Top Survival Horror Games

Browse some of the best survival horror and scary games for the PC

Survival horror video games have always been a popular theme/genre since the term was first coined back in the mid-1990s. Today many games classified as survival horror have the distinction of putting the main character into harrowing situations where they are up against a continual fight for survival, having to overcome one hurdle after another. This gameplay is then coupled with a horror, supernatural or thriller based storyline to make a truly frighting experience. Other survival horror games use slower paced action/adventure gameplay where the horrifying suspense slowly builds over time while the story unfolds with the help of dark and eerie visuals, sounds and atmosphere.

The popularity of survival horror games has increased even more over the past few years with the rise of shows such as The Walking Dead and many horror themed books, comics, and movies. Not only are some of the top survival horror games widely popular they are also some of the highest rated and visually stunning games as well. So if you are looking for something different from your standard action, strategy, or platformer then the list of Top Survival Horror Games for the PC is where you'll want to start. The Top Survival Horror games include some of the most suspenseful and frightening games ever released. So forget seeing this week's B horror movie... turn off the lights, turn up the volume and try playing one of these horrifying PC games instead.

01
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Dead Space 2

Dead space 2

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Release Date: Jan 25, 2011
Genre: Action, Third Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: Dead Space

Dead Space 2 the survival horror sci-fi sequel comes in at number one on my list of Top Survival Horror Games for the PC. Players once again take on Isaac Clarke who wakes to find himself in a hospital bed confined in a straight jacket, with no memory of the past few years. Upon escaping, players must fight their way through the Sprawl, an enormous space city, in hopes of defeating an evil being known as the Marker. Its atmospheric space horror setting is one that can't be beaten in Dead Space 2.

02
of 20

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia the dark descent

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Release Date: Feb 22, 2011
Genre: Action/Adventure, First Person
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a top survival horror game from Frictional Games, the same developer behind the Penumbra series of survival horror games. Players will take on the role of Daniel as he awakens to find himself in a mysterious castle with no memory about his past. Not only will players explore through the physical castle they will also experience Daniel's tormented memories as he slowly regains them, not knowing what is real or imaginary.

03
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Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2

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Release Date: Nov 17, 2009
Genre: Action, First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer co-op
Series: Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead 2 follows a group of four survivors, different from those in the first game, through five campaigns that stretch from Savannah, GA to New Orleans, LA. Much like the original Left 4 Dead, this zombie thriller will have you racing for safe areas while fighting off hordes of zombies. The new zombies and environments will have your heart jumping and lands Left 4 Dead 2 near the top of my top scary game for 2011.

04
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Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil

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Release Date: Sep 15, 2009
Genre: Third Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer co-op

Chris Redfield, the hero from the original Resident Evil game, is back in Resident Evil 5. Set 10 years since the events of the first game Resident Evil 5 takes place in a fictionalized west African region. Chris and Sheva Alomar are on a mission to capture an arms dealer before he is able to sell a bioweapon on the black market. Along the way, they encounter scores of parasite-infected zombies know as Majini.

05
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BioShock

Bioshock game

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Release Date: Aug 21, 2007
Genre: Action - First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: BioShock

With stunning visuals, BioShock is one of the best looking and spookiest games to hit the PC in the past couple of years. Although technically not a survival horror game in the traditional sense, the eerie soundtrack and whispered conversations in the underwater utopia of Rapture will have you looking over your shoulder more than once. Players will once again return to Rapture in 2010 with the release of BioShock 2.​

06
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Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead game

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Release Date: Nov 18, 2008
Genre: Action - First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer co-op
Series: Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead is a co-op multiplayer first-person shooter that tells the story of four survivors in a post-apocalyptic world with each player taking on the role of one of these survivors. The world has been in the grips of a pandemic that has transformed the infected into mutated zombie type creatures. A highly anticipated sequel Left 4 Dead 2 tells the story of 4 different survivors in the southern United States.

07
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Dead Island

Dead Island

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Release Date: Sep 6, 2011
Genre: Action, First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

Dead Island is not your typical everyday zombie survival horror game. Set on the fictional resort island of Banoi, Dead Island has been overrun by a mysterious outbreak that has turned much of the island dwellers and visitors into Zombies. Players will have plenty of zombie hack and slash with this melee heavy game. It includes a single campaign that can be played in solo or co-op mode with up to 4 players.

08
of 20

System Shock 2

System Shock 2

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Release Date: Aug 11, 1999
Genre: Action Role Playing
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer co-op

System Shock 2 was released nearly 10 years ago but is still one of the best sci-fi survival horror games. Set in the year 2114, players awake from a cryo-sleep on the spacecraft Von Braun to find they are the lone survivor. Players then set out to uncover what has gone wrong on the Von Braun.

09
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F.E.A.R.

FEAR game

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Release Date: Oct 17, 2005
Genre: Action - First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: F.E.A.R.

The spine-tingling tension of F.E.A.R. puts it near the top of the list of the scariest games. Mysterious paramilitary force and eerie interruptions of radio communications are just the beginning of this terrorizing supernatural storyline which will give you more scares than a horror movie!

10
of 20

Dead Rising 2

Deadrising 2 game

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Release Date: Sep 24, 2010
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: Dead Rising

Dead Rising 2 is another zombie survival horror game where players will need to fight off hordes of relentless zombies wanting to feast on human flesh. What makes Dead Rising 2 stand apart from some of the others is the way it allows players to create their own weapons. The game has a solo campaign mode as well as a variety of multiplayer modes including co-op.

11
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Alice Madness Returns

Alice Madness Returns

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Release Date: Jun 14, 2011
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player
Series: Alice

In Alice Madness Returns, players will return to Wonderland as they try to help Alice save its residents. This creepy game is a twist to the traditional Alice in Wonderland story that was started in American McGee's Alice. Alice Madness Returns is the sequel to that game, set some 11 years after the events in Alice.

12
of 20

Dead Space

Dead Space

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Release Date: Oct 20, 2008
Genre: Action Third Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player

Set in the 26th-century players are sent on a mission to rescue two mining ships in the far reaches of the galaxy. However, their ship is damaged while trying to dock and the discovery of alien life forces them to fight their way out against Necromorphs, which are deceased humans that have been animated by a mysterious alien organism.

13
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F.E.A.R. 3

FEAR 3

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Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Genre: Action, First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: F.E.A.R.

This third title in the F.E.A.R. series of first person shooters picks up the storyline where F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin left off. Players take on the rolw of Point Man as he tries to defeat Alma and mental powers. The game includes single player campaign story mode as well as co-op and competitive multiplayer modes.

14
of 20

Indigo Prophecy/Fharenheit

Fahrenheit game

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Release Date: Sep 20, 2005
Genre: Adventure
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player

Known as Fahrenheit in Europe, Indigo Prophecy, like F.E.A.R. has a mysterious supernatural storyline. As the story begins you find yourself standing over a dead body with a bloody knife. Possession, an ancient prophecy and the fate of humankind hang in the balance as you try to uncover what behind all of the supernatural events occurring around you.

15
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F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

FEAR 2 game

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Release Date: Feb 10, 2009
Genre: Action - First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin is the follow up to F.E.A.R, the highly rated survival horror game of supernatural suspense and pulse-pounding action. In it, players will again encounter Alma as they explore the city that was destroyed at the end of the first game as well as other large outdoor environments. The game's storyline actually starts some half-hour before the end of the first F.E.A.R. game so the final scene and destruction will come roaring back in all its glory.

16
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The Orange Box

The Orange Box game

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Release Date: Oct 9, 2007
Genre: Action First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer

With humanity sold out to alien forces, it is your job to escape and lead the resistance. Although not much of a horror game, the storyline's tension, twists and turns make it one of those thrillers that will not soon be forgotten. Player will take on the role of crowbar wielding, glasses wearing Gordon Freeman in this compilation that includes Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One and Half-Life 2 Episode Two.

17
of 20

BioShock 2

Bioshock 2

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Release Date: Feb 9, 2010
Genre: Action, First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer co-op
Series: BioShock

BioShock is set some 10 years after the events of BioShock with players taking on the role a Big Daddy as they try to capture Little Sisters from other Big Daddies in Rapture.

18
of 20

Doom 3

Doom 3

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Release Date: Aug 3, 2004
Genre: Action - First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: Doom

If you're looking to get scared around Halloween, Doom 3 will more than satisfy. The nonstop action as you fight the demonic invasion of Mars will keep you on the edge of your seat. The expansion pack Resurrection of Evil continues the scary encounters, picking up the storyline two years after the Doom 3 storyline.

19
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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl

Stalker game cover

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Release Date: Mar 20, 2007
Genre: Action - First Person Shooter
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player, multiplayer
Series: S.T.A.L.K.E.R

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl is set in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine. After a fictional second explosion at Chernobyl, the land surrounding the nuclear plant has become a wasteland known as the Zone, where mutant creatures and humans roam and the laws of nature no longer apply.​

20
of 20

Penumbra: Black Plague

Penumbra game

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Release Date: Feb 12, 2008
Genre: Adventure
Rating: M for Mature
Game Modes: Single player
Series: Penumbra

Penumbra Black Plague is the second installment in the episodic series of horror adventure games. Black Plague picks up where the first chapter left off after Philip, the game's protagonist, regains consciousness after being knocked out by an unknown assailant in a locker room. The Penumbra games take some influence from H.P. Lovecraft's novels and mythos.