The 10 best zombie games that will munch your brain

The best zombie games
(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Something about the best zombie games makes them fascinating, disgusting, and awesome all at once. More often than not they're rooted in survival a well as doubling up as some of the best horror games, launching players into post-apocalyptic wastelands where death is likely and provisions are scarce. Whether you love getting up close and personal with makeshift melee weapons or sending some undead brains flying with a shotgun, we've got you covered in our selection of the best ever zombie games out there.

The cannibalistic hordes you'll find below are part of a storied subgenre with a glittering, gutsy history. Resident Evil popularized the zombie genre with one of the first and best survival horror games way back in the mid-90s, and has returned to prominence with its first-person slants on the formula in Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil: Village. Its modern day remakes of the classics include Resident Evil 2, 3, and 4, but they aren't alone in the realm of truly visceral, memorable zombie horror experiences. Some of the titles listed here lean heavier on narrative decisions, such as Telltale's esteemed The Walking Dead series, but I think it's fair to say that all of the best zombie games have a special something about them to help stand out from the pack. In fact, these days you'll find that not all games about zombies necessarily feature the shambling bodies with rotting flesh and exposed jawbones you might be picturing immediately, but we'll get to the wonderful world of genre evolution later. For now, here's a collection of the 10 best zombie games for you to gnaw over if you find yourself struck with a disturbing hunger...

Recent updates

This list of the very best zombie games was last updated on March 26, ensuring you'll only find the top living dead experiences in video game history in our rankings.

The best zombie games are...

10. Project Zomboid

Best zombie games

(Image credit: The Indie Stone)

Developer: The Indie Stone

If Project Zomboid wasn't still in early access despite first being put up for sale way back in 2011, it would definitely be higher on this list. Zomboid's old-school isometric pixel graphics belie what may be the most ambitious zombie apocalypse simulation ever created. And don't be fooled, this really is meant to be a simulation of what would happen to most "survivors" if the majority of their neighbors turned into zombies: they'd die.

There's no evac helicopter coming if you can survive long enough, or any other formal objectives (at least not in the main mode): your death is inevitable and what you do until then is up to you. But if you want to live more than a few days, I'd suggest building yourself a nice little fort and maybe getting a farm going. You can only scavenge for so long before the food - or your luck - runs out. Project Zomboid is great to play alone or in multiplayer now, and I can only imagine how gripping it will be if the developers ever manage to complete their vision.

9. World War Z

Best zombie games

(Image credit: Saber Interactive)

Developer: Saber Interactive
PS5, PC, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One

No one part of World War Z is all that impressive on its own, but if you're looking for a way to mow down hundreds, no, thousands of zombies with a group of friends or strangers, there's no better game for you. It's loosely based on the 2013 Brad Pitt movie (which was even more loosely based on a 2006 novel), but that's mostly excuse to repurpose the one memorable thing about the film: humongous hordes of zombies that rush through streets and crash around corners like a river through a broken dam.

It clearly takes some cues from the Left 4 Dead franchise (RIP) but adds in some modern gaming standbys like selectable classes with persistent progression. You could play as a Slasher who gets extra health from taking out enemies in quick succession, a Fixer who lays down traps to secure areas, or one of four other classes. Whoever you decide to level up first, you'll get to unload plenty of lead into moving walls of rotten flesh.

8. Dying Light: The Following

Best zombie games

(Image credit: Techland)

Developer: Techland
PS5, PC, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One

Running over zombies was never so much fun. As the DLC for the main game, Dying Light: The Following cuts out most of the parkour from the original and instead puts you behind the steering wheel in a swathe of almost-spotless countryside. Splatter zombies into chunks of gore as you speed across the fields and leave tyre-tracks in their guts as you take on daring jumps. Just be careful you don't get a zombie head trapped in your windscreen wipers. 

We don't really have a zombie-driving game around at the moment, and The Following plugs this niche perfectly. There's even a new, evolved (and much more deadly) version of the Volatiles, who are instant death if you encounter one either whilst in your buggy or sneaking around at night. Regardless, you'll have to dodge them as you drive around investigating a cult who seem to be immune to the zombie virus. The responsive steering makes careering down roads a delight, but beware: the more you swerve out of the way of zombies, the bigger the horde following you will get. Not that it's an issue, because as soon as you take your foot off the brake, sit back, and slam that gas pedal, in no time you'll understand why we love The Following. 

Techland's follow-up, Dying Light 2, is another great zombie game - but Dying Light: The Following is where the blueprint for the series really shines. 

7. Urban Dead

Best zombie games

(Image credit: Kevan Davis)

Developer: Kevan Davis

Wait, one of the best zombie games you can play right now looks like an Angelfire website that still has a Y2K countdown clock? Yep. Urban Dead is a browser-based zombie MMORPG that has been running since 2005, hosting an endless war between desperate survivors and roving hordes of undead. Don't let the looks fool you - this game runs in real time, there's quite a lot to it, and it is intense.

Every in-game action depletes your pool of stamina (no, there aren't microtransactions that let you buy more), so survivors have to balance traveling, foraging, and barricading to make sure they're always holed up somewhere safe when they tire out. Zombies who run out of stamina far from a horde are just as quick to be cut down. Hopefully Urban Dead's brilliant take on survival and social dynamics in the apocalypse will keep rolling for another few decades to come.

6. Left 4 Dead 2

Three characters shoot at zombies in Left 4 Dead 2

(Image credit: Valve)

Developer: Valve
PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

Any list of the best zombie games ever would simply not be complete without Left 4 Dead 2. Valve's 2009 zombie horde shooter still holds up today as a quintessential zombie FPS, letting you fly solo or squad up with friends or strangers in a PvE mission to escape, survive, and let bullets rain down on the living dead. Navigating a series of smaller maps and combating wave after wave of zombies is the name of the game, including facing off with special zombie types like the explosive Boomers and photosensitive Witches. Unlike the slower gait of zombies in games like Resident Evil, though, these undead don't walk. They absolutely run.

Left 4 Dead 2 is the kind of chaotic free-for-all that doesn't come about often, so it's just as well that its servers are still very much alive and kicking some 15 years later. Having carved out such a vibrant legacy as a computer cafe favorite, you might even find the likes of William "Bill" Overbeck popping up in games like Dead by Daylight and Dying Light, serving as a reminder of one of the best zombie horror games ever that many of us still look back upon with fondness.

5. Dead Island 2

Dead Island 2

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Developer: Dambuster Studios
PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One

Dead Island 2 did something few thought it could achieve: delivered a sequel to one of the best zombie games ever, and actually prove all the naysayers wrong. Dambuster had its work cut out, but thankfully, Dead Island 2 is a mile-a-minute gore-soaked zombiefest that can't be missed.

The mean streets of LA serve as the backdrop for Dead Island 2's bloody premise: you're stranded here with little chance of rescue, unless you fight your way through the shambling masses to alert the government. It's not quite as simple as that – it wouldn't Dead Island otherwise, would it? Between hunkering down with newfound friends, crafting increasingly ambitious weapons that have the ability to quite literally melt zombies' flesh from the bone, and grappling with your deck of Slayer Skill cards, this star-studded neighborhood simply isn't ready for the likes of you. If you're looking for a zombie game that's all killer, all thriller, you've found it. It's extremely hard to not have a great time playing Dead Island 2 – just make sure you have a strong stomach.

4. Resident Evil 4 Remake

Resident Evil 4 leon shooting

(Image credit: Capcom)

Developer: Capcom
PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One

Here I thought Resident Evil 2 Remake would be unbeatable. Capcom's glittering latest addition to the long line of classic Resi remakes, Resident Evil 4 Remake, is without a doubt one of the best zombie games you can play today. It retains the charm and B-movie shlock horror vibes of the 2004 original, but with a gorgeously refined atmosphere, enemy design, and gameplay feel to boot. All your favorites are back, from the Merchant to Ada and of course the deceptively brave Ashley Graham, but there's more to RE4R than just a bunch of pretty 4k faces. If you've never played Resident Evil 4, this is the best jumping off point you'll find, even with the original being available for purchase on Steam. That's because Capcom has managed to capture what made that 2004 game so very special in its remake, and that's a rare enough feat.

Leon's journey through the plaga-infested European village has never felt better, and his enemies have never felt meaner. From the hostile ganados to Dr Salvador (aka Chainsaw Man) and that nasty little goblin Salazar, Leon's pursuit of the President's daughter puts the ex-rookie in a fair few binds. The "zombies" here are less of the undead kind, more of the infected-with-a-beastly-parasite kind, but they're every bit as dangerous. Suffice it to say: RE4R is one of the best zombie games if you're looking for something a little different, yet every bit a modern classic.

3. Telltale Games' The Walking Dead

Best zombie games

(Image credit: Telltale)

Developer: Telltale
PC, PS5, PS4, PS3, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Xbox 360,  iOS, Android

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 choice-driven adventure explores the human side of the 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 (yet simultaneously the best) is 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.

2. Resident Evil HD Remaster

Best zombie games

(Image credit: Capcom)

Developer: Capcom
PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360

The thing that the original Resident Evil still gets right that so many other zombie games miss is the abject loneliness of being one of the only people with a pulse within a several mile radius. That dreadful desolation remains perfectly intact in Resident Evil HD Remaster, which is actually a slightly modernized version of the Resident Evil GameCube remake that came out in 2002. Don't get us wrong, the 2015 re-remake could have done more (those pre-rendered backgrounds are looking a bit blurry these days) but what is there remains a seminal survival horror classic.

Far from sliding into a high spot on our list through nostalgia alone, the Resident Evil remake is one of the greatest zombie games in large part because of the interesting way it thinks about the undead. Especially what to do with one that you think has stopped moving for good. You'll want to make sure by putting zombies down with a headshot or burning their corpse afterwards, because otherwise it could rise again later on as the hideously powerful horror called a "crimson head." Just saying the name is shiver-inducing. 

1. The Last of Us

Best zombie games

(Image credit: Sony)

Developer: Naughty Dog
PS5, PS4, PS3

Almost six years after earning our top spot for Game of the Year for 2013, The Last of Us remains best zombie game ever made. It takes you on a dangerous cross-country journey through an overgrown, largely post-human United States. 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 survivalists, a repressive government, and savage rebel groups. And best of all, you get to do the whole thing with a snarky teenage girl alternately making fun of you and saving your life.

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. 

The Last of Us 2 could just as easy fit here, of course, but you have to play the first to appreciate the second - and you can do so by way of its enhanced and remastered variation, The Last of Us: Part 1, which launched towards the end 2022. 

Looking for more games to try out? Here's our pick of the best horror games

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.

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