Best survival horror games to test your endurance skills

The best survival horror games
(Image credit: Capcom)

When it comes to hoarding ammo, the best survival horror games will have you agonizing over your inventory as well as the terrors all around you. Sure, the best horror games offer plenty of chills and thrills besides, but there's something especially petrifying about being pursued throughout your adventure in a relentless chase of cat and mouse while your bullets and health items rapidly dwindle... 

Be it Mr X in Resident Evil 2, Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village, or the Xenomorph in Alien: Isolation, the genre's greatest hits always includes formidable foes who just will not let up. The best survival horror games also often come with a psychological twist, meaning it's not just the fight for physical strength that our poor protagonists need to contend with. There's plenty more to come amid the litany of upcoming horror games, but for now, we're here to focus on the top 10 survival horror games you absolutely need in your library. Keep your shotgun close.

Recent updates

Our list of the best survival horror games was updated on January 18, 2024, adding Remedy's latest showstopper Alan Wake 2 to our rankings.

The best survival horror games are...

10. Resident Evil 2 remake

Leon and Claire in Resident Evil 2 Remake

(Image credit: Capcom)

Platform(s): PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and PC

Almost 20 years after its original PS1 release, Resident Evil 2 is back and better than ever. The Resident Evil 2 Remake has rebuilt the original game from the ground up, which manages to simultaneously honour its roots and build a future for one of the most groundbreaking horror games of all time. Leon and Claire are attempting to escape the zombie-filled Raccoon City, and will face plenty of monsters and challenges along the way. Tight gunplay, clever puzzles, great set pieces and some strangely beautiful gore – seriously – all combine to make one of the most essential, and best, survival horror games.

9. Alan Wake 2

Alan Wake 2 screenshot showing Alan exploring the Dark Place

(Image credit: Remedy)

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X, PS5 

Joining the ranks of the best survival horror games ever is none other than Alan Wake 2. The much-anticipated psycho-terror sees tortured writer Alan battling his inner demons in the Dark Place, while detective Saga Anderson plays out his script from beyond. It's a mind-bending thrill ride across two very different locations, with Saga's chapters being the more survival-horror oriented ones in terms of gameplay. Whether you're a returning Remedy fan or are totally new to the studio's brand of multi-media mayhem, this gumshoe-meets-horror fest is one standout game from 2023 that cannot be missed.

8. Soma

best survival horror games

(Image credit: Frictional Games)

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Soma reaches far. The studio behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent decided to turn its hands to sci-fi, examining the fluid relationship between our bodies and minds. You wake up in an abandoned research facility and come face to face with broken robots who think they’re people. It soon becomes clear that real humans’ minds are actually inside these robotic shells, but they’re completely unaware they’ve been uploaded there and don’t understand why you don’t think they’re human. The story is intriguing, creepy, and at times heartbreaking, and well worth a play for those interested in the concept of AI. 

7. Resident Evil: Village

Best PC Games - Resident Evil Village

(Image credit: Capcom)

Platform(s): PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and PC

The opening of Resident Evil Village, a continuation of RE7's story this time set in Eastern Europe, is strong, clever, and fun - full of atmosphere and intrigue as you explore (and features a part that's probably one of the best stand-alone horror levels of the year). While the latter half veers into 'okay' territory, with some combat slogs, a boss fight that's a bit of a stretch even by Resident Evil standards and, while it's still good, it lacks the same spark and craft as the beginning. Resident Evil Village is an enjoyable, occasionally silly, monster hunt that's entertaining - even if it almost completely resets all the incredible work Resident Evil 7 did to reinvent the series.  

6. Alien Isolation

Games like Resident Evil - Alien: Isolation

(Image credit: Creative Assembly)

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Creative Assembly wanted to explore what happened between the events of Ripley blasting the alien out the airlock and the moment her floating sleep pod is recovered. The result is Alien: Isolation, where Amanda Ripley goes looking for answers about why her mother disappeared. Her search brings her to a remote space station called the Sevastopol, whose dark halls are being stalked by a familiar creature who literally does not stop hunting you. The AI in Alien Isolation was groundbreaking; the alien can’t be defeated, but it’ll learn your ways of avoiding it. Hide in too many lockers, and it’ll start throwing them open searching for you. Use the motion tracker to steer clear of its path, and it’ll hear the beeps and draw closer. If it sees you, it’ll remember which door you went through to escape. Thanks, sadistic game tech clever clogs. 

5. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

best survival horror games

(Image credit: Frictional Games)

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

You have no gun. When the shambling creature hunting you in Amnesia draws near, the only thing you can do is hide or run. If you light your lantern to see in the dark it’ll find you more easily. If you extinguish the flame you’re better hidden, but your character goes slowly insane with terror. Amnesia is a Lovecraftian tale where you wake up on the floor of a castle with no memory of where you came from, but a note from your past self explains you must find and kill the master of the house. The loading screen instructs you to turn the lights off and play with headphones, and truly, that is the scariest way to play. The graphics may be a little dated now, but few games have an atmosphere this genuinely frightening and suffocating. 

4. Outlast

best survival horror

(Image credit: Red Barrel)

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

There’s a moment in Outlast where everything could have been different. When your car groans to a halt in the deserted grounds of an eerie asylum, the front doors are locked but your character, an investigative journalist, spots an open window. At this point, anyone with a sliver of self-preservation would walk away and call for backup, but that would make a terrible game. Instead, you climb through the opening, video camera in hand, and what unfolds is five hours of pure terror. The inmates run the place, and in some areas the bloodstained corridors are pitch black meaning the only way you can see is through your camera’s night vision. True to survival horror form, camera batteries are scarce; jump scares aren’t, though.

3. Evil Within 2

The Evil Within 2

(Image credit: Tango Gameworks)

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Another one of Mikami’s creations was The Evil Within, which like Resi explores the corrosive effects of megacorp greed - but this time the suits are dunking people in an alternative reality called STEM rather than turning them into zombies. Here, each character’s worst nightmares play out as they’re trapped in their own heads, linked up to a collective consciousness like a messed up Matrix that no pill will let you leave. The sequel follows Detective Sebastian Castellanos who must venture into STEM to find his missing daughter, who’s been subject to experiments by the greedy company behind the simulation, Mobius. The sequel has much greater freedom in its map design than the first Evil Within, with more areas to explore and more ways to advance through a level, making it a great place to jump in.

2. Resident Evil 7

Resi 7

(Image credit: Capcom)

Platform(s): PS4, PSVR, Xbox One, and PC

The only place to start is with the inventor of survival horror, Shinji Mikami. The legendary Japanese video game designer directed many of Capcom’s biggest titles in the 90s, including Resident Evil. That first foray into the twisted world of the Umbrella Corporation is credited as the original survival horror game, and the series has spanned over two decades since. Resident Evil 7 follows the story of a man named Ethan, whose search for his missing wife leads him to a rotten old house belonging to the twisted Baker family. 

After the more action-oriented Resident Evil 5 and 6, Resident Evil 7 firmly re-roots the series in survival horror. And the series' return to horror is deliberate, grimy, and effective. There's a sense of dread that never lets up as the Baker family relentlessly pursues you, and every few turns brings another horrific monster to contend with. The whole game is playable in VR too, meaning when you peer around corners in-game you have to physically twist your body forward in your living room. Be prepared to have your toes forcibly uncurled via local anaesthetic after.

1. The Last of Us 2

The Last of us 2 deals prices

(Image credit: Sony/Naughty Dog)

Platform(s): PS4, PS5

Ambitious, disruptive, and brave, The Last of Us 2 set a new bar for video game storytelling by taking your hopes and affections, bringing a bulldozer to them, and then making you fall in love with the bulldozer. But even putting the monumental narrative achievements aside, Naughty Dog made a survival horror game that's wicked smart, unpredictable, and scary on a whole new level.

The infected are terrifying enough in their own right - if you thought clickers were bad, wait until you meet the Rat King - but The Last of Us 2 affects each kill with a moral dilemma at-times brought on by your personal relationship with that character, and other times by the visceral way in which they struggle to breathe another breath and eventually succumb. If the survival horror genre is meant to haunt, challenge, and question you, but somehow still be fun to play, The Last of Us 2 is the best of the best.

Freelance Writer
With contributions from