When Dead Space introduced the world to the horrifying events that unfold aboard the USG Ishimura, it popularized the sci-fi horror genre in gaming. Surviving through corridor after corridor of mutated aliens felt like getting transported to the middle of a horror movie. Since Dead Space’s release in 2008, there have been several games that have managed to capture its same fright-inducing moments.
From the outer reaches of space to the deep depths of the ocean, no environment is safe from a scary twist. With the Dead Space remake landing on the scene, it is a great time to revisit the games that managed to bring similar levels of thrill and horror.
Prey places you in a space station with aliens who want to kill you, but these aliens are a lot more sneaky than Necromorphs. Any object can potentially be an alien in disguise, and if you’ve ever played prop hunt then this game takes that concept up to 11. You always need to be prepared, and the paranoia of hidden aliens will have you looking at even the most innocent-looking lamp with suspicion.
Combat in prey feels somewhat similar to Bioshock or System Shock 2, and there are various RPG progression systems that augment the way you fight.
6 Bioshock & Bioshock 2
The first two Bioshock games are admittedly less scary than Dead Space, but they certainly have their fair share of creepy environments and action. The dread of getting spotted by your first Big Daddy with its whirling drill will give you the same panic as your first Necromorph encounter. Bioshock especially captures the same feeling of isolation as you survive in a hostile environment where all order has collapsed.
The gameplay is entirely first-person, so the action is still intense. If you’re looking for a game with a great story, combat, and some light survival horror elements, then Bioshock will feel like a blast.
5 Alan Wake
While Dead Space delves into body horror with its terrifying aliens, Alan Wake takes on a more psychological approach. As Alan, you must push through the town of Bright Falls, working to solve the mystery of your wife’s disappearance. Shadowy enemies called Taken stand in your way, and you must use a combination of your trusty flashlight and gun to exterminate them. Like Dead Space, Alan Wake is a third-person action survival game with a linear story.
The story may take a more cerebral approach than Dead Space, but it will still give you plenty of thrills. The outdoor setting of Bright Falls will feel like a literal breath of fresh air after surviving the claustrophobic USG Ishimura.
4 The Evil Within
The Evil Within can easily be just as terrifying as Dead Space, if not more. You play a detective named Sebastion, who after witnessing supernatural events at a murder scene gets plunged into a living nightmare. As you go from location to location, there is always a creeping sense of anxiety. The atmosphere is filled with gruesome scenery and there are several moments that will have you running for your life. The very first section of the game features a desperate escape from a chainsaw-wielding Sadist.
Fortunately, you won't be helpless the entire game, and you will collect an arsenal of weapons to fight with throughout the story. The Evil Within’s third-person action will be instantly familiar if you’ve already finished its space-horror cousin.
SOMA takes sci-fi psychological horror to the next level. The game is very narrative-heavy, and the ending may have you questioning everything you know. There are plenty of scares, but instead of fighting enemies, you will be more focused on exploration and puzzle-solving. Stuck deep under the ocean in an abandoned facility, you will need to sneak your way around to discover your true purpose there.
While you may not be blasting away at aliens like in Dead Space, SOMA doesn’t lose the intensity of encounters. One particular section sees you at the bottom of a pitch-black ocean trench, and the anxiety of what may lie in the darkness will fill you with dread.
2 Alien: Isolation
Alien: Isolation is a true survival horror game, as you’re faced with being stalked by a terrifying Xenomorph. Like Dead Space, you are an engineer who is stuck aboard a ship surviving against alien horror. Groups of enemy humans and androids will be quick to attack you, but the real enemy is the Xenomorph. The Xenomorph constantly stalks those aboard the ship, and when it catches on to your location it will definitely bring on the scares.
The atmosphere is everything in Alien: Isolation, and creeping through the halls of Sevastopol Station avoiding certain death is suitably panic-inducing. If you enjoyed the sci-fi space horror of Dead Space then Alien: Isolation will feel right at home.
1 The Callisto Protocol
The Callisto Protocol was made to be a spiritual successor to Dead Space, so out of all its competitors, it will feel the most familiar. You play as the wrongfully imprisoned Jacob Lee, and you will need to survive a space prison filled with disturbing mutated humans. These brutal creatures are called Biophages, and you will need to use an assortment of different weapons to tear through them. Everything from the atmosphere and upgradeable weapons, to the suit that protects your body, screams Dead Space.
If you feel like taking on another mutated infestation after playing Dead Space, then The Callisto Protocol will give you exactly what you’re looking for.
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