Zombies are some of the most popular enemy types in video gaming, with countless games released starring the living dead. But which zombie games are the best?
Zombies are everywhere. They're lumbering around on television on AMC's The Walking Dead shows, eating brains on the big screen, serving as the subject of numerous books, and countless members of the undead hordes have been slaughtered in video games. Yes, zombies are everywhere, and there is no sign that the world's obsession with the living dead is going to subside anytime soon.
Due to the incredible popularity of zombies, there have been a dizzying number of video games released starring the creatures. With Halloween right around the corner, there may be some that are looking to play the very best zombie games available, and so we've narrowed it down to the 10 best zombie games on the market.
10 Call of Duty
Ever since Treyarch introduced Nazi Zombies in Call of Duty: World at War, most games in the series have since had a Zombies mode of some kind, making the monsters a permanent part of Call of Duty's DNA. Each new Zombies map tries to outdo itself with creative weapons, special zombies, and increasingly extravagant Easter Eggs that push players to their limits. Just as there's some people that buy Call of Duty every year for its multiplayer, it's fair to say that others pick it up for the latest take on Zombies.
9 Dead Rising
Out of all the games on this list, Dead Rising may be the best representation of what people expect from the zombie apocalypse. Echoing celebrated zombie films like Dawn of the Dead, Dead Rising sees freelance photojournalist Frank West slaughter thousands of zombies in a shopping mall by utilizing a wide array of weaponry and special combat skills. Frank is also stuck with the task of leading helpless survivors to safety, and dealing with evil psychopaths that may pose an even bigger threat than the zombies themselves.
8 Dying Light
In some ways a successor to Dead Island, Dying Light features fast and vicious zombies that sprint after players at full speed. Once the sun goes down, these horrific beasts have their powers enhanced further, so players have to seek shelter to avoid being devoured. The Following expansion for Dying Light earned even higher marks than the original game, introducing a larger world map for players to explore, and vehicles like the dune buggy to explore it with.
7 Left 4 Dead
In Left 4 Dead, players have to deal with more than just the massive hordes of zombies that prowl the streets. They also have to fight special zombies with unique powers, which adds a layer of strategy to the proceedings. When playing the game's competitive multiplayer component, players have the chance to take control of these special zombies, giving Left 4 Dead one of the most unique multiplayer dynamics we've seen in gaming. Now if only Valve could learn to count to three so fans could get excited about the rumored third Left 4 Dead game.
6 Plants vs. Zombies
Most of the games on this list are bleak, depressing, and full of gore. Plants vs. Zombies, on the other hand, is an IP aimed mostly at kids, with vibrant colors and goofy humor instead of grim depictions of a post-apocalyptic world. In the Plants vs. Zombies universe, plants have risen up to fight off the undead hordes, with each new installment adding more plants and more zombie types for players to master. It's somewhat of an absurd concept for a game, but it works whether one is playing the classic tower defense games in the series or the more recent class-based shooters.
5 Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
With the Undead Nightmare expansion for Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar turned its realistic depiction of the Old West upside down. Undead Nightmare tells the non-canonical story of John Marston and other characters from Red Dead Redemption as they take on a plague of zombies. Undead Nightmare goes above and beyond what is expected from an expansion in this day and age, introducing brand new gameplay features that add more depth to an already impressive open world.
4 Resident Evil 2
The followup to the innovative Resident Evil sees the T-Virus zombies from the first game unleashed on the unlucky citizens of Raccoon City. Claire Redfield travels to Raccoon City in search of her brother Chris, whereas rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy rolls into town for his first day on the job. The struggle of Claire and Leon to make it out of the Raccoon City nightmare alive is held in such regard that were many fan petitions created over the years trying to convince Capcom to remake Resident Evil 2 for modern hardware. Capcom has finally given in to fan demand, with a Resident Evil 2 remake currently in development that has potential to be an even more thrilling experience.
3 The Walking Dead
Not all zombie games are about players mindlessly killing hordes of the undead. In fact, some zombie video games strive to tell emotionally engaging stories with a well-written cast of complex characters, like The Walking Dead from Telltale Games, for examples. Like the comic series it's based on, Telltale's The Walking Dead challenges its characters Lee and Clementine with making tough moral decisions on their journey that have profound effects on the people around them. Its work on The Walking Dead put Telltale on the map, opening the door for the studio to work with other IP, like Game of Thrones and Batman.
2 Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Most of the games on this list are from the last 10 years, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any solid retro games featuring zombies. Perhaps the best retro zombie game available is Zombies Ate My Neighbors from LucasArts, which released during the age of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Praised for its co-op gameplay and quirky humor, Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a retro zombie game that still holds up today.
Even though the Wii U has been available for four years now, there are only a handful of games for the system that actually make good use of its GamePad, with most titles treating it as an afterthought. The same can't be said for the Ubisoft team behind ZombiU, which makes the GamePad a centerpiece of the gameplay as a way to better immerse players in zombie-ridden Britain. Drawing on element from popular games like Dark Souls, ZombiU also offers a stiff challenge and punishing permadeath gameplay, forcing players to use their wits if they hope to survive.
From Call of Duty to ZombiU, it's clear that zombies are just about everywhere gamers look, and there's no sign that their popularity is waning. Looking ahead, there are many zombie games currently in development for enthusiasts to look forward to, including the Zombies in Spaceland mode for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Frank West's return in Dead Rising 4. Anyone looking forward to those games and the other zombie titles lurching over the horizon can brush up on their zombie-slaying skills by playing through the great zombie games on this list.
Which zombie game is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!