Published on December 17, 2021    Updated on March 20, 2022

25 Best Horror Games You Can Play on a Low-End PC / Laptop

Being unable to play good horror games on a low-end PC can be a nightmarish experience. Luckily, this article will help you find the best ones!

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When using a potato PC, hunting down any horror title that may work decently on your system can prove to be a haunting experience. With the sheer amount of AAA horror games that are constantly released, it’s easy to fall prey to the illusion that none of those great horror games will run on your system.

Not everyone has the means to have the best components, but everyone is lucky to discover great horror games. This list was made to let you discover the best horror titles that will run on your low-end PC. There’s a mix of old, recent, and retro titles.

Pick whichever you want, and let us know if you’ve discovered something new, or a title that you’ve had fond memories with.

Alan Wake (Original)

Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Release Date: 16 February 2012
Franchise: Alan Wake & Alan Wake’s American Nightmare
Type: Third Person

Brought to you by the minds behind Max Payne, Alan Wake is almost on the same level of epicness as the aforementioned. Despite not being too scary, the game has its moments where it manages to scare the crap out of you.

The game puts you in the shoes of the best-selling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he ventures into an investigation to uncover the obscure reason behind his wife’s sudden disappearance. Alan will experience abnormal sceneries and strange shadows that’ll haunt him throughout the game. Thankfully, Alan possesses the means and skills to outwit any danger that assails him.

The gameplay is pretty similar to the likes of Silent Hill: Downpour, and Dead Space. An over-the-top action third-person shooter that sees you encountering shadows that are weak against the power of light. Light is also your resort whenever you’re low on health as it heals you up. Alan Wake and the DLC are great horror video games, and if you’re reading this using a potato PC stick with the original as the remastered may not work very well, but you’re free to try anyway.

F.E.A.R Franchise

Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: 2005-2014
Franchise: F.E.A.R
Type: First Person

F.E.A.R is the ultimate definition of how age has no impact on a game if it’s excellently crafted. It’s incredible how a game such as F.E.A.R manages to stand the test of time among other titles such as The Chronicles of Riddick and DOOM 3. While the graphics may not hold up still to today’s standards, the control’s fluidity and the visual effects still make these games recommended to play.

Story-wise, the first and third game has you playing as a silent member of F.E.A.R (First Encounter Assault Recon). Meanwhile, the 2nd game sees you playing as Michael Becket, a member of the Delta Force. Despite the games sharing different objectives, they all have the same goal, stop Alma Wade before she destroys the entire world.

The best thing about this franchise is its clever AI that will never cease to amaze you. Instead of just taking the cover as every typical AI, enemies in F.E.A.R are close to reality. Meaning, they can flank you, break into rooms to shoot you, throw grenades, stealth behind you, and more. The way how enemies react to your actions will certainly shock you.

The Suffering Franchise

Developer: Surreal Software
Publisher: Midway Games
Release Date: 2004-2005
Franchise: The Suffering & The Suffering: Ties That Bind
Type: First Person- Third Person

The Suffering is one of the closest games to Silent Hill in my book. Not because of its over-the-top gunplay action, but because of the uncanny atmosphere that surrounds Torque whenever he goes. Memories of the past are haunting him, grotesque creatures appear from every corner, and the only way to survive is to shoot yourself throughout the traumatic experience.

Fans of Dead Space and Resident Evil 4 will feel right at home when playing The Suffering franchise. However, the downside of this franchise, to me, is that it feels unfinished. The second game leaves you yearning for more of Torque’s action, but with Midway Games gone and Warner Bros possessing the rights, I doubt that fans of the genre will get the third game.

The first Suffering runs on nearly everything, however, beware that the first entry suffers from some game-breaking issues. Thankfully, you can easily solve this by checking the GOG forum. Meanwhile, the second game (Ties that Bind) has zero issues.

Condemned: Criminal Origins

Developer: Monolith Productions
Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: 11 April 2006
Franchise: Condemned
Type: First Person

Developed by the same team that made the first F.E.A.R game, Condemned is a psychological horror first-person experience that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. You take on the role of an FBI agent framed for a murder he didn’t commit. Police are looking for him, and the only way to solve that case is to find the murderer responsible for turning his life upside down.

Ethan Thomas will traverse through the darkest areas of the city, and encounter the craziest people he’ll ever meet in his life. People that just want to crack his skull and move on.

Fans of the genre will find themselves immersed in this masterpiece as it contains one of the scariest environments ever created. One thing that sets Condemned apart from F.E.A.R is the emphasis on melee combat. Guns and ammo are scarce, so your way to survive is by learning the combat mechanics. The developers have put an emphasis on that gameplay mechanic as it conveys a sense of realism as you room the surroundings filled with homeless people.

Silent Hill 4: The Room

Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: September 7, 2004
Franchise: Silent Hill
Type: Third Person, Psychological Horror

Despite being inferior to previous instalments in the series, Silent Hill 4 is worth the shot. Thanks to GOG’s efforts, the game has been resurrected from its abandonware hell.  We hope that Konami will re-consider reviving all of their Silent Hill games on both Steam and GOG in the foreseeable future.

Silent Hill 4’s plot has you venturing as Henry Townshend into a horrifying reality where you’ll experience fear, sadness, and countless horrors that no ordinary human being can withstand. This experience will test Henry’s sanity and determination. He has to escape The Room and find a way to rescue others who are suffering the same fate, but will he truly save them?

Alien Isolation

Developer: Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: 7 October, 2014
Franchise: Aliens
Type: First Person

Alien Isolation remains one of the best horror games ever released. Nothing tops the feeling of being powerless, stuck on a space station with deadly creatures. Thanks to the excellent level of design and the clever AI, you’re in for an unforgettable experience.

The game’s goal is to survive all the odds at the space station. You’ll be sneaking behind aliens, crawling under desks, infiltrating small vents, and hiding behind lockers hoping the aliens won’t sniff your fear.

Little Nightmares

Developer: Tarsier Studios, Engine Software
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Franchise: Little Nightmares
Type: Puzzle Platform

Little Nightmares is more than a horror video game. The game touches on the themes of hunger, isolation, and escape as you control one little yellow girl who must survive the horrors of Maw that is inhabited by creepy monsters. She has to do everything she can to flee, or monsters will eat her for souper.

If you liked games such as Inside, there’s a chance Little Nightmares will be your cup of tea. Sure, these two games may be different, but they both share the same theme; escape. The puzzles in Little Nightmare are simple, and at times tricking. You have to look at your surroundings for clues, interact with the environment, and think about solutions.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R Franchise

Developer: GSC Game World
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: 2007-2009
Franchise: S.T.A.L.K.E.R
Type: First-Person, Survival

At the time when I discovered the Metro franchise, I felt a bit sad that I couldn’t run 2033 and Last Light on my potato PC. All hope was lost until I stumbled across the S.T.A.L.K.E.R trilogy. The aforementioned is a survival first-person shooter with horror elements that’ll have you on your toes.

This particular isn’t your typical first-person shooter where you can shoot anything that moves without giving much thought about health. You have to loot, infiltrate spooky places in search of supplies that’ll help you keep going in your journey. Enemies encounter proves to be a challenge, and multiple choices are given to the player: either run away or fight for survival. Just bear in mind that ammo isn’t everywhere in this game.

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Developer: Frictional Games
Publisher: Frictional Games
Release Date: 8 September 2010
Franchise: Amnesia
Type: First Person

Amnesia: The Dark Descent puts the likes of Outlast to shame thanks to how it succeeds at making the player feel trapped in endless paranoia. The game does a great job at making the player afraid of the unknown and what’s lurking in the shadows.

The game was developed and published by Frictional Games known for other horror games such as Penumbra and SOMA. All of these games will scare the crap out of you.

If you’re looking for a horrifying experience, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a great game, and it works on low-end computers very well. Amnesia can be obtained from GOG and Steam for a cheap price.

Dead Space Franchise

Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: 2008-2013
Franchise: Dead Space
Type: Third Person

Dead Space is a survival horror video game series that draws inspiration from the likes of Resident Evil 4 and Silent Hill. The plot of the games puts you in the shoes of an engineer named Isaac Clark who has to go through the horrors that surround him and survive amidst chaotic events that no ordinary man can handle.

The first entry and the sequel were successful, garnering critical acclaim and several awards. However, Dead Space 3 was the final nail in the coffin as it performed badly in almost every aspect. Consequently, EA ended up shutting down Visceral Games for good, and nothing new was heard from the franchise ever since. Except for a remake announcement of the first game that is unclear whether it’ll perform better or worse than the original.

You can always delve back into this franchise if you’re running a low-end computer. The games are well-optimized to run greatly even on Intel HD graphics.

Resident Evil Franchise

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: 1996-2021
Franchise: Resident Evil
Which Entry You Can Play: From RE 0 to RE 2 remake
Type: Third Person, First Person, VR

It goes without saying that writing a horror games list without mentioning Shinji Mikami’s masterpiece will feel off. Thankfully, you can run many entries in the franchise these days excluding Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 3 remake since they’re fairly new and require at minimum a GTX 1050TI to perform nicely.

For starters who are just getting ready to jump into the franchise, it’s highly recommended to start with the originals to get the feel of true survival horror. Of course, the graphics in the originals don’t hold up to today’s standards if visuals are all you care about. But if what you care about is the story, gameplay, and atmosphere, you’ll have no issue with the originals.

Clive Barker’s Undying

Developer: DreamWorks Interactive
Publisher: EA Games
Release Date: February 21, 2001
Type: First-Person

Despite its two-decades-old graphics, don’t underestimate how far can this game go to awaken fear inside you. If games such as System Shock, Nosferatu, and Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason are your cup of tea, this one won’t disappoint you.

The title was produced by the highly acclaimed horror writer Clive Barker who also voiced Ambrose Covenant in the game. It goes without saying that any horror writer would put a huge emphasis on story-telling and an atmosphere that will leave players on their toes.

You could also give Clive Barker’s Jericho a shot, but sadly, that one is no longer sold in stores. Thankfully, Undying can be grabbed from the GOG store.

Painkiller Franchise

Developer: People Can Fly, MindWare Studios
Publisher: Dreamcatcher Interactive, THQ Nordic
Franchise: Painkiller
Release Date: 2004-2012
Type: First-Person, Fast-Paced

Painkiller puts you in the shoes of Daniel Garnier who is tasked with preventing the impending war between hell and paradise. And the guy behind it all? Lucifer. Daniel Garner rooms the purgatory as he blasts and slices his way through demon mobs. He’ll also be fighting gigantic demon lords that no ordinary man can take.

The franchise takes inspiration from several shooters such as Quake, Doom, and Serious Sam with the emphasis on blasting up a huge number of enemies on screen. Similar to other shooters, the game is divided into chapters, and at the end of each chapter, you get to fight a boss.

Painkiller franchise is a fantastic yet simple entertaining fast-paced first-person shooter if you just want to blow everything in your way. You can grab the entire set from GOG.

The Evil Within

Developer: Tango Gameworks
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Type: Third-Person

Brought to you by the highly acclaimed director Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within is also one of his best horror games in the genre. The overall story puts you in the shoes of Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who was entrusted with investigating an abnormal incident only to get pulled into a distorted world full of nightmarish places and terrifying creatures. Sebastian will have to experience a journey to hell before solving the mystery that sucked him into the mess.

One interesting thing about The Evil Within is the stealth mechanic. This latter will aid the player to save up ammo instead of going full force on his enemies. That will pretty much be needed against fearsome enemies. The Evil Within is a great game, but it can prove to be a nuisance on PC. You definitely need patches and mods to unlock the framerates even when using the best PCs out there. Luckily, it works nicely on low-end computers.

Tormented Souls

Developer: Dual Effect, Abstract Digital
Publisher: PQube
Release Date: Aug 26, 2021
Type: Third-Person

Inspired by classic survival horror titles, Tormented Souls is a throwback to classic Silent Hill and Alone in the Dark. Upon its release, many saw it as a spiritual successor to classic Resident Evil and Silent Hill titles.

You play as character Caroline Walker who must investigate the mysterious disappearance of twin girls in a terrifying mansion-turned-hospital. As you would have guessed the plot is somewhat reminiscent of Silent Hill 2 with James looking for his wife.

System Shock 2

Developer: Looking Glass Studios, Irrational Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: August 11, 1999
Type: First-Person, RPG

System Shock 2 took the world by storm when it was first released. An amalgamation of horror, role-playing elements, and first-person shooting. It goes without saying that System Shock was a big deal when it was released in the late 90s. Surprisingly, it’s still a big deal nowadays among die-hard RPGs fans.

If you’re a fan of Bioshock, Deus Ex, and other first-person RPGs, System Shock 2 is your cup of tea. The game runs on everything these days without any performance issues.

NightCry

Developer: Nude Maker
Publisher: Playism
Release Date: 29 March 2016
Type: Slasher, Graphic Adventure, Point & Click

NightCry is the spiritual successor to the cult classic Clock Tower franchise. Directed by Hifumi Kono, and with music composed by Michiru Yamane, known for her Castlevania and Bloodstained soundtracks. Nightcry is a fantastic treat to those who enjoyed the Haunting Ground and the Clock Tower series.

The game is divided into 3 chapters. You control a different protagonist in each chapter, but the villain remains the same. As you would expect from a spiritual successor to Clock Tower, you’re stalked by an evil creature called Scissor Walker. You have to do anything under your belt to survive.

Observer (Original)

Developer: Bloober Team
Publisher: Aspyr
Release Date: 15 August 2017
Type: Psychological, First Person

One of the best psychological horror titles that launched back in 2017. Released to critical acclaim and various awards, Observer is surely a game you shouldn’t miss.

Observe’s story is pretty unique, veering away from mediocre plots that have been plaguing the horror genre for some time now. Set in the year 2084, a digital plague known as the nanophage has been sowing the lives of many innocent people. You control detective Daniel Lazarski whose capable of hacking into the minds of people to look for clues that’ll help him solve cases. Inside their minds, there is a dark fear that none should take a glimpse at.

SOMA

Developer: Frictional Games
Publisher: Frictional Games
Release Date: 22 September 2015
Type: First Person

Brought to you by the same studio behind Amnesia and Penumbra, SOMA is yet another walk into the depths of nightmares. When comparing SOMA to Amnesia, it sparks a moot discussion on which one is the scariest. To be fair, to each his own.

Similar to the likes of Bioshock, the game takes place in an underwater facility known as Pathos-2. You take control of Simon Jarrett who has lost consciousness after a fatal car accident. He wakes up in the facility to find himself alone, surrounded by paranormal activities. He has to survive the nightmare using whatever it takes.

FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water

Developer: Koei Tecmo
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: Oct 28, 2021
Type: Third Person

Originally debuted on the PlayStation 2 console, the Fatal Frame franchise is one of the best survival horror titles that one who is fond of nightmares should try. Maiden of Black Water is the fifth entry in the series and was originally released on the Wii U back in 2014 before being remastered for PC and new consoles. Thanks to the improved combat, and graphics over the original trilogy, the former is a whole new experience.

Fatal Frame’s gameplay is unique and engaging. It’s hard to find something similar to it these days. The closest to that series in terms of gameplay in my opinion was Ghost Vibration on the PS2, but that game wasn’t the best. The game has you controlling three different young girls as you explore claustrophobic environments, purge the wandering lost spirits using your camera, and interact with the surroundings.

The Fatal Frame is pretty underrated in the PC Gaming community, and it definitely needs more recognition. But the best thing? it works on a low-end PC. Even the originals using PCSX2 will work fine.

Neverending Nightmares

Developer: Infinitap Games
Publisher: Infinitap Games
Release Date: September 26, 2014
Type: Indie, 2D

Neverending Nightmares is a unique take on the horror genre with its interesting plot and catchy visuals that borrow inspiration from the lead designer’s personal struggle with depression and OCD. The game puts a heavy emphasis on the themes of loneliness and hopelessness as it’s something that Matt Gilgenbach has experienced himself

The game’s art style borrows heavy inspiration from the works of Edward St. John Gorey who’s known for books such as The Iron Tonic: Or, A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley. This particular hand-drawn art style has a pivotal role in immersing the player into the neverending nightmares of the game.

Alisa

Developer: Casper Croes
Publisher: Casper Croes
Release Date: 22 Oct, 2021
Type: Indie, PS1-like graphics

The PlayStation era was home to some of the scariest video games ever created. The raw visuals have played a role in making the experience even scarier. There’s a charm behind that era that makes many go back to it, and I’m one of them.

Alisa is a unique throwback to the golden age of survival horrors. It’s a pretty obscure title, and one that many don’t know exists. You play as Alisa as she chases one wanted criminal only to end up being stuck in an old Victorian mansion, haunted by doll-like humanoids.

As you would expect from a throwback to the PS1 era, Alisa features tank controls. However, Alisa is also equipped with an array of guns under her belt in case if she needs some protection. Additionally, there are sudden encounters, so be on your guard.

Alisa is a great indie game if you’re yearning for the past, and if this doesn’t satisfy you, you can give Banned Memories: Yamanashi a try as well.

Detention

Developer: Red Candle Games
Publisher: Red Candle Games
Release Date: 13 January 2017
Type: Puzzles, Indie

Developed and published by the Taiwanese company Red Candle Games, Detention is a 2D atmospheric survival horror game set in the 1960s period of White Terror.

Two helpless students find themselves trapped and alone in Greenwood High School; the place they once knew as lively and brimming with life has turned into an unsettling nightmare, filled with creatures known as the lingered.  The gameplay is pretty similar to many 2D survival horror games such as Lone Survivor. So, if you enjoyed that one, you’ll like this one too.

Murder House

Developer: Puppet Combo
Publisher: Puppet Combo
Release Date: October 22, 2020
Type: Slasher, PS1-like graphics

So you’re saying you can’t get enough of slasher games? No worries, I got it covered. Here’s another ps1-like graphics video game where you’re stalked by one scary giant bunny ready to decapitate your ass any time, and you really don’t want that to happen to you, do you?

Released back in 2020, Murder House centres around a local news team as they break into an abandoned house to investigate a ghost story, only to become part of history. Murder House features unique VHS visuals that send you back to the 80s era where slasher movies were trendy.

Go grab the game from Steam, and if you have anything similar to this one, let me know below.

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

Developer: SONNORI Corp
Publisher: PQube
Release Date: 22 Aug, 2017
Type: Indie

A remake of the 2001 video game of the same name. The game is based on a true story starring Lee Hui-min who infiltrates into the institution to prepare a surprise for his crush. The horrible truth hits him like a truck when he starts to encounter supernatural events. Creatures are trying to hunt him down out of nowhere, and he has to escape school before dawn. What starts as a surprise for his crush, turns into a nightmare.

This marks the end of this article. I hope that you found the showcased games interesting for your taste. Thank you for reading, and stay strong low-end army.

FreeckyCake

Just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games - but still open to any game in the industry if you ask me! My favorite game is Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams and nothing comes close to it to this very day IMO. I highly recommend you to play it!

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