2022 was full of horror. And I’m not just talking about within the confines of video games. But video games are one of the best ways to deal with the terrifying reality we find ourselves faced with, as it allows us to not only confront our fears but destroy them.
Or, as we can see in some of these, simply accept the fact that they’re inevitable. Here are the most terrifying monsters and villains we faced in 2022.
Big spoilers ahead for The Closing Shift, The Mortuary Assistant, The Callisto Protocol, Elden Ring, Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, Ghostwire: Tokyo, The Quarry, and Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
2022’s Most Terrifying Villains and Monsters in Video Games
The Closing Shift
While The Closing Shift isn’t a triple-A game, it’s a fantastic indie game that delves right into the heart of what many people fear most. Being trapped in a mundane job with the knowledge that something terrible is approaching and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
In The Closing Shift, you play as a barista who, over the course of the game, becomes increasingly aware of the fact that they’re being stalked. As you’re forced to go to your mundane job, you’ll hear other customers gossip about a series of attacks in the area and encounter individuals who trigger your paranoia.
It all culminates in a final encounter with your stalker, who’s just a random person who’s obsessed with you. The realism of the situation makes this unnamed stalker one of the scariest villains of 2022.
The Mortuary Assistant
Was there a single horror YouTuber who didn’t play this game? The answer is no, and for a good reason. Continuing the trend of “jobs are terrifying and inescapable,” The Mortuary Assistant has you playing as, predictably, a mortuary assistant.
Unfortunately for you, you work at a morgue that happens to be a hot spot for demon activity, and now you’ve been marked. You must make it through the night, trying to determine which of the corpses you’re working on is possessed by one of the demons from hell. Fail, and they’ll take your soul, too.
This game marries a skin-tingling atmosphere with investigative gameplay and truly terrifying monsters that prey not only on your fear but on your insecurities as well. If you enjoy jump scares done well, this is the horror game for you. But you could also argue that the real villain here is your boss, who didn’t tell you about the fact that demons haunt the mortuary… or about the person he trapped in the basement for the “greater good,” of course.
The Callisto Protocol
The Callisto Protocol was released this December, ending the year of horror with plenty of gore and death. And while no shortage of enemies could make anyone grimace, the best villain in The Callisto Protocol is easily Captain Ferris.
Related: Defending The Callisto Protocol: Why 2022’s Most Controversial Game Isn’t as Bad as You Think
You encounter Captain Ferris when you first crash land on Callisto, when he’s just a man following orders. But throughout the game, you’ll see his slow transformation as the virus twists him, turning him into one of the hardest, reoccurring encounters in the game. And when you see him in his final form? You’d almost pity him if he weren’t trying so hard to kill you.
Oh well. Guess there really is always a price to pay.
Elden Ring has no shortage of terrifying enemies and bosses. From the cobbled-together Grafted Scion to the malformed star that literally stole the sky from a city in the Lands Between. And yet, there is no villain more terrifying than Sir Gideon Ofnir.
Yes, the geezer that sits in the Roundtable Hold, who demanded you make yourself useful and then carefully noted down all of your accomplishments… only to use them on you later on in the game.
Sir Gideon Ofnir ranks so high on this list because he has an incredible spy network scattered through the Lands Between. This is why he has the title, All-Knowing, and why he’s capable of using the abilities of the Shard-Bearers you killed earlier in the game.
Related: Elden Ring’s Colosseum is Chaos in All the Right Ways
But it’s not enough that he’s constantly spying on you. He’s ruthlessly bent to his cause, going so far as to kill Latenna’s wolf, then disowned his adoptive daughter for daring to question him. Yes, Sir Gideon Ofnir ranks so high on this list because he’s a dog killer, a stalker, and the pure embodiment of conditional parental love. What’s more terrifying than disappointing your parents?
(Dung Eater was a close second. You know, because of all the dung eating and corpse defiling)
Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
If you know anything about Warhammer, you know it has amazing world-building. Everything is just vile, wretched, and soul-crushing. It’s one of the reasons why the game and all its associated media and lore are so fantastic. But if you ask a Warhammer fan what’s one of the most terrifying monsters you’ll face in Warhammer: 40,0000 Darktide is, the answer is clear: the Beast of Nurgle.
The very essence of the Beast of Nurgle is decay and horrid rot, given the form of putrid flesh. Its body is pale and mottled, soft and sticky. Its face is a writhing green mass of tentacles. And wherever they go, rot and plague follow.
The Beast of Nurgle is an unflinching representation of what pestilence does to a body and the inevitability of death. And while Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is kind enough to let us face our fears head-on, I’d prefer to never look at the Beast again.
Ghostwire: Tokyo is a feast for people who adore Japanese urban legends, cultural criticisms, old folklore, and Asian horror in general. It’s essentially the Red Carpet for Japanese monsters and spirits. In this action game, you’re one of the last people alive in Tokyo after a mysterious fog has turned everyone into spirits. It’s your job to defeat the threats that come barreling at you and stop the man who summoned the fog in the first place.
You’ll meet no shortage of terrifying creatures as you prowl the streets and ascend skyscrapers. And while some of these monsters are terrifying to look at, like the spider boss Tsuchigomo, there are other spirits that you’ll encounter that cut a little deeper.
The Students of Misery and Students of Pain are one such example. These spirits are spirits of high school students who were crushed beneath the combined societal pressure of succeeding at school and fitting into a society that can sometimes feel rigid and unrelenting. There’s a reason why so many Asian horror games are based in high schools. But what makes these spirits the most unsettling is their lack of heads, identity, the fact that they’re almost always caught in the same monotonous patterns they maintained while they were alive, and the sheer number of them. They represent one of the best, most visceral examples of the horror of living as a teen. It’s not the threat of death – it’s the loss of self.
Straight from the minds who made the cult classic Until Dawn, The Quarry is one of the best installments of the Dark Picture Anthology. It follows seven camp counselors who’ve overstayed their welcome at an isolated summer camp. But as dusk falls, things quickly get out of hand, and they’re faced with choices that lead to either their deaths or salvation. And while there are plenty of enemies and villains in the game (including werewolves! Who doesn’t love a good werewolf game), one villain has been with us from the very beginning.
Yes, the mother of “Dog-Boy Silas.” Eliza was a fortune teller who forced her adopted son to be part of her traveling freak show, where she exploited his albinism and lycanthropy and forced him to live in a cage. While Silas does eventually escape, leading to the events that occur at Camp Hackett, Eliza continues to manipulate the events surrounding. Even after she dies.
More than anything, Eliza wants Silas to survive. And she wants that to happen by killing the Hackett family, who need Silas dead in order to lift the werewolf curse Silas has placed on their family members. She gleefully celebrates the death of every Hackett and curses you if you help them. Even worse, if you actually kill Silas.
And this is what makes Eliza so unsettling. She’s an abusive, exploitative mother who transcended death itself to keep her chokehold on Silas. She doesn’t care about the quality of life that Silas lives, or the potential lives that are destroyed because of the werewolf infection that spreads through the camp. She only cares about getting her way and killing anyone who wronged her.
Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
If you’re a fan of Pokemon, you likely know that there’s no shortage of Pokemon with terrifying backstories. But Pokemon Scarlet and Violet brought with it the most tragic and terrifying addition yet in the form of Greavard.
Greavard looks for all the world like a dog that desperately needs a little grooming. But its entire appearance serves one purpose: to lure you in. That’s poor Greavard’s curse. It’s the spirit of a dog that died in the wild without ever knowing the companionship of a human. In death, all it wants is the care and affection of an owner, and you might be tempted to give it just that.
Related: How Pokémon Scarlet & Violet Pays Homage to Twitch’s Simp Era
But doing so is a mistake. If you’re lured to it by the candle on its head or its sad appearance, Greavard will follow you eternally. And while that doesn’t seem so bad, where things become sticky is how Greavard shows its affection. It licks anyone who approaches it, purely out of enthusiasm and slowly saps away your life. That’s right, Greavard kills you with love. Maybe out of a subconscious desire to have you join him in the afterlife?
And while you can’t call Greavard a villain without a bit of conjecture, it’s a Pocket Monster that preys on the human instinct to pet every dog they see.