Survival horror is a subgenre of horror and action-adventure video games that focuses on survival of the players as the game tries to frighten them with either horror graphics or scary ambience.

Although combat can be part of the gameplay, the player is made to feel less in control than in typical action games through limited ammunition or weapons, health, speed and vision, or through various obstructions of the player's interaction with the game mechanics. The player is also challenged to find items that unlock the path to new areas and solve puzzles to proceed in the game. Games make use of strong horror themes, like dark mazelike environments and unexpected attacks from enemies.

In this article, Gurugamer is going to showcase the top 4 survival horror games to play on PC.

1. Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village is a first-person shooter survival horror developed by Capcom. The game is set in the present time, three years following the events of RE 7. Once again, the player assumes the role of Ethan Winters, who, after an unfortunate series of events, finds himself separated from his family and stranded in a remote Romanian village. Here, he will set himself on a journey to save his family and, at the same time, survive the dreadful and unforgiving place.

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The dangerous villain

Gameplay-wise, this title is beyond excellent. From frantic combat to exciting exploration, everything is fluid, well-crafted, and entertaining. Once again, Capcom opted to deviate a little from their last iteration and give Village a more significant focus on the action. At first, I was slightly skeptical about it, as the last thing I wanted was this to be just another mediocre title, with some cheap Michael Bay-style sort of action segments and uninspired gameplay — yes, I’m talking to you, RE 6. Though, to my surprise and satisfaction, it wasn’t anything like that. In Village, they flawlessly attained the precise equilibrium between action and horror, essentially creating the perfect incorporation of RE 4 and 7 into one. Hence, even if you are not fond of this slightly more action-focused turn the game took, you shouldn’t be all worried; because, in the end, the game still manages to be a true survival horror, truthful to its roots.

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Challenging combat

The game’s heavy, bleak, and terrifying atmosphere is remarkable. Wandering within the various bewildering and interconnected rooms of Castle Dimitrescu, exploring decrepit sheds, and running in the claustrophobic corridors of a colossal factory definitely felt like a dose of adrenaline. At all times, I couldn’t help but feel this eerie and disturbing feeling of vulnerability and anxiety — always expecting a jump scare or something of the sort at every turn and corner.

2. Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 is amazing. It takes everything the original put into the series, and enhances it. The controls are more precise, smooth and convenient (with the addition of a single-button health and stasis refill system), the visuals are even more detailed and gritty, the sound is as creepy as ever, and the story remains intriguing and intense. You must work to unravel the truth behind the Sprawl (the game's setting), Unitology and Necromorphs, as well as battling (literally) horrific hallucinations and delusions from an alien form of dementia. If you are a fan of the first, then you will definitely enjoy this.

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Terrifying horrors

While the base game mechanics are not terribly different from many over-the-shoulder style third-person shooters, several aspects are worth mentioning. One of the hallmarks of Dead Space 2 is that it forces players to use weapons to defeat enemies in a different way. In a time when headshots are the gold standard for 99% of games, Dead Space 2 requires players to sever limbs in order to defeat enemies--well-placed headshots will get you nowhere. This is a refreshing change of pace, as the dismemberment strategy will change based on enemy type (there are several), and thus every battle becomes much more tactical. There are also a wide variety of unique weapons to choose from, and each weapon will serve a different purpose in your arsenal, depending on how you want to fine tune your Necromorph killing strategy. Puzzles are frequent enough to serve as welcome breaks from the tense action, but not too frequent to become annoying.

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Space station

Atmosphere was my main draw to DS1 and now DS2. Visceral Games has managed to create this incredibly immersive environment that manages to literally keep me trying to be prepared for what they may throw at me next. In my opinion, the number one contributor to creating such an unrivaled level of atmosphere is the sound design. Anyone who plays this game owes it to themselves to have it on a good home theater system or at least some good-quality headphones. The surround sound not only adds to the spookiness of the game, but delivers vital information of approaching creatures. Even in areas with no baddies to kill, the sounds of metallic creaks, cracks and scrapes in the Sprawl's ventilation system let you know you're never safe. Indeed DS2 has some cheap scares, but they're so well timed and not always predictable that I have a hard time believing someone who says they never jumped during a play through.

3. Alan Wake

Alan Wake is an extremely enjoyable third person action-adventure/survival game with a very story-driven experience and the theme of a psychological thriller. It is a very cinematic game, with a lot of dialogue and cutscenes. So if you need constant action, you won’t find it here; but if you enjoy games that feel a lot like movies-you-control, this is a great pickup.

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Alan Wake

The backbone of this game is the excellent narrative, which is well-executed and well-acted. The main story arc is mysterious, intriguing, and suspenseful. And the voice acting is quite convincing, which is critical for a game this heavily story-driven. But my personal favorite aspect of Alan Wake is the development of the various characters. Video games sometimes have great stories, but often they lack the depth of character development one may find in other mediums of storytelling, like books, TV, or movies. The way this game was produced, though, it is easy to feel the connection with the characters and immerse yourself in their personalities.

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The main story arc is mysterious, intriguing, and suspenseful.

The graphics, animations, effects, and soundscape all work in concert to create an extremely engaging atmosphere that reinforces the strong narrative. The gameworld looks great and you can feel the heavy atmosphere of the creepy little village that acts as the story’s setting. This vivid and intense setting allows the entirety of the game to be entertaining; even slow plot points remain amusing due to the immersive ambiance. If you are into immersion, Alan Wake is definitely the kind of game you want to play with headphones on, lights off, and no interruptions.

4. Alien Isolation

If there’s one game this year that I absolutely must give my faithfulness award to, it’s probably Alien: Isolation. I’m honestly having trouble thinking of a team of developers who clearly love the source material of their game and want to pay it an honest respect *more* than the developers behind Isolation at Creative Assembly. So much so that absolutely nothing is misplaced, although a few things are mishandled. Everything in Isolation is almost perfectly sculpted and placed to the point where you never have your immersion broken or get taken out of the story, and it’s crystal clear that Creative Assembly wanted to paint Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger’s original vision in a way that did it honor. And they have.

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Everything in Isolation is almost perfectly sculpted and placed

The largest parts of that immersion can be boiled down to three features: graphic design, audio, and mechanics. Graphically, the game is absolutely stunning. Isolation aims to recreate Scott’s original style in the first Alien of “low fi sci fi”, and does it with perfection. Analog computers and cameras and voice recorders and huge, bulky spacesuits with 80’s GUIs. Believe me when I say that this is by far and away the most accurate and stellar portrayal of Alien in any other medium ever made. Second, the sound design: also, absolutely fantastic. Isolation uses the original score from the movie combined with eerie, high-tone background music that’s contrasted against it, and creates a mix of something that both astounds and terribly unnerves you at the same time. And finally, the mechanics, which, while they are a bit simplistic, lend themselves to the scenery that much more. There’s a lot of button pushing and primordial hacking and lever pulling in Isolation, which does wear thin after a while considering the standard formula is “get to location X” while avoiding everything in your way, but fortunately, this is circumvented by Isolation’s greatest strength: it’s fear factor.

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The largest parts of that immersion can be boiled down to three features: graphic design, audio, and mechanics.

It’s been said that the best horror games have you just as terrified when something isn’t happening as when something is happening. Silent Hill 2 understood this. Amnesia: TDD understood this. And I’m glad to say Isolation does as well. The sound of the Alien crawling in the vents above you is constant, as well as the subliminal noises and creaks and bangs that keep your skin crawling, making you never aware when the Alien will drop down. And when it is on the screen, it’s fantastic. Creative Assembly have designed Giger’s Alien (there’s only one in this game) with virtually no scripting and mostly organic AI, creating the effective illusion that this is a real, breathing predator that searches rooms and doubles back and reacts to sound. It’s genuinely terrifying when you’re hiding in a locker, barely a metre away from the beast, knowing that if it turns right, it might hear you breathing or your motion tracker beeping, rip off the locker door and end you.

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