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Top 3 Narrative-Driven Horror Games You Need to Play

Which story-driven horror games should be on your must-play list?

Jeremy Proome

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Even though some horror movies can terrify you, there’s some sense of comfort knowing that you’re just along for the ride. The backseat position in a scripted horror movie allows you to take the fetal position under a blanket or peep through your fingers, but in narrative-driven horror games, you have to actively participate in your very own custom-crafted horror experience, making life or death choices for a number of unsuspecting characters — and we’ve rounded up some of the best that you can get your hands on:

Until Dawn

Available on: PS4

Supermassive Games’ magnum opus, Until Dawn, is a fantastic, scary, and tongue-in-cheek take on horror movies, putting you in control of the fates of numerous teenagers occupying a cabin in the woods as they’re hunted by all types of creatures and threats. Alongside the admittedly brilliant writing and mo-cap acting from the likes of Hayden Panettiere and Peter Stormare, you get a butterfly-effect with all the decisions you make, and the most unassuming and unrelated choices can come back and bite you or potentially save you, in one form or another, which is great. Until Dawn is a gem in the oversaturated gaming market, reminding you that sometimes careless actions can have dire consequences.

House of Ashes

Available on: PS5 | Xbox Series X/S | PS4 | Xbox One | PC

While Until Dawn may have been a homage to teen horror flicks like Cabin Fever or Friday the 13thHouse of Ashes is more of an ode to the likes of The Thing or Predator, delivering a more mature horror experience that focuses on the creature-feature aspect of its inspirations. Due to the nature of games in this genre, the story is always the most important aspect in these games, and thankfully, House of Ashes is as intriguing as it is horrifying.

While it’s part of their horror anthology and follows many of the same beats and mechanics, it also stands on its own two feet and delivers a compelling cinematic-driven experience that horror fans and old-school point-and-click adventure aficionados will appreciate. You’ll have to fight hard to keep your cast of heroes alive, and even harder to not put House of Ashes down.

Hidden Agenda

Available on: PS4

Hidden Agenda is, well, the hidden gem of Supermassive Games’ line-up. It’s an intriguing concept that flips the often colourful, simplistic party game format on its head, turning it into a competitive, dark murder-case of deceit and manipulation. Players connect to the PS4 using their smartphones and the accompanying PlayLink app, and play through a narrative-driven game similar to the likes of Until Dawn or Heavy Rain; but the catch is that each player can steer the story to his or her agenda, hence the name. Want to steer the story towards a particular suspect? You could make key decisions that lead to that. Want to put someone behind bars you have a vendetta against? Find the route that makes that happen. 

It’s one of (if not the) most original games to come out in 2017, and a perfect title to sit down and enjoy with a non-gamer or hardcore gaming enthusiast. It’s a little short, but a great taste of what can be achieved using PlayLink.

What’s next? The Quarry

2022 is set to get a whole lot freakier when The Quarry launches on 10 June. Also developed by the maestros at Supermassive Games, The Quarry is the next big project from the acclaimed studio, following nine young camp counselors who must survive a night at Hackett’s Quarry in Upstate New York while being hunted by bloodthirsty locals and a creature much more sinister. Find out more about The Quarry in our preview.

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