Granted, the zombie hack-and-slash genre has been done to death.
And yet, while even the best zombie games may feel all too familiar, there’s plenty of variation still left in the veins to add to your collection. Take Dying Light 2 for example; with its incredible parkour mechanics. Or, Killing Floor which is about as close as it gets to just swimming in blood.
Perfect examples of vastly different game mechanics — minus, the zombies.
Popularised in the 90s with the infamous Resident Evil, everywhere you look there’s a zombie thriller to turn your stomach. But which zombie game should you buy next?
Let’s find out!👇
Top 12 Best Zombie Games
Regardless of how you like to dice up the undead, we guarantee that there is something on this shortlist of the best zombie games that will catch your eye.
From open-world zombie survival games (that require a few brain cells to complete) to mowing down endless hordes of the feral undead, grab your buddies, grab some pillows and let’s go zombie hunting!
Developer:Treyarch Release Date: 5th November 2015 Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation, Wii, PC, Nintendo DS, MAC
It’s okay, you can hate us. But, hear us out.
No matter whether you’re a Call of Duty sweat or not, you cannot deny that when zombies mode was first released, we all lost our shit. It was a total game-changer and over a decade later the series is still packing-a-punch.
The mechanics have progressed, there’s a marked improvement with story-telling and the maps are insane. In fact, we’ll put our neck out and say that Der Eisendrache is the best DLC map in zombies history; period. The four elemental bows, the return of the Panzer Soldat, and the first Treyarch boss fight has well and truly cemented this map as one of the best zombie maps of all time.
Sure, there are a few flaws with Black Ops III and you could argue that the original Call of Duty Black: Ops delivered the best zombie game modes. However, that’s now 13 years old and is seriously lacking some of the major advancements we have seen of late.
Developer:Saber Interactive Release Date: 16th April 2019 Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, Google Stadia
Truthfully, World War Z is not an incredible zombie game in isolation. But, for anyone who loved the movie and enjoys mowing down thousands of zombies with friends, this is one of the best zombie games for you.
If you have ever played Left 4 Dead, World War Z will feel somewhat familiar at times and there are definite cues taken from Techland’s zombie franchise by Saber Interactive. However, Saber went a few steps further with World War Z through adding the ability to select classes alongside smoother game mechanics.
Before you enter the bloodshed, you and your friends will choose between playing as a Slasher that gets extra health for kill-streaks or a Fixer that lays down traps to secure areas. There are also 4 other classes but we’ll let you find them out for yourselves. Regardless of who you choose, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to unload lead into moving walls of rotten flesh.
Developer: Motive Studio Release Date: 27th January 2023 Platform: PS5, Xbox & Windows PC
Blessed with a spray of new titles throughout 2023, gamers might have slept on the remake of Dead Space; despite its original being loved by so many.
If you’re unfamiliar with the original, Dead Space is a vivid horror story set in space where humans have discovered an alien civilization called Necromorphs. Thriving off human hosts, the sole mission of Necromorphs is to attach themselves to humans to survive. And, as a human, your sole mission is just simply to survive.
Adding improvements to voiceovers, mechanics and atmospherics, Dead Space (2023) levels up the gore and stands on its own two feet against massive zombie titles like Resident Evil. It’s the most underrated zombie game on this list and with huge hopes for a reboot of Dead Space 2, we expect great things to come from Motive Studios over the next few seasons.
Developer:Behaviour Interactive Release Date: 14th June 2016 Platform: PS5, Xbox, PC, Switch & Google Stadia
Dead By Daylight is a unique experience to say the least. And while it’s not your typical out-and-out zombie hacker slasher, there’s plenty of slashing to be had. With the recent release of Nemesis which pits zombie AI into the game, Dead By Daylight makes our cut as one of the best horror/zombie experiences of all time.
Using mechanics that promote superb co-ordination (or betrayal), Dead By Daylight is a 4 versus 1 asymmetric online multiplayer with the few often killing the many. As a survivor, you must escape near-certain death by repairing all generators before you are caught and there are plenty of wily characters to choose from.
Sounds simple? You have much to learn.
We could seriously write a book on this game. However, if you are looking for some of the best zombie games to add to your collection that are not linear run and gun experiences, Dead By Daylight is a one of a kind adventure that you must play.
Developer:PopCap Games Release Date: 23rd February 2016 Platform: PS4, Xbox & PC
Incredibly, despite the title, you wouldn’t expect to see a list of the best zombie games that included Plants Vs Zombies. Why? Because the game is just too damn cute!
A world away from the stench of death and developed by EA’s Popcap Studios, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is one of the many classic titles within the series. As a third-person shooter, players (or plants) rid the locals streets of hordes of zombies that won’t make you frightened; but will make you laugh.
It’s got everything you can expect of a top-rated zombie title with different plants performing different special moves and plenty of weapons upgrades. Available to play solo, multiplayer or split-screen co-op, you can enjoy both the beauty and the carnage alone or with friends.
So, if you are looking for one of the best zombie games that’s light-hearted and opted to bleed beauty over gore, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is without question one of the best in the business.
Developer:Undead Labs Release Date: 18th May 2018 Platform: Xbox, Xbox Series X & PC
There are a few Playstation only zombie games on this list and State of Decay 2 takes the crown for the best zombie game on Xbox exclusively.
For storytelling, the original State of Decay delivers a stark improvement on its predecessor. However, the sequel is much improved in almost every other aspect. It takes what was so great about some of the systems within the State of Decay and fleshes them out for a much more satisfying zombie open-world survival game.
In true RPG survival fashion, State of Decay 2 pits you as a protagonist from your community of survivors. Here, you will take your group out into the wild to find the necessary food, fuel, or drugs to keep the rest alive. But we warned. This is not going to be a stroll in the park and danger is always lurking around the corner.
If you love survival zombie games then State of Decay 2 should definitely be on the list. What with State of Decay 3 edging closer to retail shelves near you.
Developer:Techland Release Date: 4 February 2022 Platform: Xbox, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC & Mac
Released at the backend of 2021, there were initial concerns that Dying Light 2 would be a hot mess. However, it was neither a mess or a masterpiece. In fact, it’s just a good zombie game with some interesting mechanics that pull from other genres.
True to the name, the concept of Dying Light 2 is to stay human. Playing Aiden (an infected Pilgrim wandering from settlement to settlement) you must gather resources and stop yourself from turning into a mutant completely by nightfall. As you parkour your way around the city of Villedor(yes, parkour), there are plenty of side-missions as well as the core storyline for you follow.
But beware, your immunity will not last long.
The plot is simple, the zombies are gnarly and the combat-mechanics are superb! No seriously, Dying Light 2 strips back your typical massive shotgun-fest and introduces ridiculously clever combat mechanics. For that alone, Dying Light 2 is one of the best zombie games of this generation.
Developer:Telltale Games Release Date: Multiple Platform: Xbox, PS Vita, Switch, PS4, PC & Mac
It would be a sin to not include a differential here.
You don’t have to spend hours cutting heads and splitting limbs to enjoy a zombie experience. To this end, The Walking Dead is one of the best zombie games of all time that doesn’t give you a weapon.
For anyone who wants a break from spraying lead, the Walking Dead is one of the best zombie games to enjoy with a cup of earl grey. It’s gruesome, but chill.
Rather than massive shotguns and splattered brains, The Walking Dead is an adventure choice-driven zombie experience that will test your ability to make decisions instead of your ability to rapidly tap the trigger. But be warned. This is not a fluffy social outing. There are some parts of the game that will seriously test your nerve too.
Encountering fellow survivors, every decision you make will have both awesome and dire consequences for your new buddies. And the best part? You will start to develop a connection with each character throughout the game. So, when shit really hits the fan, you’ll be backstabbing your mates!
There will be blood. And that blood will be on your hands.
Developer:Saber Interactive Release Date: 13th May 2022 Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, PC & Switch
Another awesome zombie game with a great backstory is The Evil Dead: The Game. While this horror game does not actually have an incredible storyline, the movie franchise that this game is based from is one of the better horror movie series out there.
Playing out very similar to Dead By Daylight, The Evil Dead: The Game is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror zombie game where players work their way through objectives to eventually closes the portal where evil spirits are entering the world.
Players choose between humans or evil and fight to the death while strategically mapping out how to complete each challenge and collect clues to forge the Kandarian Dagger which is the weapon that is required to close the gap. Sound easy? It’s not!
Developer:Capcom Release Date: 25th January 2019 Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One & PC
This was a tough one.
We promised to enlist just a single Resident Evil game here and the buck stopped at Resident Evil 2: Remake. The entire series has never gotten past Resident Evil 2 with countless spinoffs, books and movies that are rooted within the zombie apocalypse of Raccoon City.
Not to mention that the game is incredible too.
The remake is an exciting evolution of an overplayed formula which keeps the gothic vibes alive but switches you to third-person mode. This is the best decision that Capcom could have made and it takes the game to a whole new level.
Then, there’s the notorious Mr X – the best pursuer monster in survival horror history. He will find you and he will you and not just with his bare hands this time. Oh no, Mr X is now equipped with artificial intelligence to stomp around the map and hunt you down. We are in the 20th century after all.
If you’re not into remakes, the next best zombie game would have to be Resident Evil 4. We won’t go into too much detail but while Resident Evil 4 wouldn’t be heralded as the best zombie survival game of all time, it’s a near perfect game all-round.
Sidebar: It’s also real nice to see Capcom stepping it up lately. With record profits 5 years running, there’s definitely something great going on down in Osaka, Japan! GGs. 👏
Developer:Naughty Dog Release Date: 14th June 2013 Platform: PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 5
Winner of countless coveted game awards, The Last Of Us is without question the best zombie game on PS5 at the very least. Especially now with the HBO series afoot!
Playing the role of a snarky teenager, you will traverse through an overgrown post-human United States which is absolutely sprawled with mushroom-brained zombies that are ready to rip you from limb to limb. The storyline is dark, intense and creepy. At times, it’s almost unbearable and is everything that you want from an apocalyptic classic.
In addition to the undead, there are also desperate gun-toting survivalists, a repressive government, and savage rebel groups to navigate. Yet, best of all, the action literally starts from the moment you enter the game. You will feel every bone, every smash and just about every emotion whilst playing the Last Of Us and we love it!
When you look at the other games to come out of Naughty Dog studios such as Unchartered and Jak & Daxter, you know everything you need to know about how good the Last Of Us will be. It’s a worthy winner of almost every category in the zombie gaming genre and once you’re done, you will have the Last Of Us 2 to enjoy too!
Developer: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios Release Date: 21st April 2023 Platform: Windows PC, Xbox, PS4 & PS5
Last but not least, how could we not feature Dead Island 2?
As the best zombie game overall, Dead Island 2 comes after a decades worth of waiting and boy-oh-boy was it worth the wait. Sure, there’s still some glitches that we’ve become accustomed to love with the Dead Island series, but, yeah, just go get the game!
As far as zombie games go, Dead Island 2 is not completely original, yet, it builds on what many other entries on this list have started and goes a few yards further. From zany humour to a level of brutality that just cannot be ignored, Dead Island 2 makes solid use of the environment and introduces a new checkpoint system that favours the player, not the AI.
I have no doubt Dead Island 2 will be played for many years to follow and the multiplayer mode is actually really bloody good too. If there was any zombie apocalypse game you should buy from this list, Dead Island 2 would be the pick of the bunch.
No matter your preferred play style, our top picks for the best zombie games come with such variety that you’ll be stuck on your couch for aeons. From marvelling at zombie-slaying plants to literally screaming at cutscenes or cringing at your next gruesome beheading, there’s plenty to choose from.
Regardless of whether you’re an open-world survivalist or preference zombie games that require you only to hold down the trigger button, each of these titles should give you an adrenaline rush; no matter the format.
As the genre now takes a turn towards grand maps, storytelling and immersive adventures, it’s unclear whether the traditional hack-and-slash format will survive. Unless a developer comes up with a new and genius way to bring us all back to repeat playing linear game formats, we can only image grand adventures from here on out.
Did we miss any titles? Let us know of any other amazing zombie games that you would like to see featured on this list.
Meanwhile, here are some other awesome articles for you to check out!
Content Disclaimer: This article on the best zombie games has been independently written. We have not been commissioned by any publishers mentioned, nor have we received any royalties for this article. This includes financial reimbursement, free advertising or gifts.
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