Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- #17 Unturned
- #16 SurrounDead
- #15 Dead Rising 3
- #14 Project Zomboid
- #13 Dead Rising
- #12 Night of the Dead
- #11 Dysmantle
- #10 Scum
- #9 Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
- #8 DayZ
- #7 Dead Island Definitive Edition
- #6 Strange Brigade
- #5 7 Days To Die
- #4 Days Gone
- #3 Dying Light
- #2 State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
- #1 Dying Light 2 Stay Human
- The Day Before
There’s no getting around it–the zombie fad isn’t going away. These horror staples are incredibly popular in films, television shows, and video games. You can probably name off quite a few zombie games such as the iconic Resident Evil franchise. However, if you’re after a more open-world zombie experience, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to dive into some of the best open-world zombie games available on the market today.
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Linux
Release Date: PC, Linux – July 7, 2014
PS4, Xbox One, XSX – November 12, 2020
Unturned is a free-to-play title, so nothing is stopping you from trying it out right this second. The game is a bit simplistic, so think of your typical voxel game that plays out similar to DayZ or other online multiplayer-focused zombie survival titles. You’re left in a world that’s filled with undead and to survive players will need to scavenge for resources that can be used to aid you throughout your journey. There are also NPCs that can give players quests or further the game’s storyline.
As mentioned, this game is available online so you can connect with friends and go through the title together. However, not every player is friendly–yes, Unturned includes a PvP mode. You’ll even find roleplay servers that encourage players to stay in character as they create their own post-apocalyptic story. Overall, it’s a more lighthearted game worth giving a try. After all, it won’t cost you a dime.
Release Date: June 24, 2022
SurrounDead takes you to a world that has been in the zombie apocalypse for 5 years now, that’s a long time to be around zombies and it’s definitely wearing on people.
This includes your main character, who has gone on this journey of survival for a long time now and is now focused on just making it from one day to the next. You’ll guide them through dangerous areas in order to find better items, supplies, weapons, and so on.
Plus, it’s not just the zombies you should fear here, it’s the people. Yes, there are some who will help you, but there are others who won’t. So get what you need, then lock yourself away or go to a place where you feel safe. It won’t last, but it’ll be something.
#15 Dead Rising 3
Platform: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: Xbox One – November 22, 2013
PC – September 5, 2014
Dead Rising has become an iconic zombie franchise from Capcom. The same development company that gave fans the Resident Evil franchise decided to create another zombie game series featuring some more over-the-top action gameplay. With Dead Rising 3, players take on the role of a mechanic named Nick Ramos that finds himself having to survive an overwhelming zombie outbreak within the city of Los Perdidos, California.
Just like before, this game includes a wide range of weapons to use against the undead. Players can even make special weapons by combining normal weapons together to further expand the craziness of the combat. Imagine a silly and unrestrained version of Resident Evil.
#14 Project Zomboid
Platform: PC, Linux, OS X
Release Date: June 20, 2011
Genre: RPG, Strategy, survival horror
In Project Zomboid, players are stuck in a city that’s become flooded with the undead. Just like with any good zombie game, it’s all about survival. Players will need to overcome some pretty massive obstacles, but the title forces players to think about where to go and what risks they are willing to take.
To survive, players must scavenge items and take care of their various vitals such as their hunger, tiredness, pain, and mental state. For gamers looking for more relaxed gameplay or, conversely, an even more difficult experience, a sandbox mode allows users to switch up various aspects of the title. The game may have released in 2013 but it’s still stuck in early access which means that the developers are working to bring the game out fully. The most recent update added animation overhauls, new audio and music, and revamped multiplayer.
#13 Dead Rising
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Release Date: Xbox 360 – August 8, 2006
PC, PS4, Xbox One – September 13, 2016
Another Dead Rising game makes it to our list, and how could we leave out the original? Similar to Dead Rising 3, this is an over-the-top action game that relies more on melee combat. Rather than being stuck in a city, the setting for Dead Rising is a mall where players have access to countless stores to raid for weapons and resources while taking out an undead horde. It’s a bit silly, but the game was a big hit when it launched back in 2006. It took quite a while before PC players were able to dive into this game, but thankfully, the title saw a release for PC in 2016.
#12 Night of the Dead
Release Date: August 28, 2020
Night of the Dead is a zombie wave survival game. Currently in early access, so while the story is a bit light, we’re bound to see some changes to the game as it progresses through development. Players take the role of a young woman named Lucy who’s been part of a scientific experiment and is trapped on an island and left to die. To make matters worse, you find yourself not the only thing inhabiting this island. How’d you like to meet some undead?
Players will have to immediately begin exploring to find new resources and weapons to keep themselves alive. There are also structures that players can build as defensive measures against the hordes, but ultimately, you’ll need to go beyond your comfort zone and explore the open island. The end goal is to find the necessary equipment to create an SOS message to get off the island. Again, it’s an early access title, but it does features some cooperative gameplay modes.
Platform: PS4, XBO, X/S, PS5, NS, PC
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Dysmantle is an indie game that turns players into survivors. Years after the collapse of society, players will emerge from their bunker below the surface. Finally topside, you’ll uncover the horrors that have decimated the world since you left. Now the undead thrive, making it difficult for survivors to go on. Armed with a crowbar, players will have to dismantle objects to uncover precious resources. Eventually, you’ll be able to craft and upgrade your equipment to dismantle bigger objects. Outside of gathering resources, you’ll need to fish and cook in order to maintain your vitals.
Release Date: August 29, 2018
Scum is a multiplayer online survival game in which a group of prisoners are dropped into a location and must attempt to survive. The winner gets a chance of freedom, and each match can include up to 64 players. Still in early access, the game is being given seasonal updates, and the developers continue to provide players with new content. Players will have to work at improving your character’s skills, and there are plenty of new areas to explore, equipment to gather, players to battle against, and other hostile hazards such as mindless zombies. It can be quite a challenging survival game, so if you want something competitive, this might be worth picking up.
#9 Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Red Dead Redemption is an amazing game by itself. The story of John Marston, an outlaw turned good who somehow always gets the short end of the stick is a narrative worth diving into. A curious DLC expansion was released years ago that turned the old west game into a zombie title, because why not?
If you didn’t catch the DLC release when it came out, Undead Nightmare once again throws players into the role of John Marston but in a new standalone campaign. This time around, a zombie plague has hit John Marston’s wife and son which prompts John to seek out a cure. Just as before, players can roam around the open-world map and progress through the narrative or take on side quests. However, the main antagonist group in this addition isn’t more outlaws or law enforcement but zombies, and these monsters can vary–from the standard slow-moving walkers to the larger tank-kind of zombies, Marston’s about to have a bad time.
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: December 13, 2018
Xbox One March 27, 2019
PS4 May 29, 2019
DayZ first started as a mod for the ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead, which later inspired developers to give it a standalone release. Players are tasked with surviving a fictional post-Soviet Republic during the zombie pandemic.
Starting out, players have practically nothing and it’s up to them to scavenge items from around the map. The game focuses on human interaction, and players can either join forces or attempt to kill each other. (The fun part is trying to figure out whether you’re in danger before it’s too late.) DayZ had a bit of a rocky release but it’s managed to make a decent comeback.
#7 Dead Island Definitive Edition
Platform: PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, OS X, Linux
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Dead Island was developed by Techland, who went on to develop Dying Light, a game we’ll also talk about in this list. In Dead Island, players start the game as one of four playable characters, each with their own unique traits. Stuck on an island struck by a zombie plague, it turns out that you’re immune to the disease, which conveniently means that you’re the last chance for the rest of the survivors to escape the resort island safely.
This game mixes in melee combat with plenty of gunplay while players explore the island and handle various missions or tasks requested by survivors. Zombies can vary as well, from the standard slow-moving zombies to Rams, big tank-type zombies that are incredibly fast. The Definitive Edition comes packed with DLC and improved visuals. There’s been a sequel for this game in the works for several years now that is currently being kicked around to different developers, but it might come out someday. Maybe.
#6 Strange Brigade
Platform: Stadia, PC, PS4, Xbox one,
Release Date: August 28, 2018
Genre: Third-person shooter
From Rebellion Developments comes Strange Brigade, a cooperative third-person shooter filled with puzzles and survival horror elements. Set during the 1930s, the British Empire has established a group known as the Strange Brigade. You just happened to be part of this group tasked with seeking out strange and supernatural oddities.
However, because of the hostilities that usually come lurking around these supernatural areas, you’ll need to carefully work with your team and scavenge for useful items. This game pits players against all kinds of undead enemies and creatures such as giant scorpions. Fortunately, you’ll have all kinds of uniquely powerful weapons and supernatural abilities of your own to fight back with. Outside of collecting goods and fighting enemies, the maps you’ll get to play within are filled with all kinds of useful traps and puzzles to solve.
#5 7 Days To Die
Platform: PC, PS4, Linux, Xbox One, OS X
Release Date: PC, OS X – December 13, 2013
Linux – November 22, 2014
Xbox One, PS4 – June 28, 2016
Genre: Survival horror
7 Days to Die is a popular zombie game from developers The Fun Pimps. The game takes place after a world war that caused much of the planet to be wiped out due to nuclear weaponry. Exposed to the radiation, a large majority of humans became mindless zombies leaving the remaining few survivors to scavenge for survival. Much like other zombie survival games, this is a wave-based title where players will need to seek out shelter, food, and water.
There’s quite a bit of crafting in this game and as the title suggests, players only have a week to prepare their settlement. At the end of the week, a horde of zombies will come to raid your area. If you survive the night, you’re able to once again go out and gather supplies, refortify your base, and even make some useful upgrades. This game also comes with the added benefit of cooperative gameplay, allowing players to build a base up with friends and prepare for the fight ahead. It may seem like a theme for this list, but players will once again find that this title is also stuck in early access.
#4 Days Gone
Platform: PS4, PC
Release Date: April 26, 2019
Days Gone was a very hyped-up title before release, simply because it was being developed by SIE Bend Studio. This is a group we hadn’t heard from for a long time despite creating the Syphon Filter franchise. Days Gone takes place after a virus outbreak turns most of humanity into zombies. Players step into the role of a biker named Deacon St. John, who is getting by in the world by doing odd jobs for various factions.
With that said, you’ll want to be mindful of your surroundings as this game features a horde feature that will have a massive collection of zombies wandering around the map together. Without spoiling too much of the narrative, Deacon lives his life on a day-to-day basis without much of an end goal. However, he learns that there’s a chance that his wife may still be alive somewhere in the world, setting him on a new path to find out what happened to her during the pandemic. While this game was initially a PlayStation 4 exclusive, Sony has since ported it to PC.
#3 Dying Light
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Linux, macOS
Release Date: January 28, 2015
macOS – December 15, 2016
As we mentioned earlier, Dying Light was a game developed by Techland. This title follows an agent named Kyle Crane who is tasked with infiltrating the quarantine zone city of Harran which has become infected with a virus turning civilians into ruthless zombies. The zombies in this game follow a day and night cycle–during the day, the zombies are lethargic, and won’t put up a fight. However, things quickly change for the worse at night as they become incredibly more aggressive.
Developers have also tossed in some parkour elements allowing players to easily traverse the city and its obstacles when fleeing the undead hordes. Combat has been changed from the melee focus in Dead Island towards more gunplay, giving players a true action-adventure experience. It’s worth mentioning the DLC expansion, Dying Light: The Following. This puts players into a new map filled with more content such as modifiable vehicles. Meanwhile, zombies are still very much a threat but alongside them is an ancient cult. No spoilers.
#2 State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition
Platform: PC. XSX, Xbox One
Release Date: PC, Xbox One – May 22, 2018
XSX – December 2, 2020
In State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition, players are dropped into an open world where they must build up civilization. This means making a settlement and finding a community to help fortify your base. You can even recruit one of these members to go with you on scavenging runs or further seek out survivors to bring back.
There is a campaign attached along with a cooperative game mode where a friend can jump online and check out your newly-built community. If you’re thinking of buying this game, we highly suggest checking out the Juggernaut Edition. This gives players more content to explore, a new open-world map, and more weapons.
#1 Dying Light 2 Stay Human
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, X/S, NS
Release Date: February 4, 2022
Genre: Action RPG
Dying Light 2 Stay Human was one of the more anticipated video game releases in 2022, and playing the first Dying Light wasn’t a prerequisite to enjoy this installment. The narrative is set years after the events of the original game. Players take on the role of a young man named Aiden, who journeys to locate his missing sister. Experimented on as children, they were eventually separated. Now, years later, Aiden is tracking down where his sister ended up, but the world is even more hostile than you might remember.
Along with hostile factions, you’ll also have to deal with the undead. The infected will roam around the world, but they also differ a bit. You’ll see the typical undead that will attempt to take a bite out of you in the open–however, there are newly turned zombies that move around fast, howlers that will alert your presence, banshees that have incredibly jumping range, and spitters that can spew acid, among several others. Fortunately, the game is essentially a giant playground. Aiden is skilled in parkour, and as a result, you’ll easily be able to vault, sprint, and climb around the area in an escape from danger. If you’re familiar with the first game, you’re also getting a vastly larger map than the original Dying Light.
We wanted to throw in a couple of titles that are not available right now but are slated to release in 2022 or later. For now, keep an eye out for these games.
The Day Before
Release Date: March 1, 2023
The Day Before is a game that quickly gained attention online. It’s often compared to The Division, as players are wandering around a huge post-apocalyptic open-world. With humanity on the brink of extinction, few survivors are out scavenging for goods. However, hostile factions still exist, and hordes of undead roam around the world freely. This will be an MMO, and it will be a mix of surviving against the undead, maintaining vitals, and ensuring you’re prepared for whatever hostile player you might come across. The game was slated to release in June 2022 but has since been delayed until March 1, 2023.