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The 12 Most Underrated Zombie Survival Games

The 12 Most Underrated Zombie Survival Games

Sean Whaley
Reading time: 9 minutes

Warning: Some of the video games listed below are not suitable for younger viewers. Please use caution and check each game’s ESRB rating before allowing children to play it, especially those rated M for Mature. M-rated video games may contain content that is inappropriate for children and/or unlabeled content that exposes younger viewers to explicit messages and themes.

As much as we all love games like Dying Light and The Walking Dead, playing the same popular titles over and over can get stale fast. It’s time for some fresh blood.
Zombie survival is a tried-and-true gaming genre, but there are some sleeper titles that might not be on your radar if you’re married to the Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies series.
Satiate your undying thirst for cracking skulls and racking up headshots when you give these epic, underrated zombie games a try.

1. Resident Evil 4 by Capcom

For its time, this game was highly praised for its revolutionary gameplay and design. With a legitimate storyline, intuitive user interface, and impressive graphics, this horror adventure has withstood the test of time.
Originally released for the PS2 and GameCube exclusively, you may now play this classic on almost every major system following the second wave of big-name gaming consoles.
While not necessarily underrated, this game is increasingly overlooked as it has gotten older. If you enjoy third-person shooters, reaction sequences, and a plethora of weapons choices, Resident Evil 4 is sure to be a horrifically good time.

2. Call of Duty: Dead Ops Arcade 2 by Activision

While not nearly as entertaining as the fan favorite Nazi Zombies, Dead Ops Arcade 2 is still an absolute blast to play. This twin-stick top-down shooter pays homage to cabinet classics like Metal Slug. Simple yet delightful, this mini game is a great way to kill some time by yourself or with friends.
Despite the game’s simplicity, Dead Ops Arcade 2 still has a lot to offer. With more power-ups, weapons, vehicles, and features than the original, you can expect to be entertained for hours while playing this game.

3. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 by PopCap Games

If you’re a millennial, there’s a good chance you were playing this game on your smartphone in between classes in high school. This application-based game has since spawned a variety of different spin-off games that sadly, haven’t received the recognition they deserve.
The Garden Warfare series diverts from its real-time strategy origins and breathes new life into the third-person shooter genre. Plants vs Zombies has always been known for its cheeky puns and silly narrative and Garden Warfare 2 is certainly no exception.
What’s amazing about this iteration of the series is that it supports a whopping 24 players in a single session. The all-new graveyards mode allows you to flip the tables and attempt to capture the graveyard where the zombies spawn from.
While slightly cartoonish and immature, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is a great way to spend a Saturday.

4. Dead Island by Techland Publishing

If you prefer an open world zombie survival game, then Dead Island is a more than ideal choice. This first-person zombie-bashing experience is heavily melee-weapon focused, which may be viewed as a plus or a minus depending on your preferences.
One element that sets this game apart from other zombie apocalypse survival games is the leveling tree. Something you don’t see very often is a role-playing game approach to zombie games. Having a skill tree for your character gives Dead Island a fresh, yet familiar feeling.
Complete quests, gather items, and most importantly stay alive as you build up your skill tree to take your zombie-beatdown-game to new levels.
Despite having a few glitches and relatively poor reviews on Steam, Dead Island holds up as a quality zombie survival game for PC.

5. Dead Nation by Housemarque

Similar to the Dead Ops Arcade series, Dead Nation is a top-down shooter where you survive and explore different levels. Despite the similarities, Dead Nation was developed as a stand-alone game and has much more to offer as a result.
At different moments, players may find themselves separated from the rest of the group and left to fight alone for a brief period. Use your environment or your weapons to distract and kill hordes of undead, while you boost your armor and hone your skills.
Dead Nation comes with single and multiplayer options, as well as online capabilities. Though receiving mixed reviews, this is one of most unrecognized multiplayer zombie survival games; be sure to keep Dead Nation in mind as you shop around for fun multiplayer shoot em’ ups.

6. Fortnite: Save the World by Epic Games

Fortnite: Save the World gets completely overlooked as an online zombie survival game because of the popularity of its battle royale version.
While this game has gained notoriety as a competitive shooter, its Save the World game mode needs to be recognized for the impressive zombie survival base building game that it is. Gather weapons, stash supplies, and build giant fortresses as you and your friends do your best to outlast the zombie hoards that come your way.
Self-described as a “co-op sandbox survival game” Fortnite: Save the World is the perfect game to play with a friend; working together to survive this apocalyptic world.
Unlike its competitive Fortnite counterpart, you will have to choose a specific class in this game mode. Despite that drawback, Fortnite: Save the World is still one of the best zombie survival games.

7. DayZ by Bohemia Interactive

Similar to games like PUBG, DayZ is an open world survival game where a virus has turned the fictional post-Soviet Republic of Chernarus into a living hell.
What makes this game such a standout among online zombie survival games is the way you can interact with other players. The other players in the game pose just as much of a threat as the zombies do.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself running from a pack of humans who’ve teamed up to take down other players the same way you would run from a mob of undead. The ability to team up and kill other players in this online zombie survival game gives it an element of uncertainty, intensity, and excitement rarely found in other games.
Though the in-game voice chat gives DayZ a much more efficient way of communicating, it can also be a nuisance if you come across someone that you don’t like. Fortunately, you can mute other players - or just kill them if you’re feeling particularly spiteful.
While you will lose everything on your person after being killed by another player, there is a way to stash your findings in a hideaway where no one else can get to them so you won’t be empty-handed after a respawn.
The game presents a steep learning curve and gets discouraging at times due to the high likelihood of being killed by another player, but it’s still a phenomenal zombie survival game.

8. Organ Trail by The Men Who Wear Many Hats

Just as the pun implies, Organ Trail is a retro spin-off of the classic Oregon Trail educational game. Developed by The Men Who Wear Many Hats, this painfully punny digital satire is a gem.
For anyone who had the privilege of playing the original Oregon Trail game, Organ Trail will wash over you with a wave of nostalgia.
Choose to play as a cop from Kentucky, a store clerk from New Jersey, or a lawyer from Miami, as you make your way through the zombie-infested lands of North America. Perfectly manage your supply of fuel, ammunition, and food to ensure your survival under dire circumstances.
The tacky, 8-bit style graphics only add to the authentic experience of the game. Choose wisely on your adventure or risk being eaten alive by the living dead.

9. Project Zomboid by The Indie Stone

Project Zomboid is an open-world zombie survival game that pays homage to classic online MMORPGs like RuneScape. Like many of the best zombie games, the goal is to stay alive in a chaotic, zombie-infested world for as long as you can.
The game comes with two different modes: survival and sandbox. In survival mode, you will scavenge for items and supplies as you avoid hordes of slow-moving zombies. The sandbox mode allows the player to tailor their difficulty and experience by altering variables like weather conditions and the number of zombies.
When creating your character, choose from a variety of professions, which essentially represent classes, and find the perks that work best for you and your style of gameplay.
Project Zomboid received heavy criticism due to issues with PayPal and Google Checkout that caused many consumers to become frustrated. Now that these issues have been ironed out, you can download and enjoy this game through Steam or the developer’s website.

10. The House of the Dead by Sega and Wow Entertainment

This cabinet arcade classic has truly withstood the test of time. While criticized by some for being too simple and mindless, this game offers hours of fun.
As a stand-up cabinet game, The House of the Dead took the world by storm. Sega found huge success with this instant classic and introduced it to the PC platform. Although the PC version received mixed reviews, it was still a hit. Blast your way through a variety of zombie enemies and bosses as you make your way to the final challenge.
If you enjoyed playing other arcade classics like Area 51, you will love what The House of the Dead has to offer. With the craze building around virtual reality, we may even see a reboot of this classic for the Oculus Rift™.

11. Boxhead 2Play Rooms by Sean Cooper

If you’re looking for a free-to-play two player zombie game, Boxhead 2Play Rooms should be your go-to. Team up with a buddy and play on the same keyboard while you survive this sandbox-style zombie game for as long as you can.
Boxhead 2 offers a variety of different maps and settings for you to choose from so the game stays fresh and exciting with each play-through. One aspect that people appreciate about this game is the variety of weapons that become available as the game gets harder.
Set up walls and barrels for protection and traps but beware, the red demons that appear won’t hesitate to break them down and crush your leaderboard hopes and dreams with their fireballs.

12. Dead Space by EA Redwood Shores

Saving the best for last, Dead Space combined all of the best elements of the Resident Evil series with a few of its own unique twists. This is, hands-down, one of the scariest games ever made.
Play as Isaac Clarke, a systems engineer who is the only survivor capable of fixing the failing systems on an alien-zombie infested spaceship. Slice through your reanimated crew members with an arsenal of mining tools as you make your way around an eerie spaceship devoid of warmth and life.
If you enjoy jaunting, single-player games in the same family of thrilling, edge-of-your-seat intensity as Resident Evil 4, Dead Space is sure to please. And if you missed out on this classic space-zombie-thriller its first go-around, it’s available for PC on Steam.
Fire up your gaming rig, dim the lights, and be horrified by how much fun you’re having with one of these hair-raising titles.

About the Author

Sean Whaley is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Sean is a content creation specialist based in San Diego, California. He has a wide breadth of knowledge when it comes to computer hardware, programming, and PC gaming.

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