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Best horror games to play right now

5. Resident Evil 2 Remake

It seems almost unimaginable that over 20 years after its original PS1 release the classic Resident Evil 2 is back on the best horror games list. But then we are talking about Resident Evil 2 Remake, a from the ground remake of the original game that honours the past while building a future for the franchise with a game nearly two decades old. It's a success, and high on this list, because of how it melds old and new so perfectly. It's a perfect retelling of Leon and Claire's original attempts to escape a zombie-filled Raccoon City, with all the monsters, set pieces and story beats you remember. BUT. It's also built with today's horror sensibilities - merging an almost beautiful level of indulgent gore with tight gunplay, clever puzzles and some beautiful levels. This is as essential now as the original game was back in the day. 

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, and PC

4. P.T.

If you brought together the world's most idiosyncratic game auteur and one of its greatest film monster creators and they didn't make one of the oddest, most horrible games yet released, you'd be pretty upset. Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro's "playable teaser" for the now-canned Silent Hills, places you in a single, infinitely looping hallway, and proceeds to find a thousand ways to terrify you. This is no idle boast: one member of the GamesRadar+ team was unable to play this game with the lights off, and was forced to turn the sound down to make it tolerable.

There are moments where you face peril, but they're few and far between. The real terror comes from the unknown. What could be around the next bend? A fresh nightmare or nothing at all? Your imagination fills in the blanks, creating more terror than any simple jump scare or creepy noise could. Add in an underlying tale of domestic terror that would make any Silent Hill fan nostalgic, and you've got the world's shortest masterpiece of horror in your shaking hands.

Available: N/A

3. Alien: Isolation

Countless games have been inspired by elements of the Alien franchise, be it James Cameron's space marines, Ellen Ripley's fortitude, or the chilling power of silence in a soundtrack. Despite all that, Alien: Isolation may be the series' greatest gaming triumph. It takes the gut-wrenching fear fostered by the lone Xenomorph in the original film, and extends it into a lengthy game. Isolation's tense survival gameplay keeps the pulse-pounding for hours and hours

You take on the role of Ripley's daughter, Amanda, searching a derelict space station for her mother, only to find the same beast she fought. You're constantly on guard from the cinematic AI of your Alien hunter. This means holding your breath as you narrowly avoid detection, or screaming in terror after failing to reach safety. The atmosphere the game sustains is impressive enough, and it deserves even more credit for taking the Xenomorph, a movie monster bordering on cliche due to overexposure, and making it terrifying once again.

Available on: Xbox One, PS4, and PC

2. Layers of Fear

Most games can make you jump, they can make scream, but few can make you doubt yourself in real life. Layers of Fear initially appears very familiar as you explore a spooky, creepy and cavernously empty house. The Gothic story unravels slowly as you play an unnamed artist returning home. It soon becomes clear though that madness has overtaken the painter and it expresses itself in the unreliable narration of the physical world. Doors disappear and corridors warp out of shape just in the corner of you; the game rearranges itself in such away to recreate the main character's madness that only a few hours in and you'll find yourself questioning everything. Was that desk on that side of the room last time you looked? Are you sure? Add to that the nature of the protagonist's illness - an obsessional painting made from... less than savoury materials, and you have on of the greatest horror games of all time. 

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

1. Resident Evil 7

It could have been a disaster - a clunky, forced update to a revered series, that left fans clamouring for the bombastic nonsense of Resident Evil 6. But Resi 7 is a triumph, smartly feeding off the best horror movies of the last 20 years, effortlessly easing all that edgy new into a recognisable, modern reinvention of the series. The central story is fantastic, the mysteries artfully concealed and your tormentors, the Bakers, are brilliantly subversive.

Switching the action to first-person adds some VR possibilities, but also makes the horror feel uncomfortably close - gruelling, compelling stuff, in a setting you’ll remember long after exploring it up close. But perhaps the cleverest trick is just how Resi it all feels. The safe rooms have the same sense of unsettling respite; ammo feels desperately scarce; and the boss fights have the right mix of terror and glowing, oozing bits to shoot. It’s a tight, smart horror game, and far better than most fans dared hope. It's not the scariest – or most subtle – game on this list, but a brilliant and chilling rebirth. 

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC