Zombies are some of the most recognizable horror monsters, and countless movies have been made over the course of the 20th century and beyond. More recently, there was a “zombie renaissance” of sorts in the late 90s and the early 2000s, which is also when zombies started becoming more popular not only in movies, but in video games as well.

Now, few (sub)genres are quite as oversaturated as zombie shooters and zombie survival games are, but just because the market was flooded with generic and unpolished zombie titles over the past decade doesn’t mean that there aren’t some truly outstanding games out there that are worth playing.

In this article, we’ll be listing some of the best zombie games ever made, so read on.

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    Resident Evil

    Resident Evil

    Release date: March 22, 1996 (original); March 22, 2002 (remake)

    Developer: Capcom

    Platforms: Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

    What better game to kick off the list than one of the biggest survival horror classics – Resident Evil?

    When the original first launched in 1996, it introduced a variety of mechanics that would help it stand out in the late 90s scene and that would also help define the future Resident Evil games. The player needed to carefully manage their inventory and ammo as they explored the chambers of a mysterious mansion, solving puzzles and dealing with threats that consist not only of zombies but also other, nastier creatures.

    Needless to say, the original Resident Evil isn’t the kind of game where you’ll be charging into hordes of zombies with guns blazing. Rather, it is a slow, methodical survival horror game where even a single zombie can pose a significant threat if the player is not careful or adequately prepared.

    Now, if you’re interested in playing Resident Evil today, you should probably try the Resident Evil HD Remaster. This is actually a remaster of a remake of the original game released for the GameCube in 2002, but it was remastered for newer systems in 2015.

    Granted, you could always try an emulator, but most will agree that the HD Remaster is the best way to experience this classic in 2020, seeing as it does a great job of improving the graphics fidelity and eliminating some of the issues that plagued the original release, most notably the slow, tanky controls.

    Resident Evil 4

    Resident Evil 4

    Release date: January 11, 2005

    Developer: Capcom

    Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android

    Resident Evil 4 was a very important game, not only for the Resident Evil franchise but also for the video game industry as a whole.

    Where the older Resident Evil games used a fixed camera perspective, Resident Evil 4 featured a brand-new over-the-shoulder view, something that influenced many horror and action games that would come after it. It is more action-oriented than the older games, too, though it definitely comes across as somewhat clunky by today’s standards.

    The player has access to a variety of upgradeable weapons that they can unlock over the course of the game and the combat has more depth than any of the previous entries in the series, as the player has the ability to aim for different body parts when targeting enemies, execute melee attacks to conserve ammo, and sometimes also utilize the environment to their advantage.

    All in all, while it definitely feels dated in 2020, Resident Evil 4 is a must-play for all fans of the genre. The in-game enemies aren’t zombies per se, at least not according to the series’ lore, but their behavior is still decidedly zombie-like.

    Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

    Resident Evil 7 Biohazard

    Release date: January 24, 2017

    Developer: Capcom

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

    Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is yet another one of the stronger links in the franchise. It was a much-needed breath of fresh air for a series that had grown stagnant after the release of Resident Evil 4.

    Resident Evil 7 is a slower game that thrives more on atmosphere and tension rather than on fast-paced action. It is the first Resident Evil game to use first-person view, something that amplifies the sense of claustrophobia and improves immersion. Needless to say, this makes the game exceptionally engaging in VR.

    Overall, much like the original Resident Evil, Resident Evil 7 isn’t an action-packed title and it places a big focus on exploration, tension, and atmosphere, though there is plenty of gore as well. Much like in Resident Evil 4, the enemies found in this game aren’t your classic zombies, and if you’re into slow-paced survival horror, this game is a must-play.

    Resident Evil 2 (2019)

    Resident Evil 2 2019

    Release date: January 25, 2019

    Developer: Capcom

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

    Here, we get to the fourth and final Resident Evil game on this list, and it’s the 2019 remake of the original Resident Evil 2 from 1998. Remakes aren’t often associated with quality but Resident Evil 2 is truly a remake done right.

    What makes this game special is that it strikes an almost perfect balance between horror and action, as well as between the old and the new. The levels are non-linear, there are puzzles to solve, and there is a limited amount of ammo available. Because of this, the player must pick their fights, and every encounter – even if it is with a regular old zombie – can feel quite tense.

    At the end of the day, despite being a remake, the 2019 take on Resident Evil 2 is probably one of the best Resident Evil games and one of the best zombie games ever made, so we can wholeheartedly recommend it.

    Of course, the Resident Evil series consists of many more games than the few we’ve picked for this list, so if you’re interested, you can see the list of all the Resident Evil games here.

    Left 4 Dead 2

    Left 4 Dead 2

    Release date: November 17, 2009

    Developer: Valve

    Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux

    Moving on, we get to an immensely popular multiplayer-oriented title that is Left 4 Dead 2. This sequel to the original Left 4 Dead improved upon the base set by the first game by adding new maps, weapons, items, new enemies, and new game modes.

    The gameplay consists of up to four players working in tandem to navigate a series of maps that constitute different campaigns, each with different environments and some unique roadblocks that make them feel distinct from one another.

    Despite its age, Left 4 Dead 2 holds up well even a decade later. It is a game that can be played in short bursts and you can get it for what is essentially pocket change when it goes on sale. As such, we’d say it’s definitely another must-play, especially if you have friends who are into co-op games.

    Dead Island

    Dead Island

    Release date: September 6, 2011

    Developer: Techland

    Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux

    Next, we have another game that places a big accent on cooperative play, though the actual gameplay mechanics are very different. While Left 4 Dead 2 is a straightforward action game with relatively small maps, Dead Island is an open-world RPG and its gameplay mechanics have a little more depth.

    The game features four pre-made characters, each of whom has some unique abilities and skill trees. On top of that, there is an inventory and a crafting system, along with plenty of side quests – basically all the stuff that you’d expect to see in a modern action RPG game. Naturally, there is also a variety of melee and ranged weapons available, allowing for some interesting combinations in co-op play.

    You can always give Dead Island a go even if you’re playing solo, though it’s obviously a more fun experience if tackled in co-op. The original game launched in 2011, but a remastered Definitive Edition was released in 2016, featuring updated graphics for PC, as well as the PS4 and the Xbox One.

    Dying Light

    Dying Light

    Release date: January 28, 2015

    Developer: Techland

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux

    Up next, we have another open-world zombie game from the developers of Dead Island, and the influence is pretty obvious from the get-go. However, Dying Light tones down the RPG elements somewhat in favor of a more direct action-oriented approach.

    The game’s most notable feature is its heavy focus on parkour mechanics, allowing the player to quickly traverse the world and maneuver their way around urban environments. The focus is mostly on melee combat this time around, and the game fares much better as a single-player experience, though a co-op mode is, obviously, available as well.

    The Walking Dead

    The Walking Dead

    Release date: April 24, 2012

    Developer: Telltale Games

    Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android

    Next, we have something completely different – Telltale’s Walking Dead series. This is a series of games that you’ve probably heard of if you’re a fan of the show, but even if you are not, the original game is essentially the one that started the avalanche of episodic narrative-focused games in the mid-2010s.

    Being a narrative game, Telltale’s The Walking Dead features little in terms of conventional gameplay, as it is heavily scripted and is driven mostly by the story. There are some simple puzzles to solve and the action sequences are mostly quicktime events, but they are generally executed quite well and there is more than enough tension to go around.

    Now, this series has been going on for a while now, and it has only finally concluded in 2019. It consists of four “seasons”, as well as The Walking Dead: Michonne and an optional DLC titled 400 Days. You can get the complete package in the form of The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series, which was released in September 2019 for Windows, the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One.

    The Last of Us

    The Last of Us

    Release date: June 14, 2013

    Developer: Naughty Dog

    Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

    No zombie game list would be complete without The Last of Us, a game that is one of the most notable highlights of the genre. Released in 2013 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, The Last of Us is an outstanding game on virtually every front: it has engaging gameplay, both action and stealth, a beautifully-designed world, a well-written story, and believable characters.

    Unfortunately for Xbox and PC users, the game remains a PlayStation exclusive confined to the PlayStation 3 while a remastered version featuring updated graphics and improved performance was released for the PlayStation 4. If you don’t own either of those consoles, the only way to try the game out would be through PlayStation Now, though the performance would be less than stellar.

    Days Gone

    Days Gone

    Release date: April 26, 2019

    Developer: SIE Bend Studio

    Platforms: PlayStation 4

    Days Gone is another PlayStation exclusive, one that has launched fairly recently, too. And while it may not be as good as what we’re used to seeing with PS exclusives in recent years, it is still a solid game and is worth playing if you’re into this particular subgenre.

    From a gameplay standpoint, Days Gone is similar to your typical open-world action game, with a surprisingly engaging main story and a plethora of not-so-engaging side quests that consist of wiping out Freaker nests and hordes, bandit outposts, hunting down people with bounties on their heads, etc. It features both ranged and melee combat, along with a simple leveling and crafting systems.

    As mentioned above, Days Gone doesn’t exactly count among the best games of this generation and it doesn’t live up to the same quality standard as most other first-party PS4 titles, but it is still a fun game that can keep you engaged for well over 30 hours.

    Project Zomboid

    Project Zomboid

    Release date: April 25, 2011

    Developer: The Indie Stone

    Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Java

    Next, we have Project Zomboid, an indie game whose development started all the way back in 2011. Currently, the game is still in its alpha stage and is available as an Early Access title on Steam.

    Project Zomboid places a simple-yet-not-so-simple task before the player: survive. There is no story, no specific goals, and the only task that the player has is to survive as long as possible. And while it may not look like much at first glance, this is probably one of the better zombie survival sandboxes out there, and the game is not even finished yet.

    Dead Rising

    Dead Rising

    Release date: August 8, 2006

    Developer: Capcom

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

    Standing in stark contrast to all the slow-paced and semi-realistic zombie titles, Dead Rising is a gory, over the top game that has the player taking on seemingly endless hordes of the undead with all sorts of weapons, melee and ranged alike.

    Though the franchise has never received the same kind of critical acclaim as some of the other entries on this list, it is still a fun game that many fans of the genre are bound to have a blast with. A total of four main-series Dead Rising games were released from 2006 to 2016, and though the first two have received the best reviews, Dead Rising 3 and Dead Rising 4 are just as good if you like how these games play.

    Upcoming Zombie Games

    It’s 2020, and as proven by some recent releases, the zombie genre isn’t dead yet – no pun intended. There are several noteworthy zombie games coming out in the near future, and they seem very promising.

    Here are a few more upcoming zombie games that will most likely be included on this list once we actually give them a go!

    The Last of Us Part II

    The Last of Us Part II

    Release date: May 29, 2020

    Developer: Naughty Dog

    Platforms: PlayStation 4

    The long-anticipated sequel to The Last of Us is slated to drop in May this year for the PlayStation 4. The gameplay will essentially remain the same, combining stealth and action segments, though the game will obviously have some new features, items, and weapons. If the gameplay mechanics, environment design, story, and characters all come together as well as they did in the original game, then The Last of Us Part II is bound to become an instant classic.

    As mentioned above, the game will launch for the PlayStation 4, though it will also be playable on the PlayStation 5, seeing as the upcoming new console will feature backward compatibility with PS4 games.

    Resident Evil 3 (2020)

    Resident Evil 3

    Release date: April 3, 2020

    Developer: Capcom

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

    After the immense success of the masterfully put-together remake of Resident Evil 2, it made perfect sense to remake Resident Evil 3: Nemesis as well. Just like Resident Evil 2, the upcoming remake will be a modern reimagining of the 1999 original. Reportedly, it will be more action-oriented than the RE2 remake, but we hope that it will also manage to maintain the same kind of atmosphere.

    Dying Light 2

    Dying Light 2

    Release date: Spring 2020

    Developer: Techland

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

    The first quarter of 2020 seems to be packed with good zombie games, including Dying Light 2, a sequel to the original Dying Light. No concrete release date has been specified, but the game is expected to hit the shelves in “Spring 2020”, so that could mean March, April, May, or even June – it remains to be seen.

    Dying Light 2 will play more or less the same as the original, but of course, it will feature various updates and refinements to the formula, as well as some new toys. More importantly, it will also feature a much larger map to explore, which hopefully means more varied environments, too.

    Honorable Mentions

    Finally, here are some honorable mentions – a couple of games that either aren’t technically zombie games or they can’t really be thrown into the same basket as some of the best zombie games ever made.

    Dead Space

    Dead Space

    Release date: October 13, 2008

    Developer: Visceral Games

    Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

    Dead Space is a horror classic, a game obviously heavily influenced by Resident Evil 4. It features a selection of interesting weapons/repurposed industrial tools that can help the player dismember and overcome hordes of grotesque undead enemies known as Necromorphs while advancing through the claustrophobic corridors of a derelict spaceship.

    The sequel, Dead Space 2, is just as good, if not better, depending on whether you prefer the slower and more tense survival horror experience or a more fast-paced, action-oriented one. In any case, Dead Space can’t really be called a zombie game, but since this is basically Resident Evil in space, we thought we ought to mention it.

    7 Days to Die

    7 Days to Die

    Release date: December 13, 2013

    Developer: The Fun Pimps

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux

    7 Days to Die is an open-world survival game, much like Project Zomboid, but in 3D and played in first person. However, the reason why it didn’t make the cut (at least not yet) is because it is still an Early Access title, and has received generally mixed reviews from players and negative-mixed reviews from critics.

    The development has not been without hiccup either, so it’s unclear how the final product will turn out, but rest assured – if you like zombie survival games and sandbox games, and if you’re willing to overlook the clunkiness, you just might have fun with this game.

    Killing Floor 2

    Killing Floor 2

    Release date: November 18, 2016

    Developer: Tripwire Interactive

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

    Killing Floor 2 is a sequel to the original Killing Floor from 2009, and it is a multiplayer co-op wave defense FPS game that features a variety of grotesque zombie-like enemies called ZEDs. It has received generally favorable reviews and it is a fun game in its own right, but it lacks a proper single-player campaign and it can get repetitive after a while.

    Conclusion

    And those would be our picks for the best zombie games released so far, along with a couple of upcoming titles that might make the list in the future, as well as a few honorable mentions. These are only our picks, so if you feel that there are more games out there that deserve a mention, let us know in the comments, and we’ll see about expanding the list in the future.

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