Why face unspeakable horrors on your own when you can do so with a friend? Multiplayer gaming has changed the horror playing field quite a bit, giving us scaredy cats someone to project our fears onto so we’re not alone in our anxieties with horror multiplayer games.
Like anything, though, finding a good multiplayer horror game isn’t a matter of blindly choosing. There’s a lot out there you’ll want to avoid. Being one that enjoys tackling horror and facing my fears in a cooperative or even competitive environment, it seemed fitting to showcase the following best multiplayer horror games.
These games excel at mingling terrifying scenarios with the staples of multiplayer video gaming. Ultimately, that just means someone will hear me screaming as a zombie gnaws at my face.
The Best Multiplayer Horror Games
Developer: Hydravision Entertainment Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Long before online multiplayer became the norm, people sat side-by-side, enjoying one another’s company as they blew each other’s heads off in whatever FPS was popular at the time. Or, in the case of Obscure, they cowered together and tried to muscle through a campaign filled with unspeakable horrors.
The multiplayer was a simple two-player co-op that allowed players to tackle the campaign together. In the wake of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3, third-person survival horror games struggled to improve upon Konami’s formulas. While Obscure is far from perfect, it works well enough, especially as a co-op experience, without completely rehashing the later Silent Hill games.
Locked in a school of nightmares, players have to find their way out while uncovering a deadly conspiracy that’s turned many students into infected horrors. It’s a simple story and concept that makes Obscure one of those rare subpar experiences that’s actually worth playing if you do so with a friend.
For those not keen on paranormal speak, white noise is often used as a tool to give the spirit something to speak through. For the horror-loving community that enjoys being stalked by grotesque oddities, it holds a different purpose. It’s your indicator that something terrible is about to happen to you.
In White Noise 2, seeing the flashes of static fill up your screen gets your heart racing. The creature is not far behind and you, as an unarmed investigator, have little to help you in the survival against the evil force. The sequel to White Noise Online, White Noise 2 is a 4 v. 1 asymmetric horror title that pits four players in the shoes of investigators and one as the blood-thirsty creature.
As the creature, hunt your prey and avoid the light so your havoc isn’t interrupted. Investigators are ill-equipped when facing the deadly creature, but cooperating with teammates can be the difference between life and death. Work together, and you may just survive this nightmarish multiplayer game.
What’s most delightful is that when you die – and you will die – you return as a ghost to further help those still alive.
Developer: Baseline Publisher: Baseline
Can you really trust those you call your teammates? Normally, you can (unless friendly fire is on), but Deceit leaves you looking over your shoulder, even if you’re traveling with your fellow survivors.
Deceit sends you on a rush to the exit as an infected fiend, hiding in the shadows and in plain sight, stalks your every move. As the infected beast, you have to take down survivors one by one, but you’re far from impervious to bullets. Every move has to be calculated as you aim to spread your virus and tear into the remaining survivors.
In Deceit, you never know who the evil is until it’s too late. They can spend much of the map helping you along to get you to let your guard done. The moment that you do, they’ll pounce and end your attempts at escaping.
It’s a complicated process when you first jump in, but after a few matches of surviving or evolving your infected, deceiving the other players feels like second nature.
It’s bad enough that you’re going up against ghastly beings to add to your collection of trophies. Having to do so while also keeping an eye out for rival hunters amps up the challenge, leaving you paranoid about everyone that enters your field of view.
As a hunter looking for the next big score, you’ll set out into the spooky Bayou equipped with the latest in monster-hunting technology. Throw fists or fire off explosive bullets to become the most feared hunter in Louisiana. Go it alone for the thrill of the hunt, but don’t expect it to be easy. The cretins stalking the swamps of Louisiana are deadly and ruthless, possibly as much as your opposing hunters.
Hunt: Showdown gives you the chance to hunt alone or with a group, but don’t expect everyone to play along nicely. At the end of the day, it’s all about scoring bounties and progressing your hunter to become among the very best.
“Hunt: Showdown is an incredibly intense and sometimes nerve-racking game that will require a lot from you. In return, it delivers an experience and a world you will have a hard time finding anywhere else.”
Developer: Team Psykskallar Publisher: Team Psykskaller
While Cry of Fear works great as a moody and gloomy single player game, its multiplayer component allows you to team up with a friend to survive the deadly horrors stalking the streets of Scandinavia. After madness overtakes your city, you’re faced with a slim chance for survival as hordes of monsters hunt you down with bloody results.
Beyond the full single player campaign, there is a 4-player co-op scenario that’s completely separate. Team up to take on the terrors that have emerged from your nightmares using an arsenal of 24 different weapons.
Originally a Half-Life 1 mod, Cry of Fear has blossomed into its own demented experience, complete with chainsaw-wielding foe and a never-ending stream of supernatural baddies. Alone, it’s terrifying. With others, well, it’s still terrifying, but at least you’re not scared and alone. Better yet, it’s a completely free horror game too.
12. Resident Evil 5
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
Divisive as it may be, when it comes to multiplayer, Resident Evil 5 shines. The first in the series to offer co-op gameplay, players team up to battle through another new virus, the Uroboros Mkono. Like the outbreak in Resident Evil 4, the infected retain some semblance of intelligence and are capable of using tools and firearms to level the playing field. The result is a game that can’t decide if it wants to be a survival horror experience or something more rooted in action.
Regardless, none of that affects the multiplayer, which can be played both side-by-side and online. The integration of multiplayer is smooth as players choose to play as either Chris Redfield or series newcomer Sheva Alomar through a story mode that covers the typical Resident Evil absurdities.
The only downfall is that, if a player drops out and returns an hour later, they may find that most of their resources are gone. The AI is a resource hog that doesn’t think critically and won’t hesitate to use a First Aid Spray or expel every round of ammunition unnecessarily, which stops it from getting nearer the top spot when ranking the Resident Evil games.
11. F.E.A.R. 3
Developer: Day 1 Studios Publisher: WB Games
The original F.E.A.R. set up the horrifying presence of Alma. F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origins expanded upon it by diving deeper into her origins. F.E.A.R. 3 decided it was time to let players tackle the horrors together and tacked on a much-needed co-op experience.
Alma returns again in F.E.A.R. 3, just as vengeful and horrifying as before. This time, though, players don’t have to face her alone. Together, two operatives can plow through the paranormal horrors of F.E.A.R. while providing each other emotional support for when things get really terrifying.
F.E.A.R. 3 also featured additional multiplayer modes where four players could team up or battle one another amidst the game’s supernatural horrors. For its time, it was a solid multiplayer experience. Tack on the horror elements carried over from the main game, and you have a game that satiates players looking for horror and ample jump scares.
If it’s pure balls-to-the-wall adrenaline you’re looking for, Killing Floor 2 will deliver. The moment you enter the arena, you’re forced to face off against hordes upon hordes of terrifying creatures and creations. Fire into a crowd of “Zeds” and watch with delight as blood and limbs splatter everywhere.
You can tackle Killing Floor 2 alone, but it’s not the best way to play. Instead, team up with five other players to cut through wave after wave of monstrosities, all of which want to rip you limb from limb. Different weapons deliver a multitude of satisfying resolutions to the clawed sacks of flesh rushing toward you.
To change things up a bit, Killing Floor 2 also features a Versus Survival Game Mode, where 12 players are split into teams of six. One retains the role of human while the other team takes over as different Zeds. It’s the best kind of chaotic mess as both teams clash in one of the best multiplayer horror games to boot, spreading gore across multiple stages.
9. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
Developer: Treyarch Publisher: Activision
Before you get all indignant and cry foul, I’m talking about the Zombies mode. This undead multiplayer shooter may have been an odd concept when it was first revealed with World at War, but by Black Ops 3, it’s commonplace.
The four-player Zombies mode of Black Ops 3 is as nerve-racking as any other, but it benefits from the Zombie Chronicles DLC. The pack of eight remastered maps brings back memories of older iterations of the Zombies mode, pulled right out of World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2. Each map sports a shiny new HD appearance that begs to be splattered in blood.
While Zombies may not be considered scary by many, the undead designs are gruesome and visceral – everything one needs from a horror shooter. Even when played with others, the onslaught of the undead is relentless, making you feel like a horror movie victim no matter how much firepower you’re packing.
Developer: Capcom Production Studio 1 Publisher: Capcom
The Resident Evil series has always had a complex relationship with multiplayer games. Resident Evil: Outbreak was the first to take the series’ staple gameplay and tack on a co-op experience and make it a multiplayer horror. Through a fully-fledged story, players team up to tackle the Umbrella Corporation’s worst creations through new environments in Racoon City.
The tank-like mechanics of the original trilogy are the star of Outbreak’s gameplay, which would make it hard to enjoy today if the game wasn’t already obsolete and a hassle to emulate. The multiplayer ran off of the PlayStation 2’s network adapter, a sturdy piece of hardware that delivered a connection that would drive the youth of today insane.
Underneath its frustrations, however, was a solid Resident Evil game that retained the personality of the core series that preceded it. It also let players turn into zombies after becoming infected, so it at least had that going for it.
7. Dying Light
Developer: Techland Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment/Techland Publishing
It was difficult for Dying Light to release in a post-Dead Island world and not be compared to the slower-paced zombie romp. While some may have preferred the latter, there is one thing Dying Light had over it – a robust multiplayer. Sure, Dead Island had a simple co-op mode, but Dying Light upped the ante with a solid competitive mode.
Along with a four-player co-op option, Dying Light also introduced “Be the Zombie,” a tense asymmetrical mode where one player does exactly as the title suggestions. Except, they don’t control a slow-moving shambler. No, that would be too easy. The player controlling the zombie steps into the grotesque form of the Night Hunter.
In “Be the Zombie,” the Night Hunter invades other player’s games and wreaks havoc as the tentacled fiend. Human players must track down nests before the hunter can demolish the team with an array of attacks and abilities. Playing as either has its perks, but if you want a fright, stick to the human role and wait for someone to infiltrate your game as the speedy hunter.
6. Friday the 13th: The Video Game
Developer: Illfonic Black Tower Studios Publisher: Gun Media
How do you turn the successful Friday the 13th film franchise into a viable video game? Don’t ask P Studio, the creators of the NES atrocity.
Instead, turn to independent studio Gun Media. If this list were built closer to the game’s launch, there is no way it would place. Broken matchmaking and frequent glitches made the game virtually unplayable.
After a few patches, though, Friday the 13th: The Video Game solidified itself as an entertaining multiplayer survival horror game. What it really has going for it is the ability to play as Jason Voorhees, the Camp Crystal Lake killer. Choose from a number of versions of Jason, which changes his weapon of choice and attributes, and stalk hapless camp counselors.
Even as a survivor, the game retains a decent amount of entertainment and doesn’t always play in favor of the invincible killer. Different weapons, items, and skills can help outsmart Voorhees, distracting him long enough so you can call the police, fix up a broken-down car, or let the timer run out. The game pulls environments from the film series, which is one of many facets that appeal to the true Friday the 13th fans.
5. Dead by Daylight
Developer: Behaviour Interactive Publisher: Starbreeze Studios/505 Games
Trapped in a purgatory-like state and hunted by a merciless killer, survivors in Dead by Daylight can do little else but run away in this multiplayer horror. To escape their personal hell, they have to start up generators that control an exit. In their way, of course, is one of many serial killers and paranormal threats, armed to the teeth with unique abilities and weapons.
Dead by Daylight allows players to choose which side to play. While the killer offers more varied and entertaining gameplay, with characters like Michael Myers, Ghostface, Leatherface, Demogorgon, and Freddy Krueger joining ranks with original monstrosities, escaping the awful scenario as a survivor can be surprisingly fun.
Different tools and abilities make surviving a little easier, but the relentless killer is always out there, looking to serve you up to The Entity that oversees the Realms of the Trial Grounds that both parties are trapped within.
4. No More Room in Hell
Developer: No More Room in Hell Team Publisher: Lever Games
Developed off of the Half-Life 2 engine, No More Room in Hell is a love letter to George Romero’s “Dead” film series. As survivors in a world of undead horrors, players must battle through waves of rotting corpses.
You can work together with up to eight players to battle through wave after wave of undead, but be wary. It only takes one bite to join the ranks of the infected. Once bitten, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to tell your teammates or keep it to yourself in hopes that a cure lies along your path.
The game’s Survival Mode sees you utilizing resources to build up your shelter long enough to be extracted to a safe zone. Like any good zombie movie, there’s no keeping the undead out, so you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on your fortifications and barricades to ensure nothing unwanted slips by.
Remember when ghost hunting was a harmless hobby enjoyed among friends? Then Kinetic Games had to come along and turn it into a hazardous job that plays terribly. Phasmophobia pits players in the shoes of a paranormal investigator seeking to earn some cash while answering the most pressing question on everyone’s mind – is there life after death?
Joined by up to three friends and stocked with traditional ghost hunting equipment, players enter an assortment of locations around the United States to seek out and document supernatural activity. Using EMF meters, motion sensors, infrared imaging, and more traditional tools like sage and a cross, you’ll try to uncover clues as to who or what is haunting the building. Unfortunately, your presence is an unwelcome one, and your ghostly target isn’t shy about it.
If you can survive the night, gather enough clues, and identify what type of spirit you encountered, you may walk away with a big enough payday to upgrade equipment and do it all over again in even bigger locations.
2. The Forest
Developer: Endnight Games Publisher: Endnight Games
At the core of the survival genre is the need to stay alive. This includes gathering wood for fires, hunting food, finding clean sources of water, and building structures to help keep you safe from the elements. Sometimes, there’s a dinosaur that will ransack your comfortable abode or another player looking to pilfer your dead body.
The Forest doesn’t stray too far from the core mechanics, though you’ll wish it were only a towering tyrannosaur you have to run from. After crash landing on a forested peninsula, Eric LeBlanc witnesses his son being taken by a mysterious man. Hellbent on rescuing his kin, Eric sets out across the forest to locate where he may have been taken.
It’s not long before he finds that the mysterious land is inhabited by tribes of mutant cannibals, and all they care to do is make his life hell and turn him into their next meal. The Forest adds a heavy dose of horror to the multiplayer survival genre, replacing the typical PvP gameplay with a co-op or solo experience.
To survive nightfall, players will have to work together to build a sturdy base, protected by makeshift defenses and the player’s own proficiency with their weapon of choice. During the day, scattered cannibals will threaten to get in the way, but it’s at night that entire hordes stomp through the forest to turn you into a snack.
“If you’re yet to try the game on PC, its PS4 version is a surprisingly sleek and arguably just as rewarding time-sinker that won’t even make you feel bad for being a terrible parent. Sorry, Timmy, I am one with the trees now.”
Any player that’s grown up with games like Resident Evil has become used to slow, lumbering zombies. For them, the original Left 4 Dead was a shocker as hordes of fast-moving undead swarmed the map. Left 4 Dead 2 simply improved upon the formula, throwing more undead at the player across a four-act story set in the southern United States.
The frantic first-person combat of the first game returns, but now players have more special zombies to be mindful of. The game’s AI Director controls how the enemies spawn, and no two levels are the same. Left 4 Dead 2’s AI Director 2.0 works even harder to make levels more difficult by occasionally altering the level layout.
Left 4 Dead 2 is primarily a co-op experience, but an online competitive mode pits players in the role of special infected as others attempt to breeze through each level. Left 4 Dead 2 may not have much variety in terms of gameplay, but the simplicity of its first-person shooter elements is part of the appeal.
It’s all about getting from one end of the map to the other without being overrun by the undead. Nothing more, nothing less – and when it comes to multiplayer horror, that’s just perfect.
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