Zombies; One of the most popular staple nemeses of the human race. There’s no shortage of evidence when it comes to that popularity either, with a plethora of long-standing, classic franchises having the undead as their main focus, such as Resident Evil and Dead Rising. While the ‘rules’ of what constitutes a zombie differ from era to era and indeed game to game, there’s no disputing that whether they’re after your brains, your flesh or your perfectly coiffured lawn, we love taking them down. Here’s 10 zombie games to live out your zombie crushing fantasies…
First up, a retro road trip survival which really captures the bleakness of the end of the world; Organ Trail. Originally created as a parody of the educational title The Oregon Trail, Organ Trail has become much more than just a pastiche of the source material. Your task is to get you and your group of survivors safely across a post-apocalyptic USA in a less than trusty station wagon. Threatened by starvation, dysentery and, of course, the frequent car break-downs, there are more than enough obstacles to make that road trip a little trickier than you would want when wading through hordes of reanimated corpses. That said, the tension this adds to the fairly minimalist yet satisfying gameplay sets Organ Trail apart and makes it definitely worth a play.
Ah, sun, sea, sand, and hordes of bloodthirsty, brain-munching holiday-makers. Doesn’t sound too far from your regular all-inclusive. Of course, we’re talking about Dead Island, a destination popular with players whose favourite pastimes include weapon crafting and decapitation. We know Dead Island has its foibles, but at its heart it’s actually a decent first person with RPG elements. Progressing, crafting more powerful weapons and crushing rotten craniums is rewarding. And having the threat of your trusty weapons snapping in half as they attain damage from use really provides motivation to keep upgrading your gear. Though Dead Island may leave us wanting in terms of story, there’s no denying that the crunchy combat is some of the best we’ve seen in a zombie game. Happy holidays!
Another smaller-scale title now, and we’re downsizing from a trip across America to a trip across your back garden. Yes, it’s addictive tower defence title Plants VS Zombies. In this one you take up the role of an avid gardener determined not to let the apocalypse get in the way of his perfect lawn. There’s a pretty extensive roster of plants you can use and near endless ways to get through each level, meaning it really is left to you to decide how you want to play each stage. Getting the perfect balance of attack and defence is increasingly necessary as the waves get bigger and the zombies get tougher. There’s nothing more satisfying than gathering up all that sunlight and using it to power through wave after wave of cartoon zombies. With rewarding gameplay and a surprising depth to its strategy and content, Plants VS Zombies has become a deserving mobile classic that’s well worth a play if you haven’t already played this one to death.
Number 4, Dead Rising 4! What can we say? It has everything we love about previous Dead Rising titles but gets rid of the one thing we hated most; the time limit. And Frank is back! By now, we’re all used to seeing massive hordes of zombies on-screen. It’s no longer the impressive tech-demo it used to be. But my gosh, if Dead Rising isn’t still the king of horde bashing then I don’t know what is. It’s still just as satisfying to mow down crowds of the undead with evermore over-the-top weapons and vehicles. Again, it suffers from a rather lacklustre storyline, but for sheer joyful zombie killing, Dead Rising 4 takes the prize.
Zombies and parkour? It sounds like the first line of a joke, but it’s actually a fairly functional and fulfilling marriage which birthed the breath of fresh air that is Techland’s Dying Light. The initial stages of the game are fairly challenging as Dying Light’s brand of zombies can really pack a punch and can certainly give as much as they get when it comes to early combat. This only serves to make the gameplay more rewarding later though as you progress. The extra edge of being a free-running expert certainly helps you out though, with hopping from rooftop to rooftop feeling smooth and slick. Dying Light also made zombies genuinely intimidating again. Being mobbed is almost certainly a game over. And when day dynamically shifts into night, the things that come out to play when the sun has gone away are certainly incentive to hide away until morning. Satisfying combat, an open world that isn’t actually empty and solid progression mechanics all make Dying Light an excellent contender in the zombie genre and definitely make it worth your while.
How could we have a zombie game list without a Resident Evil title? The series is infamous for defining the survival horror genre, so much so that it’s hard to pick just one title. But Resident Evil 4 was one to redefine its own series. With a debatably creepier over-the-shoulder viewpoint instead of the questionable fixed camera angles of previous titles, Resident Evil 4 is perhaps the best in the series featuring its fair share of jumpscares, bad-ass weaponry and grizzly mutants to battle.
We see plenty of zombie apocalypse stories set in our own time and even in the future. But what about the past? Some real retro zombie slaying action? Look no further than Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. RDR was already a fantastic title, but with the addition of undead animals and some of your beloved characters being pursued relentlessly by zombies, I think we can all agree this DLC is certainly an improvement. Now you can hunt down hordes with your blunderbuss all while riding your very own undead steed. Watch out with those reigns though, that neck wound still looks a bit raw…
What’s better than better than a zombie apocalypse story where the cause of the outbreak is totally fiction? One where the cause is actually a fungus that exists in the real world! Wait, let me just dig out my foraging guide before I ever go outside again. Yes, it’s The Last of Us. We couldn’t really ask for more when it comes to storytelling, characters and of course graphics. Naughty Dog really cracked it with this one and took the gaming community by storm. If you haven’t already experienced The Last of Us, there’s never really a bad time and there’s really no excuse. Just beware, the story is highly infectious. And you will cry.
At number 2 we have another perfectly executed sequel; Left 4 Dead 2. When it comes to pure, no nonsense zombie killing, there’s really nowhere else to go. With online multiplayer providing the chance to play as the infected and evermore mutated zombies to pump full of bullets, Left 4 Dead 2 takes an already brilliant zombie game and simply polishes it until it shines. This is certainly the game you’re looking for if you just want to happily blast away at waves of nightmarish corpses. Just be careful you don’t startle the witch…
Finally, number one. With the perfect balance of gripping storylines, incredible character depth, terrifying zombies and innovative graphic art, the real winner has to be Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. Often proclaimed to be better than the popular AMC TV adaptation, we simply cannot get enough episodes of adorable little Clementine surviving her way through nightmare after nightmare, becoming evermore bad-ass. With the heart-wrenching decision making constantly tailoring your experience, each playthrough really is whatever you make it. It really takes you and drops you in the middle of the end of the world. For a true zombie apocalypse experience with true to life, sometimes heart-breaking consequences, there really is no better choice than The Walking Dead.
That completes our list of the top ten zombie games! We hope it will help prepare you for the inevitable apocalypse that we’re all secretly hoping for. Now go kick some undead ass!