My Top 10 PS2 Horror Games
The Playstation 2 was a fantastic piece of gaming hardware that ushered in a new generation for gaming. Along with it, came some pretty fantastic games and, most importantly, some pretty fantastic horror games.
Today, I'll be sharing with you my top 10 PS2 horror games of all time.
I say my because, going by statistics, I feel as though the respective games would not receive any of their well-deserved credit.
10: Michigan: Report From Hell
Alright, hear me out..... this game is awful.
That's also why it is so good.
And why it is so rare. This is one of the rarest games on the system, unfortunately.
Despite its many, many flaws, it is very original in the fact that it isn't original, if it makes sense. Creature designs are pretty gruesome and characters are just comically bad. Honestly, it's just a blast to play and, with multiple different outcomes, something that can be re-played and laughed at again and again.
Monsters kill teens. That's about all you need to know regarding the plot of Obscure. So you don't have to use much imagination for this game and that's fine. What is really great about this game is the terrible dialogue poking fun at cliche horror movies and the combat. The most notable thing about the combat, is when a character dies, it isn't game over but that's it, they're dead for good, taking all their items, their special abilities, and story with them. Players can craft weapons and enhance them; for instance, if you want a gun with a flashlight, you would use tape and tape the flashlight to the gun, a fairly simple system that works really well.
Another pretty notable feature is the two player co-operative system. Believe it or not, it makes the game much better rather than making it a steaming hot mess.
If you can track this game down for a good price, pick it up. It's a load of fun with a partner, friend, or sibling, but can also be a good bit of fun alone.
8: Resident Evil 4
This game is absolutely phenomenal. Tight controls, a responsive camera system, creatively animated cut scenes, and a beautiful blend of one part horror and three parts action. Unfortunately, the action is why it is so high on the list. Yes there were moments that were completely frightening and anxiety inducing, but the horror aspect is all watered down on the count of being, practically, a one man army.
Resident Evil 4 is responsible for launching the series into a more shooter oriented one than a survival horror one and that's fine, it worked really well for the series but I prefer the older games to the newer ones, aside from Resident Evil 7.
All in all, this game had a major impact on the horror gaming industry, regardless and I can't tell you how many hours I have sunken into this game for the replayability and easy to follow story.
Again, a fantastic and revolutionary game that is high on this list. I'm sure a lot of people can agree, however, that this one, like Resident Evil 4, was more action oriented. The horror came from the gritty, gruesome, and often times, tense atmosphere, but hurt itself with multiple levels of rather basic shootouts.
Beyond the shootouts, players are tasked with disposing of a number of "hunters" with a variety of weapons, ranging from plastic bags to chainsaws; each weapon having three stages of brutality, depending on how long the player holds the button down for. However, in order to obtain these wonderfully gruesome kills, players must be stealthy and hide in the shadows to avoid being caught.
Manhunt landed Rockstar into some pretty hot water, as with many of their games have, but this one particularly because players had to be brutal to progress through the game.
Manhunt is an adrenaline filled roller coaster ride. I just wish Rockstar would bring us another sequel for newer generation consoles with their fantastic new software.
All in all, a fantastic game that could be fun for hours, if, like me, you wish to see all of the gruesome kills and get the best possible score on the bonus levels.
6: The Thing
Not only is this a great horror game, but one of the best movie based games of all time, being that it isn't a re-telling of the same story as John Carpenter's classic, but instead a direct sequel.You are sent to the lab to rescue the scientists from the film. You have a squad, that you can give orders to and build trust with, and a number of weapons at your disposal, the most useful being, of course, anything to do with fire.
Basically, it's what you get when you combine the Rainbow Six series with the early Resident Evil series, giving more focus on the Resident Evil side of the coin.
What I really enjoyed about this game is the constant feeling of paranoia, the type of paranoia that makes you use vital items when you don't need them. You never know if one of your squad mates are infected, or if you're infected, or if there is a creature lurking in the snow. Also, the enemy AI is really smart given the time that this game was released, reacting to a wall of fire just as they would in the movie.
This game is survival horror in its most basic, often times clunky, form.
5: Rule of Rose
Let's face it, the Playstation 2 was dominated by the survival horror genre. This game is no exception to that expansive kingdom. While the control scheme is essentially more broken than it needs to be, Rule of Rose's highlight lies in its amazing story strongly reminiscent of the Silent Hill franchise. Not to mention the subject of the story in Rule of Rose is very bold, even by today's standards. Unfortunately, this game fell into obscurity because so many people had so many gripes about the controls and the otherwise lackluster combat system. For me, story and atmosphere is what makes for an amazing horror game, not the combat (again, a problem brought on by Resident Evil 4). If Rule of Rose would have traded its combat for a more defensive approach, this game would have easily been in the top 3.
As a result of the unfortunate property, this game is now considered a rare game and is fairly expensive as a result.
4: Haunting Ground
What Rule of Rose started and should have had more of, Haunting Grounds perfected it and delivered a truly original and terrifying experience. Unfortunately for Haunting Grounds, it was ahead of its time, being one of the first of many "flight instead of fight" horror games. If this was released, say, five or six years later, it would have been a bestseller but, because the market was dominated by games like Resident Evil 4, it too was lost to obscurity alongside Rule of Rose.
Still, it has such a fantastic story, sound design, tight controls, original survival systems, and is just overall an amazing horror experience with multiple endings available for when you want to replay it.
This too is also a very expensive game for the system, copies being a minimum of $70.
A stealth survival horror with some very disturbing monsters, that can only come from the disturbed mind of Japanese horror creators. The Shibito are a bunch of ghostly, bloodied animistic type beings that can never be killed, despite a variety of weapons players have at hand.
What I like most about this game is that it is easily immersed within and slow at just the right parts.
Another, very major, highlight is the replayability. In fact, players are expected to do so, whether it be getting that one key to get a different exit to unlock a different outcome, or to just get a simple document that tells more about the deep, confusing story and its characters.
I won't lie, however, this game is very difficult. You don't have a HUD telling you how much life or bullets you have, and the enemies are all very good at finding you if you slip up even once. Many, many times, I had to run through an entire level because I just could not hide again, missing a different ending and a number of documents, hence the replayability.
All in all, a great game to play with the lights off and headphones, if possible.
2: Fatal Frame II: The Crimson Butterfly
The Fatal Frame series is, by far, one of the best series of all time. This game takes everything horrific about Japanese paranormal horror culture, and mashes it into this franchise. The combat system, where you take pictures of spirits to damage them, is so well crafted and rewards you for taking risky shots with a multitude of different film selections and abilities. The most notable, however, are the first three games, more specifically the second entry.
Fatal Frame II: The Crimson Butterfly is a captivating story with a tense atmosphere, horrific imagery, and authentic scares.
In summary, if you like Japanese horror, then the Fatal Frame series is a must-play for PS2 owners.
1: Silent Hill 2
My all time favorite game ever. So, yeah, this one was a little bias.
I mentioned before that the Fatal Frame series is one of the most original and tense survival horror games of all time. Silent Hill 2 is the most original, tense, and mortifying game of all time. Not necessarily in the jump scare sense, but in the way that it affects the player directly and that the entire world the player finds themselves in, is a reflection of the main character's sins and guilt.
The combat is a little stale, but like Rule of Rose, the beauty of this game comes from its incredible atmosphere, storytelling, characters, and soundtrack making for the best horror experience on the Playstation 2 console.
Not only is Silent Hill 2 a very influential game for all of the horror gaming genre, but it influences many major films, novels, and music albums as well. I can even go as far as to say that Silent Hill 2 changed some pretty major aspects of the horror genre as a whole.
Honestly, I could make a whole article-- or even a whole book about the way the Silent Hill franchise has had its affect on everything related to horror.
So, I will leave you with this:
If you are a horror fan and love games that put more focus on the story, and still haven't played or watched this game, then do yourself the favor and pick it up.
Clock Tower 3, The Suffering and Extermination. Each of these were fantastic games by their own right, but their story didn't hold my interest, were too much alike other games, or were more action oriented-- more so than Resident Evil 4.
All in all, the PS2 era of horror gaming was a revolutionary time that established a foundation for so many of the popular horror games we have today.
As newer generation horror games rely heavily on cheap jump scares to establish a sense of fear, games from the PS2 era were able to attain that by conveying their emotion and imagery flawlessly.