What are the best zombie games on PC? You can hardly take a step on Steam without these clutching at your ankle, so it’s a valid question. Popular culture’s fascination with the undead has given us many gifts – and many memes – so you must get your bearings and know where to find the best zombie games out there on PC.
Luckily, our list of dead-good hits has everything a zombie enthusiast could ask for, ranging from free PC games to co-op games that are more Lovecraftian period pieces. If you like, you can take a shambling detour through tower defense games and post-apocalypse parkour. Come with us now to find the ones worth playing as we wade through the hordes of shambling corpses.
These are the best zombie games on PC:
Resident Evil 2
It was a long time coming, but the Resident Evil 2 remake delivers on fan expectations in a big way. Opting for an over-the-shoulder perspective rather than the fixed camera angles of the original, it faithfully recreates the iconic police station and other spine-tingling areas filled to the brim with zombies waiting to eat your face off.
Of course, the constant specter of Mr. X stomping around like he owns the place or the hideous horror lurking in the sewers keeps you on your toes. It’s the best of the classic Resident Evil games, and since future games such as Resident Evil Village shamble away from undead people as their main enemies, it’s one of the best Resident Evil games with zombies in. Check out our Resident Evil 2 review by Chris Priestman to learn more about this incredible remake.
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War
You could elect any of Treyarch’s Call of Duty games to this list because their zombie horde modes are the best around. Black Ops 4 had an excellent Zombies mode, but we’ve singled out Black Ops Cold War because it’s a nice entry point for those who’ve not played this mode before. It just so happens that the rest of the game is a thrilling FPS game overall.
It also has a fresh story, great tutorials, and easter eggs galore. The original map is also much easier for the classic survival modes. There are still tons to sink your teeth into, and the reception from those who have played it has been more positive than prior installments. Our Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War review marked the game as one of the best of that year.
Back 4 Blood
Those looking for a game similar to Left 4 Dead may find a lot to enjoy with Back 4 Blood. While it initially had a rocky launch, numerous balance patches and updates have made Back 4 Blood’s campaign a worthy entry. You can upgrade the playable characters, known as Cleaners, by equipping the best Back 4 Blood cards to buff their skills or give them more uses for healing items.
All the while, though, the ‘Game Director’ constantly adjusts the difficulty level based on your team’s performance, introducing new threats. Since its release, there have been three expansions, each with new playable characters, weapons, and chapters for your team of Cleaners to wade through. Check out our Back 4 Blood review to see how Turtle Rock Studios’ spiritual successor to L4D holds up.
“This is how you died,” Project Zomboid tells you as you walk gingerly into the overrun American countryside for the first time, as you get the sense that this is not going to end well. However, you can at least drag out the inevitable for some time – eking out an isometric existence through the shrewd scavenging, food sourcing, and first aid skills you will have honed well from the best survival games.
The entire map is open, with minimal guidance – only good preparation and a tab open to the Zomboid wiki can save you. Once you have established a domestic base, the game becomes a matter of tense smash and grabs, weighing up potential loot against the chance of zombie encounters. Long-term survival means rebuilding rural America – constructing and maintaining farms and adopting a defensive playstyle.
Where most zombie games are about hitting the dead with something weighty before moving onto heavier artillery, Zomboid is about avoidance, careful management, and slow-burn strategy. Speaking of a slow burn, Zomboid has been in open development for over a decade – so see what we make of it in our Project Zomboid Early Access review. But do not be put off by the Early Access tag: this is one of the richest zombie games in existence.
Days Gone is a zombie game for those who feel that experiences such as Dead Rising need a more open-world focus. It starts rather slowly, with the motorcycle-riding protagonist scavenging from ravaged roads of the Cascade region, but soon revs up to become a rather intense experience.
While most zombie games lose their threat as soon as you find a vehicle, the Freakers in Days Gone are more inclined to recklessly leap at you as you speed along the debris-ridden roads, and before too long, you’ll have to contend with hordes of zombified humans and animals. If that doesn’t sell you, how about the prospect of fending off zombie bears? Unlike the PlayStation 4 version, which struggled with bugs at launch, our Day Gone review explains how much better the PC version is due to the quality-of-life tweaks the game has received.
Those who saw The Day Before’s rise and immediate fall will likely still be itching for a zombie survival game of sorts, and luckily, there is always DayZ to pick up the pieces. It may have had its early access woes back in the day, but it’s at least a complete package.
You will still endure that nervy survival phase, flitting from the greenhouse to the gas station to gather gear and avoid conflict. DayZ is one of those simulation games where the ravenous undead is not what haunts your every step. You will still have those Cormac McCarthy moments on the road, scanning a stranger for clues about their intentions. Once you are subsisting on soda and scraps, however, DayZ opens up. That greenhouse becomes a proper farming plot. It is enough to keep you and passing traders alive.
Banditry is no longer DayZ’s default – there is potential for trading centers, large-scale farms, and stable villages. Unfortunately, we are a few updates away from the post-societal civilized dream, and over time, the bugs and performance issues can nibble away at your enthusiasm. But DayZ is not just a survival sim anymore – it’s also a living sim.
State of Decay 2
If you’re looking for a compelling story, you’re better served by the original State of Decay. However, the sequel does an admirable job of fleshing out the first game’s systems to make for a more satisfying open-world game.
Playing like an RPG, State of Decay 2 has a simple yet satisfying core loop. You will pick a protagonist from your community of survivors and take them out into the wild to find the necessary food, fuel, or drugs to keep the rest alive. Once they collapse into bed back home – or under the blows of the undead – you can take control of another character from your base with their background, personality, and combat abilities.
Whenever you let another stranger into your growing base, you let in another playable character, another new story to write a middle and an end to. It’s been an age since we’ve heard about State of Decay 3, so it’s pretty safe to assume it’s not out anytime soon. Give our State of Decay 2 review a read to see what Harry Shepherd thought about the game.
Killing Floor 2
When you’ve had your fill of Left 4 Dead 2, why not try one of the other best co-op zombie games of all time? Killing Floor 2 is a chaotic, frantic rush as you blow out undead brains to rambunctious heavy metal.
Zombies of all shapes and sizes come at you thick and fast, making Killing Floor 2 an excellent pick-up-and-play co-op title. But as you devote more time to indulging in a spot of zombie bashing, Killing Floor 2 becomes a zombie game with an engaging tactical element: do you spend your blood-soaked resources now or save them for a more brutal future confrontation?
Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Techland built on the runaway – shuffle-away? – the success of Dead Island with Dying Light – another open-world zombie game kitted out with customizable melee weapons and four-player co-op. Then, the studio (eventually) gave us Dying Light 2, and we couldn’t be happier. The excellent parkour system sets Dying Light 2 apart from its rivals. While this open-world RPG game is not without its problems, it easily earns a place as one of the best zombie games of the past year.
Like its survivors in a post-outbreak world, Dying Light 2 is a scavenger. Its map icons and diversions are ripped from the Ubisoft formula. The parkour is nicked from Mirror’s Edge. But the clambering informs every other aspect of the game, turning this into an explorative, emergent adventure. For best results, ignore the more repetitive missions and take to the rooftops built with vertical meandering in mind. With that in mind, here’s our Dying Light 2 review.
This zombie game homage to the most famous old game of all time is tough as nails. Organ Trail tasks you with guiding a station wagon of survivors on a journey out west, and like all zombie survival games, your primary concerns are keeping a good stock of food, medicine, and ammo, not to mention avoiding roaming packs of flesh-eating undead.
The real stars of Organ Trail are the random events encounters, which will continue to catch you off guard hours into the game with everything from zombie boss fights and gangs of raiders to your survivors contracting diseases or receiving curious jobs from strangers. In Organ Trail, you’re always on the back foot, managing your party’s gradual descent into illness and hysteria one horrific encounter. Still, every but every fight you manage to scrape through feels like a herculean accomplishment, and it’s that feeling that drives your feeble station wagon onward.
Left 4 Dead 2
Many have tried to recreate the magic, even the developer has given it a good try, but if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, there’s no better FPS zombie game than Left 4 Dead 2. You pick one of the survivors trying to find sanctuary from the many mutated zombies, or if you’re playing the multiplayer mode, choose from one of several special variants, each with their own abilities, to stop the survivors from escaping.
Though cities have emptied after waves of evacuations, humanity feels close enough to touch thanks to the messages scrawled on the walls of safe houses. There is a unique warmth here, too: the cultural influence of New Orleans and its environs seeps from the swamps to the streets and into the soundtrack.
The Walking Dead
Telltale’s The Walking Dead series is best described as a conversation system tied to a timer, inspired by social anxiety. There’s a sense of interpersonal warmth framed by overarching gloom, like a campfire on a cold night. It frequently attempts to disarm you with humor and half an hour of respite before swiping cruelly at the characters you have come to care about in a way that only the best adventure games on PC can. Those evil geniuses.
It is something we would like to see from more zombie games: The Walking Dead is not really about the Walkers. They are merely the backdrop for a series of stories about human nature. The key characters here are capable of both great kindnesses and unforgivable evils in the name of protecting their own. The only reassurance is found at the end of each episode when you get to see what percentage of fellow players made the same terrible compromises as you. Give our The Walking Dead: The Final Season review to see what you’re missing out on.
Atom Zombie Smasher
Atom Zombie Smasher is one of the very few zombie games going for the big picture. It puts you in charge of the city of Nuevo Aires’ defense forces and tasks you with saving as many citizens as you can. From your top-down perspective, you call in rescue helicopters, direct sniper teams, and make monstrous sacrifices to achieve your goal.
Your goal for most maps is simple: air-vac as many citizens as possible. You tell your helicopters where to land, place your marine teams, and set up explosives. Then, when you hit start, zombies flood in from different entrances around the level. If a zombie reaches a civilian, they are instantly infected, and all too quickly, a city block can become swamped with undead.
Sometimes, you have to cut your losses. Every time you put up a game-saving blockade, you are inevitably trapping some of your charges on the wrong side. The distanced top-down perspective – which casts yellow dots as civvies and pink ones as zombs – encourages distanced utilitarianism. You are not Francis, Bill, Zoey, or Louis this time – you are the military dropping bombs on their heads.
For those looking for zombie games on a budget, there’s always Unturned. Here, you’ll find a world filled with items to loot, a large map to explore, and many blocky-looking zombies. Constant updates ensure that it remains somewhat fresh, even if the core gameplay is similar to DayZ.
It may not be the most realistic survival game out there, but it’s much more accessible thanks to the simple concept of surviving for as long as possible. Unturned is at its best when you’re patrolling the zombie-infested streets with a few trustworthy buddies.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
Capcom has worked its magic yet again with another hugely successful remake, this time revitalizing one of the most beloved games of all time. The Resident Evil 4 Remake may not feature traditional zombies like in the first three games, but these infected villagers are arguably even more terrifying than their predecessors.
Your first playthrough of Resident Evil 4 Remake is packed with scary moments, intense chases, and plenty of moments where you finish up fights with only a few bullets left in your inventory. Any subsequent playthroughs won’t take you nearly as long using your Resident Evil 4 Remake unlockables to clear through the game with the top grade of a Resident Evil 4 S-Rank. Give our Resident Evil 4 Remake review a read to discover what makes this remake so special.
Dead Island 2
After all this time, Dead Island 2 managed to escape the clutches of development hell to become one of the finest zombie-killing simulators around. As one of the six Dead Island 2 slayers, you don’t have to worry about becoming infected any time soon as you explore the picturesque beaches of Hell-A, slicing and dicing your way through countless waves of zombies.
As mentioned in our Dead Island 2 review, while there is a story buried in the campaign, that’s not the reason why you’re booting up this game. It’s all about killing zombies while using a range of Dead Island 2 skills and weapons. We highly recommend checking out our Dead Island 2 fuses guide to get ahead of these rare items – use them to access rare loot and other valuable items to help you make some progress in the campaign.
There you have it, the best zombie games on PC. If you’re looking for more frightening experiences, we list the best horror games to keep you on the edge of your seat. Once you’re ready to settle down, give our best relaxing games list a read to de-stress before bedtime.