We all have that one friend that is into anything that has to do with zombies. You know, that one friend that is a huge fan of Walking Dead, thinks that zombie apocalypse is not an impossible outcome, and most of all, he plays anything that has to do with zombie killing!
Zombie games started back in the ’80s, and they inspired many of the most popular games of our generation. Some of the first titles that were released are Corpse Killer, Entombed, Zombie Zombie, and more. All those games inspired a whole generation of awesome zombie games such as Resident Evil, Left 4 Dead, and even more amazing games will follow in the next years to come.
Here I will list all my favorite zombie-themed video games, in alphabetical order, cause honestly, I had a very hard time deciding what is the best. Besides, most of them have different gameplay mechanics, which makes it kind of unfair to compare to each other. Without further ado, let’s move to the best zombie-themed video games!
Table of Contents
7 Days To Die
Developer: The Fun Pimps
Publisher: The Fun Pimps Entertainment LLC
Release Date: 13 December, 2013
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
7 Days To Die was released back in 2013 by “The Fun Pimps”, a very small group of video-game enthusiasts and developers. The group launched the game on Kickstarter in July of 2013, and the alpha version for those who funded on Kickstarter was released on August 16, 2013. In May 2014 and by the end of the year, all the versions were released for the general public!
The game’s events supposedly take place after the Third World War, in the fictional county of Navezgane. After a nuclear fallout, Navezgane was filled with zombies, and you play as a war survivor that is waking up in the middle of Navezgane. Your goal is to gather materials to make shelter and weapons to defend yourself from zombies and hunt animals to eat. Every 7th day, the moon is going to turn blood-red, and the zombies will turn feral. You can’t hide, you can’t run, you have to defend yourself by all means.
The game is very deep in terms of skill-system and gameplay options. You can play for months in the same server, and you will still have new skills to level up and more challenging situations to face. The more you play in the same server, the more difficult the game gets, which makes it challenging and hard to get bored with it. The skills will give you attributes such as more stamina, stealthier movement, and many, many more!
The building and crafting system is also very well made and encourages creative builders to get smart with their defenses. I could give you reasons to play this game forever, but I think you should hop in the game and see for yourself! Again, don’t let the Alpha state of the game discourage you, as the gameplay depth has so much more to offer than the graphics! You can play with friends online or even alone offline! You can also start your own server, or you can join some of the existing ones, where you will find vanilla or modded servers to play in!
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Release Date: 13 December, 2018
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
DayZ was developed and published by Bohemia Interactive, and it started as a standalone successor of the same-named mod. The project started after the addition of the mod’s creator Dean Hall, joined Bohemia Interactive, intending to make this Arma 2 mod, a whole game of its own. The game passed through a long five-year early access period, and the game was officially released in December of 2018 for PC, and Xbox and PS4 followed in 2019.
You are a survivor of an unexpected plague that infected a huge part of the population, turning them into blood-thirsty and very violent! You are located in the fictional post-Soviet Republic of Chernarus, where you must scavenge food, water, weapons, and healing supplies, and all that while surviving from the infected – dead-alive – that are coming for your flesh.
The gameplay focuses on survival elements, as your sole goal is to survive this dystopian plague, and recently, developers blessed the game with the gift of base-building 🎉! Among the infected, you are gonna find more human players, fighting for their survival morally, but others just care to have the most supplies possible, no matter the cost!
If you have a microphone, feel free to speak to other players as you can make good friends or useful trades! Beware though, not all players are friendly! Many of them are bandits, and they are definitely going to attack you and steal all your loot – and to be honest – you will be very lucky if they just take your loot and leave you! In closure, DayZ is a game that will need lots of your time, tons of patience, and it is always better with friends!
Dead Island: Definitive Edition
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: 31 May, 2016
Dead Island is a horror survival RPG game, that was developed by Techland, and released by Deep Silver in 2011 for PC, PS4, and Xbox. After the game’s success, fans were very eager to play Dead Island 2, and they were begging for it! Yet, unfortunately, for unknown reasons to the public, development was delayed and up to date, we have no update about the possible date of release.
Deep Silver released the remastered version of the game in 2016, the “Dead Island: Definitive Edition”, to give the fans a more optimized experience of the game, along with some expansions and spin-offs that were released between 2013 and 2014. “Dead Island: Definitive Collection” has everything released up to date – the stand-alone expansion Riptide, all the DLC, and a 16-bit side-scrolling game called “Dead Island: Retro Revenge”!
Now, Dead Island: Definitive Edition, is based on survival and continuous combat. You will be able to choose among 5 different characters, that each one specializes in certain combat style and weapons, and co-op allows you to play with up to 3 more players! The prologue gets you through a wild party in an exotic island, where you get wasted from alcohol. Right before you lose consciousness, you see people getting attacked by violent human-like creatures! You wake up in your room the next day and this is where the struggle for survival begins, as you realize that the whole island is filled with blood-thirsty zombies!
While you progress in the game you will find NPC survivors, that will send you to various quests, from which you will be rewarded with weapons, useful survival items, and of course, XP which gonna reward you with upgrade points, so you can level up skills from the character’s skill-tree.
The more you progress, the more powerful you will get, but also will the zombies! If you try to play this game alone you might find it kind of “not a big deal”, just because the game is clearly designed to have fun with friends, and this is exactly what you should do! Get some good friends and hop in the game!
Dead Rising 2
Developer: Capcom Vancouver
Release Date: 27 December, 2010
Platforms: PC, PS3 / PS4, Xbox 360 / Xbox One
Dead Rising 2 is an action-adventure video game and sequel of Dead Rising, developed by Blue Castle Games and published by Capcom in October 2013. The reason that I suggest Dead Rising 2 over the first release of the series, is because of numerous new features, and of course, the addition of multiplayer option, plus, some of the following games didn’t seem right to me, and to many more, but this is another conversation!
You will play as Chuck Greene, a professional motocross rider who tries to ensure his own and his daughter’s safety, as they are stuck in between a wild zombie outbreak that takes place in Nevada’s downtown. Your main focus as Chuck though is to obtain Zombrex, a medicine that will prevent little Katey from transforming into her zombie herself, as her own mother bit her after she was attacked by a horde, and was transformed. While you scavenge around for Zombrex, optional and main quests will get you through the story, and you will have to fight, a lot.
The zombies are so many, that most of your gameplay will be in combat. The whole game has an incredible sense of humor not only through the dialogues and the story, but also from the selection of weapons, that revolve around brooms, playing cards, hangers, and sometimes katanas and actual guns (but only sometimes).
You can also craft your own weapons by combining items in the maintenance rooms you will find around the map, and you can also customize Chuck’s appearance by going through clothing stores around the mall and wearing whatever you consider stylish (even if it is a female tank top and a granny’s hat)! The game has various endings and your decisions matter!
The game’s story is a 2-player co-op, while there is a certain mode, that up to 4 players can ride deadly motorcycles and compete against each other on who’s better in running over zombies. As you can understand from the whole vibe, the game is hilarious and a perfect game for couples if you ask me!
Publisher: Techland Publishing
Release Date: 26 January, 2015
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Dying Light is a survival horror action-adventure game, that is unfolding in a post-apocalyptic open-world, from a first-person perspective. The game was developed by Techland and was published by Warner Bros in January of 2015 for PC and the new generation consoles. Dying Light was also very close to a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 release, but unfortunately, it was canceled due to hardware limitations.
You will play as Kyle Crane, an agent that was sent by GRE (Global Relief Effort) in the city of Harran to retrieve some very important stolen documents from an enemy of the association, Kadir Suleiman, often referred to as “Rais”. GRE is afraid that if the leak of the stolen documents happens might cause devastating effects to the general public, as the documents contain unfinished research for the cure of the infected. As long as Kyle arrives in the city, he meets some people of a small community that seem to have some kind of connection with Rais, and Kyle is determined to gather as much information as he can, no matter the cost.
The game’s mechanics are focused on parkour abilities, as well as movement combined attacks and mostly melee weapon combat, but you will find more weapons as well. The quests of the game are made in a way to help you learn the mechanics while completing them, and each quest and mechanic will get harder by time. The more XP you gain, the more skills you unlock. The skills you will unlock revolve around survival, agility, and power, and you can craft weapons and consumables by unlocking blueprints. It also features an asymmetrical multiplayer mode and a four-player co-op mode.
The gameplay is intense and might take some time to figure out, but don’t get frustrated and don’t give up on it. Once you get familiar with the mechanics and how (or when) to fight zombies effectively, you will enjoy the game. The story keeps you going, but the whole parkour movement and intense melee combat are what will capture your interest. Just stay on the roofs and you must be fine!
Killing Floor 2
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Release Date: 18 November, 2016
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Killing Floor 2 is an FPS class-based game, developed and published by Tripwire Interactive, and later Saber Interactive was added to the team. The early access of the game was released back in April of 2015, and by November 2016 the game was fully released for PC and PS4. and the addition of the game in Xbox One followed much later, in August 2017.
The game is a sequel to 2009’s Killing Floor, which is also an incredible game, and for many, even better than KF2. This is an argument that is debatable with personal preferences though. I love both of them, but still, they share very little similarities, as Killing Floor is an 11-year-old game, which is pretty much self-explanatory.
The story follows the events of the first Killing Floor, in which Horzine attempted to create military clones, but the plan was ruined by a “mad scientist”, who unleashed the clones across the UK, and the clones quickly flooded the whole Europe. In Killing Floor 2, the story takes place after the outbreak and this is pretty much all we know about the story. Unfortunately, Tripwire never focused on the lore, but the community didn’t seem to care as much as well, so it stayed this way up to date.
Killing Floor 2 is all about surviving rounds of zombie hordes and killing. To survive those rounds, you will have to form a strong team. The game has 10 classes, ranging from gun to explosive specialists, to healers and melee experts, and 20 different kinds of zombies, that each has special powers and weaknesses that can be countered by the appropriate classes.
There are also many different modes you can play – you can play solo or with up to 5 extra players, you can play as the zombie or the zombie slayer, and also fun events are added in each season. You can also play from 4 up to infinite rounds, and the difficulties range from Normal to Hell on Earth (which is a very matching name to describe the difficulty).
You will also face different bosses in your final rounds (or every 5 rounds in Endless Mode) and you will have to chance to purchase or upgrade your weapons by the end of each round by visiting the Trader, to be armed and ready for the continuously growing number of “clones” that are coming for your flesh each round. Sometimes you will have extra objectives during your rounds, that reward you with extra XP, Vault Money (in-game currency), and Dosh (money you use to upgrade or buy weapons). The game has over 20 official maps and hundreds of community maps, but not all of them are available in all of the game’s modes.
Killing Floor 2 is a very addicting shooter game, and incredibly fun to play with friends! The game is not as popular as it used to be, but still, the dedicated community that is left is very friendly, so you can easily find awesome players that are more than willing and happy to help you get familiar with the game. A quick “Hey” to the voice chat will persuade you!
Left 4 Dead 2
Release Date: 20 November, 2009
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Left 4 Dead 2 is a multiplayer survival horror game, developed and published by Valve, as the sequel to Turtle Rock Studios’s Left 4 Dead. It was released for Windows and Xbox 360 in November 2009, and by the end of 2013, all the PC versions (Mac, Linux, etc.) were published as well. Left 4 Dead is also an excellent game, but the overall Left 4 Dead 2 experience is far more polished, and I find it far more enjoyable.
While the game now is very respected, this wasn’t always the case. When the game had its world premiere at E3 2009, Valve managed to somehow gather all the negative attention. On one side we have the die-hard L4D fans that were not very amused for the release of L4D2, as they were expecting extra content for L4D instead. On the other side, some people criticized the game as “unnecessarily violent”, with some countries even taking action against the game’s release in their countries.
The story follows the first game’s plot – the aftermath of a worldwide pandemic, named “Green Flu”, which rapidly transforms humans into zombies! The U.S. Military along with other organizations are trying to create safe zones for the few American survivors left. Gameplay and story-wise, we focus on Coach, Nick, Rochelle, and Ellis, which are all playable. Also, Left 4 Dead 2 features a supporting character in the form of Virgil, who makes his appearance during the game.
The goal of the game is pretty much to just survive the “28 Days Later” inspired zombies by using melee weapons or guns, while you roam through the story and completing some quests, and reach safehouses to rest and restock on ammunition, heals, etc. The gameplay is really simple yet very fun, and you can also play the game solo, or even in PVP. As the most horde-zombie-slaying games, it’s always better with friends!
Plants VS Zombies GOTY Edition
Developer: PopCap Games, Inc.
Publisher: PopCap Games, Inc. / Electronic Arts
Release Date: 5 May, 2009
Platforms: PC, Android, iOS
Plants VS. Zombies is a tower defense and strategy-based video game, developed and originally published by PopCap Games for PC in May of 2009, and not long after, the game was also released for consoles, mobiles, etc..
For many people this game is the first thing that comes to their mind when someone even mentions”zombie-themed games”, and to be honest, I can see the reasons, as the game broke the stereotypical tower defense concept, by changing many elements of the gameplay and the defending mechanisms!
Many more titles followed the success of the game, and I strongly suggest you check out all of them. In my opinion though, especially for this game, you got to start from the beginning of the franchise, and then, if you indeed like the game, feel free to browse the endless later versions of the game, that are available for various consoles.
In Plants vs. Zombies, you play as a homeowner during a zombie apocalypse, that tries to defend his land by using his own plants that can fight hordes of scary zombies! As you advance in the gameplay, you will start to collect “sun”, with which you can buy more killer-plants! The goal of each level: to not let a single zombie cross the lane of your garden, otherwise, game over!
Resident Evil 2 (2019 Remake)
Developer: CAPCOM Co., Ltd.
Publisher: CAPCOM Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 25 January, 2019
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
I had the worst time of my life picking my favorite Resident Evil game, and how can you blame me? How does one simply pick one? But anyway, after hard consideration of gameplay, overall experience, and accessibility, I think the remake Resident Evil 2 is the fairest pick. Besides, you know a video game remake is good when it sells even more than the original!
The original game was released back in 1998 for the first Playstation console, and it was widely loved and it is considered to be the inspiration for many survival-horror games of the latest years. The remake was released in 2019 for PC and consoles, and it managed to receive excellent reviews, as their dedication to making the game feel faithful to the original, was more than moving.
The story unfolds in Raccoon City, and we follow the aftermath of the first game, in which T-Virus has the majority of the remaining population turned into zombies. Leon S. Kennedy meets Claire Redfield, and together they try to stay alive and find Claire’s missing brother, Chris, who was the original protagonist in the series. Unfortunately, they get separated after an accident and we follow the struggle they pass through until they find each other again.
The game is played from a third-person perspective, and you can go through the campaign either as Leon or Claire. The game’s main story is depending on the player’s choice, and it will be experienced with variations in subplots, accessible areas, obtainable items, weapons, and the final boss battle. Players will also be able to control supportive characters at some point in the game, which also varies depending on the character you play as.
You can play the game in standard or hardcore difficulty, and once you will finish the campaign, you will unlock a “2nd Run” option, which allows you to go through the story with the alternative protagonist, but it will follow the events of your first playthrough. There will also be a couple of very fun mini-games after the “2nd Run”. “The 4th Survivor” is one of the mini-games, and requires Hunk – the fourth survivor – to travel across dark sewers while facing massive hordes. The second and last minigame is called “The Tofu Survivor”, which is exactly the same concept, but replaces Hunk with one huge tofu armed with knives (I know, insane).
If you’ve never played Resident Evil, it will be hard for you to follow all the games since the beginning, since most of them are so old that you might not even be able to play them. But you can definitely check the remake of the first Resident Evil of 2002, and then follow the remakes. Thankfully, they are very accurate with the originals, but just polished to fit the new era of games.
The Walking Dead Series
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Skybound Games
Release Date: 24 April, 2012
Platforms: PC, PS4/PS Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
The Walking Dead is an episodic adventure story-driven video game, developed and published by Telltale Games with the first episode released in April 2012, and it is available for almost every platform you can think of; from PC to consoles and Androids. The game faced brilliant reviews, with critics praising the script and the emotional rollercoaster that the game gives to the player.
It was awarded as Game of the Year awards from several gaming publications, and it managed to sell over 8.5 million unique episodes by the end of 2012. It is not even an exaggeration when people claim that the Telltale’s “The Walking Dead”, is considered to be one amongst the best games up to this day.
The game has many spin-offs, extra episodes, and was followed by more seasons. Here we will slightly break down the first season only, as I would need a whole new article to speak about all “The Walking Dead” series. Thus, I will slightly analyze the plot and gameplay of the first season, which was many people’s favorite!
If you are familiar with the comic, you will realize as soon as you hop in the game that the events of the game take place in the same fictional world as the comic; shortly after the zombie apocalypse outbreak in Georgia. The main protagonist is named Lee Everett, a university professor, and a convicted criminal, who has found and grouped with a little girl named Clementine, that she was left in the care of her babysitter, and lost her parents in the middle of the outbreak. Lee’s sole goal now is to protect the youngster and help her find her parents.
As we mentioned before, your choices matter! Every decision you make in the game will affect the gameplay, and the players’ choices were also wisely tracked by Telltale, in order to write the episodes and seasons that followed. You will face time-sensitive choices, and many of them will have minor story consequences, but others will have a major impact, not only for the episode that you made the decision about; but also for the ones that you will play after.
World War Z
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Mad Dog Games LLC, H2 Interactive Co., Ltd.
Release Date: 16 April, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
World War Z is a third-person shooter video game, developed by Saber Interactive and published by Mad Dog Games in April of 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with the release for the Nintendo Switch still on the way. The game’s plot is a combination of the 2006 book of the same name, and the 2013 film adaptation of the book.
The story and the gameplay unfold in numerous locations as New York, Berlin, and 16 more famous cities around the world. You will be asked to complete some objectives in order to progress in the story and the different episodes, along with the intense zombie-slaying that occurs all the time. Each character has his own backstory, and there are 6 different classes to choose between, with each one of them specializing in different abilities. As you progress, the weapons you use will gain XP and become stronger, and you will also level-up many abilities for each class.
Except for the co-op campaign, the game features five competitive multiplayer modes that support up to 8 players: the Player vs Player vs Zombie, Swarm Deathmatch, Swarm Domination, and King of the Hill. The PVPVZ mode throws players in a pit of zombies, while they also have to fight each other! In Swarm Deathmatch, you will face a casual 1v1 team situation, and the team with the most kills by the end of the time limit wins. Swarm Domination and King of the Hill are pretty much the same; teams have to capture and defend various zones (in case of KOTH just one zone), and the more you defend the zones the more points you earn, and those points will define the winner!
The game is a lot similar to Left 4 Dead, but the modes and the classes make it more unique and strategic, without losing its fun element. If you are the kind of person that likes a good zombie-slaying session, sit back and enjoy the game!
Thank you for making it to the end of this list, I hope my recommendations find your interest and I also hope for more interesting zombie-themed games in the future! I already can’t wait any longer for Dying Light 2!