The recent sad passing of the grandfather of the zombie genre, George A Romero, prompted a network-wide debate about the best games starring the undead here at Gamereactor. After much deliberation about which games are the most important, and which ones warranted a place on this list, we settled on the ten zombie games that we felt warranted a mention above all others. Let us know in the comments below if your favourite didn't make the list.
The Last of Us / Naughty Dog - Technically, the creatures you kill in The Last of Us aren't zombies, we know. But c'mon, it's obvious they were used as a template to construct the enemies in the post-apocalyptic world from Naughty Dog. Where the Uncharted series has an aloof, carefree vibe most of the time, The Last of Us hits you with one emotional scene after another, strung together by countless terrifying encounters with the zombie-like Infected. Playing The Last of Us feels like living in a world after a zombie invasion - it's one we wouldn't want to live in, but the game is all the better for it.
Zombi U / Ubisoft - Zombi U was a launch title for the Wii U and instantly showed the (in other games horribly underused) potential of the GamePad. You see your inventory on the GamePad screen, where you're trying to place items in such a way that gives you the maximum amount of space. But take your eyes from the television screen and you can be attacked by zombies at any moment. The result is a very tense game, with - unique for zombie games - permadeath. Die in this game and you start with an entirely new character. There never was a zombie game that put so much emphasis on the fragility of life.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 - Zombie Chronicles / Treyarch - Zombies has been a fan-favourite game mode on Call of Duty ever since its inclusion in 2008's World at War, and Zombie Chronicles rounded up the best maps of the last nine years and put them all into one DLC, including maps from World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops II. This was a greatest hits package of zombie survival, then, updating the mechanics and adding new weapons to tried-and-tested maps, taking Zombies back to basics yet again.
Left 4 Dead 2 / Turtle Rock Studios - Building on the formula of the first game, this four-player zombie shooter from Turtle Rock and Valve took things to a whole new level of frantic survival. The AI director does a great job of keeping things tense, and the various types of undead beasties hot on your communal tail require teamwork if you're to survive. Running between safehouses, up to four players must sneak and blast their way through hordes of the walking dead, with ammo and health packs at an absolute premium. Both games are brilliant, but the second one just edges it if we have to choose, and any action-focused zombie fans should check it out if they haven't already.
State of Decay - Undead Labs - People aren't only attracted to the visceral violence of the zombie apocalypse. They want to see the remaining humans pushed to the brink of their wit's end, and see them make tough choices to stay alive, and that's what State of Decay does so brilliantly. Despite a rough technical state at the offset, Undead Labs' strategic third-person action game put you in the shoes of the leader of a group of survivors, and tasked you with the scavenging, securing a home base and getting food and clean water. With a sequel looming next year, now's the time to visit or revisit this hidden zombie gem.