Silent Hill is one of survival horror's most influential titles, to say the least. In fact, it's safe to say that it shaped the future of gaming in general. The dense, ominous atmosphere of the eponymous town creeps into players' hearts and heads as they navigate their way through each story, torn between focusing on solving the mysteries and surviving.
Even age hasn't managed to take away from the series, with even near-decrepit graphics managing to give a thrill that most modern titles can't even get close to. But luckily, the soul of Silent Hill has spread far and wide in the gaming industry, and there are several titles that seem to take a bit of its soul for their own. This list encompasses a handful of those.
10 Amnesia: The Dark Descent
When he awakens in the looming halls of the Prussian Brennenburg Castle, Daniel can only remember three things about himself: his name, where he lives, and that he is being hunted. A note from himself tells him that he erased his own memory on purpose, that he must avoid the shadow, and that he needs to eliminate the baron of the castle, Alexander. As he takes his own advice, he discovers that things are much worse than they seem: his sanity is waning, and the castle is filled with horrific creatures called gatherers.
Similar to Silent Hill, the Amnesia series draws heavily from its atmosphere. The player is not given any weapons and must instead rely on their wits to hide and/or escape from monsters. It also has heavy elements of psychological horror, causing the player to question the world around them.
9 Fatal Frame
In 1986, Mafuyu Hinasaki goes missing while searching for his tutor Junsei Takamine and his assistants. His sister, Miku, goes to his last known whereabouts to find him: the haunted Himoru Mansion. As she explores, she solves the mystery of what happened to Takamine's people - and finds herself faced against hostile ghosts with only a special camera to protect herself.
Fatal Frame uses its environment to its advantage, as well as leaving the player feeling virtually helpless against the aggressive haunting taking place around them. There are puzzles to solve and mysteries to uncover that are reminiscent of those found in Silent Hill.
8 Alan Wake
Alan Wake has returned to the fictional town of Bright Falls, Washington after his wife's disappearance, hoping to solve the mystery of what has happened to her. Though he has no recollection of writing it, the events of his latest novel are coming true all around him.
Alan Wake uses Bright Falls as a playground for psychological thrills by filling it with enemies called the Taken, which are created when the looming darkness possesses humans, animals, and objects. Each Taken is protected by a layer of darkness that must be destroyed by the light before they can be defeated. Alan carries a flashlight that requires batteries to stay on, as well as a small variety of other items, but the player is encouraged to use environmental light sources and to think critically about each decision made.
7 Until Dawn
After a prank gone wrong results in the tragic loss of twin sisters Hannah and Beth Washington, the remaining people who were there drift apart. None of them expect to receive an invitation to a party on the anniversary of his sisters' death from their brother, Josh, but for better or for worse, they find themselves back on the snow-covered mountain, staying in his family's lavish cabin. As the night goes on, they begin to suspect that they are being stalked by a masked assailant.
Until Dawn is a game that puts the story completely in the hands of the players. Each choice made directly affects the characters' relationships and the outcome of their adventures. Trying to survive is the main objective, while figuring out exactly what's going on comes in at a close second.
In 1960s Taiwan, Wei Chung Ting is a student at Greenwood High School. He falls asleep in class as his teacher is being interrogated about their book list, and when he wakes up, he finds that an incoming typhoon has left the campus is completely deserted. Well, almost. He finds a senior, Fang Ray Shin, sleeping in the auditorium. Together, the two of them discover that the place they once knew has become a nightmarish version of itself that's rampant with evil creatures called the lingered.
As the storm rages on outside, their school's dark past begins to wash up around them.
Detention utilizes similar tactics to Silent Hill with the twisted, nightmarish version of the school versus the ordinary one. The story unveils itself in a similar way as well, slow and subtle but with an undeniable impact.
5 Resident Evil
The eponymous first installment in the Resident Evil series follows partners Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine as they struggle to survive in a nightmare-infested mansion in the Arklay Mountains, while trying to solve the mystery of what exactly caused this.
Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, making the mansion feel like two completely different places. Rationing ammo and solving intricate puzzles are core components of both sides of the story.
Throughout the game, the game reveals a much deeper, more intricate plot that ties together throughout the series, similar to Silent Hill.
4 Heavy Rain
Ethan Mars and his son Jason are struck by a vehicle, which Jason doesn't survive. Upon awakening from a six-month coma, Ethan is consumed with guilt and trauma which causes him to experience blackouts. Two years later, he takes his son, Shaun, to the park, and a blackout causes him to take his eye off of him just long enough for him to be kidnapped by the notorious Origami Killer.
Later, he's challenged by the killer to prove how much he loves his son, in exchange for being told where he is, and desperate, he accepts.
Heavy Rain's story has similar elements to several different Silent Hill games, including Silent Hill: Homecoming and Silent Hill 2, while the atmosphere adds heavily to the overall story experience, another key similarity.
3 Haunting Ground
When Fiona Belli awakens in a mysterious castle, she's afraid. Within moments, she's already been nearly grabbed by a large, disfigured man in a viscera-covered room. Her memories are foggy at best and the eerily docile servant, Daniella, makes her uneasy.
Something isn't right. She has to leave. Luckily, she finds someone that she can trust: a dog named Hewie. Together, they might just be able to escape.
Haunting Ground is a psychological thriller as well as a classic survival horror game. Fiona is defenseless and relies on hiding, crafting small items, setting traps, and ultimately using Hewie to fight for her. She's also prone to panic, leaving the player unable to control her until she relaxes.
Her vulnerability and the truly twisted nature of her story are beautifully woven throughout the game.
2 Clock Tower
In September 1995, Jennifer Simpson is adopted by the wealthy, reclusive Simon Barrows, along with three others, Laura, Anne, and Lotte. The four of them are taken together to his sprawling mansion, the Clock Tower.
Shortly after their arrival, one of the girls is killed, and Jennifer finds herself being hunted by the Scissorman, a deformed child brandishing a large pair of scissors.
While its foreboding atmosphere and intricate mystery are similar to Silent Hill, Clock Tower is actually similar to Haunting Ground too Jennifer can't fight and must rely on hiding and setting traps, while trying to avoid panic mode.
When investigative journalist Miles Upshur receives a tantalizing anonymous tip through e-mail, he heads to Mount Massive Asylum to check it out for himself. He breaks into the abandoned building to find that the staff's bodies litter the halls, which are now stalked by dangerous inmates.
Outlast uses its environment as a powerful gameplay mechanic. Attempting to fight results in death. The only equipment is a battery-powered camcorder that gives the player night vision. The story is layered and complex, revealing a deep plot that reaches far beyond a simple asylum-based horror game.