There is something beautiful about bashing undead skulls with a baseball bat, and the best zombie games provide you with just that. If you boil zombie games down, they’re all about survival and headshotting zombies. Sure there might be some light puzzle solving, or perhaps a gripping narrative, or maybe you can drive, but at the end of the day, everyone just loves smashing zombies.
Sure, there are psychological reasons behind gamers enjoying zombie games so much. For me, it’s just a way of letting steam out after a long day of work. Simply booting up Dead Rising 3 and mindlessly mowing through a zombie herd is a great way to spend an evening.
The developers also love zombie games simply because they don’t need some fancy AI for the zombies, after all, zombies are brainless and just want to get your brains.
Best Zombie Games
With so many amazing zombie games it is going to be hard ranking them all. We tried our best to rank them but all of them are the best zombie games. While they might differ in core mechanics, story, combat, and survival, they all have one form or another of zombies.
Resident Evil 4
Platforms: GameCube, PS2, PS3, PS4, PC, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: January 11, 2005
Yes, there is no contest here, Resident Evil 4 is the best zombie game ever made. Unless of course, you hate Ashley, then it slips down a couple of places. Jokes aside, Resident Evil 4 invented a whole new way to play 3rd person shooters and reinvigorated the already legendary Resident Evil series by Capcom.
The game was released back in 2015 on the GameCube but subsequently sought releases on the PS 2, Windows, PS3, Xbox 360, all the way to PS4.
The game stars Leon S Kennedy, the rookie cop from Resident Evil 2, who is now a US government Special Agent. He is still rocking the parted hairstyle though, which is surprisingly hard to replicate (don’t ask how I know).
He is sent on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter Ashley Graham. She’s been abducted by a cult in Spain and apparently, only Leon is sent to rescue her. The story is serviceable and allows you to shoot zombies so there isn’t much to complain about here.
The over-the-shoulder aiming set Resident Evil 4 apart from not only the previous games in the series but also other 3rd person shooters. There might be other games that tried it before but Resident Evil 4 is the one that perfected it. There is no crosshair either, instead, a laser is added to help you aim. You could switch shoulders for better aiming.
The game also featured somewhat realistic reactions from the zombies, if you shoot one on the foot, it will stumble and fall down. You could also shoot down axes thrown at you if you were good at aiming, a simple yet badass touch.
Capcom is gearing up to release a remake of the legendary Resident Evil 4. The trailer gives us a clear look at the environment and the atmosphere of the remake. From what we have seen, the game is shaping up to be a remake that’s going to be true to the original. The release date is set on March 24, 2023. We just hope Ashley isn’t a giant pain in the neck this time around.
The Last of Us
Platforms: PS3, PS4, PS5
Release Date: June 14, 2013
The Last of Us was released back in 2013 and immediately became one of the best zombie games ever. Fast forward almost a decade and nothing even came close to the characters and the narrative of this survival zombie game.
The game takes you on a long journey across the country through post-apocalyptic USA. Sure, the zombies in the game aren’t technically zombies as they are infected by the parasitic fungal infection. However, they act like zombies so if you shoot them in the head, they die.
There are a couple of different types of zombies in the game, the normal shambling ones, then there are the Clickers. They are hard to take down and cannot see you but they will come running at the slightest sound. Zombies aren’t the only enemies in the game either, humans with guns are also against you.
There is an oppressive government, plenty of rebels, and environmental dangers for you to overcome. Supplies are in limited quantities so you have to pick your battles carefully. This isn’t a run-and-gun zombie game, so you’ll have to use stealth and patience if you want to come out on top.
At the center of it all is Joel, a middle-aged old dad who is a smuggler. There’s also Ellie, a child that Joel is tasked to deliver across the country. If you’re looking for a complete zombie survival horror experience that doesn’t pull its action or emotional punches, you have to try Last of Us. The Last of Us Part 2 is also equally great, expanding upon the mechanics of the first game in meaningful ways.
However, you’ll have to play the first game to understand the second one, so you might as well start where it all began. If you don’t want to play the game with outdated PS3 graphics, you can try the remastered version on PS4 or grab the newly released The Last of Us Part 1 Remake.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS 5, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: 27 January 2015
If The Last of Us was a narrative-driven survival experience, Dying Light flips that to the max. There is a bare-bones narrative here for you to follow but that’s not why you’ll be playing Dying Light. Dying Light makes you feel like an action hero stuck inside a zombie apocalypse.
The game has parkour, makeshift weapons, and plenty of explosions. It’s a fun game with a couple of unique mechanics that make it stand out on the Best Zombie Games list.
The biggest differentiator is the robust parkour system implemented in the open world. You can climb virtually any building, just like modern Assassins Creed games. The game is playable only in the first person, so the climbing feels personal and engaging.
Assassin’s Creed Zombie Killer
There’s a whole experience system tied to parkour, the more you jump around the more experience you get, and can assign skill points to make jumping around easier. This thoroughly thought-out gameplay loop keeps things fresh throughout the campaign.
The game is made by the developers who made Dead Island, so you can see that DNA in the combat system. Weapons break in Dying Light so you’re constantly on the lookout for more. Thankfully, you can repair them several times before they are fully done so you’re not really at a disadvantage. Plus, you can make modifications to the weapons and make them even stronger.
The best part of the first Dying Light is the physics, you can push zombies off the ledge, you can shove them in spikes, and you can throw them in the fire. However, as night falls, stronger zombies emerge that can make short work of your health bar.
To compensate for the spike in difficulty, you’ll also gain double experience from combat and parkour during the night. Also, if you die during the night you lose all the experience you’ve gathered in that level. This added tension makes taking risks during the night all the more rewarding once you pull a successful night.
Zombie Army 4
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 4 February 2020
Hitler has a zombie horde and you need to kill it with bullets, bombs, and fire. Do we need to say more? If you love shooting zombies using World War II weaponry along with your co-op buddies, Zombie Army 4 is one of the best zombie shooters for you.
There are a ton of cult-based enemies for you to kill, plenty of great upgradable weapons to choose from, and a campaign that takes you across 1940s Europe.
The game has the same shooting mechanics as the Sniper Elite series so you’ll see plenty of slow-motion bullets going through zombies. Exploding zombie skulls is as much fun as shooting non-zombie Nazis in the game thanks to the tight shooting mechanics. Don’t worry, there are plenty of melee options as well so when things get up close and personal, you have a way to defend yourself.
There is plenty of customization to be had as well, you can modify your character costumes and also guns. You can have fire, lightning and divine essence applied to your guns. Want a rifle that can shoot lightning? You can in this game. There are also character powers that can make you a tank or let you heal your co-op partners. If you’re in love with sniping heads, you can check out our best sniping games list as well.
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: April 26, 2019
Days Gone didn’t get as popular as I thought it would. Sure, there were numerous bugs and performance issues in the game when it launched but that didn’t take away from the fact that it was a solid open-world zombie game. The only problem with Days Gone was that it took too long to take off, they should’ve put the zombie horde front and center of the game’s narrative.
The game takes place in an open world Oregon, it’s beautiful, it’s wide open, and filled with zombies. You play as Deacon St. John, an ex-outlaw biker turned bounty hunter. You also get to ride a bike across the open world and upgrade it with parts and pieces that will make the ride smoother.
The story takes a little longer than expected to ramp up but once this does, you’ll be killing zombies with heavy machine guns and throwing makeshift Molotov cocktails at the horde.
Speaking of the zombie horde, this game features hundreds of zombies chasing you frantically. This is a feat that a lot of zombie games struggle to achieve. The impressive tech that was used to make that happen deserves a 2nd chance but we are not hopeful.
Thankfully, you can check out the original game at a discounted price. If you’re a fan of open-world zombie games and motorcycles, playing Days Gone is a no-brainer, pun intended.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: October 26, 2010
We are including a standalone expansion in the Best Zombie Games of all time list simply because it is so well done. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is one of the finest examples of an expansion done right.
The game adds a fully fleshed noncanonical single-player campaign that lasts a pretty long time for an expansion. It also added 2 new multiplayer modes and appropriate changes to the environment and the characters.
The open-world western game integrated zombies into it so well that one would think Rockstar made the game from the ground up. The plot follows John Marston, an outlaw that left the lawless life behind and started a family. Unfortunately, everyone turned into a zombie and he set off to find the cure for the zombie plague.
The main story of this expansion will last around 6 or so hours. There are side quests for you to partake in, padding the length of the overall expansion. There are new voice lines recorded for the expansion as well as music, and cut scenes.
The Dead Eye slow-motion shooting feature makes a return allowing you to pull off several headshots in quick succession. There are multiple offensive tools at your disposal including holy water, rifles and pistols, and bombs.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PS 5, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC, Amazon Luna
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Resident Evil 2 is considered to be one of the best old-school zombie games, and its remake is no different. Come pull off an incredible remake that is built from the ground up with modern mechanics.
Gone are the “tank-based” controls of the original, and the fixed camera perspective is also removed. Instead, you’re getting a modern remake with all the bells and whistles of the 3D game you expect.
You play as both Claire Redfield and Leon S Kennedy. The former is a college student while the latter is a rookie police officer. The over-the-shoulder shooting mechanics and the 3rd person gameplay are welcome changes that make the game a bit easier to play. You can also autosave and save as often as you like inside safe rooms. The inclusion of different difficulty levels makes Resident Evil 2 Remake a more accessible experience.
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Zombies
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS 5,Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: November 13, 2020
While the quality of the core multiplayer gameplay in Call of Duty: Black Ops is subjective, the zombie modes however saw great innovations. There are multiple levels, complete with Easter eggs and unique progression mechanics for you to enjoy.
The developers also included an open-world zombies mode that completely changed how you tackle a level. The mode is playable with up to four other friends and is highly enjoyable once you get powerful weapons and Pack-a-Punch them.
The classic zombies feel is there and some purists might say that the game is a little bit easier. The lower difficulty level of the Zombies Mode means more people would be able to enjoy the game. The best part is, you can level up your weapons inside Zombies Mode without the worry of getting gunned down by sweaty players.
While it’s not the best Zombies game mode in Call of Duty history, Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Zombies saw several updates and upgrades.
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Dead Island tried something new back when it was released, which is a surprise because everyone thought they have seen everything that a zombie game can offer. The inclusion of brutal melee combat was the highlight of Dead Island.
The game also offered 4 different playable protagonists with different play styles and unique voice lines. You can play the game with up to three other players, making the zombie apocalypse party.
The beautiful island is a semi-open world that features large areas for you to explore. The game can be considered an action role-playing game, since killing enemies and completing quests nets you experience points that you can then use to upgrade your character.
Melee combat is robust and rewarding and is the main focus of the gameplay, so much so that the firearms aren’t even available in the first half of the game. The second part is on the way too, so there will be more zombie slaughter to look forward to.
Left 4 Dead 2
Platforms: Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: November 17, 2009
From the guys that bought you critically acclaimed Half-Life, Portal, and Counterstrike games, comes a zombie slaying co-op shooter. Left 4 Dead 2 is a sequel to the amazing Left 4 Dead but you don’t need to play the first one to understand what’s happening in this one. Your goal is simple, kill zombies, survive and reach the end of the levels. That’s all there is to it.
The co-op shooter takes you and your friends through swamps, cemeteries, cities, and a lot of different environments. There are 5 huge campaigns for you and your friends to play through. The game offers over 20 weapons and items that include chainsaws, frying pans, baseballs, and axes. There are also firearms in the game, the shotgun in particular is a crowdpleaser.
The game also features specialist zombies that are pretty scary to take down, The Witch, for example, is usually found crying and we recommend you don’t startle her without preparation.
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Project Zomboid was “released” in 2013 but it is still an early access game, that is the only reason why it is so low on the list. Otherwise, it is a fun online multiplayer zombie game. While the game has 2D graphics and is played with a top-down view, it is a hard-core sandbox zombie survival game that puts a lot of emphasis on realistic survival-based gameplay.
It is one of the few games that also offers 4 player local split-screen couch co-op, a rarity to see these days, especially on the PC. You’ll be able to explore a real-time lit map solo or with friends online. There are hundreds of zombies with a dedicated swarm AI that can overwhelm you at any time. So it’s best that you use all the tools and items to craft weapons and make a fortress for yourself.
State of Decay 2
Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date: May 18, 2018
Set in an open world right after a zombie apocalypse, State of Decay 2 tasks you with running a small community of survivors. Who gets to join the gang is entirely up to you. Each character in the game comes with their own unique stats, skills, and traits so you get to decide if you need someone that’s great at shooting or someone that can help the community better.
Where you settle down is also up to the players. The game offers co-op multiplayer, your friends can hop into your game to lend a hand or you can visit their communities and aid their survival. There is also a campaign mode that lasts around 10 hours as well as a zombie defense mode. Overall, it’s a unique gaming experience and a must-play for zombie game fans, especially if you have Xbox Game Pass.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Platforms: Android, iOS, Kindle Fire HDX, OS X, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Ouya, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Telltale’s The Walking Dead is a narrative-driven episodic game that puts character development at the center. While the game takes place in the same fictional universe as the comics that inspired it, all the characters are new in the game. University professor Lee Everett and a young girl Clementine are the focus of the game.
The third-person game offers different cinematic camera angles as well. Your main goal is to survive the zombie apocalypse. The game is story based so there isn’t a lot of combat to do here. You are presented with different options throughout the game, and the way you interact with the possibilities determines the outcome of the story.
It is a slower-paced game than we are used to and has an impactful story. If you love story-based games that have great characters and voice acting, Telltale’s The Walking Dead will be incredibly enjoyable.
Plants vs. Zombies
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, iOS, Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo DS, Android, Windows Phone, PS Vita, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Plants vs. Zombies, as the name suggests, pits plants against zombies. It’s a simple strategic game that allows you to plant defensive plants in your garden. The approaching zombies are killed by the plants that shoot various projectiles.
The goal is to never let the zombies reach your home. Plants vs. Zombies is an accessible game that can be played on smartphones, consoles, and PC. It’s simple, sweet, and provides fast entertainment. Perfect for a few minutes of zombie killing.
Dead Rising 2
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: September 24, 2010
Want to kill hoards of zombies with creative weapons like chainsaws attached to paddles? You play as Chuck Greene, a motocross rider that’s stuck in a zombie outbreak. The game takes place in a casino in Las Vegas and features a huge map for you to explore.
The game tasks you with surviving the zombies, rescuing survivors, and keeping your daughter safe. The daughter needs regular medication that is vital in keeping her from turning into a zombie. The gameplay is where the game really shines. You slay zombies with a variety of whacky weapons that you can find laying around and even craft yourself.
The combo cards, as the game terms them, allow you to combine different weapons to make a combo weapon. The combo weapon provides extra experience and does more damage than regular weapons. Make a spiked bat by combining a baseball bat with nails and you’ll be doing way more damage.
These were some of the best zombie games in recent times. Shout out to Zombies Ate my Neighbors and The House of the Dead games of the past, those games were the best back in the days and laid the foundations for more zombie games.
Did we miss any of your favorite zombie games? Do tell us in the comments as we love trying out new ones!