When George A. Romero introduced the world to Night of the Living Dead back in 1968, he probably wasn't aware that what he was really doing was kickstarting a pop culture craze that would captivate audiences for decades to come. Those who followed in his directorial footsteps gave us shambling reanimated corpses that would comically cry "brains," while edging towards their would-be victims with arms outstretched. But times change, and now we are looking at ravenous flesh-craving monstrosities that fill us with fear mostly because their ailment is caused by some unknown virus that was cooked up in a lab, giving the whole thing a slightly more realistic vibe.
No matter if the creatures are slow and braindead or bestowed with the agility of a cheetah, one thing is for certain — people seem to love chopping and blowing them into pieces. They've become quite a staple in the video game world over the years, and Xbox has a fantastic selection for you to choose from. So, whether you're looking for a nightmarish thrill, horde-decimating adventure, or a cute and cuddly experience to share with your kids, this selection of our favourite zombie games should have something for everyone.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
It's only fitting that we feature Call of Duty: Black Ops first after name-dropping George A. Romero in our intro, because the Godfather of Zombies himself makes an appearance in the game. The famed Zombies mode sees four players battling for survival against waves of zombies, while simultaneously attempting to complete various "Easter Egg" objectives around the map. The catch, though, is that each wave adds even more zombies into the mix, causing you to become overwhelmed if you stop even for a second — grab a gun, run like crazy, and never let go of the trigger is the best advice we can give you for this. Teamwork is quickly thrown out of the window on the higher waves, with each player controlling their own 'train' of zombies, praying that they don't accidentally cross paths with someone else's train. Almost every Call of Duty game has had some variation of this mode since, but Black Ops' varied maps, the arsenal of available weaponry, and the inclusion of Romero himself are the reasons that this game has earned a spot on our list.
Call of Duty®: Black Ops
Call of Duty®: Black Ops takes you deep behind enemy lines into the world of deniable operations as a member of an elite special forces unit engaging in covert warfare, classified operations, and explosive conflicts across the globe. With access to a variety of exclusive weaponry and equipment, your actions will tip the balance during the most dangerous time period mankind has ever known.
Resident Evil 2
Considering how popular (and brilliant) Capcom’s 2002 GameCube remake of the original Resident Evil was, it’s quite surprising that it took the studio 17 years to get around to giving the sequel the same treatment. It was worth the wait, though, and by delivering familiar locations and threats in stunning 4K while toying with conventions and expectations in creative ways, Resident Evil 2 serves as a perfect example of how remakes should be done. For the most part, the old-school Resi games play to the classic slow, lurching zombies trope, mixing things up with all kinds of other freakish enemy types. As the most common enemy, the standard shambling brain-munchers have clearly had a lot of work put into them, and the level of detail on display is incredible, both before and after you start blasting chunks out of their bodies or completely dismembering them. They’re tenacious, too — even when missing limbs, they’re relentless in their assault, diving in for lunging bites while armless or dragging themselves towards you when they can no longer walk (a point-blank shotgun to the legs will do that). Better yet, you have to handle them with the typically limited ammo supplies as found in most survival horror games, and while being stalked by the terrifying Mr. X as he roams the halls of the Raccoon City police station and beyond. Capcom’s Resi 2 remake does the PS1 classic proud, and it stands as one of the finest implementations of ‘traditional’ zombies in modern gaming.
RESIDENT EVIL 2
A deadly virus engulfs the residents of Raccoon City in September of 1998, plunging the city into chaos as flesh eating zombies roam the streets for survivors.
An unparalleled adrenaline rush, gripping storyline, and unimaginable horrors await you.
Witness the return of Resident Evil 2.
World War Z
Based on Brad Pitt's film of the same name, World War Z is a third-person co-op shooter game that tasks four players with battling their way through various locations around the world. The game features some of the most impressive zombie hordes we've seen to date, filling your screen with hundreds of ravenous creatures. The gunplay in World War Z is fantastic, and there is something extremely satisfying about unloading an assault rifle's magazine into a tower of the undead. World War Z's missions are varied enough that they don't feel too repetitive, either, giving the game a lot of replayability, mostly due to mission objectives changing slightly each time you play. It's on Xbox Game Pass, too, so if you've got a subscription to the service, you can play it right now.
World War Z
World War Z is a heart-pounding co-op third-person shooter for up to 4 players featuring massive swarms of hundreds of zombies and fast-paced gruesome action.
Battle swarms of hundreds of zombies in gruesomely spectacular firefights
Co-op story-driven campaigns
Fight other survivors in Player vs Player vs Zombies modes
Level 16 character classes and weapon upgrades to take on greater challenges
Back 4 Blood
Another title available in the Xbox Game Pass library, Back 4 Blood is developed by Turtle Rock Studios and is the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead — a pair of 360 co-op classics that could easily sit in this spot on the list in place of the studio's latest game. Much like Turtle Rock's previous games, Back 4 Blood focuses on four-player co-op action on maps that require players to work as a team. Its gameplay builds upon the genre's core elements by adding a multitude of mutator cards that can either help or hinder your team's experience. You can create your own card loadouts before going into a game, and then you'll be given a random selection to choose from each time you make it to a safe house. The catch, though, is that the game will also randomly choose its own mutation card to put into play, which can cause you to fight endless hordes, multiple elites, or any other crazy and unfortunate handicap. Back 4 Blood's main calling card, though, is its brutality when played on the higher difficulty levels — if you and your pals think you've got what it takes, bump up the difficulty and have a go at outrunning the infected. Good luck...
Back 4 Blood
Back 4 Blood is a thrilling cooperative first-person shooter from the creators of the critically acclaimed Left 4 Dead franchise. Experience the intense 4 player co-op narrative campaign, competitive multiplayer as human or Ridden, and frenetic gameplay that keeps you in the action.
The Walking Dead
You know what? Maybe all these scary zombies are just too grim to look at time after time, day after day. Maybe you just want them to be a backdrop to the events of a very human drama… one that may or may not have reduced many a grown man to tears. The Walking Dead was the first Telltale game to really nail the episodic format, introducing us to Lee and Clem along the way. You watch as they become surrogate father and daughter thanks to your involvement over the course of six well-paced episodes. The dialogue, from memory, is really well-written and it is clear that the team had the luxury of time while making this one — something that became clearly lacking in later Telltale projects. The structure allows for a road trip of events and places, small but impactful moments that blossom into a greater thematic whole, but it works perfectly by keeping that central focus on the two core characters. The drama surrounding the pair often reflects upon what makes Lee and Clem tick, forcing the player to examine their own closely held relationships and make them consider how much they pay attention to the needs of those they love. The choices you make are pretty shallow by today's standards — a lot of smoke and mirrors — but if you haven’t played a Telltale game before, it can be frightening to see “Clementine will remember that” pop up on your screen. A solid story with the contextualising zombie outbreak gives The Walking Dead a worthy place on this list, plus it's a dead easy completion, so give it a go if you haven't already.
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Winner of over 90 ‘Game of the Year’ Awards, The Walking Dead Complete First Season includes all 5 episodes of the critically acclaimed series, plus special episode ‘400 Days’.
Dead Rising is a game that encourages you to have fun during the end of days, embrace the messed-up world that you find yourself in, and treat the shambling zombies like playthings. The game locks you inside a shopping mall and tasks you with attempting to survive by any means necessary. The mall is littered with a huge number of different items that you can use to kill, avoid, and generally humiliate the undead, with protagonist Frank (he's covered wars, you know) using everything from candid photography to wrestling moves to put the mall's masses in their place. While it's perhaps not as extravagant as some of the later entries into the series, Dead Rising still stands as one of the most entertaining zombie games to ever grace our screens. Whether you're slicing the undead to bits in a wrestling ring, having a shootout with a group of bandits that decide to start unloading a vehicle-mounted machinegun at you, or just putting Frank West's photography skills to use, one thing's for certain — you'll uncover the truth behind the epidemic with style.
Frank West, a freelance photojournalist on the hunt for the scoop of a lifetime, pursues a juicy lead to a small suburban town only to find that it is being overrun by zombies! He escapes to the local shopping mall thinking it will be a bastion of safety, but it turns out to be anything but.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Cowboys, zombies, and the steeds that carried the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse — Red Dead Redemption's Undead Nightmare DLC blends the open-world Western themes of the main game with a zombie apocalypse beautifully. Do we really need to say anything else? Probably not, because everything you need to know (and inevitably love) about the game is summed up in that first sentence. Undead Nightmare focuses on John Marston again, who is out searching for a cure to the zombie virus that is plaguing the Frontier. Your adventures will have you taking on infected folk in the extremely satisfying Red Dead way, as well as hunting down various undead creatures and mythical beasts. Honestly, Undead Nightmare could well be one of the best DLC packs to ever be released, and we really hope Rockstar gives us another zombie-filled outing at some point.
Undead Nightmare Pack
The Undead Nightmare Pack features an entirely new single-player campaign following John Marston as he tries to find a cure for the highly-infectious undead plague spreading across the frontier.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Dying Light would have easily made this list, but with Dying Light 2 having just launched and the fact that it builds on everything that was great about the first game, it had to be on the list. Dying Light 2 follows the story of a wandering survivor in search of his missing sister, who gets caught up in various situations between Villedor's three dominant factions. The game allows you to bend the story to your liking, while also giving you free rein to explore its massive open world environment. Combat is extremely rewarding this time around, and the first time you split a zombie in half with battleaxe forged out of a signpost, you'll know exactly what we mean. The parkour system also feels a lot more responsive compared to the first game, giving you fantastic ways to drop off buildings and smash a zombie's face into the concrete. Dying Light 2 is fun, brutal, and so full of things to do that you can spend hours just seeing what body parts can be cut from... well, anyone.
Dying Light 2 Stay Human
The virus won and civilization has fallen back to the Dark Ages. The City, one of the last human settlements, is on the brink of collapse. Use your agility and combat skills to survive, and reshape the world. Your choices matter.
State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2 is a zombie apocalypse simulator more than it is an open world to mess about in. To survive this title, you need to carefully learn how to micromanage your community of survivors, build and maintain your base, scavenge for supplies, and fight off hordes of undead. The game adds pressure to your exploits by limiting your inventory space, ensuring weapon degradation is a very real thing, and ammo is scarcely available. It's a great way to learn about yourself, and your friends if you decide to play cooperatively, because brash decisions can and will get you killed before you even know what happened. As a first-party title, this is another zombie-infested Game Pass title, and one with 2,400G up for grabs at the time of writing, although unlocking all of that will take a good deal of time and effort...
State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition is an improved version of the popular zombie survival game and includes the all-new Homecoming Update – a fully remastered, open world version of Trumbull Valley for the core game, reintegrating the Mount Tanner and Fairfield regions to the map, and adding new sites to scavenge, along with new sights to behold.
Plants vs Zombies
f you’re looking for a more playful take on the undead, who better to turn to than PopCap? These days, Plants vs. Zombies comes in a couple of flavours so you can pick which you prefer — the original is a simple but endlessly entertaining tower defense game, with later series entries like the Garden Warfare games instead delivering class-based competitive chaos in team-based third-person shooters. They all take the same wacky approach to characters on both sides of the fence, with a host of amusing zombie types on offer that should keep you entertained if you like your undead armies to be more amusing than scary. They’re still threatening, mind, and in the original game, poor plant placement in later stages can quickly see your garden overrun with legions of zombies of all shapes and sizes — even though there are hard counters to every enemy type in your arsenal, it isn’t easy to get them all into play once the horde is on your doorstep. Despite their comical appearance, the hapless undead of the Plants vs. Zombies games are not to be taken lightly.
Plants vs. Zombies
A mob of fun-loving zombies is about to invade your home. Defend yourself with an arsenal of home-guardin’ plants to mulchify zombies before they reach your front door. Get twice the zombie-zapping action with 2-player Versus and Co-op modes. Upgrade and decorate your house in the interactive leaderboard, and check out your friends’ houses, too. Plants vs. Zombies is loaded with seven game modes, new rabble-rousing features, and unlimited replayable action… so the fun never dies!
These are just some of the incredible zombie games available on Xbox, and we would love to hear your thoughts on other worthy options. Let us know down below!