10 Games Like Dead Rising You Should Check Out

Dead good games, these games.

Dead Rising 2
Dead Rising 2

Zombies are fun. When they’re not tearing your limbs off or making a mess of your brand new carpet with their incessant drooling and splattering, the walking dead always make for a bloody good time.
Few gaming sagas exploited this self-evident truth as much as Dead Rising, Capcom’s love letter to all things undead that put players in the shoes of photojournalist Frank West as he investigates the cause of a viral outbreak in a zombie-ridden shopping mall.

Being a journalist, of course, Frank is a cold-hearted maniac who dispatches the undead with blood-lusting intent while taking candid shots of the horror for the latest Grazia pullout, scything through his enemies like Annie Liebowitz scrambling to get the last lens for her Canon 5D.

The experience is undeniably visceral, so much so that once you’ve had a taste it can be hard to shake the desire for more carnage. With the series seemingly in limbo, these are the ten games like Dead Rising you should check out as you wait for Frank and co. to get their act together.


Games Like Dead Rising

10. State of Decay 2

State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2

Developer: Undead Labs
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S

State of Decay 2 is less of a zombie shooter than it is a survival game. Combining scavenging, bartering and settlement-builder elements, State of Decay 2 is a grounded affair that gives you a taste of what things would likely feel like if it all goes belly-up.

Rationing resources or trading with NPCs may not sound like a rip-roaring good time, but there’s more to the apocalypse than shooting zombies in the face all day. It may not have the sort of heaving swarms that games like Dead Rising or World War Z can proudly boast, but it does an impressive job of immersing you in a faltering rural society after the proverbial has hit the fan.

The results speak for themselves. State of Decay 2 may not have won over every hard-nosed critic in the land, but it’s done a remarkable job of getting the public onside. In August 2021, it was announced the survival sim had moved past the 10 million player mark, perhaps thanks to Undead Labs’ commitment to continual updates, patches and improvements over the four or so years since it was released.

A third game is currently in development, so now’s a good time to see what all the fuss is about.


9. Dead Island

Dead Island
Dead Island

Developer: Techland
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform(s): PC, Mac, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360

For a brief, shining moment, it really did seem as though the Dead Island games were going to take their place at the pinnacle of the emerging zombie genre. As the undead exploded (not literally) in popularity, publishers Deep Silver looked to capitalise on the cresting wave of corpses by teasing Dead Island, a tropical-themed romp that briefly sent shockwaves through the internet in 2011 with its hugely successful reverse chronological trailer.

It ended up being, sadly, one of those unfortunate instances in which the trailer was more enjoyable than the game (which ended up as something of a damp squib), the acclaimed teaser proving so popular that it even managed to get its own Wikipedia entry and a slew of rather enjoyable parodies. Dead Island is in no way bad, but it couldn’t quite deliver on the colossal hype the infanticidal trailer generated for it.

All eyes now look to the sequel, which if recent form is anything to go by, will be dropping in late 2034.


8. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Majora's Mask
Majora’s Mask

Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform(s): Nintendo 64, GameCube, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch

Games like Dead Rising don’t necessarily have to feature zombies, although if Nintendo ever do decide on making a Link vs. The Undead standalone release, count us in.

Okay, admittedly the Zelda franchise does have ReDeads, AKA Lurkers, as some of its more unsettling monsters, but they’re hardly the main attraction, or indeed the link (no pun intended) that ties Majora’s Mask to Dead Rising. What does, in fact, pull the two together is that both are essentially timed games, meaning that certain objectives must be completed before the clock runs down and you’re forced to start over.

In Majora’s Mask, a three-day limit is imposed (just under an hour of real-time) that wipes Link’s progress if he doesn’t return to 6:00 am on the first day by playing the Song of Time. In Dead Rising, the clock spends the entire game ticking down, giving you a limit for how long you can complete it. One of the darkest and most underappreciated Zelda games ever made, Majora’s Mask has far more going for it than mere novelty value.


7. Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

There are so many Resident Evils to choose from, from the confusingly erotic Village to the peerless second game, but Resident 5 is a more left-field, and therefore interesting, choice for this list.

Perhaps controversial would be a more fitting description to aptly sum up the reception to Resident Evil 5. Released in 2005 at the very forefront of the FPS explosion, the fifth mainline game in Capcom’s iconic survival horror split opinions by departing from the series’ established roots and pulling things further and further into more classic action-orientated fare, a decision that enamoured some while disillusioning many.

That isn’t to say that the same tone and energy that made its predecessors great isn’t also present in Resi 5, the campy, sometimes clunky feel of the series combining with moments of genuine terror to create an experience that could only have come off the Capcom production line.

One minute you’re fighting off a deformed, axe-wielding executioner in a war-torn African village, the next Chris Redfield is angrily punching a boulder into a lake of molten lava. That’s Resident Evil for you.


6. The Last of Us

The Last of Us
The Last of Us

Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s): PS4, PS3

What can possibly be said about The Last of Us that hasn’t been said already?

There’s no doubt that Naughty Dog’s seminal piece of work is one of the greatest exclusives PlayStation was ever able to boast over its rivals at Microsoft, not to mention a complete game-changer with regard to what games could be as a means to tell a story. While notable outliers such as Half-Life 2 and BioShock were attempting to challenge the consensus that games were filled with clunky dialogue and mindless violence, it felt as though The Last of Us was pivotal in ushering in a new age of mature, thoughtful storytelling in which each and every character was alive with depth, dimension and continual growth.

Perhaps the best thing about TLOU is that it never forgets that it’s actually a game. Mechanically, Naughty Dog’s mega-hit still holds up incredibly well, providing an experience that is as tense and taut as it is brutally enjoyable and, say it quietly, just a hell of a lot of fun. The Last of Us is a modern masterpiece, and with a remake just around the corner, you can soon marvel at the majesty of Joel’s beard in super, ultra-HD.


5. World War Z

World War Z game review
World War Z game

Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Saber Interactive
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, PS4, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch

Games like Dead Rising or Left 4 Dead sell themselves on their ability to provide endless swarms of the undead for players to dispatch however they see fit. If you just can’t quench your lust for violence, though, World War Z is a decent place to head next, a game that doesn’t so much have you encounter the undead as relentlessly fire them at your face until your screen is saturated with thousands and thousands of semi-sentient corpses.

Based very loosely on the novel and then the film of the same name, World War Z sees you and your companions fighting off streaming hordes of enemies across seven locations, including New York, Jerusalem, Moscow and Tokyo. This is one of World War Z’s trump cards, and there aren’t many experiences in gaming so viscerally striking as seeing wave after wave of the undead filling the streets of these iconic locations.

Coupled with shooting mechanics that feel clean and sharp, not to mention some solid storytelling, World War Z is as much zombie-based carnage as you could hope for. Sans Brad Pitt.


4. Days Gone

Days Gone
Days Gone

Developer: Bend Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s): PC, PS4

Days Gone is a weird one.

The game’s gameplay teaser generated significant hype for its fluid depiction of swathes of undead creepers being mowed down by a gun-toting biker with lungs of iron and an endless supply of ammunition, but there’s always been a sense that Bend Studio’s post-apocalyptic shooter was something of a disappointment, an assessment that isn’t quite fair.

The thing about Days Gone, unlike games like Dead Rising, is that it certainly starts slow, nerfing protagonist Deacon St. John (Cardinal St. Jesus was apparently taken) to such an extent that he might as well be an asthmatic octogenarian who only has access to a paintball gun and a couple of old tennis balls to fight off the undead hordes.

Stick with it, though, and Days Gone does eventually bloom like a rather grim flower, finally allowing its protagonist to kick a bit of decaying butt as Deacon suddenly seems to realise that surviving the apocalypse may involve being able to run more than 10 metres without needing to sit down and puff on his inhaler.

That’s the thing about bikers: Great at riding motorcycles, useless when it comes to track and field.


3. Red Dead: Undead Nightmare

Undead Nightmare
Undead Nightmare

Developers: Rockstar San Diego, Rockstar Studios
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One

If Red Dead Redemption is one of the greatest games of its generation, is Undead Nightmare the best expansion pack ever made?

There can be no question that Rockstar’s seminal Western ended up as pretty much the best thing you could get your hands on in 2010, but when it was announced that John Marston would be saddling his trusty steed to fight off swarms of rotting corpses who had made their way to the dusty frontier, it did smack of jumping the undead shark, especially at a time when many rival franchises were attempting to incorporate zombies into their respective series.

All fears were allayed, however, when Undead Nightmare dropped and revealed itself to be nearly as good as its mainline counterpart in which everyone was still wandering around without their limbs dropping off at various intervals. Set in an alternate timeline from the main story, Undead Nightmare’s plot followed John Marston’s bid to rid his town of the undead in an environment reworked to look suit the game’s spookier, undead-ier outlook.

Incredibly enjoyable and hugely ballsy, Undead Nightmare managed to earn its place as one of the best zombie games ever made. Not bad for what is essentially a glorified DLC.


2. Project Zomboid

Project Zomboid
Project Zomboid

Developers: The Indie Stone
Publisher: The Indie Stone
Platform(s): PC, Mac

Zombie games don’t all have to be about relentlessly shooting the living impaired in the face until you’re so immunised to the sight of blood and gore that you might as well be playing Just Dance: Disney Party on your grandparents’ Wii for all the effect it has on you. Sometimes zombie games can simply focus on the most important element of the genre: survival.

Produced and developed by The Indie Stone, Project Zomboid takes the form of an isometric survival sim in which players are tasked with surviving for as long as possible in zombie-infested Kentucky (obviously), tailoring their avatar’s traits, occupation and appearance to give themselves the best chance of getting through the days following Armageddon. Zombies are just one of your problems, however, as you’ll also need to manage aspects such as hunger, stress levels and tiredness to stay alive.

Playing Project Zomboid can sometimes feel like an alternative version of the original Sims in which every poor sim you’ve ever drowned in a swimming pool or let die in an oven fire has returned from the grave hellbent on revenge.

One of the most unsung and underappreciated zombie games around but certainly one of the best, Project Zomboid is enthralling, engrossing and often incredibly addictive.


1. Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2

Developers: Valve South
Publisher: Valve
Platform(s): PC, Mac, Xbox 360

Both of Valve’s Left 4 Dead games are absolutely riotous fun, so much so that they still sit atop a pile of undead corpses as the pinnacle of the zombie genre. Incredibly fast-paced and immensely fun to play, there’s nothing quite like teaming up with a squad of your mates and desperately trying to hold out against frantic waves of flesh-eaters as they horde and swarm like Black Friday shoppers desperately clawing at a pair of discounted Nike trainers. Bet no one’s used that analogy before.

In fact, so brilliant are both games that it’s hard to choose which stands out as the finer of the pair, Valve’s unrelenting commitment to polish, quality and innovation shining through to create a franchise as eerily unnerving as it is sensationally, explosively enjoyable. For being the more recent of the two games and arguably the more cohesive package, Left 4 Dead 2 just pips its predecessor to the post.

One of the best things about the L4D series is the emphasis on squad play combined with Valve’s knack for creating immediately likeable characters, a trick it effortlessly repeated for the sequel. Out went the excellent quadrumvirate of Francis, Bill, Zoey, and Louis and in came another mismatched but equally charismatic troupe of death-dealers in the shape of Coach, Nick, Rochelle and Ellis.

If the dead ever do end up roaming the earth, you could do worse than having any of those guys by your side.

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