During the 7th generation of consoles, zombie games likely enjoyed the peak of their popularity. It almost felt like a new zombie game released every month and developers always found an excuse to include brain-dead walkers. The Zombie Island of Dr Ned in Borderlands, Zombies in the Call of Duty series and Undead Nightmare in Red Dead Redemption, just to name a few. Though the former appeal of zombie games has died down quite a bit, we still get them every once in a while.
And if there’s anything that popular zombie mediums have taught us, is that you need three things to survive a zombie apocalypse. You need duct tape (lots of it), you must give your weapon of choice a proper name (you won’t get far with an axe called Herb), and you absolutely, mandatorily (is that even a word?) must play zombie games. And while here at TheXboxHub we don’t sell duct tape (yet) and can’t name your axe for you, we hopefully possess the know-how on which zombie games will drastically increase your odds of survival.
As it happens to turn out, there are many games about zombies on Xbox One, but not very many of them are any good. Hence, we compiled this list of 5 best zombie games, which will (probably) improve your strategic thinking in emergency situations. So, without further hesitation, give Lucille a kiss, grab your Twinkies and enjoy the list.
Dead Rising 4
With multiple releases already, Dead Rising is among the best-known zombie series within the Xbox ecosystem, especially as it started its life as an Xbox 360 exclusive. Though most entries feature a different main character, journalist Frank West from the first game has become a sort of recurring hero. And in Dead Rising 4, Frank finds himself battling zombies once again in the not-too-distant 2022.
Traditionally, Dead Rising games don’t take themselves or the zombie apocalypse too seriously. They provide you with a plot to follow and some often emotionally impactful events, but counteract this with utter lunacy. In Dead Rising 4, you don’t simply fend off zombies to fight for your life; you do so while also looking as cool as possible. Hence, it allows you to don ridiculous costumes or craft and discover equally ridiculous weapons.
A regular baseball bat not up to your standards? How about a baseball bat covered with protruding blades? Or an electrified axe? Or a flaming sword? With weapons like these, zombies are no longer a threat, but you are. And don’t forget to match your weapon of choice by dressing accordingly: as a cowboy or a shark, for instance. Dead Rising 4 doesn’t stop there and allows you to craft an Iron-Man-like exosuit and unleash wrath upon the rotting corpses that way.
As an added bonus, it also finally ditches the somewhat redundant mechanic of a time limit. You can now explore at your own pace, without having to worry about missing a particular event or quest.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
This might be considered cheating, since Undead Nightmare isn’t even a game, nor is Red Dead Redemption a recent release. But because they got “remastered” for the Xbox One, we may as well view them as current-gen projects.
Red Dead Redemption told one of the most emotionally engaging stories when it released in 2010. And while the main storyline didn’t conclude as happily-ever-after, its phenomenal DLC, Undead Nightmare, soon rectified that. Similarly to Dead Rising 4, this piece of Rockstar Games’ history doesn’t take itself seriously and offers a humorous take on the zombie apocalypse.
Undead Nightmare showcases an alternate, fictional timeline of Red Dead Redemption in which John’s family, as well as everyone else, turn into zombies. In hopes of finding out just what the hell is going on, John sets out into the zombie-infested wild west in search of a potential cure. Events unfold within already familiar environments, now populated by zombies. As he travels, John encounters many familiar characters, only now as flesh-consuming walking corpses.
Red Dead Redemption’s universe and the smooth shooting mechanics fit surprisingly well with a zombie premise and it feels immensely satisfying to pop zombie heads from a revolver while riding on horseback. With new weapons, missions of cleansing the towns from the walkers and even taming the four horses of the apocalypse, Undead Nightmare provides plenty of new engaging content.
Not only does Undead Nightmare feature one of the best zombie settings known to mankind, but it also serves as a crowning example of how to develop a DLC correctly.
Resident Evil 2
I wouldn’t exaggerate by calling the remake of Resident Evil 2 one of the best zombie games ever made. Our review perfectly exemplifies the prior statement and goes into great detail of all the “why’s” and “how’s”. With all of the praise surrounding it, you don’t even need me telling you how good Resident Evil 2 is, but I will anyway.
Building upon the successful aspects of the original Resident Evil’s remake, it evokes the same nostalgic sensations while also bringing a surprising amount of new features and events. It remains familiar to anyone who played the original, but tastefully reimagines many locales and characters to bring back the horror. Resident Evil 2 looks gorgeous: everything, from the station itself to the models of main characters look familiar, yet coated with modern paint.
After a long hiatus, Resident Evil 2 also makes zombies scary once again and the reimagined Mr X ensures that you never exactly feel comfortable within the surrounding environment. Resident Evil 2 features some of the most satisfying shooting mechanics in a video game, and definitely within the RE franchise. Zombies are more varied and detailed than ever before; they also flinch in various ways depending on where you shoot them.
Resident Evil 2 now rightfully holds the reputation as one of the best zombie games ever made. If you were disappointed by a few of the previous entries, then definitely play the remake of Resident Evil 2. It will reinvigorate your love for the franchise and provide hours upon hours of enjoyable zombie slaying.
State of Decay
As a cross-gen game released for Xbox One and Xbox 360, State of Decay seems dated by today’s standards. Hell, it looked somewhat dated even upon its launch in summer of 2013. But visuals and numerous technical mishaps aside, it delivers a top-notch zombie dystopia. State of Decay provides players with a post-apocalyptic sandbox setting and a basic narrative to keep things moving.
Within this open setting, your goal is to scavenge for weapons and supplies, discover and recruit other survivors to your cause, as well as kill hordes of the relentless undead. This involves completing tasks for other settlements while also developing your own. Certain locales can be turned into a home base equipped with various vital amenities, like a medical ward or a watchtower.
What makes State of Decay stand out among other zombie games is that there’s no main character. Throughout the game, you take control of multiple survivors and if your favourite falls in battle, then too bad, but you must suck it up. State of Decay doesn’t end with a death and instead grants you control over another survivor from the group. Afterwards, you can even travel to the deceased character’s resting place and reclaim their loot.
While the game did well enough to warrant a sequel – State of Decay 2 in fact – its continuation hardly introduced any major improvements. And said improvements largely stemmed from the new co-op mode. But still, if you enjoy exploring a relatively open environment on your own terms, then definitely consider giving State of Decay a go.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead
Telltale’s The Walking Dead takes place in the same universe as the popular TV series and even retains the same vibe. However, it follows a different group of survivors with Lee and Clementine in the spotlight. Lee, a convicted felon, finds himself amidst a zombie outbreak and while attempting to come to grips with this ordeal, befriends a little girl named Clementine.
Across the game’s five episodes, they form a bond seldom seen in video games. It suddenly falls upon the player controlling Lee, to take care of this fragile little girl and prepare her for the dangers of the world. Clementine learns and develops as a person based on Lee’s actions and choices and it’s often up to the player to explain the rationale behind each. Despite his past misdeeds and because of his protective tendency towards Clementine, the writers somehow made Lee into a highly likeable character.
The Walking Dead features other characters and events, but it never strays too far from this relationship. And it often boasts the same emotional impact as its televised counterpart. It definitely lacks in terms of action, but portrays the zombie apocalypse in a much more realistic manner. Much like in the famous TV series, its characters go through drastic changes as they experience loss and betrayal.
The first season is available via the Telltale Series Collection. And with the recent, unfortunate closure of Telltale Games, now is the best time to experience Clementine’s journey and commemorate the brilliance of this heartbreaking story.
And that concludes our list of 5 best zombie games on Xbox One. Play these and you’ll surely come prepared when the apocalypse engulfs our office-dwelling society in chaos.