The best Halloween games of 2023 are those that are unflinchingly sinister. Be they a look into the darker side of a digital world, embodying spooky vibes, or straight-up being terrifying—these are some titles you should check out this October.
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Alan Wake 2
Thirteen years since the first Alan Wake, the series finally gets a sequel. There is some debate among fans and critics alike; however, the majority of players find Alan Wake 2 to be a compelling, story-driven title with mechanics that pay homage to the first game.
In this horror story come to life, the eponymous writer Alan Wake must fight off supernatural forces in the form of monsters hiding in the shadows. With that said, Alan isn’t alone this time, as a new character—an FBI agent named Saga Anderson—joins the writer in this new chapter of the franchise.
Similar to the first part of Alan’s tale, you’ll be running around in shady settings doing your best to stay alive. Use any source of light to your advantage, as it’s the only thing that may save you.
Alan Wake 2 is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, as well as Microsoft Windows.
Lies of P
Two words: Pinocchio soulslike. Although it’s a weird concept, it’s promising if you enjoy this style of action RPG. In a twisted take on the Italian story from the 1800s, you’ll explore a bizarre and unique world full of hostile enemies and intimidating bosses.
Think of Bloodborne but with automatons. However, there’s a unique system you can make use of as the player: lying. Yes, that’s right, there’s a lying mechanic in a Pinocchio-themed game. This original idea is a fresh take on a well-established genre.
More importantly, the lying mechanic seems like it truly impacts the story and decisions you can make in Lies of P. Whether you tread an honest path or lie enough to grow your nose into a tree branch, the choice is yours (spoiler alert: the protagonist’s nose does not grow when they lie).
Lies of P is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows, and macOS.
Have a Nice Death
For fans of the cute-yet-creepy subgenre of roguelikes, Have a Nice Death meets both marks in equal measure. You play as Death, who is trying to restore balance to the afterlife following the careless rampaging of their employees. Fight your way through each level by flying through the air and slashing foes asunder with your scythe.
The charming story, fun characters, and adorable art design make this a solid pick for many players. However, don’t be fooled by appearances, as this game is not easy. It’ll challenge you by pushing your reflexes to their limits as you evade the many attacks of each fast-moving boss. There’s also a ton of weapon variety—in case you get tired of swinging a scythe around.
On top of that, the music and environments always suit each section, which further draws you into the world. Furthermore, if you beat Have a Nice Death, and are still seeking a challenge—there’s New Game+ for you to try out.
Have a Nice Death is available on Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows.
As the fourth installation in the legendary Diablo series, Diablo IV has a lot to which it needs to live up—and it does just that! You must travel through various regions plagued with monsters and progressively upgrade your character and equipment to survive. This harsh world holds nothing back, so don’t get complacent.
You’ll often get surrounded, overpowered, and caught off-guard by your demonic adversaries. However, there’s always a way to refine your tactics and build to triumph over the hordes of hideous creatures. There is also tons of variety when it comes to class customization, which lends this title a tremendous amount of replayability.
The Diablo series has one of the most intricate and sinister settings in the gaming world. Darkness abounds, shrouding all manner of foes you’ll both be daunted to encounter yet simultaneously eager to defeat.
Diablo IV is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows.
Darkest Dungeon II
The cryptic dungeon-delver modern-day classic returns! In the second installation in the series, you—once more—must set out with a party of four heroes to brave the darkest reaches of the land. However, there are some key differences from the first Darkest Dungeon.
Darkest Dungeon II is much more of a roguelike game in that each run is more isolated. This gets rid of the persistence that made the first game so memorable (and stressful) but adds to the replayability. Furthermore, the accuracy stats of attacks have been removed in favor of focusing on a greater number of status effects.
While fans of the first game are divided on these changes, there’s no denying that Darkest Dungeon II features the same level of horrific enemies and taxing encounters. If you don’t mind fighting through a hellscape of abhorrent fiends, then this is a game for you.
Darkest Dungeon II is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
First off, don’t play DREDGE if you have thalassophobia. This game places you in an ocean full of eldritch sea monsters that want nothing more than to expunge your existence. However, in your quest to become the best angler, you have no choice but to venture out into open waters to catch some rare and valuable fish.
Fans of both nautical and horror games should definitely check this one out. There’s a melancholy beauty to cruising along the azure waves while never knowing what beasts may try to capsize your ship. There are quests that take you to the far reaches of the many islands in DREDGE, so you’ve got some direction. With that said, you’re welcome to reel in catches, upgrade your ship, and simply enjoy the environment at your leisure.
It’s uncommon to discover an indie game as well-balanced as DREDGE in terms of tone, gameplay, storytelling, graphics, and sound design. Fans of H.P. Lovecraft’s work will also find a lot of enjoyment here, as this game takes the same approach to revealing the horrors creeping up on you from the darkness.
DREDGE is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, as well as Microsoft Windows.
Barotrauma should be a hard pass for both people with thalassophobia and claustrophobia. Not only are you delving into a pitch-black ocean full of sea monsters, but you’re also doing so in a submarine. Thankfully, you can pull a friend into the depths with you to share the traumatic experiences since this game has online co-op. Lucky them.
In addition to the RPG elements, there are a lot of survival horror traits in Barotrauma. You’ll need to fight off adversaries in the abyss; however, you must also fix leaks in your sub, operate crucial machinery, and craft vital items to make it through this terrifying adventure. Despite the immense stress load on your brain, your neurons will be firing on more cylinders than your submersible vehicle due to the high levels of potential fun.
In every league of your journey, you’ll need to make critical decisions back-to-back—sometimes with no breathing room (literally). The single-player experience is enjoyable, but many gamers agree that playing with friends adds a lot to the ordeals you’ll overcome—or succumb to—together. Make sure you keep that one trickster pal of yours (you know the one) away from the airlock.
Barotrauma is available on macOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.
Amnesia: The Bunker
If you thought Amnesia was terrifying, you clearly haven’t been trapped in a World War I bunker with twisted monstrosities. Although you have weapons, they won’t help you much if you’re ambushed. Sound plays a crucial part in the immersion. You need to strain your ears while creeping through dank and dark corridors to hear enemies approaching. If you don’t pay attention, you’re as good as dead.
With such stressful situations, this game is undeniably one of the best Halloween games of 2023 for those brave enough to endure the plethora of freakish fiends that assault your senses. They don’t just look scary either; the sound design of your foes truly leaves a lasting impression on your psyche. Maybe sleep with the lights on after playing this one.
The scarcity of resources forces you to explore—even if you’d rather hide in the corner. This vital need puts you in dangerous positions as you seek to escape the dungeon-like bunker. Many players agree that this is one of the horror highlights of the year.
Amnesia: The Bunker is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Microsoft Windows.
Dead Space (2023)
Isaac Clarke returns in this remake of Dead Space (2008). Many fans of the original claim that this remake is a massive step up in terms of gameplay, graphics, and audio. In addition to staying true to the classic sci-fi horror experience, there were many fixes that improved the player’s quality of life as well as some new ones that reinvigorated this death-focused title.
For example, the mouse acceleration issue that plagued PC versions of the original has been addressed and reworked for smoother aiming and movement. On top of that, the Ishimura space station is now much more openly built. You can explore with more freedom than ever before.
However, these are only two of the many novel features of this wonderful yet chilling experience. Most longtime fans of the franchise state that this is how a remake should be done. The rampant necromorphs trying to eat your brain definitely contribute to this being one of the best Halloween games of 2023.
Dead Space (2023) is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, as well as Microsoft Windows.
Resident Evil 4 (2023)
Another remake of a fan favorite, Resident Evil 4 (2023) revives the original with fantastic graphics and a whole host of novel features. While Resident Evil 4 (2005) is still fondly remembered, it definitely suffered from the clunkiness that was rampant in video games made in this era.
The RE4 remake refines many aspects to make the combat more fluid than ever. Firstly, you can now move around while shooting and reloading. You can also change weapons swiftly—which feels fantastic. Then, you have the pseudo-stealth mechanics that let you play smarter than you could before. The opportunity to tactically approach a situation really immerses you into the world. All this and more make it incredibly fun to get an S+ rank on even the highest difficulties.
With that said, we haven’t even covered the beautiful new graphics. You’ll observe character reactions through detailed facial animations. What’s more, you can practically see the muscles moving within the more vascular enemies—and other disgusting yet fascinating details. Fans of the Resident Evil franchise owe it to themselves to check this one out. If you’re not a fan of the franchise, this would be an amazing entry point for you.
Resident Evil 4 (2023) is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, as well as Microsoft Windows.
Everyone has different fears. As such, every player will find certain features more frightening than others. With that said, there are universal traits that tie us together as humans. Subconsciously, we know monsters like to lurk in the dark. When we see a bloodred moon, it usually means something dangerous is about to happen. And, if you hear something breathing loudly behind you, it usually means your end is near. Don’t turn around—just run!