The survival horror genre in gaming got its start by demanding hard choices on the player. Choices like saving or using your ammo and fighting or fleeing from enemies were common, and survival was in the name of the genre. However, later on, horror games focused more on the story itself and forced difficult choices not necessarily on the player but on the character in question.
Heavy choices that majorly affect the story tasked to a character and often under time constraints. Both gameplay and story choices can be incredibly hard in horror games, especially if you don’t know what the ramifications will be.
10/10 Dead Space 2: Needle Injection
Anyone who has ever played Dead Space 2 can tell you the needle injection part is incredibly stressful. You are forced to do this, and the section is essentially a game of operation, but the piece you need to pick up constantly moves.
The needle gets closer and closer, and you have to hope that by the time it touches Isaac, the light color will be blue. At the last second, Isaac’s eye could move and can result in a game over. When performing this task, you need to have as much trust in Isaac as in yourself.
9/10 When To Save In Survival Horror Games
In classic survival horror and even some more modern ones, deciding when to save can be a complicated process in your head. You often have to decide to either save now or save later, but you risk losing progress if you die. In these games, saving also acts like a checkpoint system.
In some games, they give you plenty of save opportunities, but in others, like Tormented Souls, they give you so few that choosing when to save can be difficult. If you have gotten past a couple of tough sections, you’ll probably save, but if the process was a breeze, you’d probably consider waiting to save at another time. This can bite you if a tough section then appears, and you die, making you have to redo plenty of progress.
8/10 Silent Hill 1: Kill Or Save Cybil
In the last third of Silent Hill 1, you can come across a decision that, if you didn’t explore thoroughly enough, can be hard to do. In the amusement park, you must fight against Cybil, who has been affected and possessed by a parasite.
Cybil is a helpful character who you’ve been interacting with the whole game, so it’s unpleasant to blast her with shotgun rounds. Eventually, Cybil drops her gun, which is where the choice happens. If you explored enough of the game and collected the red liquid, now you can use it to get rid of the parasite. However, if you didn’t collect it, you have no choice but to kill her.
7/10 Saw: Final Decision
Since the Saw movies revolve around choices, especially Saw 6, it makes sense for the two licensed Saw games to include them. In the first game, you play as David Tapp, Danny Glover’s character from the first Saw. The final decision is fitting for a Saw game. You are given a choice to escape by choosing the freedom door or getting your hands on Jigsaw by picking the truth door.
This is a Saw game, so both paths don’t end well. Choosing freedom does give you that, but Tapp ultimately commits suicide due to his failure to catch Jigsaw. Picking the truth door results in the old switcheroo as the black cloaked figure isn’t Jigsaw, but another person who unfortunately gets killed off by a trap. Jigsaw sure is always one step ahead.
6/10 Saving Or Using High-Power Ammo In Survival Horror Games
In survival horror, saving ammunition is a part of the game, but the trickiest part is when it comes to high-power weapons. With weapons like magnums or sniper rifles, you would think to save all the ammo for them and use them exclusively for challenging fights or bosses. However, what if those never come around?
Sometimes in horror games, you save up all your ammo, and by the final boss, you have a truckload of ammo you wished you used. What could also happen is the game takes away your weapons, like Silent Hill: Downpour making the decision feel even worse.
5/10 Saw 2: First Decision
While Saw 1’s final decision was hard, Saw 2’s hardest decision is one you don’t even see coming. At the beginning of the game, you are given a choice of sacrificing yourself to let another victim you don’t know survive or save yourself while that person gets killed.
If you choose to save yourself, you’ll probably think that you will play this character again later, right? That is not the case. For the rest of the game, you play as Michael, and at the end, it’s revealed that Michael is that unknown victim. It feels so cheap because that choice is at the beginning of the game, and you might assume you’ll play that character again.
4/10 Resident Evil 7: Cure Mia Or Zoe
Resident Evil 7 was the first numbered RE game since Nemesis to include multiple endings. At the end of the last Jack Baker boss fight, you are given a tough choice of either curing Mia or Zoe with a serum. Zoe seems like a better option for surviving since she knows more about the situation, while Mia is Ethan’s wife.
The outcome of the choice is very Hollywood, as choosing not to cure your wife leads to disaster. Zoe ends up getting killed anyway, and later on, you are forced to kill your wife. However, this path does result in the funniest line read in the game at the end.
3/10 Until Dawn: Shoot Ashley Or Yourself
In the third act of Until Dawn, several of the game’s characters are forced to participate in Saw-esque traps. They even mimic the Saw voice for the instructions. The hardest one involves Chris and Ashley. Chris is given a gun to shoot either himself or Ashley before the saws come down on both of them. The person remaining will live.
This decision gives you the illusion of choice as the bullet’s a blank, but it still has some harsh consequences. Shooting Ashley will result in her essentially assisting in Chris getting murdered by a wendigo. She simply will not open the door to let Chris in, and he dies. That’s way too cold.
2/10 Fatal Frame 2: Go After Mayu Or Leave Her Behind
The Fatal Frame series isn’t usually known for its challenging choices, but one particular choice in Fatal Frame 2 is on a whole new level. At the end of the game, right before you head to the escape route to leave the haunted village, your twin sister Mayu is captured by the ghosts.
You could leave right now or go and save your sister. If you decide to leave, you will receive a fate worse than a bad ending. You get a game over, no credits appear, and you must load up the last save point. That is a harsh punishment for leaving your sister behind.
1/10 Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Kill Or Spare Lee
In the Season One finale of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, one of the hardest choices in the series occurs. Lee Everett, the character you’ve been playing the entire season, has been bit by a walker, and you have the option of telling Clementine to shoot him or leave him to turn.
Due to the zombification process in zombie media, these stories are ripe for human drama like this. This choice is different from others because you aren’t in Clementine’s role. You are the father figure who has to tell Clementine what to do, drastically changing the player’s feelings. It makes this choice more personal and impactful.