12 new horror games this Halloween

Horror games to play this Halloween season

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Click here for more screens of Saw 2: Flesh & Blood.

Saw 2: Flesh & Blood

• (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)


Developer: Zombie Studios
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: October 19

Love it or hate it, Saw's become the highest-grossing horror franchise of all time, with combined worldwide box office sales for all six films at a whopping $738 million dollars. That doesn't even account for any of the sales of DVDs/Blu-rays, Saw: The Video Game, or the multiple theme-park attractions based on Saw. Zombie Studios' new Saw game, Saw 2: Flesh & Blood, is set in between the second and third Saw films, when the son of David Tapp (Danny Glover's character from the original movie) investigates the death of his father, which of course leads him to cross paths with Saw's raspy-voiced, geriatric killer, Jigsaw. Expect a new batch of twisted death traps and inventive methods for mutilation once Flesh & Blood hits later this month.

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Click here for more screens of Costume Quest.

Costume Quest

• (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade)


Developer: Double Fine
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: October 20

While horror games are commonplace in today's gaming industry, Halloween titles are a much rarer breed, which makes Costume Quest all the more refreshing. It makes sense for games to eschew from highlighting holidays, as a TV show or movie can maximize profit around release dates better than video games (which typically shoot for long-tail profit), though we're hoping Costume Quest proves the profit model extends to our medium too. Programming like It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror have served as nostalgic lynchpins for decades, and Costume Quest looks like it has the potential to pick up the slack in the gaming realm, with the offbeat humor and quirky animated style to fuel a new set of holiday memories. Casual enough for kids with addictive RPG elements to snag the hardcore, Costume Quest could be the start of something great. Christmas Quest in 2011, anyone?

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Click here for more screens of Read Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Pack.

Read Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Pack

• (Xbox 360, PS3)


Developer: Rockstar San Diego
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: October 26
Metacritic Rating: 95% (for Red Dead: Redemption)

If you'd asked us what the one thing Rockstar's open-world western was lacking upon its initial release earlier this year, we probably wouldn't have said “zombies.” Well, until we saw the launch trailer for the Undead Nightmare DLC, that is. A new content pack that trades the hard-worn realism of Red Dead's dusty frontiers for an all-out invasion of shambling, brain-starved corpses, Undead Nightmare introduces a wealth of new single-player missions and multiplayer modes to the core RDR experience, including the “Graveyard” survival mode, which pits a group of players against undead legions of increasing difficulty. Releasing for $9.99 on Sony's PlayStation Network and for 800 Microsoft Points on the Xbox Live service, the Undead Nightmare pack may just prove to be the most worthwhile, if wholly unexpected, downloadable continuation to John Marston's legacy yet.

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Click here for more screens of Splatterhouse.

Splatterhouse

• (Xbox 360, PS3)


Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Release Date: November 23

The buzz around Namco Bandai's upcoming re-imagining of 1988's gruesome brawler Splatterhouse, might not be quite as optimistic as other titles on the list, but it has a good shot at recapturing the essence of what made the original so popular: over-the-top violence in the vein of 80s splatter films like Friday the 13th and Evil Dead. Like classic Splatterhouse, the new game puts you in the roll of Rick, a roided-up Jason Voorhees lookalike who faces off against a grotesque cast of adversaries. An interesting twist on the series is how Rick can endure severe injuries and even dismemberment as he's able to heal at a superhuman rate. Splatterhouse won't provide a thought-provoking narrative nor will it include fully-developed characters, but it will likely bring you hours of immensely gory entertainment.

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• Dead Nation

• (PlayStation Network)


Developer: Housemarque
Publisher: Sony
Release Date: October - December 2010

Housemarque's downloadable PS3-exclusive, Dead Nation, has been keeping a low-profile since it was announced at Gamescom 2009, but we're still intrigued based on what we've seen in trailers and screens. In Dead Nation, players defend themselves from massive hordes of zombies in a fashion similar to Konami's Zombie Apocalypse and Armor Games' popular flash game series Last Stand. One thing that stands out about Dead Nation, however, are the impressive gore effects — players can reduce angry zombie mobs to clouds of shredded meat with the right explosive.


And coming early next year...

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Click here for more screens of Dead Space 2.

Dead Space 2

• (Xbox 360, PS3)


Developer: Visceral Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: January 25, 2011

The spine-tingling second installment to one of 2009's creepiest games, Dead Space 2 catches up with engineer-turned-unlikely action hero Isaac Clarke fresh off his Necromorph-blasting tour on the ruined wreckage of the USG Ishimura. Suffering from haunting visions of the ancient evils faced in the first game, Dead Space 2 transports the once-silent lead to an expansive space station known as “The Sprawl”, where he must come to terms with not only the looming Necromorph threat, but his own shattered sanity. The game promises to play up Isaac's uneven mental state throughout, creating the opportunity for frights both tangible and born of the hero's stress and fears. Promising a richer narrative, a more outspoken protagonist, a larger environment, and a brand new multiplayer mode (playable Necromorphs, anyone?) Dead Space 2 looks to be bigger, badder, and if you can believe it, much scarier than its predecessor.

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