR horror experience, this is definitely one you should check out, although you should still prepare to be terrified.
10. Wilson’s Heart
Rather than being a high-octane action experience like some of the other games on this list, Wilson’s Heart is a psychological noir thriller with a more narrative focus. If you prefer your horror games with a richer story element, you should check this one out. It revolves around Robert Wilson, a man who awakes to find that someone has replaced his heart with some kind of mechanical device. What follows is an adventure strongly influenced by 1940s detective fiction and B-movie horror.