Many survival-horror fans believe that Resident Evil 4 killed the genre. Unfortunately, When Resident Evil shifted its focus from horror and introduced a little more action with fewer survival elements, every other horror franchise followed suit. Silent Hill, among many other franchises, saw the release of action focused instalments.
While some games like Dead Space made a survival horror game on Resident Evil 4’s blueprint, they still couldn’t keep its horror in the second instalment focusing more on actions and less on survival elements.
Games like Dead By Daylight, in my opinion, are a resurgence to the old and un-saturated genre by adding a new element to it – Multiplayer.
Dead By Daylight is a 4 Vs 1 first/third-person experience, with a pretty simple to understand gameplay loop. The objective of the four survivors is to escape. At the same time, the one villain attempts to capture the survivors and brutally hang them for scream as it plays on the psychology of the remaining players as they hear bloody murder and decide if they should trudge on or save their fallen comrade.
Escaping requires tasks to be fulfilled, easier and faster if eight hands are at work, incentivizing survivors to stick together and protect each other.
On the other hand, the villain plays in a First-person view to counteract or balance their abilities. Their job is to keep as many survivors from escaping; it’s a regular 80’s slasher film that gamers can experience in a video game format.
I find I enjoy horror more with friends than alone. It’s not a case of having a sense of security by having a friendly face around; I find reactions of the not yet desensitized; people who find jump scares scary are the best kind to watch a horror movie with.
So without further ado, here are 7 games that are like Dead By Daylight.
1. Friday The 13th
The cult-classic movie got its own adaptation of a video game on par with fans’ expectations. Friday the 13th is perhaps one of the few good movie based games featuring gameplay similar to Dead By Daylight but with up to 8 people. The game even manages to explore some of Jason’s unexplained supernatural movements from the films.
For example, Jason never runs in the movies but somehow always manages to catch up to his victims, well in the video game, he can teleport close to any survivor.
The survivors have their own abilities; they can choose to stun Jason using firecrackers, and without spoiling much, one can also permanently take care of Jason in a way that wouldn’t disappoint hardcore fans of the movie.
Unlike Dead By Daylight, the objective of the survivors is not to escape, but it’s just to run out the time. So Jason has to kill as many as he can within that time frame. This title can be appreciated by both fans of the movie and survival-horror fans.
Phasmophobia seems like a take on the many ghost hunter esque “reality tv shows” that braced cable around the late ’90s; the premise is simple. You and your friends need to investigate paranormal activity and, using clues, identify what kind of a ghost inhabits the area. Of course, all ghosts are different and behave differently. Some might be a little less dangerous than others.
The game begins with all plays in a trailer equipping the loadout and venturing to find the paranormal entity. Once inside, the players can do many things to get the ghost’s attention and clue in from their behavior what kind of ghost it is.
Then, collect the evidence and get out alive. If you get all the proper evidence, you get paid. This money is used for future missions with better equipment.
Phasmophobia doesn’t look great, but that just adds to the uncanny horror. It is scary and fun to play with friends. You can do cool things like lock them inside a room with the ghost and hear them panic as you evilly laugh and lose another friend to a video game.
Speaking of graphics, GTFO looks great. So great that I can’t hit 60 FPS on this title, but I believe that’s just some early access optimization. GTFO puts four players in a futuristic world inhabited by monsters who are lazy bums and mostly just sleep. A “warden” gives the team specific tasks to accomplish, which will set our team free, but that’s easier said than done.
As you navigate the underground structure looking how to get from A to B without alerting the monsters, one of your team members will inevitably do something that will initiate what can only be called an onslaught; a barrage of incoming demonic monsters that will cut you off and rip you apart.
Thankfully unlike Phasmophobia, you have guns and turrets to survive a few hiccups but never enough to run and gun through the entire map.
This game takes teamwork and effort to win. It’s not a cakewalk, pandering to gamers looking for instant gratification. No. You need to play with people you can communicate with and strategise your escape, counting ammo and rationing resources.
This game is what Rainbow Six: Quarantine should have been.
4. The Forest
The Forest is set in, you guessed it; a forest. The game begins with the player(s) being in a plane crash wreckage and missing their son. While the story is nice, it wasn’t exactly written with co-op in mind, this can make some players disjointed with the story, but honestly, it has its own charms; besides, let’s not get caught up in something as trivial as a survival horror’s story and get into the meat and potatoes of the game which is the gameplay.
Unsurprisingly, your son(s) have been kidnapped by a cannibal group, and it is up to you, the dad(s), to find him and bring him to safety. The forest has a familiar gameplay loop of crafter and building a base.
First and foremost, you can’t protect your son if you’re dead, and life isn’t fair in the forest. It’s not just the cannibals you have to be on the lookout for. In the beginning, there’s leeway given to the player in the form of hesitation by the cannibal cult.
The cannibals will attempt to communicate using effigies and stalk the players base from afar. This shyness dies down rather quickly if the players don’t start working on defenses. The AI also shows smartness, dragging their wounded fellow cannibals to safety; they do not dive headfirst into dangers. They will be hesitant to enter a new territory altogether. It seems like they communicate about weaknesses in my playstyle or holes in my fort as a player.
This one is a fun buy to play with friends; however, the map is not procedural, so replay value might not be the same as other games. Still, it’s a polished survival-horror game that’s not $60.
5. Dying Light
This is another title that doesn’t choose its horror to be leaving you defenseless, while it’s scary to have a monster in your room, and you’re defenseless. It’s scarier when you have a gun, and it doesn’t even manage to make the monster flinch, that in my opinion, is how horror games should be.
I have never been the one to enjoy games like Amnesia or Outlast; they aren’t horror games so much as walking simulators with jumpscares in between.
Dying light gives the player freedom of movement to outrun the horror or even fight it at times, but when the night falls, nothing can save you except your wits and reflexes.
The game features a parkour system, very much like Mirror’s edge. It applies a similar urgency to your travels, not by having gunmen shoot you but by having equally skilled zombies and some even faster at parkour than the player is.
An Open-world with parkour and a grappling gun that players can play with friends in a co-op mode is one of the more unique takes on the horror genre, and while the sun is out, it’s all fun and games till the night when the real monsters come out to play.
6. Dead Space 3
Dead Space was one of the best horror-action games to embrace the seventh generation consoles. But, of course, when EA is in control of your product, it doesn’t take long for it to be tainted by microtransactions and DLCs that should have been in the base game, almost as if they cut content from the base game to add it as DLC effectively raising the price of the game. However, these days you can get the entire bundle for a reasonable price.
Following Resident Evil 5’s footsteps, Dead Space 3 is a co-op horror game that sees the return of our favourite protagonists Issac Clarke and Ellie Langford (an NPC from the second instalment) as they try to put an end to the marker and its shenanigans.
The game features some unique takes gameplay-wise such as one player might get lost in their own mind as they attract necromorphs, and the other player must protect their partner as they try to free themselves from their nightmare.
Dead Space 3 is one of the few AAA titles that allow you to enjoy true horror in a co-op setting.
7. Aliens: Fireteam Elite
Alien: Fireteam is a title that has just released in August. The game emphasises teamwork and follows the classic structure of assigning players different classes (Tank, Medic, Intel, etc.) as they take on the deadly Xenomorphs, among other enemies.
All this talk of 80’s classic horror movies, and I couldn’t not talk about this upcoming title. An alien game in a co-op setting? Sign me up. It seems like Fireteam is the adaptation of the sequel Aliens, which sees Ellen going back to the cursed planet as she takes on hundreds of Xenomorphs with a team of marines in an attempt to exterminate the species once and for all.
As such, there is less emphasis on the horror that we saw in Alien: Isolation and more action-oriented gameplay, but that shouldn’t make the Xenomorphs any less terrifying.
The game features no microtransactions and loot boxes, and while DLCs will be released, I wouldn’t mind them as long as the base game is complete on its own.
Co-op horror games are the next step in the survival horror genre. As the internet has spread as an effective technology, most, if not all, games strongly emphasise the online aspect. That’s not to say single-player games are not good enough. Silent Hill 2 and Resident Evil HD will always be my favourite horror games.
However, the reality is it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Experiencing horror with a friend is much more exciting and engaging than a single-player game. I am very excited for the genre and its sudden resurgence in the market with games like Phasmophobia and Dead By Daylight.
Although they might not be true Survival-horror with inventory management and making tough decisions, some games (like GTFO) have managed to combine both the multiplayer aspects and survival aspects to perfection.