Horror games are an institution of the industry, no matter how few truly AAA games we seem to get these days. Resident Evil is the standard bearer for the genre and likely always will be, but it’s also more or less the only flagship franchise still going. You’ll sadly find no Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark, or Dino Crisis when it comes to the best PS5 horror games.
What you will find in the ninth generation of consoles when it comes to horror, though, is a genre mostly dominated by indie games. This isn’t a bad thing. Over the last decade or so, the indie space has been where original ideas have been tried where they would otherwise be too big a risk, and it’s also where horror games have thrived.
From tiny budget scares to truly some of the most innovative games around regardless of genre, the best horror games on the PlayStation 5 offer bigger spooks than the scalping prices of the console itself on eBay.
Playing a little like a single-player Phasmophobia, players must take photos of their surroundings to discover clues — and also ghosts — as you investigate a haunted house that’s been claimed by an evil spirit. As well as documenting your path, your Polaroid camera is also useful for fending off ghosts, harking back to classics like Fatal Frame.
In fact, there’s a lot to Infliction that feels like a callback to horror dynasties of old, which does make it feel just slightly dated. However, thanks to genuinely effective scares and some decent storytelling, Infliction should inflict a few hours of spooks on you at the very least.
10. HORROR TALES: The Wine
Developer: Carlos Coronado Publisher Jandusoft
The least known horror game on this list, HORROR TALES: The Wine’s lack of name pedigree shouldn’t take away from what is a very effective, if obviously lower budget, horror on your PS5. I mean, how high a budget can a horror game developed by one guy really have?
Despite it not nailing every single thing it tries (the cursory chase sequences aren’t all that strong, for instance), HORROR TALES: The Wine’s gripping story revolving around a dying man who travels to a mysterious island to uncover the origins of an outbreak sees it through. You’ll be taken aback by the emotional gut punch that The Wine delivers, especially as the tragic tapestry it weaves takes on more, increasingly saddening detail.
With some smart puzzles, a beautiful soundtrack, and some of those all-important scares, HORROR TALES: The Wine might not be the biggest horror game on PS5, but it may just offer the biggest surprise.
9. The Sinking City
Developer: Frogwares Publisher Frogwares
A horror with a history so tumultuous that it’s almost as interesting as the game itself, The Sinking City is nothing if not ambitious, a Lovecraftian yarn that’s not exactly scary, but definitely leaves an impression with its creeping tension and twisted aesthetic.
Similarly to the last two entries, The Sinking City isn’t a resounding success from top to bottom, simply because of budget. Despite some of the animations really lacking in some areas, The Sinking City really strives for some of the themes of Lovecraft’s work in its semi-open world, whether that’s in its insanity mechanics or paranormal investigations.
If you liked games like Vampyr but want more tentacles, jump into the jaded shoes of Charles Reed and try to find out what’s going on in the flooded world of Oakmont. Try not to look too closely at its rough edges and you might discover a truly hidden gem.
8. Maid of Sker
Developer: Wales Interactive Publisher Wales Interactive
Wales Interactive has to be one of the most fascinating developers around, a studio capable of flipping genres seemingly with the flick of a switch. In the space of a year, they went from the very underrated Maid of Sker to the also-horrific-but-for-other-reasons Five Dates.
A first-person horror set in Wales, a country which has been pretty untapped when it comes to the supernatural, Maid of Sker transports you to a derelict hotel to find your love. Trouble is, the staff seem to be under the spell of something malevolent and there’s some music that isn’t half as angelic as Tom Jones.
Despite it offering some frustrations, such as weirdly inaccessible areas and meagre checkpoints, Maid of Sker’s mix of action, classic survival horror elements, and twisty story means it’s a horror game on your PlayStation 5 that could scare up quite the treat.
7. The Persistence
Developer: Firesprite Publisher Firesprite
It really doesn’t feel like The Persistence, a one-time PS4 exclusive, has ever really had enough of a share of the spotlight. While it’s not perfect, there’s something about its mix of sci-fi and survival horror that should make it into a bit of a cult classic.
Its roguelike elements are probably what turn most people off, especially when death can come at you from almost any angle aboard the titular spaceship without you expecting it, all of the progress you ruined your blood pressure for, gone. Imagine Void Bastards mixed with System Shock but it’s somehow even crueller and you have a pretty good idea of what life is like on The Persistence.
While it won’t be for everyone, particularly those who just can’t get on with roguelike games in general, The Persistence offers quite the captivating challenge and sense of thigh-clenching tension for those who can persist.
Playing as survivors, players must restore generators across a map while working with their teammates, one annoying and tryhard-y flashlight spam at a time. But when you’re a killer, it’s your job to make sure nobody leaves in a thrilling bit of cat and mouse that will get your heart rate pumping.
And then your blood pressure will rise as you get teabag taunted over and over again.
Whether you want to play it casually as a bit of fun or take it too seriously, Dead By Daylight and its complete reverence for the world of horror makes it something genre fans are going to love on their PS5.
5. Observer: System Redux
Developer: Bloober Team Publisher Bloober Team
Bloober Team boast a library of horror games that is as varied as it is polarising. While it’s true that the Polish studio takes a little too much control out of the hands of players sometimes, Observer: System Redux, itself a remaster, is arguably their most underrated game, as well as arguably the most underrated PS5 horror game out there.
A highly stylised venture into a cyberpunk world, Observer: System Redux is a gripping mystery set in an apartment block with a great central performance from the late Rutger Hauer, who voices the Observer Daniel Lazarski as he hacks into minds and grumbles his way to the truth.
Observer: System Redux is a little light on outright mess-your-pants scares and the chase sequences it leans on do get a bit repetitive, but for sheer spectacle and how well it connects all the threads of its fascinating world, Observer: System Redux is worth hooking up to.
4. DARQ: Complete Edition
Developer: Unfold Games Publisher Feardemic
Unfold Games’ DARQ was one of the cult horror hits of 2019, and it still packs a punch even now with its PS5 port. DARQ: Complete Edition adds even more puzzles and genius moments into the developer’s twisted, eye-bending vision as you take control of Lloyd, who might well be a forgotten member of The Addams Family.
Compared often to Little Nightmares, DARQ is a side-scroller that’s actually far more complex than you might first think, especially when the diorama-esque levels take on increasingly more complex gimmicks in how you interact with them. Lloyd is able to shift the planes of perspective and break the laws of physics, opening doorways and paths forward with puzzle solutions that will make your brain itch.
Those wanting a gory, constantly scary horror game on PS5 may be left wanting, but any horror fan who appreciates mood and aesthetics — as well as some truly brilliant puzzles that’ll leave you gawping — will find plenty to love in DARQ.
3. Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!
Developer: Team Salvato Publisher Serenity Forge
The fact that Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! makes the cut for the best PS5 horror games is probably a spoiler in of itself, but it’s been free on Steam for years now, as well as it being one of the most covered and discussed games on YouTube and the wider internet for just as long. Its description also says “this game is not suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed”. That tends to be a giveaway.
Even armed with the knowledge that Doki Doki isn’t entirely as it seems on the surface, it goes places that you would never expect from a visual novel about a bunch of girls hanging out. What starts off as a pretty generic albeit charming dating sim soon descends into the kind of madness that internet creepypastas were built on.
For those who want to take a headlong dive into some dark places while also meeting a pretty affable cast of characters, Doki Doki Literature Club Plus! is worth checking out on PS5, if only to support the developers as a version of it remains free on PC.
But do you get to have an official Literature Club member card with the PC version? Didn’t think so.
2. Little Nightmares 2: Enhanced Edition
Developer: Tarsier Publisher Bandai Namco
If you’ve previously ventured into the Pale City and left a little part of yourself behind, Little Nightmares 2: Enhanced Edition is a pretty good excuse to do it all over again.
An update of the smash hit horror that shifted over two million copies, Little Nightmares 2: Enhanced Edition offers 4K frights as you take control of Mono, who ventures into a mysterious city where the adults seem to be having a very grey, not very friendly time.
Alongside Six, the protagonist of the original, Mono must escape some gnarled and disturbing people, ranging from doctors who care a little too much to teachers that are serious about student discipline. Little Nightmares 2 is a visually arresting powerhouse of artistic vision that’s even more powerful when played in 4K.
Little Nightmares 2 isn’t a jumpscare factory, but is instead a truly unsettling descent (or, rather, ascent) into darkness that includes some of the most unforgettable setpieces and visuals in horror game history.
The best things come in little packages, after all.
1. Resident Evil Village
Developer: Capcom Publisher Capcom
It’d be a hard task to put anything butResident Evil Village atop a list of the best PS5 horror games. While the indie sphere has produced some horror corkers over the years, none of them have captured the same odd magic as Resident Evil — and they never will, either.
Following on from Resident Evil VII, Village once again puts you in the beige shoes of Ethan Winters in first-person as you look to save your daughter from a who’s who of Hammer-esque villains. Whether it’s the immediate icon known as the vampiric Lady Dimitrescu or the Nicolas Cageian Heisenberg, Resident Evil Village feels as much a love letter to classic horror as it does a continuation of what made VII so great.
Village is ultimately VII with a few of its wacky dials turned all the way up, with werewolves, fish people, and zombie terminators standing in Ethan’s way. While you could argue that it does lose sight of itself in its final third, Village remains a consistently wild, barmy ride from start to finish.
And, also: there’s a sequence that will likely go down in horror gaming history as one of the scariest of all time.
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