Like many genres, games involving zombies can often feel a bit oversaturated at times, especially when they're flooding the markets in the film and television space as well. However, there have still been a number of titles that have been able to stand out above the rest. Below is a list of some of the best zombie games out there, from survival horror to tower defense, there's a little something for everyone.
When Twitch was really starting to catch on in the early to mid-2010s, it felt like DayZ was one game that everyone was talking about. Providing players with intense gameplay that acted as the perfect type of title to watch others play online, DayZ was hitting all the right notes. Before the standalone release even came out there was the ARMA 2 mod for the game, which is where its popularity really kicked off. Mixing together elements like resource management from classic survival horror games, and the exploration of open-world titles, DayZ had a bit of everything for all types of players. Like many great zombie games, they weren't the only obstacle, as you'd have to keep a close eye on your fellow players as well.
So much of DayZ is about the experience of wandering around the world and dealing with zombies in hopes that you’d somehow be able to find an item like a can of beans in a grocery store. It’s absurd to even write about but it truly was exhilarating making your way through this world with nothing to start, and slowly building up your inventory. The constant threat that human players and zombies were able to produce at all times added a continued sense of dread that made whatever moments of respite that you might have found all the more welcome.
6. Plants vs. Zombies
Ask a handful of people what they think of when you mention “mobile games”, and chances are Plants vs. Zombies would be near the top of that list, even if it did release on computers originally. A classic of the tower defense subgenre, the premise behind the game is nearly perfect. It has the typical trappings of the genre, as you’ll find yourself having to defend your house from the undead with your trusty plants. What’s fun about the game is that it uses sunlight as a type of currency, allowing you to deploy more plants as you collect more sunlight.
What makes Plants vs. Zombies such a great title is that it’s really a game for everyone. When you think of a zombie game, often you’ll think of gore and disturbing imagery, but Plants vs. Zombies is excellent in that it allows for everyone to get involved. It’s not a violent game, but there’s still a whole lot of satisfaction that you can get from watching your plants take out the undead.
5. The Evil Within 2
Though the game might not be littered with zombies in the sense that many of these other titles are, the threats they pose in The Evil Within 2 continue to grow throughout. This is a game where you’ll want to approach it with a clear plan in mind when it comes to the zombies specifically. This isn’t necessarily in regards to their difficulty, but because you’ll want to make sure you’re not alerting other zombies in the area. On top of that, with the various enemies scattered throughout the game in different areas, you’ll want to conserve as much ammo as you can.
Stealth plays a major part in the game, and taking out zombies efficiently and quietly will go a long way towards your success. Taking a different kind of approach for the series, the game lets you run loose early on. If you had played the first entry, you’ll notice how widely different this game’s initial impressions are, as well as the environmental areas and incredible atmosphere, which is oozing with tension. In many ways, The Evil Within 2 is vastly different from its predecessor, and due to that, it’s often better off for it.
4. Left 4 Dead 2
You know a game is special when, more than 10 years after its release, you’ll still find it in the top 100 most-played games list on Steam. Left 4 Dead 2 is a game that tests your ability to be aware of your surroundings, and because of that, good communication is key. It’s a rather simplistic game as far as mechanics are concerned, as you’re dropped into various scenarios while you fight alongside your three teammates in order to survive against zombies and make it to your next destination safely.
It’s a game formula that many companies have been chasing for what feels like ages. For now, it’s a series that lives on in multiple different forms, but for many, Left 4 Dead 2 still stands as the peak of the genre’s success. The variety of the special infected being mixed in with the regular zombies makes the moment-to-moment gameplay continue at a non-stop pace. There are also a variety of different game modes that allow players to try out different playstyles. Left 4 Dead 2 is such a fun zombie game due, in large part, to the variety of modes the title offers. Versus, for example, allows players to take control of the infected in the game and try and eliminate the survivors. Fighting off literal hordes of zombies with your friends has never felt so good.
3. The Walking Dead: Season One
A game that really brought to light a new way of consuming games thanks to its episodic format, The Walking Dead: Season One from Telltale Games continues to be a standout in the zombie genre. This could have been just another cash grab of a well-established franchise, especially considering how close its proximity it was to the television show's premiere. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, and the end product resulted in an incredibly effective zombie game.
Though you aren’t controlling characters in the same way as other titles on this list, The Walking Dead’s zombies are terrifying because of the constant threat they’ve already caused to you and your group. It almost feels inevitable that members of your party will slowly but surely be taken out by these menaces, and the best thing you can do is try and protect Clementine from whatever horrors they bring along with them. It’s an emotionally taxing ride that uses zombies as a storytelling device to showcase its complex characters in an extremely heightened environment.
2. The Last of Us Part II
For a lot of people, the inclusion of The Last of Us Part II could just as easily be replaced by the original game, but the great thing about the sequel is how much it builds on the first title. Its split narrative is a daring design choice that you rarely, if ever, see undertaken in a game of this caliber. To almost completely turn their back on the safe expectations of what this game could have been, and instead, challenge the audience with tough choices and uncomfortable situations, makes it the more compelling game in the long run in comparison to its predecessor.
Like the original, the zombies (clickers in the case of this universe), work in that they’re another constant threat. A great thing about The Last of Us as a series is that it’s a world where it’s already been years since the outbreak, and because of that, most people are at least acclimated to the presence of the clickers. However, they still pose a large threat, and their variety through mutation is interesting to see. This is a draining game, but as far as zombie games go, it's definitely at the head of the pack.
1. Resident Evil Remake
Standing atop the game remake mountain with a few other titles, Resident Evil Remake is a masterpiece of a number of genres. Nearly 20 years later it’s a game that continues to show its influence. This could easily be Resident Evil 4 on this list, but the survival horror element of the remake for Resident Evil edges it out. This is a game that’s all about the zombies, and from the moment that iconic shot takes place early on, they’re on you continuously. The remake, in particular, is so effective in the way that it expanded on many elements of the original game while keeping the foundation intact.
On the zombie front, the inclusion of Crimson Heads, an advanced zombie that makes its first appearance later in the game, drastically changes how you make your way through the mansion. No longer can you casually walk by enemies, but instead you have to worry about zombies chasing you at absurd speeds. Burning bodies is an element that would later appear in games like The Evil Within, another title from Shinji Mikami, as resource management with lighters and kerosene plays a large role in keeping you safe from more advanced zombies down the line. This is a series that’s built around zombies, and their appearance here, in the remake, is still as terrifying as ever.
The zombies are coming back to Marvel!