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Zombie Games - A screenshot from Days Gone|Dying Light|Infestation: Survivor Stories|Land of the Dead - Road to Fiddler’s Green|Overkills The Walking Dead|The Last of Us Remastered
Opinion
4/7/2019

Best and Worst Zombie Games Of All Time

Written by
Sarah Hook

We love zombie games. They can make for a great plot device or even a villain/big bad, and of course, they can be scary. With such a tried and tested subgenre, it’s surprising how some games can be as close to perfection as possible and some miss the mark by miles. Here’s our breakdown of the best and worst zombie games of all time. Do you agree?

THE BEST ZOMBIE GAMES

The Last Of Us

Originally released on PS3 and then remastered for PS4, The Last Of Us has been hugely successful. As of May 2019 it was reported that 8.1 million copies had been sold for the PS3 and then a further 11.8 million on PS4. It has also won multiple Game Of The Year awards. It came to no surprise that a sequel was announced in December 2016.Whilst they’re not classed as 'zombies' as such, the whole game has a clear zombie apocalypse vibe. Areas outside of the quarantine zones are littered with hostiles with cannibalistic motivations, who have been infected by a mutated fungus which attacks the brain. We also see the tell-tale signs of overgrown, rundown buildings, and an ominous branch of what’s left of the US Government known simply as 'The Military', who rule over the quarantine zones.

Best zombie games - The Last of Us Remastered - screenshot of apocalyptic street

A contributing factor to the popularity of this game is that you can play it in a variety of ways. The player can go in all guns blazing and attack the enemy head-on, or you can take advantage of the 'listen' mode which allows the player to gain the upper hand and go in stealthily. Your sense of hearing is also increased when in this mode.Whilst no release date has been confirmed for the second instalment of The Last Of Us, we’ve been treated to two trailers which show the return of Ellie and Joel as well as introducing some new characters. Here’s hoping the second instalment can live up to the hype of the first.

Days Gone

First announced by Sony at their panel at E3 in 2016 with a 2018 release date, Days Gone ended up being delayed until 2019.With gamers having waited a long time for the game, it opened to mixed reviews. Some felt that the storyline just didn’t deliver to their expectations. Overall, the game has been deemed a relative success - it was the second bestselling game of April 2019, missing out on the top spot only to Mortal Kombat 11.Days Gone's zombies are the result of a virus which was developed in a lab. Something we're pretty accustomed to in the genre. When humans are infected by the virus it causes them to act with a violent rage against anything uninfected, sometimes eating people too.A common trope throughout zombie games nowadays is that there’s never just one type of zombie. They vary in appearance, characteristics, strengths and abilities. An example of this within Days Gone are the 'Screamers' which kind of just scream at you, damaging your health. These screams encourage 'Freakers' to attack. Then there are 'Breakers', which are essentially big brutes who require a heavy amount of bullets to take down. You'll need skills for avoiding damage from each different type of zombie, for example, you can unlock a stealth takedown targeted specifically at Breakers which will save you precious ammo.

Dying Light

The most notable aspect of Dying Light which allowed it to stand out from being just another zombie game was the ability to free run and use parkour to navigate around the expansive open world. These skills also transfer into combat to make fighting zombies fun and not just a hack-and-slash or shoot ‘em up.Techland, the developers behind Dying Light, didn’t let the initial success of the game overshadow the fact that there was still work to be done. What better way to ensure your game is kept in the top ranks than actually listening to the gamers! The Dying Light Community is an active one, giving ample feedback to the developers. As a result, the storyline was expanded, new games modes were introduced, and in-game global events were launched.

Dying Light

In its first week of sales in January 2015, 1.2 million people were playing Dying Light. It also debuted at No 1 in the US charts after it outsold enduring favourites such as Grand Theft Auto V and Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Just 6 months later it was reported that the game had sold a massive 5 million units.With the major success of Dying Light and its still active community, it’s no surprise that a sequel was announced and will be released in 2020.

THE WORST ZOMBIE GAMES

Overkill's The Walking Dead

When the cinematic trailers started dropping for this game the gaming community was buzzing. With the creators of the popular franchise Payday behind development, was it possible that we would finally see a Walking Dead game that was universally loved and ticked all the boxes? Sadly – no.The beta footage that was shown pre-release was buggy and looked a lot like a Payday game, but with zombies. This wouldn’t have been too much of an issue for a standalone title, but with the size and dedication of the Walking Dead fan-base, a lot more would be needed to get people to part with their money.

Overkills The Walking Dead

In all fairness to this game, it’s not surprising the final product wasn’t what people were expecting. Throughout the development Overkill faced hurdle after hurdle with Starbreeze (the people behind distribution) changing development engines halfway through in order to ensure the game was ready for a VR edition in the future. The switch over meant that the release date was pushed back from the expected from 2016 to 2017.This wasn’t the end of their troubles, as in 2017 it was decided to swap gaming engines (again!) to the more popular Unreal engine. When the game was finally released in late 2018 on PC the reception was luke-warm at best, with only an estimated 100,000 copies selling. The lacklustre result meant that the console release was put on hold, and in January 2019 it was announced by Skybound that the console release had been postponed indefinitely.Here’s hoping that one day we can get a good Walking Dead game!

Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green

This game, which is a prequel to George A. Romero’s Land Of the Dead Film, takes place at the beginning of the outbreak of a Zombie apocalypse. We follow Jack. who starts the game as a humble farmer, and upon the outbreak of the apocalypse makes his way to the nearest city in order to find some sign of civilisation.

Land of the Dead - Road to Fiddler’s Green - Worst Zombie Games

The game is ultimately nothing special and feels like an attempt to cash in on the Land Of The Dead film. Being released in 2005 you can almost forgive the poor effects and graphics, but the shoddy level design and embarrassing zombie AI is a step too far in the wrong direction.The Zombies don’t appear to follow the lore governed by the movies in that they are slowly evolving to form their own Zombie society, which would be scary stuff. Instead, they have one or two attack types at best. Even if you’re surrounded, all you need to do is find a piece of scenery they’re unable to navigate – such as an open door or a box – stand on it, and pick them off one by one.If the dull gameplay wasn’t enough to put people off this game, having Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green crowned the Worst Game of 2005 by GameSpot sure will.

Infestation: Survivor Stories

When this game was released in 2012 under the original name 'The War Z', it was universally panned by critics. The average review rating was between 2-3 out of 10 - ouch. The game was full of bugs and glitches.Developers had also promised a variety of features which included multiple large game worlds, a skill point based levelling system, player versus environment combat, hundred-player servers, and private servers. None of these were available on the game when it was released.

Infestation: Survivor Stories - Shooting Zombies

The game was plagued by more controversy with the introduction of microtransactions. These created a pay-to-play model that you would expect to see in a 'free to download' game, not something you have already purchased in the first place.The final nail in the coffin for this game came in 2013. It was announced that Infestation: Survivor Stories had been taken offline due to a security breach. A statement claimed that “hackers gained access to our forum and game databases and the player data in those databases”. This included information such as email addresses, IP addresses and encrypted forum passwords. Not a good look!Within the zombie games genre there are titles both good and bad. With so many games out there featuring crazed undead cannibals and apocalyptic settings, we can only hope that developers continue to innovate to keep fans intrested and entertained.What are your favourite (and least favourite) zombie games? Tell us in the comments section!Like this post? Don't forget to check out even more like this.

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