Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
View the latest news
Gaming

The five best zombie games to play in 2024

Our favourite forays with the living dead on PC, PlayStation and Xbox

Resident Evil 2 remake
  1. Back 4 Blood

    Maybe we enjoy the best zombie games because they’re sharpening our skills for what feels increasingly like an inevitable zombie-infested future. Perhaps it’s that seeing the total collapse of society put our daily anxieties into perspective - compared with being chased by reanimated cadavers, how badly can that Teams call really go?

    We’ll leave the nature of our collective fascination with zombie games for smarter minds to analyse. Instead, here are five of our all-time favourites from the viscera-soaked canon, with options for PlayStation, Xbox and PC.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  2. Resident Evil 2 remake

    Resident Evil 2 remake

    A curious blend of frenetic zombie-shooting and messing about with statues in an old police station, Resi 2 is a triumph of atmosphere and tension that somehow still makes us jump, even in the bits where we clearly remember there’s a jump-scare coming. Plus there are branching plot-lines that alter depending on whether you play as Clare or Leon - so to really see everything, you need to play it through four times. And the impressive thing is, you probably will.

    Capcom got it so right in 1997 that they decided it might be nice to release the same game again in 2019, this time with gorgeous modern visuals and controls more suited to modern sensibilities like an over-the-shoulder camera perspective. That was an excellent, excellent decision.

  3. The Last of Us

    The Last of Us

    Grizzled survivor and beard enthusiast Joel must escort teenage wisecracker Ellie through what’s left of society after a fungus-like bacteria has all but wiped humanity out. Along the way they’ll bashaggro-mushroom-people to a fine paste using improvised weaponry, witness nature reclaiming what was once a concrete jungle, and journey through alliances and betrayals worthy of a Netflix drama. Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad idea - somebody should really consider making one.

    You know that this is going to be a different kind of zombie game immediately after pressing ‘start’, when developer Naughty Dog places you in an eerily quiet suburban home and spends five minutes lulling you into sleepy late evening normality before even the faintest whiff of the reanimated dead start to waft in.

    This is interactive storytelling done right, in a way that trusts you’ll pick up on its subtleties and knows you’re here for the characters as much as the skull-bashing.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  4. They Are Billions

    They Are Billions

    They really are, too. In this compulsive city builder meets tower defence game, you’re constantly under siege from impossibly vast hordes of zombies. Oceans of them. Numbers that make you want to stop what you’re doing and just admire the view.

    Don’t do that, though. They’ll break through your defences and eat everyone. And it’s that relentless threat that proves so addictive – over time, you get wise to optimal barbed wire placement, where sentry gun towers are most effective, how to research and construct massive Tesla coils that obliterate swathes of your attackers like Oppenheimer’s taser. You gradually begin to foster some confidence. These silly, shambling idiots, you think. They’re no match for all those defences.

    And then literally millions of them appear, and suddenly that barbed wire starts to look a bit flimsy.

  5. Project Zomboid

    Project Zomboid

    “This is how you died,” begins Project Zomboid, before handing control over to you in a retro isometric city full of the things that will inevitably kill you. It’s a bit like Tetris in that way: you know that eventually the shapes will arrive too quickly, you’ll run out of room to manoeuvre and it’ll be game over. It’s just that the shapes here are especially hungry. 

    The freedom that Project Zomboid gives you is what makes it stand out among a throng of genre-mates. Yes, you’re going to die, but every time you embark on that journey the story of your demise is completely different. Maybe you’ll find an occupied house while looting and someone will mistake you for a zombie and blast you into pixels. Maybe you’ll get stranded out in the woods and starve to death. NPCs might double-cross you, a bite might turn infected, or one of those enormous crowds of reanimated dead who all want to eat you might have something to do with it.

    That was how you died then, but bet’s see how it happens this time.

  6. Back 4 Blood

    Back 4 Blood

    If post-apocalyptic TV has taught us anything - except to invest in khaki for a timeless look after the shops have been looted - it’s that a few allies can really tip the odds in your favour. In co-op shooter Back 4 Blood you’re a quartet of heavily armed survivors bringing the old Left 4 Dead band back together for another heart-troubling journey through post-infection society.

    Modifier cards spice up your forays, throwing in extra obstacles like higher special enemy counts, but reward you more generously for meeting the higher challenge. That provides a diverting meta-game to think about in the long run, but the main attraction is still fending off what seems like an insurmountable number of aggressive walking corpses by combining your weapons and gear and working like a team.

More from Top Gear

Loading
See more on Gaming

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe