There have been video games with zombies in them for a long time, but it takes more than that to be one of the best zombie games. We're talking about the kind of game that treats the undead as something more than mindless gunfodder: it doesn't have to be a horror game, necessarily, but the fact that there are zombies and you have to deal with them has to inform more than just enemy selection. Maybe that sounds weird... but you'll see what we mean soon. Join us for a look through the 10 best zombie games you can play right now and see what keeps them all lurching onto our screens.
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10. Project Zomboid
Available on: PC
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 folks if people started turning 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 little 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. Dead Rising 4
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
The sheer number of walking dead shown on-screen in the original Dead Rising blew our minds. Tech improvements make Dead Rising 4's expansive crowds less of a big deal, but it still manages to be one of the best zombie-bashing experiences you can get.
Photojournalist (and protagonist) Frank West is back, packing an impressive arsenal of over-the-top weapons, amongst them a nitrogen-laced machete. It doesn't have the colourful bosses that the original boasted, which is a shame, but the dizzying variety of weapons available make wading through the guts and gore totally worth it.
8. Dying Light: The Following
Available on: PC, PS4, 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.
7. Urban Dead
Available on: PC
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. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Available on: Xbox One, Xbox 360
What would happen if zombies infested the wild, wild West? Undead Nightmare, that’s what. The Red Dead Redemption DLC has all 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 missing their neck meat to be tamed. It's plenty to keep you occupied well beyond the six-hour story campaign.
The Undead Nightmare DLC is just about big enough to be considered its own game. 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, Undead Nightmare is worthy of consideration even if you're not typically a cowboy kinda person.