The dead shall inherit the earth, but they will also apparently dominate the gaming landscape for years and years. It’s been hard to escape PS4 zombie games over the past decade or so with them popping up in new entries in beloved franchises, in game modes dedicated entirely to pushing them back, and even in iterations where you could argue that they aren’t even undead.
So why are zombie games still so popular, despite being so overexposed? Well, it’s because they are oddly versatile. You can drop zombies into most situations and it will provide a different kind of experience, as well as the fact that they, despite being a part of pop culture for the better part of six decades, can still be terrifying. 2019’s Resident Evil 2 proved just that.
With years of PS4 zombie games to look back on, it’s time to see what Sony’s big black rectangle offers those who love nothing more than to take on hordes of shufflers. Below you will find games that offer an almost impossible challenge against an endless sea of dead faces, a third-person action title that many believe to be the best of the 2010s, and also, erm, the grand conflict between sunflowers and zombies.
Think we missed any of the best PS4 zombies out on our list? Be sure to let us know down below. One thing to remember: all of these zombie games for PS4 can also be played on PS5 thanks to the marvel of backwards compatibility.
Quite comfortably the worst entry in the cult franchise, Dead Rising 4 is not the first Dead Rising you should play if you’re yet to experience the madness for the first time. The challenge is non-existent, its most famous mechanics are gone (but reintroduced in DLC), and there’s a general lack of attention to detail and care with the whole game feeling rushed. Its failure has meant we may never see another Dead Rising game again.
However, if you just want to lay the smackdown on an absolutely wild amount of zombies at once all while wearing a silly hat (and nothing else), Dead Rising 4 is probably the purest bit of undead mayhem on this list.
It’s more ridiculous than ever; a good antidote for the more solemn nature of Dead Rising 3. When you can summon lightning with an axe, you might not be playing the Tree of Life of zombie games.
14. How To Survive
Developer: Eko Software Publisher: 505 Games
Released back in 2013, How To Survive almost always flies under the radar for zombie and horror fans, perhaps because of how little of an impact its ho-hum sequel made. Available for a relative pittance, you shouldn’t overlook the original game, it casting you onto a desert island with only the undead and a strangely specific survival book for company.
Boasting an irreverent charm and more than a handful of ways of getting by, How To Survive is a surprisingly deep game despite first appearances. You will go from a simple bow and a bit of wood all the way up to flamethrowers over time, crafting yourself some safe spaces and trying to repel the ever more dangerous hordes.
It’s a little rough around the edges these days, though How To Survive is still tremendous fun.
13. Dead Island: Definitive Edition
Developer: Techland Publisher: Deep Silver
It was always going to be impossible for Dead Island the game to live up to Dead Island the trailer. While the latter has gone down as one of the best in gaming history, the game itself represents a decent attempt without enough polish or variety to bring it to the upper echelons of zombie games. Still, there’s a lot of zombie-bashing fun to be had.
When an outbreak turns a tropical dream into a nightmare, you must choose from one of several characters with different abilities as you look for an escape. Featuring a vibrant open world and a whole load of melee combat, Dead Island doesn’t unfortunately offer much revolution and is also brought down by some ugly technical issues, though its low price means that you can’t go wrong if you want to bloody a baseball bat for a few hours.
It was a great shame when Housemarque, probably the biggest name who supported the subgenre for many years, announced that they would be leaving the twin stick shooter market behind to focus on more popular genres. The loss was a big one for arcade fans, Dead Nation being one of the best examples of a well-worn premise can still be so enthralling.
Dead Nation doesn’t do much that other twin stick shooters haven’t already, but it does them very well indeed. Featuring an absolute screen full of zombies at any time, who can also come out of nowhere, and a steep difficulty curve, Dead Nation can be played by yourself or with friends. You will find and upgrade plenty of weapons as you look to escape an overrun city, and compete with your friends to see who the best zombie slayer is.
Pure, intense shooting fun awaits in this often overlooked gem.
11. Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
Developer: PopCap Games Publisher: EA
Battle for Neighborville’s weird, staggered launch from a peculiarly short early access period meant that it felt like it didn’t get as many headlines as it should have. That’s a great pity, as Battle for Neighborville is the Plants vs. Zombies franchise’s best and most expansive entry to date that’s overflowing with content and an absolutely irresistible cutesy aesthetic to boot.
You once again take control of either of the eponymous warring factions, this time with the twist of an open world and an impressive twenty different characters to play as. Yes, it may not have the same open world depth as its peers, but once you consider how easy it is to pick up and play, this might be the perfect introduction for youngsters.
And even those of us who want the video game equivalent of a Saturday morning cartoon to put a smile on our faces.
10. Zombie Army Trilogy
Developer: Rebellion Publisher: Rebellion
Perhaps the best example of the mindless fun that zombie games on the PS4 can provide, Zombie Army Trilogy is not what you could call a thinking man’s game. There are a lot of zombies, and you have to kill them with your friends in tow, one slow-motion bullet to the decomposing nut at a time. That’s really all there is to it, though it’s infinitely more rewarding than it may seem.
Yours for relative pennies these days, Zombie Army Trilogy features similar action to another Rebellion IP, Sniper Elite, though with far less need to be stealthy. Instead, you simply seek to purge WWII Europe of its zombie plague, either in co-op or solo across fifteen increasingly bombastic levels. We’re not saying that more games need to let you take on Zombie Hitler, but we’re not not saying it, either.
Want something newer? The fourth game, Dead War, is just as good.
9. They Are Billions
Developer: Numantian Games Publisher: Numantian Games
Comfortably one of the most stressful zombie games you will ever play, They Are Billions asks you to make a desperate attempt to repel certain doom at the hands (or teeth) of an absolutely gigantic zombie horde. Considering that just one stray zombie inside your walls can cause an outbreak that’s almost impossible to contain and that the game really doesn’t tell you what to do, it’s no mean feat even getting to that point.
Set in an alternate Steampunk timeline, you must gradually build up your little town from a few tents to a might of industry with the military force to match. Your best bet for survival? Pausing.
It sounds a little silly, but just taking a second to properly absorb the chaos can be the difference between an utter loss or some unfortunate casualties. Oh, good luck trying to save scum your way to glory, too.
Developer: Straight Right Publisher: Ubisoft
A game, like so many third-party titles, sent out to die on Wii U by virtue of, erm, being on the Wii U, Zombi was suitably reborn on other consoles and Steam in the hopes of finding it the audience it deserved. Playing a little like Dead Island but set in London with a greater emphasis on sheer survival, Zombi leans on first-person melee action with an interesting twist: permadeath.
Once a character dies in Zombi, that’s it — they’re gone. You awaken as someone completely different with an interesting dilemma: do you go back to where your old character died to retrieve their stuff, or do you just go for a fresh start that might leave you underequipped but, crucially, alive?
Zombi asks you to make a lot of tough calls as you traipse around Buckingham Palace and many of London’s most famous landmarks.
It’s very easy to call Killing Floor 2 a simple Left 4 Dead clone and leave it at that, but Tripwire’s co-op PVE offers more than enough to distance itself from Valve’s iconic franchise. The most notable difference is the slightly more chaotic, wave-based action and also nonsensical tone that features a firm trying to create military soldiers with disastrous results.
Like a lot of the zombie games you will find on PS4, Killing Floor 2 isn’t some grand reinvention of the simple joy of putting a bullet (or a few hundred) in zombie brains. Instead, you start a round by picking your perks and the skills that come with them, and then utilising classes to make sure your team is a well-oiled zombie-killing unit.
Despite being out for a little under half a decade, Tripwire will continue to support the game for a long time to come, so it’s as good a time as any to hop in to the barmy fray.
6. World War Z
Developer: Saber Interactive Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
A lot of people probably owe Saber an apology for writing World War Z off so early, us included. A seemingly far too late video game adaptation of a movie that had slipped way out of the public consciousness in the years following release? This Left 4 Dead-inspired romp had flop written all over it, but it somehow miraculously turned out to be one of the best co-op shooters on the PS4.
There’s not much about World War Z that you could say pushes the zombie subgenre forward, apart from the detailed hordes of zombies screeching their way towards you at once — you don’t forget the first time you see a legion of them in the distance, making their way towards you in eerily quick time as the sheer scale of them comes into clearer focus.
With great post-launch support, surprisingly likeable characters (despite them being a who’s who of tropes), and satisfying gameplay, World War Z is one of those rare cases where the video game is undoubtedly better than the movie. Based on how well it performed, we may see a second World War Z game before we get a second movie.
5. Days Gone
Developer: SIE Bend Publisher: SIE
Despite what you might have heard, Days Gone is a great game, one of the best open world titles on the PlayStation 4 and also a thrilling zombie-killing adventure. Well, technically, they’re “Freakers” and not zombies, but if people still call Frankenstein’s Monster just Frankenstein, Bend may have to let that one go.
You play as Deacon St. John, an initially difficult to love protagonist who carries a weight of guilt around with him as he bikes across a desolate America with his best friend. The first ten hours are a tad rough, but give it time and you will warm to Deacon and the game itself as its systems deepen and it opens up more and more.
Away from the slow-burning story, the main attraction of Days Gone has to be the ability to take on giant hordes in whichever manner you see fit. Do you try and gun them all down one by one, or do you strategically place traps and make use of your environment to keep them at bay. Death comes quickly in Days Gone, so there’s also no shame in putting pedal to the metal and getting out of there, either.
4. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 1
Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games
Telltale’s The Walking Dead belongs in the same conversation as other zombie games such as House of the Dead and Left 4 Dead in terms of how they broke out of the subgenre to provide inspiration to many facets of game development. Many have tried to build on what Telltale created with this almost perfection season of narrative gaming, but few have come close.
You play as Lee Everett, who is on his way to prison for the murder of his wife and her lover before the zombie apocalypse allows him an escape. He shortly meets Clementine, a young girl with missing parents, and the two develop a heartwarming surrogate father and daughter relationship over the course of five heartbreaking episodes.
A mostly hands-off experience, it always felt like Telltale were trying to chase the dragon with every subsequent season of The Walking Dead, which, while still good, did not have the same heart. If you’re yet to play this modern classic, change that.
3. Dying Light
Developer: Techland Publisher: WB Games
We’ll stop banging on about Dying Light when everybody starts recognising how it’s easily one of the best open world, best horror, and best zombie games of the last decade as they so widely should. Releasing at a time when the current generation of consoles were trying to find their footing, Dying Light didn’t feel like an instant success.
Instead, it’s seen a slow but steady influx of new players over the years, helped by the fact that Techland have offered post-launch support that is second to none. Techland honed their craft after Dead Island, and it shows — the two games are worlds apart in terms of quality.
Whether you want to parkour your way around the fictional Harran with a friend or take on its many quests and activities, Dying Light will no doubt surprise the cynical. Its sequel looks like a significantly more expansive game, so watch this space.
2. Resident Evil 2
Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom
After years of waiting, Capcom finally released a remake for Resident Evil 2 in 2019 to great acclaim, so much so that it’s hard to imagine anyway but the truly hardcore going back to the original. Video game remakes are often hard to get right, but it could be argued that Resident Evil 2 truly outstrips its predecessor from the original PlayStation.
Allowing you to play as either Claire or Leon with distinct gameplay and narrative differences between each, Resident Evil 2 features a T-virus outbreak in Raccoon City that unleashes a whole host of nasty aberrations on the city, the iconic Mr. X being perhaps the most threatening of them all. He stalks you seemingly wherever you go, the thumping of his combat boots a constant reminder that death is near.
A thing of visual beauty, Resident Evil 2 flexes the RE Engine at every possible opportunity while offering a tonne of replayability that most modern games could only dream of. The most remarkable thing about it, however, is that it ditches the tank controls and still makes zombies a horrifying threat.
1. The Last of Us Remastered
Developer: Naughty Dog Publisher: SIE
The Last of Us near the top of another “best of” list from us, who could have predicted such a thing. We’re nothing if not consistent, though, which is fitting considering how consistently the game has earned more and more fans in the years since it launch 2013.
Boasting one of the best introductions of any game in history, The Last of Us eventually settles into a affecting father and daughter dynamic with two of the greatest motion capture and voice performances to match from Troy Baker as Joel and Ashley Johnson as Ellie.
In terms of the gameplay, imagine a more visceral, grounded Uncharted and you aren’t a million miles away, though it’s hard to imagine Nathan hopefully taping stuff together to create a weapon — the world of The Last of Us is unforgiving.
So, how about those zombies? Well, if you want nearly invincible Clickers that want to eat your face off in the dark or a grotesquely bloated creature that dominates a gym to ruin your day, be our guest. Technically, they aren’t zombies and “Infected” instead, but nobody does the same for Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.
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