Being scared is so much more fun when you’re with someone. Ever walk through a haunted attraction alone? It’s depressing. There’s no one to laugh with or to push toward the masked chainsaw-wielding maniac. The single player horror experience can suffer similarly, which is why we’re shifting the focus a bit to this gamut of the best two-player horror games. We think accelerated heart rates, sweaty palms, and impending feelings of dread should be shared with those you love – and a good co-op game is the best way to do so.
Due to a surprising lack of strictly two-player games, we scoured the bevy of multiplayer horror titles and pulled from two categories. The category included games that allow up to two players, whether competitive or co-op. The second was general co-op multiplayer horror games that are functional, entertaining, and replayable with only two players.
The Best Two-Player Horror Games
15. F.E.A.R. 3
Developer: Day 1 Studios Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
What do you get when you blend first-person shooting with an in-your-face horror romp? You get a game like F.E.A.R. 3 and a suitable co-op experience.
Playing through F.E.A.R. 3 alone is quite enjoyable. Doing it with a friend and tinkering with separate and unique abilities really amplifies the entertainment. The game’s Divergent Co-op sends players deep into the Almaverse, into a psychically-created alternate dimension full of horrors crafted by F.E.A.R.’s prime evil, Alma.
The story is way out there, and you have the horror expertise of John Carpenter and Steve Niles to thank for that. Their footprints can be seen all throughout F.E.A.R. 3, which is likely why it’s among the series’ most heart-racing entries.
14. 7 Days to Die
Developer: The Fun Pimps Publisher: The Fun Pimps
If you’re going to die in a zombie apocalypse, why not do so with a friend at your side?
7 Days to Die is an open world PvP multiplayer, so it’s technically built for far more than two players. However, immersing yourself in the undead-ridden sandbox with a friend balances the tension and difficulty while ensuring you don’t get bored in some of the game’s slower points.
The name of the game is survival, and you and your best bud will scour locations searching for supplies to escape the undead horde. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one out there, and other survivors will be gunning for your stuff. You and your cohort may not be enough to raid opposing settlements, but your combined manpower should be enough to squeak by, build your own slice of fortified paradise, and wait out the horde.
13. Don’t Starve Together
Developer: Klei Entertainment Publisher: Klei Entertainment
We all have that one friend we’d go to hell and back with. Though that’s typically a figure of speech, in Don’t Starve Together, it’s exactly what you’ll be doing.
Trapped within The Constant, players are forced to survive with limited supplies and a mess of horrifying creatures on their tails. Don’t Starve first released as a punishingly difficult single player experience. Don’t Starve Together combines what everyone loved about the original and blends it into a co-op title.
You’ll both explore The Constant in search of supplies to build new and fascinating devices. The more you can progress, the greater the chance you have of surviving this literal hell. It’s spooky. It’s unsettling. It’s occasionally unforgiving. Can you think of a better way for two close friends to bond than by fighting off starvation?
Developer: Hydravision Entertainment Publisher: Mighty Rocket Studio
At the peak of fixed-camera survival horror, games like Obscure drove home the fact that you didn’t have to be Resident Evil to belong in the genre. It’s safe to say Obscure has likely been forgotten by many, but anyone looking for a solid co-op experience should look no further.
Trapped in the halls of Leafmore High School, players can team up as hapless students simply trying to escape a nightmare. There’s something sinister about the school, and the deeper you get into the belly of the beast, the more you’ll uncover the grim horrors looking to tear you limb from limb.
Despite having a companion at your side, the game still pulls some effective frights and captures an eerie tone well.
Developer: Kinetic Games Publisher: Kinetic Games
Largely due to the safety hazards of exploring old and decrepit locations, ghost hunting is often a team effort. You’ll all gather around some assumed haunted telephone hoping anything will happen. Add on the fact that all spirits are ticked and can kill you, and you pretty much have Phasmophobia.
Kinetic’s supernatural hunt is typically a four-playing game, but there’s nothing quite like having that and scouting America’s most haunted locations. With just two people, you’ll need to pick up some slack and coordinate your efforts to avoid being the specter’s next prey.
With only two people manning the haunt, there’s no hiding in the truck “looking for orbs.” You’ll need to get out there with EMF in hand, hoping some Banshee doesn’t take a liking to you. It’s a 50/50 shot, after all.
10. State of Decay 2
Developer: Undead Labs Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Are you selfless enough to risk life and limb for the safety and future of all survivors of the zombie apocalypse? The true answer lies in how you play State of Decay 2. When you stumble upon survivors just barely surviving, will you take on another mouth to feed or assume them an enemy and do what must be done?
It can be a tough call to make, so it’s nice to have a friend along for the ride to make the decision for you. The open-world zombie action-adventure is ripe for a co-op experience. There’s a ton of traversal, plenty of buildings to explore, and an unending swarm of zombies to maim. Watching each other’s backs, you’ll take the zombie threat head-on with one goal in mind – preserve the existence of what’s left of mankind and build a following while you do it. Together, you can be a hero or villain.
Or you can just waste time killing zombies. Whichever appeals to you both the most.
9. Hunt: Showdown
Developer: Crytek Publisher: Crytek
Hunt: Showdown is not the type of multiplayer horror game you try to tackle alone. First and foremost, there are dangerous monsters lurking around every corner. And while you’re dodging or wasting what precious ammo you have on them, you’re also being targeted by the rival hunters all vying for the same grotesque bounty. If only you had a second pair of hands – and guns – to help you progress in this unique multiplayer horror shooter.
With a fellow hunter at your side, you have a better chance of locating the clues to your final bounty and taking down the manifestation of horror that awaits. Be it the hulking Butcher, the terrifying Spider, or the imposing Scrapbeak, your coordinated efforts will earn you quite the sum of cash.
Unless you both fail. Then you’re both down a hunter, your efforts were for naught, and your friendship is null.
If you could bring only one friend to a serene forest escape, who would you bring? The Forest wants to send you and a friend to a lush paradise, where you’ll make unique friends, learn important survival skills, and fear going to sleep at night. Even with a friend at your side, surviving The Forest is no easy feat, as you’ll need to gather supplies, build fortifications, and develop weapons, all while keeping yourself from starving to death.
In many ways, The Forest is like all survival games. What separates it is the very effective focus on horror. The mutant cannibals make your life a living hell, and their swarms will make you wish you were simply fighting waves of the undead.
With the right player trapped on the peninsula with you, survival could be a real possibility. But don’t let early successes get to your heads. Your traps and towering walls may work during early encounters, but the inhabitants of the forest will have some game-changing surprises for you as your time on the peninsula drags on.
7. Dead Space 3
Developer: Visceral Games Publisher: Electronic Arts
Players tend to chide Dead Space 3 for its weak story and deviation from the series’ core tone. However, it’s only really guilty of doing what most survival horror titles were doing at that time – going action-oriented. With that change in style, though, came a two-player co-op that allowed friends, family, and strangers to share in the frequent scares that Visceral still snuck into the fast-paced experience.
Dead Space 3 introduced series newcomer Sergeant John Carver, and while he’s no Isaac Clarke, he does a fine enough job of filling in as another necromorph slayer. While not every critic was immediately smitten with the changes Visceral made, and players were vocally negative at launch, it seems Dead Space 3 has started to receive the praise it deserves as a solid co-op horror title.
Imagine, if you will, if Event Horizon and 2001: A Space Odyssey had a video game baby. System Shock 2 is the product of this digitized mashup of tech-gone-bad and a descent into hell. Of course, hell, in this case, is more figurative as you awaken from your cryosleep to a ship overrun with infected and an artificial intelligence that finds glee in your perils.
System Shock 2 is surprisingly scary, and having a second player with you doesn’t make it any less so. The infected aren’t just mindless drones, and their cries and screams will haunt your dreams. For a first-person horror shooter, its pacing is perfect, and its story will leave you floored. You can really see where BioShock’s development team pulled some of its inspiration from, though carrying over the co-op experience would have been a treat.
5. The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes
Developer: Supermassive Games Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Group
Supermassive Games has solidified video game storytelling as a viable art form with its Dark Pictures Anthology. Kicked off with Man of Medan and followed by the Salem-inspired Little Hope, the anthology reached peak greatness with House of Ashes, a surprising co-op experience that sent players into the deserts of Iraq.
On the hunt for weapons of mass destruction, a Special Forces team uncovers an evil that could consume the world. And as the narrative navigator through this horrifying ride, you determine just how devastating things get. You’re not alone behind the wheel, though, as House of Ashes features a co-op mode where you take turns playing through the story.
As you progress through the story, you and your fellow player will rotate who’s playing, which gives both of you equal time making decisions and getting people killed. It’s an interesting way to see how you jive with your cohort and see if you’d make the same choices.
4. Resident Evil 5
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
This could be considered theResident Evil that started to break the series before Resident Evil 6 went all out and shattered it to pieces. However, Resident Evil 5 has many merits that make it a great game, though it may not be a great Resident Evil game.
Playing as either fan-favorite Chris Redfield or the since-forgotten Sheva Alomar, you’ll journey to Africa and follow the progression of the Uroboros Virus. Battling through the waves of enemies definitely carries an action-packed feel to it, leaving behind all semblance of the horror franchise we’d come to know and love.
The story may be a little out there, but much like Dead Space 3, the game’s biggest crime was simply not being “Resident Evil” enough. Again, like Dead Space 3, the co-op gameplay more than makes up for the shift in tone and delivers a memorable, replayable, fast-paced couch co-op game.
3. Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse
Developer: Wideload Publisher: Aspyr
We spend so much time teaming up to kill zombies, maybe it’s about time we team up as zombies.
Stubbs the Zombie is an original Xbox classic, built on the Halo engine and released back in October 2005. As a newly resurrected zombie in a hypothetical vision of the future complete with 1950s vibes and aesthetics, players set out to exact revenge for the desecration of Stubb’s grave and his murder at the hands of his sweetheart’s father 26 years prior.
Players can be joined by a second Stubbs, who’s just as menacing and brain-obsessed as the original. Together, they’ll chomp on the skulls of hapless citizens, building an army of zombies that can help destroy the idealistic city. Stubbs is a love story coated in a thick layer of brain matter and sinew, and the unique approach to the zombie-centric gameplay solidifies this as a gaming great. Whether you’re controlling humans with your detachable hand or tossing a gas-filled spleen, Stubbs the Zombie provides ample entertainment you’re sure to return to time and time again.
2. Hide and Shriek
Developer: Funcom Publisher: Funcom
It’s so easy for a game like Hide and Shriek to not show up on your radar. It’s not a big AAA release or one of the few scattered indie titles that earn fame through streamers, which is unfortunate because its zany co-op antics really deserve more attention.
The one vs. one game is simple – scare your opponent before they scare you. Both players will have a host of different spells and frights at their disposal, and it’s all about strategically setting them to catch the other player off guard. The catch? You’re both invisible, the playing field is large, and there’s no telling what may be waiting around the corner.
It’s as if The Haunting Starring Polterguy was turned into a multiplayer game. And wouldn’t you know, it absolutely works. Hide and Shriek is a fun, quick multiplayer delight that anyone with a desire to scare their friends should try.
Resident Evil Revelations 2 released as an episodic survival horror game that put fear in the spotlight and featured returning favorites Claire Redfield and Barry Burton. Revelations 2 digs a little deeper into the Wesker lore as Claire and Barry’s daughter, Moira, are captured and imprisoned in a strange island facility.
Zombies are a thing of the past, and their greatest threats are the mutated Afflicted and T-Phobos, a virus that mutates its host as a fear response. Barry is joined by a strange girl with a gift on his search for his missing daughter.
While not a full Resident Evil release, Revelations 2 stays true to the series roots while integrating a couch co-op mode. During Barry’s segments, one player controls Mr. Burton while the other takes over Natalie, who has a keen sense and can detect monsters and items.
The two connecting narratives offer completely different experiences, and it works to give players something fresh but familiar. It’s probably safe to say that other Resident Evil titles should maybe stick to this formula.
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