Survival horror games will never get old, but let’s be honest, a lot of the all-time great horror games came from the PS2. Many of these games are sequels to games that were originally released on the original PlayStation.
While many great horror games were developed for the PS1, the games released for the PS2 could reasonably be considered the golden age of horror. With the graphics improved, and the controls less clunky, it was easier to truly immerse yourself in the games.
The graphics are super dated now, but something about them has allowed these games to hold up over time. Since they couldn’t rely on realistic cut scenes to generate terror, the horror classics paid more attention to the plot, setting, and even music. Was there a certain level of cheesiness to a lot of them? Of course, which is part of why they remain so playable now.
Here are in no particular order, are 11 of the best PS2 horror games that you need to find and play right now.
11 Best Horror Games For Playstation 2
1. Silent Hill 2
It would not be appropriate to start this list with anything except a Silent Hill game. The gold standard for the psychological horror genre, Silent Hill 2 is filled with a sense of dread as you follow James Sunderland, who has returned to Silent Hill looking for his dead wife, after receiving a letter from her. Featuring 6 separate endings, the story will suck you in.
The misty quality of the scenes as you walk through the town and the greyed out tones, all serve to add to the tension of the game. The puzzles range in difficulty, and if you don’t follow things in a specific order, you can find yourself lost until you correct your sequence, so you may end up doing quite a bit of backtracking.
Weird sounds in the mist? Check. Puzzles that took some brainpower? Check. Nightmare fuel? Double-check.
2. Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
One of the most terrifying games of all time, second only to the original Fatal Frame, which many players couldn’t even finish because of the horror factor.
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly was touted as having an intriguing storyline, to tempt people who were still traumatized from the First Fatal Frame.
The story follows twin sisters Mayu, and Mio who are exploring an abandoned town before it is demolished. The twins are surrounded by ghosts, and being hunted by a spirit who is bent on sacrificing one of them.
They are armed with only a camera, “The Camera Obscura,” which allows the player to see the ghosts that are present in the town. Some of the spirits are there to help them, while others have more sinister plans.
You play the game as Mio, but Mayu can still receive damage inflicted by the ghosts. If she dies the game is over. She is not capable of fighting ghosts, and you can not track how much health she has left.
The creators put a lot of work into the horror aspect of the game and it shows, in the behavior of the spirits, and the feeling of the game. This is one game that deserves every bit of hype surrounding it.
3. Forbidden Siren
Rivaling Silent Hill for the eeriness factor, characters in the game Forbidden Siren possess a talent called “sight-jacking” which allows them to see what characters nearby see, and gain their knowledge to help solve the game’s puzzles.
The sole survivors in a remote town where most people have sacrificed themselves to the “Siren” turning into mindless servants of a god that was partially resurrected by an incomplete ceremony.
The gameplay is made even more creepy by the character design. Images of real human faces were captured and placed on the models, giving the characters an “Uncanny Valley” effect.
4. Haunting Ground
Though it received mixed reviews and criticism for its use of the ubiquitous “damsel In distress”, Haunting Ground still told a compelling story. Fiona Belli is in a car accident and wakes up in a castle dungeon with no memory of how she got there.
Trying to defend herself against the inhabitants of the castle, who want her dead, with only the dog to help her, and a tendency to panic in dangerous situations, making it difficult for the player to control her.
The ambiguity of the motives of the villains, and of course the addition of a cute dog, makes Haunting Ground a game worth revisiting, even though it is rightfully overshadowed by games like Fatal Frame, and Silent Hill.
5. Silent Hill 4: The Room
In true Silent Hill fashion, this game doesn’t give you any idea if the experiences of Henry Townsend — as he tries to escape his locked-down apartment building — are real or only in his head.
Silent Hill 4: The Room originally received a mixed reception for taking things out of the Silent Hill setting. Looking back, the setting, the atmosphere, and the gameplay were exceptional and made it undeniably one of the best horror games released at the time. Possession, murder, and a ghostly serial killer make this game a stand out in the Silent Hill series.
6. Resident Evil 4
You weren’t going to get through this list without at least one Resident Evil game. In Resident Evil 4, Leon Kennedy is sent to rescue the President’s daughter from a cult in Spain. Things take a turn for the bizarre when he is forced to face villagers who have been infected with a mind-controlling parasite.
The story is a great twist in the zombie narrative established in earlier Resident Evil games. The voice acting is halfway decent, which keeps you in the game, and it was innovative in the way gameplay in survival horror games was designed.
For every high school student that ever imagined their principal was a villain, out to get them, Obscure for the PS2 was made for you.
Following a group of high school students trapped in their school after dark, and forced to battle their classmates who have all been genetically mutated, Obscure received average reviews but its twist on the zombie games that were popular at the time it was released makes it one worth playing.
If a game has been banned in several countries and the subject of controversies, then it needs to be on this list. Dark and disturbing, Manhunt follows death-row prisoner James Earl Cash as he follows orders by The Director to execute a gang of corrupt police officers.
The game was criticized for its violence and alternately praised for being the “Clockwork Orange” of video games. If you don’t mind over the top violence, Manhunt is worth checking out.
9. The Suffering
One of the first games to use a morality system, The Suffering focuses on convicted murderer Torque, who claims he was falsely accused of murdering his family. Cue earthquake and supernatural invasion of the prison.
This game can be completely played in the first or third person, and is a traditional action shooter, with horror trappings. Filling the “insanity meter” by killing enemies gives torque the ability to transform into a monster. A photo of his family serves ar his morality gauge. The dirtier the picture gets, the more evil he is turning.
Your gameplay affects the ending, and there are three possible endings. This is not the best game on the list, the story is a little clunky, and the ending feels contrived but it’s worth a look if for nothing else than the creature design, which was all influenced by different methods of execution.
10. Alone In The Dark (2008)
This game is one in a series that was introduced in the ‘90s and has gone through several different incarnations. The 2008 version of Alone In The Dark continued the paranormal investigations of private eye Eric Carnby as he looks for answers in a world straight out of an HP Lovecraft story.
This game utilized first and third-person perspective changes, and 3D action. Despite the longevity of the series, Alone In The Dark has always been a quieter success than series like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Alone in the dark is a sleeper hit of a series, and if you are a fan of horror games, it belongs in your collection.
11. Clock Tower 3
Last but certainly not least, Clock Tower 3 which followed a teenage girl, named Alyssa, as she traveled through time to bring peace to spirits.
During gameplay, you are encouraged to emphasize stealth in defeating the supernatural. To calm angry ghosts you need to find sentimental items and return them to the body. There is a panic meter that fills if she is startled or attacked. Filling the panic meter results in the inability to properly control Alyssa as she flails around or freezes in place.
It is similar in tone to Fatal Frame, though nowhere near as terrifying. Gameplay for Clock Tower 3 is short, which was considered a flaw upon release, but can be a relief if you’re looking for something quick that you don’t need to devote hours of your life to.
Still love playing Playstation 2? I don’t blame you! Check out some of our other ‘best of’ lists for PS2 games including 10 of The Best PS2 Racing Games, 14 Best PS2 Fighting Games of All Time, and 17 of The Most Underrated PS2 Games!