My 6 Favorite Zombie Video Games

Zombies are everywhere! Or, at least, they’re still around, following that big zombie craze from a few years ago. The desire for all things zombie has sort of faded, but they are still a ubiquitous presence in our favorite entertainment. I should know, since I’ve spent the past week playing a marathon session of Dead Rising 3! Finally beat it last night! It was at the top of the list of games I’d play once I got a bigger, better computer!

And this is at the bottom

I’ll probably stop bragging about my computer at some point, I promise. In fact, let’s spend today jawing about zombie video games! There are so many! And I’ve been having so much fun with the latest Dead Rising that I’ve decided to list my favorite zombie video games! Join me after the jump for all the brain-eating glory, and please share some of your own favorites in the comments!

6. Dead Island

Crazy and a zombie? Watch out!

We all remember that amazing trailer for Dead Island, right? The haunting, musical terror that somehow garnered its own movie deal — only for that to eventually fall apart, heh. Well for some reason, I didn’t particularly care for Dead Island itself as a game. Dead Island is a first-person shooter set on an island resort filled with zombies. You play one of several characters who must travel around the island completing tasks and missions, using whatever tools and weapons you find lying around.

I didn’t like Dead Island because the zombies leveled up right alongside your character. While you get stronger, and get better weapons and abilities, the zombies remain just as strong, powerful and frustrating. So there was never any real sense of improvement. There was never a moment where you’re a zombie-killing badass after surviving hours upon hours in the game. It’s a minor gripe, but it kept Dead Island from being a real standout franchise, in my mind.

5. Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army/Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Why is zombies vs. cowboys not a movie franchise?

I grouped these two together because they’re essentially the same thing: take a regular, A-list game and then add zombies as bonus extra content. Sniper Elite is a stellar series about WWII snipers, with a great play style that focuses on setting up that perfect shot over the traditional run & gun of a war game. And Red Dead Redemption is an equally amazing game that is essentially Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West, complete with horses, shootouts, hog-tying and more. And then somebody decided to just add zombies.

I liked both games because they keep the play style of the original and just add a new, interesting conflict. Instead of shooting Nazis or bad cowboys, now your main character has to contend with armies of the undead! These bonus content packages were definitely a result of the zombie craze a few years ago, but when they’re this good, who can complain?

4. Left 4 Dead

Good thing we all carry first aid kits glued to our backs

The Left 4 Dead series is the definitive first-person zombie shooter. No one has come close to matching the intense, nail-biting suspense that comes from a few sessions of this survival series. Armed with finite ammo and diminishing health, you and your companions set out into several levels constantly surrounded by the fearsome dread of fast-moving zombie hordes. Every sound could draw Hell down upon you, and sometimes you’ve just got to run for it.

The best part about Left 4 Dead was the teamwork. Designed to be played by a team of four, the game is all about staying in contact with your teammates over the Internet, calling out trouble and watching their backs. Somehow, the teamwork makes it even more intense, because you’re suddenly responsible for more than just your own well being (unless you’re a jerk, of course).

3. Dead Rising

The toy helmet protects your brains

Speaking of Dead Rising, these games are a total blast! Most zombie games are as serious as an open wound, but Dead Rising has a little fun with their zombie slaying. Giving you a new open sandbox world in each game, Dead Rising throws you up against a zombie horde and hopes you have a ton of fun smashing, slashing and shooting your way through. They accomplish this by making almost every object in the game a potential weapon. Chairs, 2x4s, guitars, records, potted plants, sledgehammers, glue guns; the list is endless and almost all of them are a ton of fun!

Then the games one-upped themselves by introducing weapon combinations! Tape a fire ax to a sledgehammer and get an even more powerful weapon! Set boxing gloves on fire. Attach automatic rifles to a wheelchair and ride around in a vehicle of death! Put roaring chainsaws on either end of canoe oar! The Dead Rising series fills an open sandbox game with endless hordes of the undead, gives you the funnest weapons in existence, and just tells you to go nuts! What’s not to love?

2. The Walking Dead

Little girls and hammers are a dangerous combination

Do you love The Walking Dead? Then hopefully you’re not just reading the comic and watching the TV show, hopefully you’re also playing the amazing video game! Although ‘game’ might be a bit too generous. The Walking Dead game is actually a point & click story adventure, where you marginally control a few different characters as they try to survive in the zombie apocalypse. Mostly you’re in charge of dialogue and big choices that come up through the game. Do you rescue the man trapped beneath the car or do you rescue the child in the driver’s seat? How do other characters react to your choice? When one of the characters in your survival group is accused of stealing food, do you stand up for them or let them get insulted? How do they feel about that? How is that going to effect the rest of the game?

You might think this approach would be boring, since you’re rarely controlling any action. But the story and characters are just so enthralling that you can’t help but get sucked into their world and their desperate survival. The main character across both games is a young girl named Clementine, a child forced to grow up very quickly. And across all Walking Dead media, she is far and away my favorite survivor. Together we’re going to get through this, Clementine! I promise!

1. State of Decay

Smash him good!

The truest, greatest, most fascinatingly fun zombie gaming experience I have ever had is with State of Decay. This game truly is Grand Theft Auto: Zombies, and that’s a definite compliment. State of Decay is another massive, open sandbox world, but the focus is on survival, not on killing zombies. State of Decay gives you a big, county-sized map dotted with small towns, farmland, lakes, ponds, factories, grocery stores and everything else. You’ve got to find a safe house, build your group of survivors and then scour the countryside for supplies. And all around you, zombies are everywhere, looking to gobble your noggin!

Like all good GTA games, you’ve got free roam wherever you’d like. You can run, jump and fistfight your way through trouble, or pick up any number of melee weapons or firearms. There are also hundreds of cars and other motor vehicle around the map that you can use at your leisure, and unlike actual GTA games, State of Decay keeps track of every single car. Do you have to ditch that awesome hot rod in the field when you’re surrounded by zombies? Go back and get it later. Want to give your group a fleet of massive pickup trucks? Go out and collect them!

Zombies don’t care when you steal cars

And in State of Decay, you don’t just control one main character. You start out with one, but then you slowly start to rescue other survivors and build your group. And then State of Decay lets you switch between the whole lot of them. Is your main character exhausted from running from a zombie horde? Switch her out for another survivor to go on the next scavenger mission. And each survivor levels up and increases their stats the more you use them.

State of Deacy is massive, complex, fully-realized sandbox game littered with the undead. You’ve got to run, you’ve got to fight, and you’ve got to survive. And you’re going to have a ton of fun doing it!


About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on September 23, 2015, in Lists of Six!, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Fallout 3. I know they call them “Ghouls” but they’re obviously zombies. And I like that you can get a Ghoul Mask so that Ghouls stop attacking you. The Dunwich Building immediately switches from a nervous ordeal to laugh out loud comedy. You’re just walking by a bunch of radioactive zombies standing around waiting to jump out at nobody.

  1. Pingback: 6 Things I Should Be Doing in Quarantine That I’m Not | Henchman-4-Hire

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