Games like DOOM, Borderlands, Halo, and Far Cry throw players into high-stakes firefights with bullets, rockets, and lasers flying in every direction. They’re far from subtle, putting action above everything else to keep things perpetually forward-moving. But what if we slowed the firefight down a bit and seamlessly integrated dim lighting, jumpscares, dark and macabre themes, and a few grotesque monsters for good luck? Then we’d be teetering into first-person shooter horror games, a unique genre that’s both action-packed and full of frights.
Though it’s not a massive genre, we’ll be digging into the slim library to spotlight the best horror FPS games you’ll want to load to your hard drive. They’re part exciting, part terrifying, and entirely entertaining.
The Best Horror FPS Games
15. The Persistence
Developer: Firesprite Publisher: Firesprite Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X & S, Xbox One, Switch
You don’t get much more “first-person” than virtual reality, and The Persistence sucks players into its monster-ridden space environment through the support of several VR headsets. Sure, you can play it without the VR experience, but you’re missing out on very closely facing the deadly aberrations impeding your escape from a derelict spaceship.
The ever-changing vessel has many surprises onboard, and players will need to stick to the shadows, carefully plan attacks, and carefully upgrade offensive and defensive stats to survive.
Thankfully, death isn’t permanent, and there’s an endless supply of clone bodies to transfer to when you make a mistake. And you will inevitably make a mistake.
14. Golden Light
Developer: Mr. Pink Publisher: HypeTrain Digital Platform(s): PC
Comedy and horror mingle quite well in this procedurally-generated survival horror first-person prop hunt shooter. It’s more than just a shooter, though, as Golden Light also features elements popular in roguelike games, like exploring dungeon-like locations full of baddies. You’ll descend into the depths of the Gut on a quest to save your beloved, encountering props that will come to life in an instant.
The comedy elements are hard to miss, but they also don’t take away from the creepiness of the atmosphere. Every ghostlike entity spawns randomly, so there are plenty of surprises no matter how many times you boot up Golden Light.
The game embraces its weirdness and benefits quite a bit by being anything but your typical horror FPS.
13. Clive Barker’s Undying
Developer: EA Los Angeles Publisher: EA Games Platform(s): PC
Attach Clive Barker to a property, and it’s already guaranteed to be quite discomforting. The opening cinematic to Undying would be enough to turn off some gamers, particularly due to the strange array of horrifying characters we’re introduced to. But those that can make it past the introduction of the Covenant family are in for a treat with this horror FPS.
As Patrick Galloway, players arrive to assist Jeremiah Covenant, the last living family member that hadn’t succumbed to the curse. Equipped with a host of weapons and spells, Galloway battles through the twisted reanimated Covenant family in a story that oozes Barker’s signature brand of weirdness and terrifying imagery.
Undying could have easily riddled players with nightmares in a more modern generation of gaming.
The streets of Tokyo are a shadow of their former selves after every resident vanishes, leaving behind only a supernatural force threatening the future of the city.
Ghostwire: Tokyo pits players against ghouls, ghosts, occultists, and all manner of paranormal pests in a unique first-person shooter. Don’t expect to go running in neutrona wands blazing. In fact, you won’t be relying much on technology as you’ll call upon devastating elemental abilities that can quell the supernatural threat.
Ghostwire is absolutely stunning, which helps enhance the eeriness of a Visitor-infested Tokyo. While it’s not the scariest horror FPS game (and it could be argued it’s more supernatural fantasy), Tokyo has some twisted sights you won’t soon forget.
Developer: 10 Chambers Publisher: 10 Chambers Platform(s): PC
Some things are better with friends. Being chased by subterranean dwellers while on a suicide mission is certainly one of them. GTFO sends players to the bottom of a 66-million-year-old crater to do some sciency things at the behest of a mysterious overlord.
Unfortunately, the crater is now home to deadly creatures that, while sleeping when you arrive, will wake up at the slightest sound. And trust us, you’re eventually going to make a sound.
Even if you’re with a coherent team, GTFO is downright chaotic when the action kicks in, but those moments spent slinking around sleeping monstrosities really raise blood pressure.
Developer: David Szymanski Publisher: New Blood Interactive Platform(s): PC, Switch
If you’re going to emulate anything in the 21st century, early 90s first-person shooters tend to work the best. DUSK developer David Szymanski opted for this aesthetic with his throwback to classics like Doom, Heretic, and Quake.
Across three campaign episodes, players take on hordes of baddies, including cultists and inhuman entities, set to a metal soundtrack composed by Andrew Hulshult. What DUSK does quite a bit better than the games it’s emulating is provide players with an expansive arsenal. Swords, rifles, double-barreled shotguns, grenades, and so much more can be wielded to take down the supernatural threat.
Expect plenty of bloodshed in this high-energy horror shooter.
Developer: People Can Fly Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive Platform(s): PC, Xbox
It’s a shame Painkiller was ultimately killed with the release of 2012’s Hell & Damnation, a poorly received remake and sequel to the 2004 FPS, as the original is just about everything we want out of a fast and frantic first-person horror shooter. The gothic setting is simply perfect for Daniel Garner’s trek across Purgatory, and it leaves us intrigued for the franchise’s return.
When a car crash kills both him and his wife, and the latter gets admitted into Heaven, Daniel must do whatever is necessary to join her. And that means taking on Lucifer’s generals to prevent a war from breaking out between Heaven and Hell.
Equipped with a demon-slaying arsenal, including the delightfully fun stake-gun, Daniel mows through the forces of hell, leaving in his wake a trail of demon bodies. Painkiller was built on the Havok 2.0 physics engine, which was a marvel for its time and allowed for ragdoll physics and interactive environments.
8. The Evil Within 2
Developer: Tango Gameworks Publisher: Bethesda Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Sebastian Castellanos thought his nightmare was over at the conclusion of The Evil Within, but his deep dive into the human psyche was just the beginning. Unfortunately for the tired cop, things are only going to get worse in The Evil Within 2.
Originally released as a third-person horror, The Evil Within 2 was updated with first-person capabilities, which really amps things up and turns it into one of the best horror FPS games going Though much of the game is linear, Castellanos can explore a more open environment, which only means he has more of a chance of crossing the ghoulies and malformations slowing his progress this go around.
There’s much to fear in The Evil Within 2, but the ghost-like Anima is absolutely the worst and her melodic singing is sure to stick with you long after you’ve signed off.
Developer: Tango Gameworks Publisher: Bethesda Softworks Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Can you survive a zombie apocalypse? DayZ is a decent test in determining how long into the outbreak you will become food for the undead.
Survival and horror come together as you navigate a world overrun by rotting corpses and other survivors with black hearts. Expect to feel alone in the world as you run from mobile corpses and do everything in your power to protect your stockpile from other players. Your best bet is to make friends, but knowing who to trust and who’s going to turn you into zombie bait is no easy feat.
You’ll never feel comfortable or safe, even within a larger group, and there are few things scarier than feeling isolated in a world where resources are scarce. Fun.
Developer: 2K Games Publisher: 2K Games Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Switch
Welcome to Rapture, where all of your dreams will come true. That is if your dreams involve permanently disfiguring yourself, getting addicted to a chemical substance, and being constantly at odds with genetically enhanced individuals that have been grafted to armored diving suits.
Bioshock succeeds in creating an uncomfortable atmosphere in the underwater city through the demented Splicers and the ruins of a society that collapsed in on itself. Knowing a Big Daddy is just around the corner or seeing the shadows of Splicers blocking your path will keep you on the edge of your seat.
And you will stay on that edge from the moment your plane crashes to an unwelcome visit to the dentist all the way up to the shocking twist ending.
5. Hunt: Showdown
Developer: Crytek Publisher: Crytek, Koch Media Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
With a rifle in hand and pistol at your side, Hunt: Showdown sends players to a nightmarish landscape full of horrifying bounties. Bring them down, secure your prize, and enjoy the glory of being a renowned hunter.
But of course, it’s not that easy. Not only are your bounties capable of fighting back with force, but you’re also not the only hunter looking to take the loot. As if battling zombie-like townsfolk and lumbering malformations, you’re in direct competition with human players in a unique multiplayer experience.
Hunt will test your patience and skills as you gather clues to find your bounties and engage them in difficult and epic battles.
4. Doom 64
Developer: Midway Studios San Diego Publisher: Midway Games Platform(s): PC, N64, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Players typically say Doom 3 is the only real horror experience in the Doom franchise. The rest is just fast-paced chaos with no real tension or scare factor. To that we say, “You clearly haven’t played Doom 64.”
While not scary in the traditional sense, Doom 64 certainly isn’t the same shooter 90’s kids grew up playing and defending against ridiculous controversy. The tone has changed quite a bit and the demon design was given an overhaul to really make you question walking into that room full of Pinky demons.
Though they say you can never beat the original, Doom 64 absolutely comes close by changing the formula just a little while blending elements from Doom and Doom II and keeping many of the core mechanics the same.
Developer: Monolith Productions Publisher: Warner Bros. Games Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
To many, F.E.A.R. was the game that launched the FPS horror genre. While that’s not true, it doesn’t take away from how good the game actually is.
F.E.A.R. has it all – assortments of high-powered weapons, creepy long-haired girls with telekinetic powers, and a surprising number of jumpscares for a game that really emphasizes exchanging bullets with your enemies. The threat isn’t all supernatural as you’ll take on a paramilitary force hellbent on taking over an aerospace compound. This is no typical mission for the soldiers of F.E.A.R. as something sinister lurks in the shadows, waiting to tear people apart without even having to touch them.
F.E.A.R. was a surprisingly good mix of horror and first-person shooting, and while its sequels didn’t quite capture the same scares, they are both still worth checking out.
2. Resident Evil 7
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Capcom turned the Resident Evil series on its head when it introduced Ethan Winters and sent him to the swamplands of Louisiana in the series’ shift to first-person horror.
Resident Evil 7 is anything but action-packed for the most part, though there are some segments where you’ll be slinging lead to take down hideous mutations. It is, however, undeniably horrifying as you go up against the Mold and a demented, torturous family. Audio design is at its peak as Capcom breathes the frights back into the Resident Evil series.
Though Resident Evil 7 feels like a big departure from the rest of the series, the changes are more than welcome and helped refresh what was becoming a tired concept.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a “best of…” horror gaming list that doesn’t include Left 4 Dead 2, as the longevity and timelessness of the experience really earn it the title of the best horror FPS game. It’s quite telling that it’s comfortably beating Back 4 Blood in the Steam charts.
Valve released the follow-up to Turtle Rock’s first-person multiplayer zombie shooter in 2009 and the experience is still fun today. Outside of its outdated visuals, the rest of the game has held up very well and continues to deliver thrilling runs, whether you’re playing alone or with friends.
It’s safe to say Left 4 Dead 2 has sustained over time thanks in part to mods, but the core experience still works – sometimes better than modern and more technically sound titles. We may never see a Left 4 Dead 3, but that’s okay. Replaying Left 4 Dead 2 doesn’t get old.
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