Rick Grimes and the rest of The Walking Dead gang return to your TV screens on February 9, but if you can’t wait that long for your dose of zombie mayhem, you could fire up The Walking Dead game by Telltale Games and start chopping and shooting some of the undead. But those games are actually pretty short and perhaps not the best zombie games around.
If you love the undead, you need to check out some of the classics in gaming as well as some new titles that really bring out the terror of a zombie apocalypse. Hey, why be a spectator for The Walking Dead when you can be a part of a virtual zombie attack?
The Resident Evil Series
This is the zombie series that started the genre of “survival horror”, where the player isn’t blasting away zombies, but instead figuring out a way to survive. As Dave notes, the original Resident Evil was among the scariest games ever, especially because you never knew when a zombie would come at you. As the franchise developed, its dependence on zombies decreased and it introduced several other monsters. Finally, with the latest Resident Evil 6, the zombies are back in full force! But if you can look past the graphics, the older Resident Evil games are well worth your time even now.
Left 4 Dead 2
Like in The Walking Dead, a zombie apocalypse isn’t always a “one man against the world” scenario. And no game has illustrated this as well as Left 4 Dead 2. You play as one of four characters trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, and work with each other to somehow get to the last chopper that’s your only hope. It’s a game best played in its co-op mode, but even the single-player is a lot of fun. Plus, it’s not just restricted to the consoles and Windows as it’s one of the top first person shooter games on Mac OS X.
Dead Rising Series
How creatively and brutally can you kill a member of the undead? That seems to be the underlying point of the Dead Rising franchise, which lets you go wild with the many ways to take out zombies. You are encouraged to build creative weapons, like attaching a lawn-mower blade and samurai swords to a pogo stick! The first part of this open-world game was more focused on the “survival horror” part, but the sequels that followed are all about unleashing gore-filled mayhem. That’s not to say it isn’t a serious and detailed game, but this is the title to play to satisfy your bloodthirst.
If you had to pick a weapon for melee combat that was visceral and primal while being tremendously useful against zombies, what would it be? Those who answered “scythe” need to go and play Dead Island right now. Forget the loose, idiotic plot (plane crash on an island of zombies) and enjoy the game for all the fun it lets you have. Of all the games, I reckon Dead Island nailed the formula for melee combat. There’s a sadistic satisfaction in chopping off one leg of a zombie and seeing him hop over to you or setting one of them on fire and pushing them onto their friends. You’ll get guns later as you upgrade your character, but take my advice and stick to melee weapons — it’s way more fun!
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
What’s better than Red Dead Redemption, one of the best third-person shooters ever? RDR with zombies! The Undead Nightmare DLC pack still has John Marston as the protagonist, but instead of bandits, henchman and animals, he’s going to be fighting zombies and mythical creatures like the Sasquatch. A plague has hit the old wild West, and it’s now up to John to make things normal again by finding the cause and eliminating it. And the best part is the blunderbuss, which actually uses the zombies you killed as ammo to blast anything else in sight. Sweet! This is why you should buy game of the year editions, folks.
Stubbs The Zombie In Rebel Without A Pulse
All of the games talked about so far have been about how evil zombies need to be stopped. But take a moment and put yourself in their shoes — literally, as you play the character of Stubbs, a fun-loving, wise-cracking zombie who just wants to eat some human brains. The gameplay is truly innovative. You have to attack and eat brains, turning them into zombies under your control. Apart from a few combat moves, one particularly cool ability is that you can tear off your arm and throw it, controlling it how you want — and if you can grab a human with it, you can control that human! And all of this is mixed with a healthy dose of morbid humor.
ZombiU was the first game I played on the Nintendo Wii U, and it instantly convinced me of how much better gaming would be with a console that has a touchscreen. It’s unlike any zombie game. Set in a London run over by the undead, you don’t play as a fixed character; if your human character dies, he turns into a zombie and you respawn as a different person. You’ll actually encounter that other human character again, as a zombie, if you go back to the same spot! And then there’s the touchscreen controller, which acts as your backpack, a map and even doubles up for in-game actions (like using the sniper rifle). This is zombie survival at its creative best!
DayZ & More To Come
Apart from getting back to watching The Walking Dead, there are plenty of cool zombie games coming up in the year ahead that you should look forward to. The biggest of these is DayZ, which is already available as an alpha release on Steam, although we’d suggest grabbing the final bug-free version. Then there’s Dying Light from the makers of Dead Island and Plants vs. Zombies is set to hit Xbox and Windows too. Which zombie game are you looking forward to?