Top 20 Best Open-World Zombie Games: A Gamer Guide
There are lots of great zombie games on offer these days, many of which are based on movies or television shows. Some take the form of linear action games or first-person rail-shooters, but an increasing number of zombie game developers are looking toward the open-world genre for inspiration on how to keep their players engaged.
The best open-world zombie games find ways to utilize their larger settings, either by filling them with death and destruction or by lulling players into a false sense of security with more sparsely-populated locales. Both can be incredibly effective in their own ways, as evidenced by these fantastic zombie survival games.
Though there had been plenty of great zombie games before the release of Dying Light, few had found ways to successfully bring an undead outbreak to the open-world genre. As a result, Dying Light broke a lot of new ground and went on to serve as something of a blueprint for many future open-world zombie games.
One of the things that make Dying Light such a great game is the threat that some of its zombies pose. Rather than the slow, ambling creatures found in many other undead adventures, the game's infected can come at players pretty fast, particularly at night. This forces them to remain on their toes at all times and encourages the use of the game's fantastic parkour system.
Dying Light 2
It should perhaps go without saying, but those who liked Dying Light will almost certainly enjoy the game's sequel. After all, both games were developed by the same team and are set in the same universe. Sadly, however, a lot of people seem to be sleeping on Dying Light 2 despite enjoying the original.
Like its predecessor, Dying Light 2 is an open-world zombie game with survival elements and provides players with a ridiculous amount of content. The game looks great, the combat is fast and fluid, and the parkour system ranks among the very best in gaming. Fans of zombie games would do well to check it out, particularly those looking to kill time as well as the undead.
The simplistic art style and isometric viewpoint may suggest otherwise to some, but Project Zomboid is a fantastic game. Initially released as a tech demo in April of 2011, it received numerous updates over the course of the following decade, with Build 41 arriving in late 2021. It really has come a long way and is now widely considered to be one of the best open-world zombie games on PC.
The story is set amidst a zombie outbreak in Louisville, Kentucky, and supports both single and multiplayer gameplay. It incorporates a mixture of survival and RPG mechanics and places a heavy emphasis on avoiding or escaping zombies rather than trying to tackle them head-on. There are plenty of great Project Zomboid mods too, allowing players to further customize the experience to better meet their needs.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is an open-world game in the same way that Pokemon Legends: Arceus is. This is to say that it isn't, really, though does boast sections that could be described as being open-world. For those who enjoy zombie games though, it's something of a must-play, as the VR carnage that it's able to provide really is top-notch.
Saints & Sinners throws players in at the deep end; often surrounding them with waves of terrifying zombies and forcing them to fight for their lives. The game also allows for a more stealthy approach at times, which can be as exhilarating as it is unnerving. With a sequel looming large on the horizon, those set up for VR would be foolish not to check it out, particularly if they're fans of the show.
Admittedly, the zombies in DayZ don't really pose too much of a threat and can be easily avoided by those who know what they're doing. Like in similar games, it's usually other players that pose the real threat, which, perhaps ironically, ends up mirroring most television shows and movies about the zombie apocalypse without even meaning to.
Those who've watched The Walking Dead will know that outside of the first few seasons, it was actually other survivors that ended up killing off most of the main cast. Granted, a walker would occasionally pop up out of nowhere and take a bite out of someone much like a zombie might in DayZ, which is why the immersive ARMA mod is arguably one of the best and most realistic open-world zombie games out there.
7 Days to Die
Set in a post-apocalyptic future following a nuclear war, 7 Days to Die's premise is not too dissimilar to that of the Fallout universe. Where it differs, however, is the emphasis that it places on survival, with players having to start from scratch if they perish at the hands (or teeth) of the game's zombie hordes.
Though the game didn't quite live up to some of the promises made during its successful Kickstarter campaign, it's still a lot of fun to play. Nighttime can be particularly enjoyable due to how daunting everything feels, although playing with friends can make survival a lot more manageable. At least until the Blood Moon occurs on the seventh day, anyway.
Night of the Dead
Although Night of the Dead does have some open-world sections, these are typically used for resource gathering rather than exploration. Without these vital resources, however, players would struggle to build up their defenses and would likely be overrun by zombies pretty quickly as a result.
There have been plenty of zombie-themed tower defense games over the years, but few have managed to blend the genre's mechanics together with realism so seamlessly, nor are many quite as enjoyable as this. The game is still in Early Access on Steam at the moment but is already shaping up to be an excellent zombie game.
State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2 is just one of many Xbox-exclusive zombie games released over the past decade or so, though some will argue that it's probably the pick of the bunch. The combat on offer here is absolutely fantastic and is backed up with a great score and some decent visuals too.
One of the things that makes the same so enjoyable is its relentless difficulty, which demands improvement from players if they're to have any hope of surviving the game's brutal and unforgiving world. It does have one or two problems, but these shouldn't be enough to sour the experience for most players.
Unturned is a little like Minecraft, only with a lot less crafting, far more zombies, and a boatload of assault rifles. It's free to play, is available on PC and current and last-gen consoles, and offers a ridiculous amount of customization, both when it comes to cosmetics and map design.
There are a few different game modes available, although they all revolve around surviving hordes of zombies in some capacity. Most of them are multiplayer only, with some encouraging players to work as teams rather than go it alone. While there are PvP elements included, players aren't obliged to kill their peers, allowing everybody to focus solely on taking out zombies if they choose.
Developed by the same team behind the Zombie Army trilogy, Strange Brigade took quite a few people by surprise when it was released in 2018. Rather than the spiritual successor to Zombie Army that many had expected, the game plays a lot more like Left 4 Dead, although this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The 1930s setting is interesting and makes a refreshing change from the dark backstreets and abandoned research facilities that typically host these kinds of games. The co-op elements also work incredibly well, although the narrative can at times feel a lot more B-movie than it does AA title. For those more interested in gameplay, though, it's a solid pick.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is still considered one of the best DLC expansions ever released for a video game. Other developers copied Rockstar because of it, like Sucker Punch Productions and United Front Games making Halloween DLC for inFamous and Sleeping Dogs respectively. Neither really compares to Undead Nightmare, though.
Most of the map from the original game is present in the DLC, but things have gone haywire for old John Marsden. Zombies aren’t the only thing that will get in his way either, and players will need the best set of guns they can get their hands on in order to survive. Best of all, it’s backward compatible with Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles and is incredibly funny to boot.
Days Gone got a bit overshadowed when it was released. It was a bit buggy and most were far more excited about Sony’s other big exclusive zombie epic, The Last of Us Part II. Reviewers may not have been particularly kind, but players couldn't get enough and the PC release has only increased the game's popularity.
This game is very different from games like The Last of Us and is a pure open-world zombie game in pretty much every way. The countryside is also breathtaking. Patches following its release have made it much better, so there has never been a better time to jump in, especially for PS5 owners.
When one thinks of open-world games, the more recent Fallout titles are usually some of the first to spring to mind, even if the NPCs that reside in them are a little bit weird. Fallout 3 is where the series took a turn from its top-down perspective and helped to lay much of the groundwork for future entries in the series.
Many might not consider it to be a zombie game in the traditional sense, but it is, in a way. Ghouls, the games' zombie-like mutants, and other infected creatures roam the wastelands. It’s a horrifying look at the apocalypse but should feel like home for those looking for some scintillating zombie action.
Is Zombie Frontier 4 free to play?
Yes, Zombie Frontier 4 is free to download and play, allowing you to experience the adrenaline-pumping zombie-slaying action without any upfront cost.
Are there different game modes in Zombie Frontier 4?
Yes, Zombie Frontier 4 offers various game modes, including a campaign mode with challenging missions, boss battles, and an exciting multiplayer mode to team up with other players.
Are there regular updates and events in Zombie Frontier 4?
Stay engaged with regular updates that introduce new content, weapons, and exciting events to keep the gameplay fresh and dynamic.