Back in the day, adding multiplayer to a horror title was taboo and couldn’t be done without angering legions of passionate fans who enjoy trekking down dark corridors and facing mutated lizardmen with no outside help beyond a few bullets. Lately, there’s been something magical about playing horror games with friends—like Resident Evil Outbreak with a bunch of buddies while frantically barricading multiple doors to keep the zombies out and arguing over resources.
The horror gravy train doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon with the recently announced Silent Hill: Ascension, alongside Capcom’s fruitless attempts to make a Dead by Deadlight clone set in the Resident Evil Universe. If you and your friends need a good scare, we’ve got you covered with these fifteen excellent horror games to play with friends.
15. Left 4 Dead 2
Classics never die. Left 4 Dead 2 has been one of the premier co-op horror experiences for nearly a decade, and it still holds up. Whether you’ve played it time and time again and want to bring a new player along for the ride, or you’re looking for a new obsession for your group, Left 4 Dead 2 promises to deliver with endlessly replayable levels and perfect pacing thanks to its signature AI Director system. Just do a few pull-ups before picking up your controller, as the game is nonstop action-packed with exploding zombies and mean old ladies. Not to mention, there’s nowhere to rest, as those zombies can get everywhere, like sand.
14. Don’t Starve Together
Don’t Starve Together is the cooperative version of Klei Interactive’s indie hit survival game Don’t Starve. If you’re not familiar, the art style might make it look harmless, but if you keep going, there’s a unique “oh sh*t” actor that Don’t Starve has that makes every action build with mounting dread. Add to that the stresses of working with friends, and you’re in for a dark trip. Doesn’t that sound like a great game night?
13. Eternal Return
Eternal Return is a unique beast—developers Nimble Nueron call it a survival horror battle royale MOBA, which is a lot of descriptors for an incredibly innovative free-to-play experience. Players assemble into teams of one, two, or three people, all trying to be the last left alive from a group of 18 survivors dropped onto Lumia Island. Left to compete for weapons, food, water, and other resources, you’ll find yourself hunting, being hunted, laying traps, and trying to survive through heart-pounding scenarios in this sleeper-hit MOBA that’s taking off in Korea. Out of every battle royale, this is the one closest to the film’s twisted tone that gives the genre its namesake.
12. Hunt: Showdown
Are you into Western-esque first-person shooters? Crytek’s competitive first-person action game Hunt: Showdown has amassed a cult following since its launch, and it’s easy for us to see why: the beautiful artwork and intricate environments turn every moment into its own horror movie. Link up with friends and go online as bounty hunters for a real test of will. If you do well, you just might make Boba Fett proud.
11. Project Winter
Project Winter is an innovative game that builds on a classic formula: you’re part of a group stranded in the freezing cold, but one of you is not who they seem. The vibe is extremely reminiscent of the horror classic The Thing, and Project Winter beautifully builds on that premise with a mix of survival and imposter elements that draw on games like Don’t Starve and Among Us. And to make things better, Project Winter is available on Xbox Game Pass, so it should be easy to get a group together. Have some blankets handy as well; we heard it gets cold up there.
Developer Hitchcock Games has mastery over this kind of frenetic first-person horror, and Pacify is their most popular game yet. Get together a group and explore the mysteries of one of the most messed-up haunted houses this side of Amityville. If you can’t get enough, check out the other games from Hitchcock Games. They’re all great fun for groups.
9. SCP: Pandemic
Another game from SCP makes the list. We could have recommended many other SCP games here, but Pandemic stands out as the most ambitious and timely. The world of SCP is full of environmental storytelling that has a way of sneaking by your defenses to gradually unsettle your mind and make your skin crawl. Meanwhile, the layering of more action-oriented gameplay in SCP: Pandemic only amplifies the jittery feeling.
8. The Blackout Club
The Blackout Club can be polarizing—some people hate it, while some of us insist that this should be number one on the list. Do yourself a favor and try it out. The Blackout Club takes the best parts of other co-op survival experiences like phobia and puts them into a colorful, disarming package before letting a world of horrors loose on you and your three friends. Perfect for fans of Stephen King, Coraline, or the original Suspiria.
7. Dead by Daylight
You know we had to throw a cat picture in there, even if it’s a horror game. Dead by Daylight is a mainstay with streamers, and with good reason; this 4v1 survival horror game is endlessly replayable, creating yelps, jitters, and shouts in even the most hardened players. Whether you’re looking for a casual diversion or a new obsession, Dead by Daylight has tons of content to explore, with more being added all the time.
Phasmophobia was one of the surprise hits of 2020, and it has arguably the best VR integration of any horror game to date. If you enjoy shows like Ghost Hunters, this might be right up your alley. Just be ready to be scared for the sake of earning cash, as the game has an item shop where you can upgrade your equipment. Dive in with friends and find out what all the fuss is about in this instant classic ghost-hunting horror game.
5. Resident Evil 6
Listen, Resident Evil 6 is worth pretty much nothing as a Resident Evil game, but as a multiplayer title, it’s completely worth playing. The constant action and crazy enemies are great ways to unwind after a hard day playing other spooky titles. What’s even greater is that it has so many ways to play with buddies, be it online or couch co-op. Avoid all the naysayers and pick this one up as soon as possible.
4. Resident Evil 5
So, take everything we’ve said earlier about Resi 6 and multiply that by two. You now have Resident Evil 5. This game is all about mutated zombie action, similar to Left4Dead and Dead Island. We can’t quite touch on it, but there’s something magical about this game despite the big departure from previous titles. It does require one of you or your friends to put on a thinking cap, as some of these puzzles require all hands on deck.
3. Dead Island 2
The long-awaited sequel to the cult classic Dead Island: Riptide has finally reached our shores. It’s not the most innovative sequel, nor is it the best-looking game ever, but its polished gameplay and fun ways to destroy undead threats are a must-see. It has an RPG progression system that helps tailor the gameplay to your preferences, and you can definitely make some sick stuff with its unique crafting system. Also, there’s a zombie bride boss, so there’s that.
2. The Outlast Trials: Early Access
Outlast is a big name in gaming thanks to the amazing first entry that swept the gaming nation back in 2013. Despite having no real way to defend yourself, it’s a great experience thanks to the clever ways the game throws scares at you. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, the game is currently in early access on Steam, so it’s at least worth a look. We hope you have your night vision ready!
1. Resident Evil Outbreak
The original horror multiplayer title was, and still is, a big hit among horror fans. If you’re a fan of tank controls, inventory management, and slow-paced boss fights, this is your game. There’s multiple characters to choose from, and each one brings something different, gameplay-wise. It’s an old one, but if you have a PlayStation 2, pick up this jewel if you can find it.