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The best zombie games you can play right now

GamesRadar logo GamesRadar 12/13/2016 Lorenzo Veloria

Courtesy of Games Radar: Games Radar image © Courtesy of Games Radar Games Radar image Us gamers think we’ve got zombies all figured out. We’ve seen fast zombies, slow zombies, infected-virus zombies, mutated zombies - even zombie cowboys, for god’s sake. Yet we keep playing games with the undead shambling around in them. Why? Because you can’t deny the satisfaction you get from hearing that 'thunk' as you cave in a necrotic homo sapiens’ brain cavity. When it comes down to it, zombies are just plain fun to kill and positively beg us to annihilate them in new, inventive ways. 

Whether you like to explore the traumatic tales which sprout from a global zombie apocalypse, or prefer sneaking around the undead, or maybe just like to bash their heads in with ridiculous weapons, we’ve ranked our favourite zombie games for your convenience. So grab your antidote, sharpen that machete, and get your survival gear ready, because these drop-dead brilliant games will prepare you in every possible way for the zombie apocalypse. 

13. Dead Island

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Despite its rough edges, it's hard to deny that Dead Island does zombie killing right. The first-person adventure takes you through a tropical paradise filled with shambling corpses, each rotting vacationer just waiting to have their heads whacked off with a chainsaw-baseball bat. Yeah, that's right. You can craft your own weapons to create some impressive undead mutilators - you just have to find the right parts to build one.

Deep down, Dead Island is an RPG, so building increasingly powerful weapons as you progress is a big part of the fun. Also, all of your weapons have durability points and will snap in half if you use them too much, so upgrading them is a necessity. As far as zombie battling with melee attacks goes, Dead Island is tough to beat. There's just something about driving a knife into a rotting cranium from a first-person perspective that's immensely satisfying. 

12. Dead Rising 4

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Back in the day, the sheer number of walking dead shown on-screen in the original Dead Rising blew our minds. But even now, after tech improved and expansive crowds are no longer such a big deal as they used to be, Dead Rising 4 still manages to be one of the best zombie-bashing experiences you can get. It's simply a non-stop meatgrinder packed with inventive, over-the-top weapons crafted from the most unlikely things.

Photojournalist (and protagonist) Frank West is back, and this time there's no 72-hour timer running while you smash zombies into shards using crazy weapons, amongst them a nitrogen-laced machete. Despite the never-ending hordes of flesh-eating, dead bozos standing in his way, and although there aren't the same colourful bosses as there were in the original Dead Rising, the dizzying variety of weapons available will make wading through guts and gore totally worth it.

11. State of Decay

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There are about a billion zombie games out there, but it's rare to find one that captures the doom and gloom of the zombie apocalypse like State of Decay does. Undead Labs' open-world survival simulator puts you in control of a group of survivors as they make a home in a world infested with walking corpses.

This isn't just a shooter filled with skull crushing mayhem, you'll need to keep a close eye on your friends if your want to keep them alive. Any of your survivors can leave on a mission and never come back, or go insane and commit suicide, or die from infection. When that happens, they're gone for good; death is permanent. And nothing hits you harder than when your fully-leveled badass decides to off him/herself. Yeah, it gets pretty intense. 

10. Zombies Ate My Neighbors

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The only reason LucasArts' legendary top-down shooter isn't higher on this list is that its focus is on movie monsters in general. But the shambling undead play a huge part in the gloriously campy chaos that is Zombies Ate My Neighbors, considering they're the first - and most prominent- enemy that Zeke and Julie encounter. Their appearance is classic zombie: clothes tattered, arms outstretched, a vacant, goofy half-smile on their decomposing faces. But when you watch your neighbor get devoured by these rotting corpses, they become downright terrifying.

Sure, these zombies are somehow vulnerable to water; one spritz from a squirtgun is all it takes to make them explode in a spray of bones. Yet, despite their frailty, their brisk pace and unyielding pursuit of anything with a brain is chilling, particularly to a youngster first experiencing the wonders of 16-bit. And that strange, chewing-meets-laughing Grawnaha sound they make is petrifying. See for yourself. 

9. Dying Light: The Following

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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 tire-tracks in their guts as you take on daring jumps, all with the promise of getting 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. 

8. Plants vs Zombies

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It's fair to say that Plants vs Zombies is a titan in the world of mobile games. Where else are you going to get a combination of horticulture and necrotic homo sapiens? A tactician's dream, the game combines tower-defense with strategy as you defend your home from the hordes of zombies using not weapons, but plants. 

Yes, it's been out for a while, but it's still one the of the most accessible zombie games around. You might not have nightmares after glancing at the shambling undead, but the game shows that zombies don't need to be terrifying to be entertaining. The different types of decaying humans will keep you constantly re-assessing your strategy, and you're given enough new types of plants at the end of each level to ensure that you never get stuck with one approach. The humour and inventiveness of Plants vs Zombies remains fresh years after its initial release, and it's the ideal game to play either on the go or to sink enough hours into to give Skyrim a run for its money. 

7. Rise of the Tomb Raider: Blood Ties

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Rise of the Tomb Raider: Blood Ties has one section called Lara's Nightmare, which makes one of my worst fears a reality. You're alone at home, in the middle of the night. Suddenly, there's a crash. Turning around, two bright blue eyes stare into your soul - and you stare back into its empty eyes, before grabbing the nearest shotgun to tackle the zombie infestation which has just hit the Croft Manor. 

Lara's Nightmare sees you defend yourself against hordes of shuffling, blue-eyed zombies who have found their way into Croft Manor, some wearing helmets (making headshots tricky at best), and some wearing breastplates they've nicked from your antique armoury. A neat series of challenges to complete keeps running around the corridors interesting, plus it's distressingly easy to lower your guard and find yourself backed into a corner. If you're looking for a claustrophobic zombie fright-fest, Lara's Nightmare is your best bet. 

6. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

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What if zombies infested the wild, wild West? Well, Undead Nightmare is your answer. The Red Dead Redemption DLC has all of 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 to tame; plenty to keep you occupied well beyond the 6-hour story campaign.

The Undead Nightmare DLC is just about big enough to be considered its own game. The open-world has been covered with wandering zombies (even the animals are undead). That makes it all the cooler when you tame a zombified horse that's missing its neck meat. 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, you definitely don't want to miss this expansion. 

5. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Zombies

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You really have to give Call of Duty some props for going as far as it has with its Zombies modes. Now Zombies has turned into a full-blown Call of Duty staple, culminating in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare's zombies mode, set in a deliciously 80's theme park, full of neon colours, legwarmers, and boomboxes.  

Of all the other zombie games on this list, Infinite Warfare's zombies are a little more "out there". You can ride on a functioning rollercoaster, play in the Afterlife Arcade, and shuffle your Fate & Fortunes cards to decide which ridiculous perks you want by your side as you rampage around the 80's theme park. As if that wasn't enough there's also quests to complete, challenges to tick off, and lots of ridiculous guns to mow down zombies with. Though it may be a bit strange, Zombies is one of the best reasons to gather up a group for 4-player co-op and shoot some undead monsters in the face. 

4. Left 4 Dead 2

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The Left 4 Dead series is the ultimate co-op zombie survival experience. If you like to go out on your own and try to be Rambo, you're as good as dead. It's all about trying to get as many of your team members from point A to point B in one piece, and that requires teamwork. Standing in your way is a horde of zombies - though they aren't the typical slow moving stumblers. The standard zombies are quick on their feet, and sprint towards you at full speed, which is absolutely horrifying.

But the standard zombies are only the tip of the iceberg. The real threats are the special, player-controlled super infected, like the original game's Hunter, Boomer, and Smoker. In the sequel, things get even more hectic with the addition of the Charger, Jockey, and Spitter. Alone each zombie type isn't much of a threat to a coordinated survivor team. But when the super zombies work together, it could mean instant death for the heavily armed humans. If you're looking for a zombie title that lets you cooperate with or decimate your friends, Left 4 Dead 2 can't be beat.

3. Resident Evil 4

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Forget the series' classic tank controls and fixed camera perspective - Resident Evil 4 made the survival horror genre (arguably) even creepier, with a more action heavy over-the-shoulder view. And though it's more fast-paced than its predecessors, Leon's mission isn't without its shit-your-pants moments. RE4 has it all: mutant monsters, big undead-slaying guns, terrifying scares, and mysterious strangers selling you colored herbs out of their coat pockets.

Once again, you take control of Leon Kennedy in his lone quest to rescue the President's daughter from a mysterious cult. And you know what those cultists end up being (spoilers)? Yeah, zombies. But these aren't your standard RE2 zombies: they're Las Plagas. So, instead of nibbling on your neck a little, they might just grow a giant worm out of their cranium and bite your head off. Oh, and don't forget about those horrifying chainsaw guys. Worst. Death. Ever. 

2. The Walking Dead

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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 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. 

1. The Last of Us

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Not only is The Last of Us our Game of the Year for 2013, it's also the most intense, enthralling, and engrossing gaming experience involving undead flesh eaters. It takes you through a dangerous cross-country journey through the infected United States which has been completely overrun by plant life. 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 humans, a repressive government, and psychotic villains standing in the way of your destination. And best of all, you'll be dragging a snarky teenage girl along with you (not that Ellie is a hinderance - she actually gets pretty bada** as the story develops).

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. 

What zombie games have infected you?

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There you have it. That's our list for the best zombie games you can get right now. What are your favorites? Were there any that we missed? Let us know which games you would add to the list in the comments below.

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