Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror that mostly focuses on depicting a character's mental state that is restless and disturbed. Just like horror itself, psychological horror has also consistently grown to become a much-loved genre in recent decades.

With technological advancements, psychological horror has improved in quality where developers are given more room to pour terrifying and gripping elements into their games. If you are interested in games that can test this kind of mentality, here are some of them that you must try.

1. Outlast

Just like most horror games made by indie developers a decade ago, Outlast's success was largely the result of the large number of viewers watching their favorite streamer play Outlast and then being shocked by the horrific moments it had to offer. In addition to passing a myriad of jumpscares that are certainly surprising, Outlast appears tense through the fact that players are not given weapons to fight.

In other words, the only thing players can do is run and hide. In 2017, Outlast also got a sequel that may not be as good as the first game but still tests the mentality of players.

2. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent was released in 2010 by Frictional Games and has become not only one of the most influential games in the psychological horror subgenre but also the horror genre in general. Just like Outlast, this game is also popular among streamers or YouTubers, one of which is PewDiePie.

Of the many factors, the biggest reason why this game can be so influential is because just like Outlast again, this game does not provide players with any weapons to fight enemies. The concept is very contrary to the standard of horror games at the time, which mostly turned towards action with the presence of characters such as soldiers, aliens and many more.

3. Soma

Next up is Soma, which was also developed by Frictional Games, the developer behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Frictional Games did a very good job of executing this game considering that many players certainly know how to anticipate the horrors that Soma has to offer, post-Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

Instead of meeting player expectations, Soma subverts those expectations so that it can appear as an unexpected psychological horror game. Soma itself tells the story of a protagonist who is thrown into a strange and mysterious place, after receiving experimental treatment after he suffers from a serious brain story.

4. Observer

Observer is a psychological horror game developed by Bloober Team, the developer behind popular horror games such as The Medium, Layers of Fear and Blair Witch. Just like Soma, Observer received a lot of praise for its world design, atmosphere and story being one of the best in the psychological horror subgenre. It's become a must-buy type of game for those who expect unexpected horrors.

At the end of 2020, Observer got a new version called Observer: System Redux which comes with more story content and better visual quality. If you want to enjoy Observer more immersively, it's a good idea to choose the System Redux version.

5. Alan Wake

Alan Wake was originally released exclusively for the Xbox 360 in 2010, before finally releasing it on PC two years later. In October last year, a remastered version of the game was released, complete with all the DLC for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC. The psychological horror story of this game is mostly inspired by the works of one of the famous horror book writers – Stephen King.

The inspiration is very clear from how this game presents supernatural enemies, to complete the story about a writer who is worried about losing his mind. The sequel, Alan Wake 2, was announced at the end of 2021 yesterday and is scheduled for release in 2023.

6. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice was developed by Ninja Theory and is one of the most unusual psychological horror games on this list. Instead of being set in today's world with the usual protagonist, the game is set in a dark fantasy world inspired by Norse and Celtic mythology. But regardless of the world's setting, the main focus of this game is psychotic mental illness.

The depiction of psychosis in this game was even created with the help of a neurologist. It's no wonder that in the end this game was liked by many players and got a score of 88 on Metascore for Xbox One. This game also gets a sequel titled Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga which is predicted to be released later this year or early next year.

7. Silent Hill 2

As explained earlier, psychological horror games continue to get better thanks to technological improvements so that developers can create more detailed, immersive and very scary horror experiences. This is also a reminder that Silent Hill 2 is very special, because despite being more than 20 years old, Konami's game still offers one of the best horror experiences, surpassing other newer or modern games. 

The style of storytelling is one of the main selling points of this game where finding out what happened to Mary is still very interesting to follow, in addition to how the psychological condition of the main character, James, is executed.

Those were the reviews and recommendations for some of the most mentally testing psychological horror games in 2022. Dare to play the scary games above?

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