One of the best things about video games is that when they do well, a sequel doesn't usually take long to follow. Add to that the fact that increases in graphical performance and other technical aspects of gaming hardware means that most sequels tend to be bigger and better than their predecessors. Granted, that's not guaranteed, and an advanced follow-up that's a crummy game will still be a crummy game.
When it comes to horror games, often, less is more. You don't need picture-perfect gore to scare the crap out of the average gamer, so sequels aren't always better than the original. It happens rarely, but it does happen, and these 15 horror game sequels are actually better than the originals they followed. Some of the games on this list are better than their predecessor in a long line of sequels, while others are simply better than the first entry in a franchise.
Take a look at the games below, and if you see one you played that you think was definitely an improvement on the original, be sure to vote it up to see which one rises to the top!
- 1136 VOTESPhoto: Silent Hill 2 / Konami
The Silent Hill franchise has been going strong since the first game was released back in 1999. Since that time, there have been a total of 13 games in the franchise, with eight landing in the main series that followed the 1999 release. The first game was a massive hit, and it's rated highly with a Metacritic score of 86, so it's not surprising that it launched a massive franchise.
Silent Hill 2 scored slightly higher with an 89 on the PS2, though it has received higher ratings from other sites that clearly place it higher on the scale than its predecessor. The second game focuses on a widower named James Sunderland, who travels to the eponymous town after receiving a letter from his deceased wife, which explains that she is there waiting for him.
The game was widely praised upon release. It's considered one of the best horror survival games ever released — even more so than its predecessor. It has been described as one of the best examples of a "video game as an art form," and it inspired more than just another sequel. The Silent Hill franchise, much like the Resident Evil franchise, has gone on to inspire the genre to great lengths, establishing itself as a foundational model for other games to emulate/follow.
- 2124 VOTESPhoto: Resident Evil 2 / Capcom
The Resident Evil franchise is easily one of the best horror survival series out there. It has spawned numerous sequels and a live-action film series. While that part of the franchise has gone off on its own with some serious breaks from the video games' lore, the games have remained largely consistent. The first game that was dropped in 1996 established a gaming empire, and the first sequel did not disappoint fans.
Resident Evil 2 is a direct sequel to the first game, which puts the player in control of Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield as they make their way out of Raccoon City. It takes place two months after Resident Evil and is absolutely beloved by fans. Not only did it outperform its predecessor in terms of sales and overall rating, but it also is the best-selling Resident Evil title for a single platform, having sold 5.77 million units on the PlayStation.
The game was given a remaster/remake for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2019, which only boosted its sale numbers. The picture comes from the remake, and it looks absolutely gorgeous on modern platforms. The remake sold 7.5 million copies soon after release, so it managed to outperform itself. The game is better than its predecessors, but that doesn't mean you can skip the original to play this one... well, you shouldn't. The story is a continuation, so the best way to enjoy the franchise is to fire up #1 and go from there.
- 3115 VOTES
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard continues the tradition of Resident Evil titles by outperforming its predecessor in a number of ways. Resident Evil 6 isn't a bad game by any measure, but it strayed away from the format enough to ensure fans didn't like it as much as other titles in the franchise. The primary complaint was that it was a departure from the survival horror roots that make the franchise what it is, so Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is seen as a return to form.
In Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, the player takes control of Ethan Winters as he looks for his wife on a plantation peopled with infected monsters. The game is the first in the franchise to utilize a first-person perspective over the formerly-used third-person, and it was widely praised for this despite the large change in style.
Because it's largely considered to be a return to form, it's one of the best-reviewed games in the franchise since the 4th. It dropped on all the major consoles in 2017 and 2018, but it came with added VR support for the PlayStation, which was new to the franchise. The game did well in terms of sales and critiques, so it should come as no surprise to learn that it will be followed by a sequel, Resident Evil Village, scheduled for release in 2021.
- 451 VOTES
The Fatal Frame franchise kicked off in 2001 with the first title in the series, simply called, Fatal Frame. That game established the setting as Japan in the 1980s with a focus on supernatural events. The game focuses on investigating via the Camera Obscura, which can capture and pacify spirits, which firmly established the franchise in the standards elements of Japanese horror.
The first title did incredibly well, but its follow up, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly, managed to build on the success of the first to wider acclaim. The game is often brought up in conversations as the most frightening video game of all time, which is saying something, as there are plenty of scary games on this list.
As it happens, the first game has a relatively low completion rate, as players were literally too frightened to continue playing to the end. To try and get around this, the sequel focused more attention on the story to provide more interesting aspects that might encourage a player to get to the end. This worked, and it didn't work, as it only made it more frightening, though it does have a higher completion rate than the first.