The best horror games on PS4: an essential buyer's guide

 
 

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Post-apocalyptic wastelands

Days Gone

The sprawling, ruined landscape of a post-pandemic Pacific Northwest beckons for motorcyclist Deacon St John. Your two wheels are mobile sanctuary from the numerous dangers that you face across the lawless frontier, but you’re not defenceless: upgrade your arsenal to take on mutated humanoid Freakers, flesh-hungry wildlife and opportunistic bandits. 

 
 

Metro Exodus

Fearsome monsters and trigger-happy killers await in this epic continent-spanning train trip across post-apocalyptic Russia. Thanks to fully-customisable weapons, how you face this brutal, oppressive open world is up to you: avoid or engage, kill or go non-lethal, play sniper or get up close and personal.  

Dying Light

Take a fleet-footed approach to a citywide zombie outbreak. Climb buildings, leap across roofs and dropkick the undead as you parkour across districts while aiding survivors. You can hit the streets alone or with three friends, but be warned: the infected populace turn nastier (and faster) as night falls.

 
 

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The Forest

As a lone survivor of a plane crash, you must scavenge and fight to survive in a sprawling, wooded wilderness that is rife with deadly threats. 

 
 

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Psychological horror

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Headphones are strongly recommended when playing this unsettling yet thought-provoking journey into the underworld. In a tale partly inspired by Norse mythology, Senua must combat demons both real and imaginary, battling forces of evil with her sword while conflicting voices roil and whisper inside her head. 

Erica

Help Erica solve a murder mystery as she's hunted by a masked killer who is tied to her father's past. Shot entirely in live-action, control the action by interacting with the Dualshock 4 controller's touchpad or smartphone app. This thriller willl cause you to question every choice you make and analyse everything you see to try to uncover the truth. 

Until Dawn

A group of friends attempt to survive a night in a mountainside cabin as they’re assailed by malevolent forces. You choose how events unfold, with every dialogue choice made and QTE played shaping the story’s outcome. Smartly playing on genre conventions, Until Dawn is a game packed with suspense and twists.  

 
 

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Surviving overwhelming odds

Bloodborne

Every inch of the labyrinthine city of Yharnam hides a uniquely-designed monster intent on killing you. You’ll need to overcome your fears and attune yourself to a finely-balanced combat system if you’re to survive the night. Ultimately it makes FromSoftware’s spiritual successor to Dark Souls a must-play for action horror fans. 

 
 

Resident Evil 7 biohazard

Explore an isolated household in remote America. This first-person reinvention of Capcom’s horror franchise favours slow-build chills and jump scares, making for an unsettling but essential PS VR-compatible experience. Whether you don the headset or not, it's a superlative slice of unforgiving horror. 

Doom

Play as a heavily-armed supersoldier and go toe-to-toe with Hell’s deadliest denizens in this ultra-fast, ultra-brutal sci-fi shooter. Arenas packed with overpowered beasties require you to keep moving, puzzling out the best attack routes on the fly. Simultaneously terrifying and thrilling.

 
 

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Dark Souls III

FromSoftware's critically-acclaimed game perfects the Dark Souls formula, boasting dazzling boss fights, an interconnected world to explore and well-balanced combat. 

 
 

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Body horror

Soma

Enter a crippled deep sea facility and piece together the events that have led to its devastation. You’ll soon realise you’re not alone, with bizarre monsters haunting the decks and sentient AI offering their aid. To say more is to spoil the game’s many mysteries and immersive story, so dive in and prepare to question what it means to be human. 

The Evil Within 2

Battle supernatural forces as you explore a nightmarish town in search of your missing daughter. Third-person combat will feel comfortably familiar; a boon when you’re faced with any of the game’s brilliant but wholly bizarre creature designs. A hellish experience awaits that’ll cause you to question reality.

Inside

A sinister dystopian conspiracy unravels before your eyes in this puzzle platformer. As with its critically-acclaimed debut Limbo, developer Playdead places Inside’s twisted brain teasers amid increasingly hostile environments. An incredible third act that’s as memorable as it is nightmarish makes this spiritual sequel a horror tale to behold.

 
 

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Mind-bending sci-fi

The Persistence

Firesprite’s excellent PS VR shooter brings a sci-fi spin to the procedurally-generated dungeon concept. You’re stranded aboard a decaying spaceship, the dark, claustrophobic layout of which changes with every playthrough. Scavenge and upgrade futuristic weaponry to take on the ship’s horrors: your former crewmates, now monstrously deformed and openly hostile. 

 
 

Observer

Live out suspects’ nightmares to solve a murder mystery in this cyberpunk chiller. When the discovery of a mutilated body sends a futuristic housing slum into lockdown, it’s up to you to hack residents’ minds to crack the case. Every dive takes the form of a nightmarish puzzle scenario: quick wits and steady nerves are needed to solve this futuristic investigation.  

Observation

Assume the role of an AI monitoring - and battling - the fallout of a catastrophic incident that’s befallen its space station. Resume control of its remaining systems, hack doors, jump between security cameras and transfer into mobile drones to aid the station’s lone astronaut and solve the mystery of what happened.

 
 

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Prey

Paranoia rages in this sci-fi chiller, as you're stranded aboard a space station. Standing between you and escape are a highly-aggressive alien species, capable of mimicing any object. 

 
 

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2D horror

Little Nightmares

This twisted childhood tale has you executing an escape from an underwater prison while avoiding the attention of its other inhabitants. Those unusual souls seem huge in comparision to you, a lone child, meaning stealth rather than direct confrontation is your only recourse. 

Detention

Play as pair of schoolchildren as they explore their seemingly-haunted academy. This point and click puzzler weaves Taiwanese mythology and historical inspiration for a 1960s-set horror with an unsettling and oppressive atmosphere that is hard to shake.

Blasphemous

When is a 2D action platformer a horror? When it forces you to fight against gruesome monsters and trek through a world soaked in despair. Explore its non-linear landscape, discover upgrades and try and stifle a grimace at its grotesque, brutally-hard bosses. 

 
 

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Survival horror

Resident Evil 2

In this stunning reimagining of Capcom’s horror masterpiece, play as rookie cop Leon Kennedy or motorcyclist Claire Redfield and survive a terrifying night in the virus-ravaged Raccoon City. Ammo is scarce and the labyrinthine locations are filled with unrelenting undead. Discover shortcuts, solve puzzles and battle bizarre mutations…then return to beat your best score in unlockable time attack modes.

 
 

Alien Isolation

Terror strikes a remote space station in this homage to one of cinema’s greatest horrors. Play Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen, who is stalked by an unrelenting xenomorph. With limited resources, stealth is essential to avoid not just your alien pursuer, but also malevolent androids and scavengers.  

Amnesia: Collection

This collection packages Amnesia: The Dark Descent, expermential expansion Justine and sequel A Machine of Pigs. Each offers a distinct but horrifying spin on the first-person survival horror formula; fight to keep a grip on your sanity, solve puzzle rooms and unravel multiple interlocking storylines. 

 
 

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Resident Evil 4

In this horror masterpiece, face murderous mobs and bizarre creatures as you embark on a one-man rescue mission deep in the Spanish countryside. 

 
 

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Fighting evil forces with friends

Man of Medan

Ancient terrors resurface as a scuba-diving group encounter a haunted warship. There are two ways to play this ocean-set horror in multiplayer: assign everyone a character and take turns on the controller in Movie Night mode, or test friendships in the online Shared Story mode, as you and a pal play in parallel, controlling one character each. 

Dead by Daylight

Assume the role of an iconic horror archetype and hunt down four other players across a multitude of maps in this asymmetric online horror experience. But you’re not helpless if you find yourself playing for the other team: even the intended victims have perks and can go places their attacker can’t. Pick a playstyle and work together to escape.

Resident Evil Revelations 2

Team up in split-screen with a friend and tackle a pair of interconnected stories featuring new and familar faces from Capcom's horror series. Enjoy a greatest hits of Resident Evil moments in the story campaign, or alternatively battle it out for the best score in Raid mode. 

 
 

More essential buyer's guides

Check our guides to some of the best PS4 games from a wide range of genres.

Racing games

Post-apocalyptic adventures

Job simulators

Looter Shooters

Games for kids & families

Couch multiplayer games

Side scrolling platformers

Narrative games