Games that didn't need zombies

How these overrated monsters almost ruined some of our favorite franchises

What the game called them: "Sires"

How the game tried to explain them: They're not zombies! They're... biological research subjects neglected and forgotten in test tubes for years, decades, possibly centuries. Or they're the horribly botched results of a super-soldier project secretly funded by the COG government. Or they're the missing evolutionary link between humans and Locust. Pick whichever conspiracy theory you like – just don't call them zombies!

Why the game didn't need them: Do you play Gears of War solely for the gore? No, you play for the imagination and intelligence with which that gore is created – these are shooters in which you don't merely shoot, but detonate enemies into bloody bits with explosive-tipped arrows, melt enemies into piles of goo with microwave beams from the sky and pulverize enemies with skull-crushing curb stomps.

That's the trouble with adding zombies to anything – they're always impervious to every weapon except one. In most cases, it's a shotgun; in Gears of War 2, it's the trademark chainsaw rifle which, while fun to watch carve through Sire after Sire after Sire (after Sire), doesn't actually require any effort from the player. Gone is the strategy of carefully choosing the right instrument of death for the right situation. Gone is the need for cover, active reload and co-op coordination. Gone is the fear I originally felt when entering the game's third act – the New Hope Research Facility – thinking I was about to face a dangerous and mysterious new foe.

Instead, zombies. And hours of sleepily holding down the "B" button as the same cutscene plays again and again (and again).

Example of tedious zombie gameplay:

Example of tedious zombie gameplay:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!
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