Halloween 2023 is just around the corner and accomplice to the arrival of the Dead Space Remake among the October titles on Xbox Game Pass, I thought it was mandatory to pull down a list of the best horror games available on the Microsoft catalog. So they continue, and they never seem to stop, the Freaking News guides that collect the best productions contained in the Game Pass divided by genre: the latest appointment, dedicated to the main JRPGs, is just a click away.
Before we proceed, a little Off Topic: since the Cinema section of Freaking News is also looking forward to this spooky holiday, here you will find our selection of the best Horror genre Movies and TV Shows to watch on Halloween.
Dead Space Remake
I start with the freshest horror name to land on Xbox Game Pass, as well as one of the best games of 2023, Dead Space Remake (here is our special article on Dead Space Remake). I still remember my experience with the original Dead Space released in 2008: summer vacation, Xbox 360 and seventy pages of printed guidebook because, honestly, I could never have finished it without help. I was so paralyzed by the horrors of the Ishimura ship and its invaders, the Necromorphs, that I needed comfort, and that paper envelope was the only one capable of igniting a glimmer of hope in me.
The Dead Space Remake was released on January 27, 2023: improves on everything that the original game had going for it and matches up with this year’s other great release, Resident Evil 4 Remake, an action-horror that, while not on Game Pass, should be compulsorily played in anticipation of Halloween (here about our Resident Evil 4 Remake review)).
The Evil Within
With Microsoft’s 2020 acquisition of Bethesda, several bombshells have arrived on Xbox Game Pass. These include Tango Gameworks’ psychological horror saga, The Evil Within. The two chapters comprising the series are available for download to subscribers of Microsoft’s subscription service and both are directed by legendary Shinji Mikami, who recently left the studio he founded, leaving us, as a parting gift, that crazy cool thing called Hi-Fi Rush (here’s our review of Hi-Fi Rush)).
Pure survival horror, The Evil Within will take you into a real nightmare from which the protagonist, Sebastian Castellanos, will have to try hard to escape. Choosing when to fight and when, on the other hand, not to confront enemies (the resources available to the player are limited), is one of the keys to survival in a title that openly pays homage to the other great saga conceived by Mikami, Resident Evil.
Demons, off-the-wall executions accompanied by exaggerated gore and splatter effects make Doom Eternal a must-play game not only for lovers of horror but of action games in general, a first person shooter that is “the best, of the best, of the best” that Microsoft’s catalog can offer (don’t miss the best shooters available on Xbox Game Pass).
I would also remind you that on Game Pass you will find Doom 2016, a prequel to Eternal as well as a reboot of the historic series born in 1993, developed by id Software and produced by Bethesda. If you don’t know which title to start with when approaching this video game Halloween 2023, a good place to start might just be this one-two punch: don’t pass up the chance to slaughter demons and inject yourself with strong doses of adrenaline, thanks in part to out-of-class gunplay.
Sumptuous, wonderful work that closes, after Doom Eternal and The Evil Within, the Bethesda horror triptych available on Xbox Game Pass. Prey, developed by Arkane Studios and released in 2017, enters the list of the best video games of last generation with merit. An immersive sim – Arkane’s typical genre that leaves ample freedom of approach to the player on how to deal with each game situation – anxiogenic and with an over-the-top level design, in which you will always feel like a victim and never an executioner of the monstrosities that populate the Talos I space station.
To overcome the pitfalls of Talos I you can resort to either special powers in the protagonist’s dowry or to shooting as hard as you can, with an eye always on available ammunition. However, do not make the mistake of considering Prey a pure FPS. Icing on the cake, a top-notch sci-fi storytelling and a fast-paced narrative that will keep you glued to the screen from the first to the last minute of play. Personally, the best game on this list.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre video game is inspired by and pays homage to the well-known film franchise The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and is developed by Sumo Digital studio. This horror game is an asymmetrical multiplayer that allows players to choose whether to play as the killers – impersonating one of the Leathersface family members – or as the victims, trying to escape from the noisy chainsaws ready to rip you to shreds.
In short, you play cat and mouse, and the how you choose. A love letter to the saga in which there is no shortage of references and easter egg for all fans and, on the video game side, a perfect production for those who enjoyed Dead by Daylight.
Back 4 Blood
Another FPS that can be played both in single player and with friends and girlfriends up to a maximum of four players at the same time. In Back 4 Blood, you shoot zombies like there’s no tomorrow, facing hordes upon hordes of the indemonized infected. As we progress through the campaign then, we can upgrade our characters more and more, through a rather rich and well-structured skill tree.
The difficulty of Back 4 Blood increases over the course of the adventure and reaches its peak in the‘last boss fight, perhaps one of the most complex I have ever faced: in the end, thanks to the help of two users who joined my game session, I managed to reach the much-desired end game.
The Walking Dead: The Game
We close with the gem, The Walking Dead video game developed and published in 2012 by Telltale Games and Square Enix. The Walking Dead consists of five seasons of as many episodes, takes place in the fictional universe conceived by Robert Kirman – the story is entirely unedited – and follows Lee Everett and Clementine closely as they try to survive the zombie apocalypse.
The Walking Dead is a graphic adventure with a distinctly narrative component: to proceed in the story, one must interact with the game’s various NPCs, make dramatic and painful choices whose consequences will impact the journey of the two protagonists.