TA Top Five: Games To Play On Halloween

By Mark Delaney,
We're just days away now from one of the best days of the year, Halloween. Horror movies fill the entire month's worth of programming, kids rush to the store to buy costumes, then change their minds and want new ones, and it's the only time of the year where it's socially acceptable to make your front yard look like a crime scene. For many like myself, Halloween means setting aside new and classic horror video games, dimming the lights, plugging in headphones and inducing nightmares. This week's Top Five looks at the best games to play in the run up to and during Halloween. In it, you'll find many great scary games, but you'll also find some that aren't trying to be scary but still manage to capture a Halloween-ish atmosphere.

Did we miss any? Let us know what you'll be playing now that you're too old to trick-or-treat.

Honorable Mentions

BioShock (Xbox 360) Achievements
28/06/14 - Judgement

There's no candy to be had in Rapture but there's plenty of Adam and Eve to satiate your cravings. And there's definitely a lot of people in costumes. Strangely, many of them decided to dress as rabbits. The atmosphere of 2K Boston's (later Irrational Games) first-person shooter is world famous. It's largely why it won the TA Game of the Generation award a few years ago, and that same creeping atmosphere fits perfectly for gamers looking to be sufficiently unnerved this weekend.

Dead Rising series

The most Halloweenesque feature of Capcom's wacky zombie games is how the protagonists, Frank, Chuck, and Nick, can dress as anything their surroundings have to offer. Baseball star, Mega Man, SWAT tactician — these and many more are available for your impromptu costume parties, complete with corresponding accessories. Just know ahead of time which houses are giving out the good candies and which are giving out severed limbs again. Yuck.

Silent Hill HD Collection Achievements
Silent hill 3 4

In at least one writer's opinion (see: mine) there's no series better than Silent Hill at leaving the player with a sickening, dirty, unsettled feeling. The eerie town enveloped in fog is one of gaming's greatest settings, and the two games in this HD re-release are the series' best. Unfortunately, some unattended to technical bugs hold back these games from fully regaining their standing as milestones in the genre, but even the originals were flawed masterpieces. If you're looking for a scare this Halloween that may affect you until Christmas, these are the games to do it.

Top Five

5. Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360) Achievements

Batman and Halloween have always gone together very well. Many great Dark Knight stories center around that very evening, and even when they don't, the rogues gallery and Gotham as a setting are all very clearly inspired by the spirit of All Hallow's Eve. It seems his nemeses — The Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, et al, are gearing up a costume party of their own. Arkham Asylum is like a really cool Halloween party that features the Caped Crusader as the guest of honor.

4. Dead Space (Xbox 360) Achievements

When Visceral Games released the first Dead Space in 2008, it was actually right before Halloween that year. Early adopters were treated to one of the most intense survival horror experiences to ever come to the medium, and an instant classic was born for the Xbox 360 and genre alike. Its sequels weren't as strong, but the original game, set on the dark and of course dysfunctional Ishimura revitalized the horror gaming landscape that was lacking new ideas for years.

3. Outlast Achievements

When I first played Outlast at PAX East 2013, I knew right away that a horror classic had arrived. Sadly I had to wait almost two years before I was able to play it on consoles. It was worth the wait though. Outlast plays out sort of like a found footage horror. With much of the game shrouded in total darkness, you have to use the night vision and zoom features of your video camera to see most anything, even when that means seeking out the maniacs walking Mount Massive Asylum. I've played horror games all my life, and this rookie effort from Red Barrels Studios is one of the very scariest and overall best I've ever experienced.

2. Costume Quest series

What would a list about video games to play on Halloween be without the video game that is very directly about Halloween? Costume Quest combines a childlike aesthetic with fun RPG elements that somehow, despite its epic monsters and boss battles, manages to capture the innocence and playfulness of youth on Halloween. Like a lot of Double Fine's games, it exists as a love letter to its subject matter.

1. Resident Evil Achievements
Resident Evil 6/12 3

For years and years, gamers have been hearing Capcom promise how the Resident Evil series would soon return to its roots as a true survival horror. That still hasn't happened, but luckily this year's re-release made the potentially fruitless waiting game more tolerable. The GameCube was home to a few great games in the series, and the first of them found a home on Xbox's digital store this year. Resident Evil is a remastering of the remake (stay with me) and it embodies all the things that made this series the benchmark for horror games. If you want to forego all the Halloweenish games in this list and go straight for the actual scares, you might not find one better than this.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He has written for GameSkinny, Gamesradar and the Official Xbox Magazine. He runs the family-oriented gaming site Game Together.