Top 10 Horror Games Inspired by Silent Hill

Thank Silent Hill for upping the spooky factor and inspiring games like these.

by J.R. Waugh

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Silent Hill is one of the most influential, original survival horror games ever made. While it certainly was not the first of its genre, it has left a distinctive mark due to its particular horror stylings, bold plots, and powerful visual storytelling. Many other games in the genre have taken cues from the games, much like Silent Hill itself has taken cues from its own influences. Some games took from the Silent Hill formula and turned it into exceptional projects, and are counted among the top horror games across several generations.

Top 10 Horror Games if You Like Silent Hill

10. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water | J-Horror Chills for Fans of Silent Hill

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Fatal Frame is such an interesting survival horror series due to its niche appeal and unique gameplay mechanics. Instead of escaping menaces while unarmed like in Outlast or Amnesia, or scraping your way through zombie-infested cities like some of the Resident Evil games, these games let you fight ghosts with the “Camera Obscura.” This antique camera got a particularly interesting treatment in Maiden of Black Water when it was originally released for the Wii U, turning the system’s trademark gamepad into the camera. While the gameplay is an acquired taste, the J-horror trappings, as well as the spooky visuals you’ll find in common with Silent Hill, are something worth checking out.

9. The Mortuary Assistant | Taking the Graveyard Shift to New Levels

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The first indie game to feature on this list, The Mortuary Assistant is a great atmospheric puzzle horror game that puts you into a pretty clear nightmare scenario. You’re a brand new apprentice at the River Fields Mortuary, you’re called in for some embalmings, and despite going in alone, it’s clear that something is up about the cadavers you’re embalming. The rest is a spooky trip full of terrifying moments and a chilling atmosphere, commanding your attention throughout.

8. Alan Wake | Sprinkle Some Stephen King and Twin Peaks on Along With the Silent Hill Inspiration

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Alan Wake is a special experience because of how inspired it is by other influences yet being so wonderfully enjoyable and feels wholly original. The game is certainly less intense in the sense of the other horror games on this list, although the sequel seems to intensify those themes. But Alan Wake takes the side of Silent Hill that Fatal Frame on this list didn’t: it uses the clear Twin Peaks elements and creates its own sleepy town full of quirky characters. The atmosphere, with dense fog in the air, creates a sense of mystery and danger, and there’s the imminent threat of the Dark Place where he can get trapped (similarly to Dale Cooper in the Black Lodge.)

7. Tormented Souls | Classic Survival Horror

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There’s a strong argument that this is more heavily inspired by Resident Evil in its menu system, as well as Alone in the Dark, but the Silent Hill inspirations are there too. The enemies you encounter also bring to mind another clear inspiration, the severely underrated title ‘The Suffering’ by Surreal Software. The game world is a creepy mansion that’s been turned into a distorted asylum with visual trappings very common in the 5th and 6th generation of console games. To further appeal to nostalgia for this era in horror, there’s even a warning message about explicit violence and gore.

6. The Medium | The Silent Hill Dream Team

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The Medium is a fascinating horror game not only because it has similar storytelling cues to the Silent Hill series, but it also has a fantastic art style for the secondary world you can navigate in the game. The art is heavily inspired by Zdzisław Beksiński’s artwork, which has seemingly been a trend, as his influence has also been noted for Scorn. Also noteworthy is that the development team behind The Medium, Bloober, has been tapped to develop the remake of Silent Hill 2, the franchise’s most acclaimed title.

5. Outlast | Asylum Terrors

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Outlast is a spectacularly strong indie title that has spawned a successful series capitalizing upon an expanding craze at the time, survival horror in which you can’t fight back. This, combined with frantic pursuit and hiding mechanics made this a different beast, but one of the most interesting parallels you can draw between any of the Outlast games and Silent Hill is in the sound design. Sound design is crucial in horror games for generating ambiance and communicating to players what simple dialogue or text would do too overtly. The power of sound to elevate tension, convey terror, and keep players on edge is crucial, and Outlast is one horror game that’ll constantly keep you right there.

4. Siren: Blood Curse | From the Creator of Silent Hill

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Siren: Blood Curse released at an interesting time for survival horror. After the success of Resident Evil 4 with the imminent debut of its sequel, horror seemed more poised than ever to shift strictly to action. But Siren: Blood Curse, along with its predecessors, stayed their course and focused on horror above action at all times. This was one of the most terrifying games of the era, in which you as the player felt a sense of dread and hopelessness.

Being hunted by the Shibito, or “corpse people” would produce a heartbeat sound effect when they were close, immersing you in the character’s fear. Mechanics like this have remained influential to this day, and although criminally underappreciated, this game was directed by Keiichiro Toyama, creator of Silent Hill. Siren might contain more of the overt suspense otherwise missing in Silent Hill.

3. Amnesia: The Dark Descent | Atmospheric Chills to Usher in New Era of Indie Horror

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Without Amnesia, we wouldn’t have seen the reinvigoration of horror, and for that, it deserves a spot among the all-time greats. The genre was running stagnant by 2010, with its most popular games turning into gimmicky shooters, namely Resident Evil, but Silent Hill was also falling from grace at the time. Amnesia took a step back and minimized the players’ resources, where they’d have to protect the Sanity and Health meters of the protagonist, Daniel, as he navigates Brennenberg Castle.

You can’t fight back, and even encounters without taking damage will wound your grip on reality, so even light becomes a precious resource, as darkness only acts as an additional drain to your sanity. In many ways, this game remains largely original in its own right while still being influenced by other horror games, but in others, Amnesia actually helped influence Silent Hill to grow.

2. Visage | Attack of the PT Clones

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P.T. was the name of Hideo Kojima’s sly playable teaser for Silent Hills, his ill-fated project which was axed by Konami as part of the drama surrounding his departure from the company. P.T. was the scariest gaming experience ever for many gamers, and so much about the game, such as the mysterious game design, terrifying player misleads, and constant descent into dread and hopelessness, was mercilessly copied by other games. This isn’t to say that these derivative titles were bad, and in fact, many are sensational experiences that will be remembered fondly.

Visage is one particular game clearly influenced by P.T. but yet something daring, bold, and frighteningly original. It’s a brilliant, terrifying trip into the sad, violent stories of the inhabitants of a creepy, almost sentient house. This game takes the particular psychological horror elements of P.T. including repetition and perfectly placed scares to turn everything about this game into an absolute trip. While it has its shortcomings, this appears to be the tale of an indie game that sported the concepts of an abandoned game from a major publisher.

1. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard | When Silent Hill Saved Resident Evil

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Along with Visage, there were many games to crop up in the absence of a fully released Silent Hills. They were influenced by the gradual terror, excellent sound design, and relatively lower amount of gore, except in the right spots. Sound design would be built around you suddenly feeling secure, only for that sensation to be stripped away at a moment’s notice. Many games, including entire franchises, would change for the better with these techniques.

Resident Evil 7 is one of those games. The entire first portion of the game is pretty clearly influenced by P.T. as well as even the demo, Beginning Hour. For the longest time during all of this, you’re navigating a terrifying, decrepit home while being forced to explore and unravel the mystery all while danger could lunge out at any point. It was an incredible experience, and a worthy embodiment of the legacy left behind by Silent Hills as a project.

Any of these games can be reasonably examined in comparison to Silent Hill or as a reasonable alternative or follow-up experience. But many of these games can reasonably be considered in different peoples’ eyes as the best in the horror genre, regardless of how they resemble Silent Hill. And that’s what is so important, just how much the genre has diversified, yet being also so empowered by what was clearly one of the most important pioneers of the genre.

- This article was updated on October 25th, 2022

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