The High Score: 6 Horror Games to Play Lit Up With Lights OutBailey RahnOctober 20, 2017
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Console: PS4, PC, Mac
Strain Pairing: Amnesia. Beyond the shared name, this mind-warping, thought-twisting sativa strain is a perfect companion for the game, plucking your mind from your body and steeping it in the disorienting, monster-infested horror-scapes of Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Amnesia is a psychological survival-horror game that still gives me chills seven years after its original release. In it, you open your eyes to a dark mansion with zero context as to who you are, where you are, or where you’re going. Equipped only with an oil lantern that drains with use, your primary enemy in this walk-through horrorscape is insanity—a force that depletes your mental fortitude, like an HP bar, with each step into pitch darkness. Unfamiliar sounds and vague outlines in the shadows scratch away at your character’s sanity like a ghostly fingernail—and if you let yourself sink deep enough, you might find your own heart pounding at the same elevated, anxious rhythm.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Console: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Strain Pairing: Night Terror OG. You’re going to need this indica for its power to soothe your screams and relax shaking hands.
It’s family fun night over at the Bakers’ plantation in the newest Resident Evil installation, Biohazard! Playing as civilian Ethan Winters, you’re no combat hero—just a sad husband searching for his missing wife in an old, blood-encrusted farmhouse inhabited by the Baker family (who have all inherited the insanity gene) along with other monstrosities called “The Molded.” Breaking away from the action-focused Resident Evil 5 and 6, this first-person survival-horror aims its efforts on exploration, item interactivity, stunning graphics, and of course, scaring the absolute shit out of you.
Dead Space 2
Console: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Strain Pairing: Alien Hallucination. This dizzying hybrid strain dishes out a trippy head high that will whip the gravity out from under you.
In this sequel to the 2008 original, Isaac Clarke is back to slice and dice more hellish aliens plaguing the Saturn space station, Sprawl. This survival-horror isn’t the latest in the series, but fans cling to this sequel for its bone-chilling ambiance that gets your heart thumping through long, dark hallways and around unpredictable corners. Taking place three year after the original storyline, the terror of Dead Space 2 is driven in part by the post-traumatic stress of the protagonist who must, once again, face extraterrestrial horrors that can only be defeated by strategic dismemberment.
The Evil Within 2
Console: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Strain Pairing: Monster Cookies. Being chased by a giant, deformed monster with a chainsaw calls for a nice, soothing indica with panic-taming attributes.
Remember the gore-soaked nightmare that was The Evil Within (2014)? Well, the pants-poopin’ good times are back with the sequel, The Evil Within 2. Released just days ago, this grotesque third-person shooter continues the story of protagonist Sebastian Castellanos, whose sanity has gone through the wringer after his experiences at the Beacon Mental Hospital (in the original game), the disappearance of his wife, and supposed death of his daughter. This nightmarish world comes fully stocked with monsters bearing vague resemblance to something once human. A true survival-horror game dreamed up in the bottommost layer of hell, Evil Within 2 taps into our most primitive adrenal instinct of fight-or-flight while tickling the senses with sickly creative figments of psychedelic horror.
Console: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS
Strain Pairing: Lucid Dream. This awakening hybrid strain brings curiosity to the senses, providing a perfect pair for this game’s artistic ambiance and darkly intriguing plot.
Let’s turn the terror down several notches: Inside is an indie puzzle-platformer that uses brilliant light and shadow effects to achieve a monochromatic but richly stunning atmosphere. From the same folks that made Limbo, this linear game suspends you into a narrative without context: You’re a nameless young boy sliding down a rocky hill into a series of surreal and strange scenarios, and the final destination is a place is one you won’t soon forget (and that is all I will say about it). Demanding only about four hours of your time from start to finish, Inside can sooner be compared to a comic book than a novel, and I can think of few better ways to spend a stoney, rainy evening inside.
Strain Pairing: White Nightmare – This sativa’s stimulating cerebral effects will have your mind and heart racing while sharpening your senses to the interactive puzzles that demand both creativity and patience.
P.T. – short for “playable teaser” – makes this list solely as an honorable mention as it is sadly no longer available for download (sooo find a friend who has it). Directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Torro, this temporary teaser released in 2014 was intended to introduce Silent Hills, the next installment of the Silent Hill series, before all plans for the game were cancelled. P.T. was a short, first-person horror “game” that involved repeatedly walking down a single hallway and foyer. Each loop brought something new and hideously terrifying to confront, whether by sound or sight. Driven by difficult puzzles that took many players days or weeks to solve, P.T. was a psychological challenge in more ways than one.