The Walking Dead
Forget that crappy "Walking Dead: Survival Instinct" crap pushed out by Activision a few months back. The Telltale Games Series is where the real Walking Dead action can be found. It includes a bunch of characters from the comic book series, as well as the TV show, so fans will be able to make connections. More importantly, it shows just how good a game can be running on pretty much the storyline alone.
The "point and click" interaction gameplay isn't the most exciting genre that you are likely to encounter, but then, nobody plays The Walking Dead for the gameplay, they want to know about the characters, their back-stories, and the decisions that they make in a world torn apart by the undead.
The game is made up of five episodes, which you can purchase either separately, or altogether as a bundle. What really sets this game apart is not the thrill of clicking on a candy bar and giving it to another player- it's the development of your character, Lee, as you progress through the game. You control what Lee says, and the decisions that you make as early as a few minutes into the game can have a major impact way down the line. You will be forced to take sides, even when it seems morally wrong. To make things even more thrilling and realistic, these morally questionable decisions must be made spur of the moment: you only have a few seconds to make up your mind. Even after you've put down the controller, you may still find yourself questioning if what you did is right. Almost certainly your conscience will have some memories to think over.
This game is for those that want a zombie game with a really good story. If you just want to mindlessly blow apart squishy heads, look elsewhere.
Amazon Price: $24.99 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 6, 2016)
If you are looking for a zombie survival game that comes as close to the real thing as possible, then DayZ is the best thing on the market right now. It isn't actually a standalone game, (although that is in the works) but rather, a mod for the game ARMA II and its expansion pack ARMA II: Operation Arrowhead.
In DayZ, players are immediately thrust into a post apocalyptic world run by zombies and whatever gang of bandits currently has control of the region. Just as is the situation with many zombie situations, the living are just as dangerous as the dead. Player vs. Player combat (PvP) is perhaps the most thrilling part of the game because of one key factor: death is permanent. If you die in the game, that's it. Your character is gone for good. You don't re-spawn somewhere else with your awesome gun, the vehicle you spent months repairing, or all of the food you managed to scrounge up in the abandoned shops. It may be possible to get back to the spot where you died with your new character, but keep in mind that this new guy has no supplies, no weapons, and no experience in combating the occupants of this world gone wrong.
Lots of games have PvP, and lots of games have zombies. But what really makes DayZ a special experience to play is all of the real-life factors that are incorporated into your game session. Run out of food, and you die. Run out of water, and you die. Lose enough blood, and you die. Get bitten by a zombie, and you get a disease, and then you die. And of course, you can probably guess what happens when you get shot in the head by another player who's already set up camp in the local general store.
You will also start to see the affects of having a malnourished character in ways that other games just do not manage to fit in. If you lose too much blood in an encounter with another player or zombie, you run the risk of fainting. If your character does not get enough water or food, their endurance will be lowered, and they will not be able to run as far or fast. Their vision will also begin to get hazy. Senses are weakened. Altogether, DayZ brings the player into a world where they are forced to think about more than just killing. Just as when the real zombie apocalypse goes down, supplies, medicine, weapons, and vehicles will be dangerous and difficult to acquire. You will be prepared when the outbreak begins...
...that is, if your computer is capable of running the game. With all of the great game enhancements, DayZ takes a big toll on your computer. You will almost certainly need a designated gaming PC if you want to stand a chance at surviving.
Left 4 Dead & Left 4 Dead 2
Valve's popular first-person shooter series is just what many zombie fans are looking for in their daily ritual- mindless zombie shooting and killing. Left 4 Dead and its sequel run on the Source engine, the same one that brings us popular games like Half Life 2, Portal, and Counter Strike: Source. Only in these games, there's a whole lot of undead that need wiping up.
Something that makes the Left 4 Dead series particularly memorable is its emphasis on team-based gameplay. Playing by yourself with the AI controlling the other three players is almost impossible, at least on the harder difficulties. You've got to get a good group of people together, and work as a coordinated squad. Communication is everything, or you are going to find yourself eaten up rather quickly.
The storyline in Left 4 Dead is not the strongest. Brief cutscenes in between different campaign levels help to explain a bit about how the post apocalyptic world came to be, and banter in between the characters while in-game helps to alleviate some of the confusion about where each of them came from. Regardless, what Left 4 Dead does not have in storytelling ability, it makes up for with its stellar shooting mechanics. The different guns all play differently, and you are almost always given several options for as to how you want to slice up your zombies. This variety, mixed in with the gameplay mechanics of the undead, make for some truly special shoot 'em up fun.