Ever since Resident Evil opened the door to its horror house in 1996, we’ve willingly taken on survival games that put our underpants at risk.
With the nights growing longer and the darkness creeping in, now is the perfect time to settle in with some of the scariest games out there - with nothing betweeen you and a Cabin In The Woods-worth of monsters, ghouls and ghosts, apart from a controller, mouse or keyboard.
Just make sure to give your neighbours a heads-up about the screams.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 4
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Call of Duty's co-op Zombies mode has been a fan-favourite part of the franchise for years, but with Black Ops 4 ditching a single-player campaign, every part of the multiplayer experience has been dramatically enhanced.
And that means more Zombies… so much more Zombies. In fact, it has three entire Zombies campaigns available right now, with even more coming as downloadable content down the line. Pick a story, choose a hero, and get to slaying zombies before they slay you first.
STATE OF DECAY 2
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Zombies are a staple of horror games, of course, but State of Decay 2 makes you extra-weary of the undead walkers. Why? Because one wrong move and a survivor gets chomped – and then he or she is lost for good. There's no firing up your old save and trying again.
It's that healthy fear of death that punches up this open-world survival tale, which does suffer through some annoying bugs and glitches but ultimately proves a tense and thrilling affair. And it's better online in co-op, naturally.
The Evil Within 2
Ripped straight from the twisted mind of Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within was a dark, demented trip through a virtual reality world - only that reality had been warped by the mind of a serial killer. Think demons, zombies and lots of barbed wire - not a pretty sight. And the sequel is scarier.
It builds on the genre, giving you more freedom and creativity while still finding ways to keep you on edge. Finding a perfect balance between creative open spaces and more claustrophobic close quarters, it ratchets up the tension and doesn't give you time to breathe. Don't waste those shotgun shells - you're gonna need 'em.
It’s hard to be scared of anything that you can easily blast to death with a load of bullets. That’s why Outlast 2 strips you of any weapons, and only provides you with a night-vision video camera to find your way around. If only you’d eaten your carrots as a child.
This more intense sequel pushes beyond the frights of its predecessor, giving you an experience that’s high on tension and even higher on the scare factor. Whether you’re running from imminent death or slowly exploring the spooky environment, this first person fright-fest will surely pile on those jitters.
The suffocating atmosphere of space is perfect fear fodder - especially when the colossal orbital station you're working on is now home to inky-hued, shape-shifting aliens that leap out at you from places you wouldn't expect. Prey's mimics are smart, experts at camouflage and desperate to introduce their tentacles to your esophagus.
When you're not fighting off extraterrestrial horrors, an eerie tension permeates every corner and hallway, with a strange, crackling sound design that does a superb job of setting your mind on edge. One to play with headphones, definitely.
Friday the 13th: The Game
While it’s true that this game has more bugs than Jason has corpses in his cabin, Friday the 13th is absolutely still worth playing. This online multiplayer scare-em-up either puts you in the shaking boots of a screaming teenager trying to escape the masked killer, or Jason himself on a good old murder spree.
The fact you're being hunted by another player, and not some faceless AI makes things all the more scarier - especially as Jason can't be stopped, only slowed down. If he gets too close, your weak teenage bones don't stand a hope in hell.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Resident Evil 7 shakes up the long-running survival horror franchise by switching to a first-person perspective, while returning to its roots with a slower pace and emphasis on scares, instead of shooting. It works, too, as you learn to make every bullet count and worry about what’s hiding around every corner.
One of this year’s scariest games is also one of the best games out right now that you can fully play in virtual reality - with a PlayStation VR headset, you’ll be able to get get scarily up close with the deranged Baker family. You’ll never complain about your real-life family dinners again.