It’s time to switch off the lights and assemble the fort, because we’re booting up the nightmares on your Xbox One and Series X. Of course, you’re going to need a Game Pass subscription in order to enjoy the harvest, though with what Microsoft has on offer these days — paying a single dollar for the privilege isn’t exactly too demanding. Plus, for the fright fanatic with a hunger for a compelling video game, it really is the perfect place to pitch a tent and reap the rewards of bone-shattering horror.
Over the years, Xbox Game Pass has introduced plenty of genuinely thrilling titles — all of which have come and gone as the carousel has continued to shift. However, as of today, we’re looking at some of the best titles the platform has seen since its 2017 launch. And, thanks to the cross-platform play and the exclusive Xbox 360 titles that pop up every once in a while, horror fans really can immerse in the best of both worlds all in one place. With all of that said — we do have to recommend these five as our strongest, and dare we say scariest titles on all of Game Pass.
5. Outlast 2
If you thought Mount Massive Asylum was scary — wait ’til you get a load of Temple Gate. Outlast 2, as per the Outlast recipe, is yet another insidious tale that packs even more terrifying ingredients into its cauldron. With twice the number of villainous creatures lurking between the shadows and swamplands of the gunge-riddled Arizona, this second chapter from Red Barrels is definitely set to induce a few terrors from the safety of your own home.
Filling the shoes of investigative journalist Blake Langermann, you must trudge through the unforgiving town of Temple Gate in search of clues revolving around the murder of a pregnant teen, known only as Jane Doe. However, after sinking into the remote town in an attempt to unearth the mysteries that shroud the region, the goal ultimately dies with the sudden uprise of a local cult that only wishes to greet you coldly by the hand.
4. The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan
From the makers of Until Dawn comes The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan, an exciting tale that puts you in the driver’s seat for a movie-like experience where you pull the strings. With in-game choices coursing the tide of the story, it is up to you to navigate the treacherous oceans that bind the abandoned warship to the evil that wallows in the darkest crevices of the keel. But with six unique lives on the line and only a handful of routes to survival — the burden of making it through to sunrise definitely won’t be a doddle.
After a deep-sea expedition goes skewiff in the darkest hours, the six twenty-something divers find themselves captive to a band of money-hungry pirates. With only a cryptic note that draws them towards an abandoned ship in check, as well as the lingering hopes of uncovering a mysterious gold, the unlucky six make way for the ghost-riddled shipwreck. However, although abandoned for half a century — not all life has capsized in the SS Ourang Medan.
3. Blair Witch
Breaking away from the action-based formula, Blair Witch narrows in on a much more psychologically tormenting experience. Without filling up on worn-out jump scares and unnecessary filler, this movie-based video game stays true to the silver screen through its unsettling homage. And that’s just it. Blair Witch does a stellar job at proving that, even without the endless slew of in-your-face tactics — a horror game can still be downright terrifying.
Sinking into the boots of ex-police officer Ellis Lynch, you’re put on the cold trail of a missing boy in the darkest depths of Black Hills Forest. However, after trespassing into the shadowy abyss of a labyrinth, you’re immediately thrown off course and ultimately led astray to dangers unknown. With only a camera to document the abnormalities that flourish between the nooks and crannies of the void — both you and your fractured thoughts will begin to deteriorate as you search for clues and an escape from the treacherous region. The Witch lays in wait.
2. The Evil Within
While on the hot topic of psychological horrors, it seems only right to include a much earlier entry, one which happened to release back in 2014. But apart from the game pushing towards that decade-old milestone, it still doesn’t tear away from the fact that it is, even among the newcomers — a fantastic entry to play in 2021. Of course, with a game as prominent as The Evil Within, chances are you’ve probably already bundled in a number of quality hours with Sebastian Castellanos already. If not, well then — now’s your chance.
The Evil Within takes you on one of the wildest, most unpredictable journeys you could dare fathom in video game form. With a lengthy story that refuses to make no two edges the same, filling the shoes of the tenacious detective becomes a long and crooked road with endless waves of second-guessing and spools of surprises. As part of a unit sent to investigate the sinister happenings within Beacon Memorial Hospital, you’ll have to unearth the mystery behind the gory massacre that cloaks the complex. However, with every ward brimming with evil activity — you might expect a few hiccups along the way.
1. Dead Space
One thing Game Pass isn’t exactly short of is Xbox 360 titles. And while many of them can often be sidelined in light of an up and coming release — a fair few have still stood strong over the winding years. Take Dead Space, for example. Now there’s a prime example of how to keep the fire stoked after a decade or so. Of course, any true horror fan will likely know of the series and the amount of terror that seeps within its unsettling concept. That said, there is the unfortunate collective who have yet to experience such horrors.
Dead Space puts you in the boots of Isaac Clark, an engineer put on track to repair the USG Ishimura, a deep-space mining ship that sinks into darkness after discovering an ancient artefact. After entering the ominous craft and searching for survivors, Clark discovers the remaining residents of the ship scattered and blood-soaked, effectively leaving USG Ishimura in an abandoned, yet eerily vacant state. But what happened to the mining expedition exactly? Well, follow the sounds of your thumping heart and you’ll soon discover what lurks beyond. There is far more to the USG Ishimura than meets the eye, that’s for sure.