America loves zombies. Even though AMC’s The Walking Dead has its flaws as a show, it’s one of the most unique programs on television, and it fills a very specific (undead) niche.
After the Walking Dead season finale, American television is zombie-less once again. Luckily, zombies have existed in other media for some time now, so here’s a list of five zombie games sure to satiate anyone’s zombie cravings.
5. Dead Rising 2
Dead Rising 2 makes this list for its sheer ridiculousness. No other zombie game lets players take on thousands of zombies at once while wielding a pair of chainsaws duct-taped to a kayak paddle.
The crafting system that allows players to create weapons like this “Paddlesaw” is one of the game’s main features. Dead Rising 2 is a much more tongue-in-cheek take on the zombie genre, with a campy plot and over-the-top violence. While the shock factor can wear off for some players and take away a bit from the fun, lobbing a “Dynameat” (a slab of meat with dynamite stuck to it) at zombies is always fun.
4. Dead Island
Released in 2011, Dead Island is the first in a series of open-world role-playing shooters. It follows a group of characters as they deal with the outbreak and infestation of a tropical resort island.
It makes the list for its weapon system, RPG elements and unique atmosphere. Combat focuses heavily on melee weapons, which is a realistic and refreshing alternative to games like Dead Rising. Every melee weapon can also be used as a throwing weapon, so the lack of guns isn’t really that apparent. “Special zombies” and enemy humans keep combat interesting and taking on the hordes with a friend or two in co-op mode is a lot of fun.
A sequel, Dead Island: Riptide, is set for an April release.
3. Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2, released in 2009, is still the best multiplayer zombie game ever made. While it lacks the RPG elements of Dead Island, it more than makes up for that with faster-paced missions and combat. While the enemies aren’t technically undead, I’m willing to stretch the traditional definition of “zombie” here.
Left 4 Dead 2 included multiple new features over the original, the most game-changing being melee weapons such as hatchets, guitars, and chainsaws. This addition vastly improved combat over the first game and made it that much easier to slaughter the undead. Another great addition was the ability to play as special infected and hunt down human players in multiplayer modes.
2. Resident Evil (2002)
Not all Resident Evil games feature zombies. The 2002 remake of the original game does, however, and it’s possibly the best in the series. The Resident Evil games pioneered the survival horror genre, and their success paved the way for nearly every other zombie game.
What made this game so great were its environments. Its pre-rendered, realistic level design is mainly to thank for its place on this list. It was actually scary — unlike many games that try to sell themselves as horror these days. Its developers understood that survival horror is about creating suspense and a sense of weakness. A single zombie could easily finish you in this game, whereas many of today’s horror titles slap a rocket launcher in your hands and expect you to be scared.
Although it’s a bit dated today, it holds up better than you would think for a game that’s more than 10 years old.
1. The Walking Dead
Story matters. That’s the one thing Telltale’s The Walking Dead has over the rest of the games on this list, and that’s what brought it to the top. While the plots of other zombie games are barely worth mentioning, The Walking Dead focuses on storytelling above all else.
Player choice is an area previous zombie games haven’t fared well in, but The Walking Dead forces players to make crucial decisions that affect how the story plays out. It’s the only zombie game that doesn’t use killing zombies as a major part of gameplay. Solving puzzles and making good choices is equally important as taking out a few zombies.
If you’re looking to slaughter zombie hordes, try out another game on this list. However, if you’re looking for a story-driven experience similar to that of the TV show with the same name, give this game a shot.