Fall is finally upon us and with that comes a variety of spooky films, series, and games to enjoy while celebrating the crispy, crunchy leaf season.
Xbox Game Pass has several essential spooky titles that can all be enjoyed with no additional purchase. If you don’t have Xbox Game Pass then now is a great time to sign up. The service has countless games to keep you busy throughout the Halloween season and beyond.
Essential Spooky Xbox Game Pass Titles
Alice: Madness Returns
Alice: Madness Returns is a horrifying take on the story of Alice and her journey through Wonderland. The story still stars Alice and Wonderland is definitely still there, but American McGee’s version features some big changes.
Alice Madness Returns is a sequel but it does a great job of catching players up on the previous game’s events. For anyone interested though, the original game, Alice, is available as a paid DLC pack and accessed through Madness Returns.
Both games follow Alice as she explores Wonderland and uncovers the dark effects her past has had on the realm. Players will move through a winding story filled with magic, wonder, gore, and horror.
Alice will need to tackle platforming challenges, puzzles, and defeat enemies to stay alive and make it to the end. And yes, the Cheshire Cat makes an appearance. How could he not?
The third Alice game is in very early pre-production and while it’s still a long way away, it’s closer and more possible than ever before. Now is the perfect time to look back at an incredibly unique action-adventure title that’s filled with horror and wonder.
Dead Space 2
If you’re going to experience one game in EA’s space horror series then make it Dead Space 2. The first and third game are worth playing too but the action and scares are better than in Dead Space 2.
All three games are available in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate via EA Play and each one of them is worth playing, especially since it will likely be a while before the new Dead Space remake is available.
Doom 3 isn’t the best Doom title but it’s still an underrated horror classic. Slower and heavier on cutscenes, Doom 3 tried to reinvent the series as more detailed and involved storytelling was made possible.
Doom 3 was considered scary by many when it was first released but many questioned the direction, feeling it strayed too far from what made a game a Doom game. The game’s story features some high points and isn’t bad overall; it’s just too involved for players that wanted to rip and tear across Mars.
In retrospect however, it functions really well as a spinoff. After several years and restarting development once or twice, Doom (2016) brought the series back on top of the genre it helped create. Doom 3 is worth checking out, especially if you missed it back in the day or are nostalgic for earlier shooters.
The Evil Within 1 & 2
If you consider yourself a fan of the Resident Evil series at all then you owe it yourself to check out Shinji Mikami’s later work. Mikami has been influencing the horror genre for decades and that influence continues today.
The Evil Within is a solid game in its own right but there are some big shortcomings, including difficulty spikes and poorly placed checkpoints. Start with the first game but please don’t hesitate to jump straight into the sequel if you experience too much friction.
The sequel corrects nearly all of the issues from the first title and introduces some modern and interesting updates to the genre. If you enjoy horror in any capacity then don’t miss The Evil Within 2. It’s one of the greatest horror games of the last 20 years and I don’t say that lightly.
Plants Vs Zombies
It’s been over ten years since Plants vs Zombies released and it's still one of the best tower defense games. The mobile versions are inferior due to some micro transaction meddling but the 360 version is as flawless and playable as ever thanks to the magic of backward compatibility.
Plants Vs Zombies may not be traditionally scary but it still gets intense. The soundtrack is bouncy, energetic, and filled with personality. Line up plants on the ground, in the pool, and up on the roof to hold back the zombie invasion.
Plants Vs Zombies effortlessly combines variety, replay value, and fun all into an addictive experience. It’s one of the few games I replay annually without fail and I can’t recommend it enough. Also, the zombies are adorable. I would let them kill me.
Costume Quest 2
Double Fine made a Halloween-themed RPG and it doesn’t get enough credit. It’s spoopy instead of spooky so it’s perfect when you want something lighter and fun. Costume Quest 2 is also harmless and reminiscent of adventure filled Halloween specials from the late 90s, like The Halloween Tree.
Collect candy, defeat evil, and have fun in different costumes all along the way in this Halloween-themed RPG that could only come from Double Fine. It’s the perfect treat after dealing with the horrors of the previous titles, especially the rooftop levels in Plants Vs Zombies.