Wccftech’s Best Horror Games of 2019 – Dark and Varied Visions
2019 was a scary year for a number of reasons, but for those into horror games, the past 12 months weren’t all bad. Far from it, in fact. Of course, any year with a new Resident Evil release is a big one for survival horror fans, and Capcom definitely delivered the goods with their much-anticipated Resident Evil 2 remake. Beyond that blockbuster, 2019 offered a wide gamut of worthy horror titles, with games like A Plague Tale, Days Gone, and Devotion offering wildly divergent experiences. So, steel your nerves, here are the best horror games of 2019…
Resident Evil 2 also made out Best Action Games of 2019 list, but, of course, it also qualifies for Horror. In addition to being a great game in general, Resident Evil 2 might just be the most atmospheric and suspenseful entry in Capcom’s series to date. It’s certainly the most gruesome, with gurgling zombies that appear to be decomposing before the player’s eyes and chunky gore effects that will make even the most seasoned survival horror fan flinch. As I mentioned before, I gave Resident Evil 2 an 8.5 in my initial review, but, in retrospect, I was probably just a touch too hard on it (I’d probably go 9 today). That said, I recommended the game highly back in January, and still do…
Resident Evil 2 is a polished, respectful remake of a survival horror classic that probably would have benefitted from a slightly more daring approach. Hints of a braver revamp are sprinkled throughout, but it doesn’t take the risks necessary to join the canon of truly great video game remakes. Make no mistake though, if you loved the original Resident Evil 2, you’ll likely love the remake, and new players who can tolerate a few old-school quirks ought to have a gruesome good time as well.
Some may argue A Plague Tale: Innocence isn’t a pure horror experience, but it’s certainly got its share of truly grim, grotesque moments and few games released in 2019 were as soaked with tension from beginning to end. It’s a judgment call, but I found the game more genuinely horrific than something like Resident Evil 4. Horror bonafides aside, A Plague Tale is just a great game, featuring a top-notch story, characters, and gripping set pieces. Wccftech’s Francesco de Meo was certainly taken with the game…
A Plague Tale: Innocence is among the best gaming surprises of 2019, exceeding expectations in the best possible ways. With its absorbing tale, charming characters and solid gameplay mechanics, the game is a must-have for those who like single-player games with a strong focus on story and character development.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season may have kicked off in 2018, but it came to its satisfying conclusion with its third and fourth episodes in 2019. The release of these final chapters in Clementine’s story were overshadowed by the turmoil surrounding Telltale’s surprise bankruptcy, which is a shame, because from a story and character perspective, this is a nearly pitch-perfect finale. It’s also tense as hell. Here’s what I had to say at the conclusion of The Final Season…
The Walking Dead: The Final Season Episode 4 wraps up seven years of undead drama in satisfying fashion, delivering genuinely moving character moments and meaningful, ultimately uplifting, observations about parenthood. The Final Season Episode 4 can be slightly exhausting, both emotionally and because of an overabundance of action scenes, but fans who have been with Clementine since the beginning won’t want to miss the final leg of her journey.
There have been a glut of Lovecraft-inspired games released over the past couple years, most of which have been…fine. Moons of Madness is the only one that aspires to be something more than mere horror comfort food, falling just short of gripping true greatness in its tentacles. Sure, the game isn’t terribly scary, but it’s a fun, twisty, ride that doesn’t take itself too seriously and kept me glued from beginning to end. It’s certainly worth a try given it’s budget $25 price tag. Here are my final thoughts from my review…
Moons of Madness is the best of the recent rash of Lovecraft games. It isn’t as dark or atmospheric as some of its macabre competitors, but it’s well-crafted, nicely varied, and builds to a satisfying, pulse-pounding crescendo. If you don’t mind your Lovecraft with a touch of Michael Bay, don’t hesitate to blast off for the Moons of Madness.
P.T. is one of the best horror games of the last decade. Sure, the teaser for Hideo Kojima’s sadly-cancelled Silent Hills was simple, but it was hauntingly effective, inspiring numerous copycats since its release. Perhaps the only one of these P.T.-alikes to truly replicate and build upon what it achieved is Devotion, from Taiwanese studio Red Candle Games. Much like P.T., Devotion takes place in just a few rooms and mines small changes in them for big chills, but it adds a time element, and a more layered, moving story.
Unfortunately, once again mirroring P.T., there’s currently no legal way to play Devotion. P.T. was swept under the rug when Konami canned Silent Hills, but Devotion faces a more daunting opponent, as the game was pulled from Steam after a reference to Chinese president Xi Jinping’s, er, much-debated resemblance to Winnie the Pooh was found in the game. While the precise behind-the-scenes machinations are unknown, it certainly seems like Red Candle and/or Steam have been pressured into permanently shelving the title. Of course, there may still be ways of playing Devotion, but the fact that the game’s developers won’t benefit is a shame, as their devotion truly shows through when playing.
Haven’t had your fill of chills yet? There were plenty of other solid horror games for all sorts of tastes released this year. Days Gone and World War Z delivered bombastic zombie-slaying action, Blair Witch and Layers of Fear 2 provided more atmospheric thrills, Pathologic 2 put the survival back in survival horror, and Man of Medan ladled on the glorious slasher movie cheese. Oh, and don’t sleep on The Blackout Club just because it’s a multiplayer game – it’s not exactly terrifying, but it’s a ton of fun.
The horror genre is as strong as it’s been in years. Here’s hoping the focus on macabre continues beyond 2019 and into the next-generation of gaming. Any good horror games I missed? Don’t agree with the top five? Hit the comments and hash out your own horror favorites. And do check out our previous Action and Adventure 2019 GOTY lists.
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