It’s like zombies were made to be starred in video games. They got all of the attributes that, if you put it well enough into a game, can easily make players obsessed. A never-ending horde of undead, disfigured corpse eaters can make for the hours you spend in a game seems like a moment as you unload magazines after magazines, or throw whatever weaponries you can pick up to lay them down for good. It’s pretty hard to miss when, often, an entire screen in front of you is filled with targets. Zombies can also be the source of some thrilling scares without being ‘too much’ for those who don’t have an appetite for hardcore horror.

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World War Z is a famous zombie title of this year

So pretty safe to say the concept of zombies has been used constantly by game developers. Each year, with better titles coming out revolving around the theme, with greater cinema-grade graphics, more enhanced gameplay, AI behaviours, and even plot-line. Along with the new trend of turning games into massive open-worlds as of late, the zombie experience has never been better.

But considering the popularity of the theme, mostly having to do with gross creatures running or crawling their ways up and down cramped, derelict hallways, it can really lead to a creative drought. Plenty of games have tried their best at crafting a new experience, but unfortunately, so many of them had fallen dull that the seasoned gamers often feel sceptical when it comes to new zombie titles.

So if you’re looking for a new zombie game to play and is trying to avoid a literal disaster, here’s a list of games that range from the best, down to the worst that you should avoid at all costs.

The Worst Zombie Games Ever

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

Resident Evil is a classic zombie title that more or less kick-started the trend, so it’s pretty surprising that a game bearing the Resident Evil name could fall into a ‘worst’ game list. To give credit where it is due, it is not a downright disastrous game and does not stick excessively to the lore to have you confused if you haven’t played any RE title before. Still, comparing it to any other game in the series and Umbrella Chronicles will fall apart.

Not only it’s cursed by a wonky control scheme, trying to utilize Wii’s pointer controls in a half-hearted attempt at creating an arcade light-gun experience. The pace of the game, for a zombie game that’s meant to be fast-paced and adrenaline-filled, is excruciatingly slow. There are far better light-gun games out there like House of the Death to cash your time in.

Dead Island

Dead Island was one of the most anticipated games on the market when it came out. Eventually, players discovered that they had placed their trust a little bit too soon on the promises of the developers and the trailers and in their hands is a steaming pile of utter failure instead of the zombie game of the century.

The premise of the game being an entire island filled with undead is quite promising, yet the actual execution and the gameplay experience is as horrid as the corpses in-game. The graphic and details sure are nice, but Dead Island is a game that’s worth watching more than playing. Even when the graphic can be lauded, there are plenty of times when even the graphic of the game fell short. With shoddy animations, strange facial glitches and movements, it can break immersion pretty quick if the clumsy gameplay hasn’t pushed you away already.

Repetitive gameplay, a litany of technical problems and errors, along with poorly designed and executed gameplay experience characterised Dead Island. Avoid it.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct

While the other, plot-based game based on ‘The Walking Dead’ by Telltale was rather iconic among fans and gamers alike. This one is nothing more than an enthusiastic recreation of the AMC series in the First Person Shooter direction that fell face first into mediocrity.

There are no complaints when it comes to the plot-line, narration, and the voice acting. They are actually quite decent and similar to the quality of the show. Everything else, however, are just plain bad. The game attempted to cover its faults by hanging onto the popularity of the TV shows, but soon enough after spending just ten minutes into the game, you would eventually come to the realisation that the game’s lacklustre: With shallow, ill-designed mechanics that are just uninspired and bland.

Dead Alliance

Imagine Call of Duty mashed up with Left 4 Dead. But instead of a legend that such a mash-up could create, the game came out as a monstrosity.

There are a few innovative and relatively creative details in the multiplayer mode of the game, such as utilising zombies as dumb, dispensable weapons to take down your opponents. Other than that, the game’s not only bad, but it’s broken from the very top down to the bottom. The design of the zombies themselves are uninventive, and that’s one of the first priority in making a game. Needless to say, if inattentiveness was already visible from character design, the rest of the game followed suit. The campaign has nothing new to offer at all, and a basic experience from the beginning to the end. Forcing you to scramble from one place to another aimlessly.

The game has no potential and it’s clearly not well-polished for you to waste your time in.

Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green

Typically, the game adaptation of a TV series or a movie often ends with either a mediocre video game that people would forget after finishing it in five minutes. Or it’s a complete train wreck of a game, and from what I saw, Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green is just that.

The game’s title and premise was based on George A. Romero’s movie Land of the Dead that was released in 2005. The better the film was in the cinema, the worst the game adaption was on Xbox. It’s clear from the get-go that the game was rushed into production and there was no polishing at all on the numerous details of the game. The control itself felt like it was an afterthought rather than an integral part of the gaming experience: Wonky control and improperly calibrated shooting mechanism makes the most basic abilities, moving around and shooting, a nightmare. The environment wasn’t that good, either, and felt like it was built on the N64 rather than Xbox.

But the worst thing about the entire game is the behaviour of the zombies. Even for zombie standards, the zombies were more or less brain-dead and felt like they were created as an obstacle rather than an actual challenge.

Best Zombie Games You Should Check Out

Zombies Ate My Neighbours

Coming to the realm of actually good games is a relief, starting with Zombies Ate My Neighbours. The game is a testament as to how it is not necessary to have top of the line graphic to be a fun or frightening game. Not a lot of people actually knows Zombies Ate My Neighbours, and although it is in the portfolio of Konami, it is a rather well-hidden gem. It’s not only a great zombie shooter, if you have a friend to play with, it’s also a fantastic co-op title that could promise you tons of laughters and fun.

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Zombies Ate My Neighbours

The game’s driving plot is pretty wacky, true to the title. Your job is to sweep through the neighbourhood infested with zombies, using strange weaponries grafted together from various objects to save your hapless neighbours from being devoured.

The soundtrack’s also pretty spectacular, blending into the gaming experience to create quite a nostalgic, 16-bit retro zombie shooter.

Dead Rising

Dead Rising is also as iconic to the zombie genre as Resident Evil, and the common thing between them is not just that they’re both at the top of when it comes to zombie-blasting games, it’s that both of them were made by Capcom. It really serves to show the depth of the company’s mastery on the genre.

The thing that distinguished Dead Rising from the rest is that it doesn’t rely on the eerie, bleak, bloodied atmosphere of the majority of zombie games populated by cheap jump-scares. Instead, the game’s quite comical with not only a strange arsenal of weird weaponries, the insanity of the world that the protagonist was in along with the hilarity that could ensue as you pump out creative destruction with your weird makeshift weapons could really make for an entertaining time. Though it’s classified as an old game, released all the way back to 2006, none of the newer games had managed to recreate or match the unique atmosphere of Dead Rising just yet.

There’s just something that’s so addicting cleaning out hordes of zombies in a shopping mall with anything ranging from a fire axe, to a barbell you found in that gym store.

Dying Light

Techland was the studio behind Dying Light, and if you’ve read through our ‘Worst’ zombie game segment above, you’d be surprised to know that Techland was also the one responsible for the failure that is Dead Island. But it seems like through that failure, they have learned a lot and emerged considerably better and more attuned to the players’ needs than before. The way Dying Light is presented in such realistic and sleek way that it really does recreate the sense of hopelessness being trapped within the city of Harran in the game.

The open world of Dying Light not only contains innumerable amount of cool details, it is also filled to the brim with activities that could entertain you outside of the main quest such as an elaborate side mission system. Each mission requires different things from the player, some requires you to be tactful and stealthy, some requires you to have the biggest guns available and blazing freely as the hordes pour down onto you. And for some other, resourcefulness is key as you’re forced to survival in a situation more or less engineered to be your downfall.

Zombie designs are spectacular. Not only they are abundant in the game, the different zombie designs are visceral and realistic. The developers also tuned up zombies’ attributes so that they actually prove to be a challenge to take down instead of being cannon fodders that would lie down and die with as much as one punch from the player. It’s one of the thing that makes combat in Dying Light so fun, the satisfaction of taking on a challenge mixed with a fluent, detail-rich combat system is heaven for whoever on the control.

The game also supports multiplayer.

The Last of Us

If you have a PS4, you cannot miss The Last of Us. It was one of the biggest games of 2014, bringing back numerous game design awards and much-deserved praises for its creator Naughty Dog. No matter which version of the PS4 you got (Original, Slim, or Pro), The Last of Us is optimised for the PS4 hardware so you would be able to juice out greater performance than other unoptimised games.

Great integration with Sony’s hardware aside, the narrative is extremely compelling and gripping. Drawing you into this new world at the very first few minutes. Most players found themselves invested into the story and its characters in a short period of time from the harmonious combination of graphic design, animation, and soundtrack. It’s a pretty difficult thing for any game to be able to do, and The Last of Us got zero trouble doing that.

Although the game is far more narrative-focused, make no mistake, there are plenty of gameplay materials for you to enjoy. The combat mechanics are quite awesome, every kills feel strangely satisfying as you pull the trigger or downing enemies in close quarter.

The zombies themselves in the game, called ‘The Infected’, are also among the best designed zombies in the genre. And considering just how powerful they are up-close and how the studio decided they wouldn’t go with the stereotype of lumbering sacks of rotted flesh in trade of fearsome, fast enemies. They are a force for Joel and Ellie to reckon with.

Resident Evil (Remake)

Of course, it all boils down to Resident Evil in the end. This is the one game you should actually look out for instead of the Umbrella Chronicles’ fiasco. Though if you’re invested into the RE series, you might want to argue that Resident Evil 4 is actually the best game you can get out of it, well … both RE4 and the remake of the original RE are both good contenders for the spot. The original game was the one that started everything, and with the remastered version on the PS2/Gamecube, everything turned out even better than in the original with enhanced graphics and new details.

Plus, I don’t think RE4 focus is wholly on zombies. At least, not in the same degree as the original RE or this remake version. The majority of RE4 focus was on a death cult, after all.

RE4 Remake still retained the creepy aesthetic of the mansion that Chris and Jill had to go through in order to survive. But this time, in far higher resolution and thus, able to scare you far more effectively. Zombies and dogs that had gone rabid from being infected trawl through narrow spaces that could give you a good jolt at any point in the game.

The remake version also introduced the terrifying ‘Crimson Heads’, which promises to be a new surprise and challenge for people who have already played the original RE. They are zombies, but pumped full of steroids. It’s hard not to scream when one suddenly flew out of the dark and charged straight at you.

A fine mix of action, horror, and puzzle, arguably, this is the best zombie game you could pick up in spite of its age.