Escape a Cursed House in the ‘V/H/S’-Inspired Horror Game ‘Left to Rot’
2022 was a landmark year for horror media across the board. From theater screens to home consoles, we’ve been blessed with plenty of quality content during these past 12 months. However, with tentpole releases piling up as gamers struggle with their ever-expanding backlogs, we thought that this would be the perfect time to organize the major releases of the year in a single comprehensive list so that readers can sort out their horror gaming priorities.
That’s why we’ve decided to rank the 10 best major horror games of 2022, as even the most devoted of horror hounds might need a little help keeping up with the bountiful harvest of scary media from this past year. And while this is a ranked list, I’d argue that every single title here deserves a playthrough – so remember that even our last placed entry is still worth checking out!
As usual, we’ll be following a couple of rules. First of all, no remakes or remasters (which excludes The Last of Us: Part I and Alan Wake). Second, we’ll only be including major gaming releases, as we’re also working on a separate list of lesser-known indie titles that you may have missed.
With that out of the way, don’t forget to comment below with your own personal best horror games of 2022, especially if you think we missed any important ones.
Now, onto the list of Bloody Disgusting’s best horror games of 2022….
10. Dying Light 2: Stay Human
There’s an argument to be made that Techland’s sequel to Dying Light is just more of the same, expanding on familiar concepts rather than reinventing the zombie-slaying wheel. However, when your formula is as addictive as this one, I can’t exactly fault the developers for not wanting to stray too far from what made their undead parkour game so much fun in the first place.
That’s why I think Stay Human is one hell of a fun time and will likely have just as much of an extended lifespan as its zombified predecessor with its extensive post-launch support. It’s just too bad that the story elements didn’t see much of an upgrade.
9. Choo-Choo Charles
There’s no overstating Stephen King’s influence on popular culture, but it’s a shame that so few of his ideas have been translated to the world of gaming. That’s why fans were pleasantly surprised when The Dark Tower’s Charlie the Choo-Choo served as the basis for a legitimately thrilling survival horror experience in the form of Two Star Games’ Choo-Choo Charles.
Part train simulator and part open world survival game, Two Star Games’ title may be a little rough around the edges, but there’s no denying that it lives up to its promise of arachnid-slaying fun. In fact, despite some wonky graphics and a brief campaign, conducting a train has never been this exciting. I just hope that the “Gus the School Bus” tease means that a sequel is already on its way.
8. The Quarry
The interactive horror movie has been promised by the gaming industry for years, but I think it’s safe to say that Will Byles and his team at Supermassive Games are the only ones who have continued to hone the concept into a finely tuned craft.
That’s why The Quarry is so memorable, as despite telling a familiar story that often feels like a summer-y reskin of 2014’s Until Dawn, the cathartic thrills of leading a group of scared camp counselors to safety (or to their doom) is more effective than ever.
7. The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me
As the doll renovator from Toy Story 2 would say: “you can’t rush art!” That’s why I don’t mind the fact that The Dark Pictures Anthology took a whopping three years to conclude its series of interactive horror stories. Fortunately for fans, the extended development time means that these games kept improving as the series went on, and The Devil in Me is clearly the best and most innovative of the bunch.
Inspired by the real-world horrors perpetrated by serial killer H.H. Holmes, this interactive horror flick feels a lot more like a classic survival horror adventure from the PSX era than its predecessors. That’s why I think it ranks slightly above Supermassive Games’ The Quarry despite the smaller scale.
6. The Callisto Protocol
More so than any other artform, gaming relies heavily on technological advances to provide audiences with a satisfying experience. However, like low-budget B-movies and classic grindhouse flicks, technical hiccups alone aren’t enough to ruin a well-crafted adventure. That’s why I believe Striking Distance Studios’ long-awaited The Callisto Protocol fulfills its promise as an innovative successor to the Dead Space franchise despite a few annoying blemishes.
If you can engage with Callisto Protocol on its own oddball terms, it’s a legitimately thrilling ride that earns a spot on this list by not regurgitating the team’s past success. It’s also especially fun if you’re a fan of the underrated Silent Hill: Downpour! I just wouldn’t recommend picking up the PC version before it receives a couple of much-needed patches.
Accepting videogames as an artform also means accepting that artistic intent is sometimes more important than technical perfection or a traditional “fun factor”. That’s why Ebb Software’s Scorn ranks so high on this list despite its divisive critical reception. It may not be a consistently entertaining “product”, but it’s still one hell of an effective nightmare simulator – and I think that’s precisely what the developers intended.
The mere fact that an H.R. Giger-inspired shooter even exists is a testament to the creativity of contemporary developers in general, so I more than welcome a return to the batshit crazy game design philosophy of the 90s if it means we get more weird titles like this one.
4. Ghostwire: Tokyo
Ghostwire: Tokyo may not have been the yokai-hunting successor to The Evil Within that a lot of fans were expecting, but this innovative open-world title has a lot more up its sleeve than most people realize. Sure, it’s not as scary as Tango Gameworks’ Shinji-Mikami-led projects, but it’s much more imaginative.
And that sheer creativity is why it ranks so high on this list, telling a unique story that blends supernatural horror fiction with a magical first-person twist that’s sure to keep you coming back for more ghostly battles.
Scientific studies about the nature of fear should always be taken with a sizable grain of salt (after all, it’s hard to mathematically quantify a subjective feeling), but there’s something to be said about Broadband Choices’ decision to appoint the supernatural thriller MADiSON as the scariest game of all time.
It doesn’t exactly reinvent the survival horror gameplay wheel, borrowing more than a few ideas from Kojima’s ill-fated P.T., but I’d highly recommend this blood-curdling example of Argentinian game design if you’re up for some serious scares.
2. The Mortuary Assistant
Working with dead bodies is spooky enough even when demonic entities aren’t involved, but DarkStone Digital really went out of their way to craft one of the scariest and most inventive experiences of the year by forcing players to examine haunted corpses in The Mortuary Assistant.
The unusual gameplay loop and less-than-AAA graphics won’t appeal to everyone, but there are enough randomized frights here to keep players coming back for more demonic diagnoses well into the future.
I also love the fact that one of the year’s scariest games is also technically a job simulator!
1. Evil Dead: The Game
I’m not the biggest fan of asymmetrical multiplayer games, so the fact that this title takes the number one spot definitely means something. A hand-crafted love-letter to Sam Raimi’s iconic films, any horror fan worth their salt should try Evil Dead: The Game out at least once. Sure, it has some balancing issues and doesn’t exactly feel like a polished big-budget title, but how can you resist reliving the thrills of this demonic franchise, complete with chainsaws and Oldsmobiles?
From the proper Bruce Campbell voice-overs (a far cry from the generic grunts emitted by his Dead by Daylight counterpart) to elements inspired by the underrated TV show – not to mention fan-favorite characters brought to life by reasonably priced DLC- this is the most fun I’ve had with a horror game in 2022. That’s why it’s a no-brainer as our number one pick.
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