5. State of Decay 2
Available on: PC, Xbox One
State of Decay 2 doesn't fix all of the flaws of its predecessor, but it does expand its strengths. What those are, if you aren't already familiar, are all about helping you tell your own unique tale of survival in a zombie apocalypse via a set map dotted with resources and a continual trickle of procedurally generated survivors to befriend and play as (or ignore and take their stuff when they die). Where Project Zomboid leans hard into the notion of being an average person in an unwinnable situation, the State of Decay series tries to make sure you're having a good time with picturesque midwestern scenes and gorey fun combat, even as your food runs out and zombies beat down your gate.
The coolest new thing in State of Decay 2, though, is easily the long-awaited addition of multiplayer. Inviting friends in to help defend and scavenge for your settlement exponentially expands the possibilities of procedurally generated storytelling. And it finally gives you a chance to test out all those zombie apocalypse survival plans you've spent way too long hashing out with buddies.
4. Resident Evil 2 (2019 remake)
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
The Resident Evil 2 remake walks a narrow line between the slow horror of the early Resident Evil games and the faster (though still deliberate) action of the later-yet-pre-RE7 era. In so doing it manages to be both a fitting tribute to the original Resident Evil 2 and the most vital, playable RE game in years. The trick is, as you might expect from its ranking among the best zombie games, the zombies. Even though the remake's movement and aiming controls feel modern and streamlined, every zombie can take so many bullets - even headshots - and just keep getting back up. Maybe right in front of you, or maybe a few minutes later when you think you're safe.
Expert aim is not enough to guarantee your survival in the Resident Evil 2 remake. The most important thing is once again discretion, restoring "survival" to "survival horror" as you conserve ammo by shooting to stun, rather than kill. Sometimes you may even decide that the zombies can just have that hallway and you'd rather keep the bullets. In terms of inspiring raw terror, it still isn't quite as potent as that other big Resident Evil remake. But it's arguably more fun to play, which secures the Resident Evil 2 remake a nice slot of its own on our list of the best zombie games.
3. Telltale Games' The Walking Dead
Available on: PC, PS4, PS3, 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 point-and-click 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
Available on: PC, PS4, 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
Available on: 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.