Being in an actual zombie apocalypse has got to be one of the most horrifying experiences imaginable - but it's probably the world-ending event that just about every gamer is completely prepared for. Why? Well, we've had plenty of practice putting bullets between the eyes of the undead, scavenging for supplies, and living off of limited resources thanks to some awesome zombie-centric games.
Maybe you're the type that like to prepare for the worst, and needs to bone up on gaming's most insane undead survival situations. Or, maybe you just want to play some really awesome zombie games. Whatever the case, we've got our absolute favorites ranked for your enjoyment, right here. Whether you want to mow down rotting walkers or terrifying infected, these games have you covered.
10. Dead Island
Despite its rough edges, it's hard to deny that Dead Island does Zombie killing right. The first-person adventure takes you through a tropical paradise filled with shambling corpses, each rotting vacationer just waiting to have their heads whacked off with a chainsaw-baseball bat. Yeah, that's right. You can craft your own weapons to create some impressive undead mutilators - you just have to find the right parts to build one.
Deep down, Dead Island is an RPG, so building increasingly powerful weapons as you progress is a big part of the fun. Also, all of your weapons have durability points and will snap in half if you use them too much, so upgrading them is a necessity. As far as zombie battling with melee attacks goes, Dead Island is tough to beat. There's just something about driving a knife into a rotting cranium from a first-person perspective that's immensely satisfying.
9. Dead Rising
Back in the day, the sheer number of walking dead shown on-screen in Dead Rising blew our minds. But even now, after tech improved and expansive crowds are no longer such a big deal as they used to be, the original Dead Rising is still one of the best zombie-bashing experiences you can get. It's simply a non-stop meatgrinder packed with inventive, over-the-top weapons crafted from the most unlikely things.
Photojournalist (and protagonist) Frank West is tasked with solving the mystery of the zombie outbreak in under 72 hours. Only, there's one thing standing in his way: a neverending horde of flesh-eating, dead people. The time limit encourages multiple playthroughs. Chances are you missed a few things while exploring the giant mall on your first try. Plus, fighting the psycho bosses never gets old.
8. State of Decay
There are about a billion zombie games out there, but it's rare to find one that captures the doom and gloom of the zombie apocalypse like State of Decay does. Undead Labs' open-world survival simulator puts you in control of a group of survivors as they make a home in a world infested with walking corpses.
This isn't just a shooter filled with skull crushing mayhem, you'll need to keep a close eye on your friends if your want to keep them alive. Any of your survivors can leave on a mission and never come back, or go insane and commit suicide, or die from infection. When that happens, they're gone for good; death is permanent. And nothing hits you harder than when your fully-leveled badass decides to off him/herself. Yeah, it gets pretty intense.
7. Zombies Ate My Neighbors
The only reason LucasArts' legendary top-down shooter isn't higher on this list is that its focus is on movie monsters in general. But the shambling undead play a huge part in the gloriously campy chaos that is Zombies Ate My Neighbors, considering they're the first--and most prominent--enemy that Zeke and Julie encounter. Their appearance is classic zombie: clothes tattered, arms outstretched, a vacant, goofy half-smile on their decomposing faces. But when you watch your neighbor get devoured by these rotting corpses, they become downright terrifying.
Sure, these zombies are somehow vulnerable to water; one spritz from a squirtgun is all it takes to make them explode in a spray of bones. Yet, despite their frailty, their brisk pace and unyielding pursuit of anything with a brain is chilling, particularly to a youngster first experiencing the wonders of 16-bit. And that strange, chewing-meets-laughing Grawnaha sound they make is petrifying. See for yourself.
6. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
What if zombies infested the wild, wild West? Well, Undead Nightmare is your answer. The Red Dead Redemption DLC has all of the characteristics that made the main storyline so great, only now almost everything you encounter is a walking bag of rotting flesh. You'll meet up with the same familiar characters from the standard campaign--who will probably be getting chewed on by brain eaters. There are new weapons and quests to find, towns to defend, and mythological horses to tame--plenty to keep you occupied well beyond the 6-hour story campaign.
The Undead Nightmare DLC is just about big enough to be considered its own game. The open-world has been covered with wandering zombies; even the animals are undead. That makes it all the cooler when you tame a zombified horse that's missing its neck meat. The transformed environment brings a completely new feel to the early 1900s open-world. With so much to do, a Western territory to explore, and zombies to blow apart with your brand new blunderbuss, you definitely don't want to miss this expansion.
5. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Zombies
You really have to give Treyarch some props for going as far as it has with its Zombies modes. World at War's Nazi Zombies started off as just a neat Easter egg you'd unlock after completing the campaign. Now, Zombies is a full blown Call of Duty staple, culminating in Black Ops 2's open world-style survival game. You'll have to explore the zombie-infested countryside in search of more powerful weapons, secret Easter eggs, and a good place to hide.
Of all the other zombie games on this list, Blops 2's Zombies is a little more "out there." You can find a mystery box that randomly drops items that include standard military weapons, alien ray guns, or explosive stuffed animals. You'll find parts to assemble shields fashioned from car doors and oscillating room fans that work as a portable power generators. Though it may be a bit strange, Zombies is one of the best reasons to gather up a group for 4-player co-op and shoot some undead monsters in the face.
4. Left 4 Dead 2
The Left 4 Dead series is the ultimate co-op zombie survival experience. If you like to go out on your own and try to be Rambo, you're as good as dead. It's all about trying to get as many of your team members from point A to point B in one piece, and that requires teamwork. Standing in your way is a horde of zombies--though they aren't the typical slow moving stumblers. The standard zombies are quick on their feet, and sprint towards you at full speed, which is absolutely horrifying.
But the standard zombies are only the tip of the iceberg. The real threats are the special, player-controlled super infected, like the original game's Hunter, Boomer, and Smoker. In the sequel, things get even more hectic with the addition of the Charger, Jockey, and Spitter. Alone each zombie type isn't much of a threat to a coordinated survivor team. But when the super zombies work together, it could mean instant death for the heavily armed humans. If you're looking for a zombie title that lets you cooperate with or decimate your friends, Left 4 Dead 2 can't be beat.
3. Resident Evil 4
Forget the series' classic tank controls and fixed camera perspective--Resident Evil 4 made the survival horror genre (arguably) even creepier, with a more action heavy over-the-shoulder view. And though it's more fast-paced than its predecessors, Leon's mission isn't without its shit-your-pants moments. RE4 has it all: mutant monsters, big undead-slaying guns, terrifying scares, and mysterious strangers selling you colored herbs out of their coat pockets.
Once again, you take control of Leon Kennedy in his lone quest to rescue the President's daughter from a mysterious cult. And you know what those cultists end up being? (Spoilers) Yeah, zombies. But these aren't your standard RE2 zombies: they're Las Plagas. So, instead of nibbling on your neck a little, they might just grow a giant worm out of their cranium and bite your head off. Oh, and don't forget about those horrifying chainsaw guys. Worst. Death. Ever.
2. The Walking Dead
It would be a grave sin not to include Telltale's The Walking Dead as one of the best zombie games of all time. While other zombie titles would have you endlessly chopping off heads, or blowing undead brains to bits with a shotgun, this point-and-click adventure explores the human side of zombie apocalypse. Instead of testing your aim, this adaptation tests your social decision-making and your nerves--because damn, there's some messed up stuff that happens in this game.
You play as Lee Everett, a convicted murderer who finds himself as the protector of an orphaned little girl named Clementine. As you encounter other survivors, you'll end up making decisions down the line that have dire repercussions for your group members. But the worst part of it is (and also the best) that you develop a connection with the characters in your party. So, when those bad things start to happen, you'll feel like it was your friend that you just saw get eaten alive rather than a mere video game character. People will die, the unexpected will happen, and decisions will need to be made. And you'll just have to live with the consequences.
1. The Last of Us
Not only is The Last of Us our Game of the Year for 2013--it's also the most intense, enthralling, and engrossing gaming experience involving undead flesh eaters. It takes you through a dangerous cross-country journey through the infected United States which has been completely overrun by plant life. In addition to mushroom-brained zombies that are waiting to rip your jugular out with their teeth, the world is filled with desperate gun-toting humans, a repressive government, and psychotic villains standing in the way of your destination. And best of all, you'll be dragging a snarky teenage girl along with you (not that Ellie is a hinderance--she actually gets pretty badass as the story develops).
Joel and Ellie's quest is as dark as it is tense. The dilapidated, creepy environments set the perfect tone for the stealth/survival gameplay that cranks up the suspense to almost unbearable levels. This isn't your typical go-in-guns-blazing zombie game. You'll have to sneak past stronger foes, conserve your ammo, and scavenge for supplies. The action-packed moments let you feel every bone-crushing, face-smashing blow, and the dramatic scenes are just as emotionally engaging. If you're looking for the ultimate zombie survival experience, The Last of Us is by far the best you're going to get.
What zombie games have infected you?
There you have it. That's our list for the best zombie games you can get right now. What are your favorites? Were there any that we missed? Let us know which games you would add to the list in the comments below.
For more from GamesRadar, be sure to check out our article on why The Last of Us is the first truly mature action game and our The Walking Dead: Season 2 review.