Come with us as we try to survive in numerous worlds overrun by the undead, as we check out the best zombie games for the Xbox One!
It might be hard to believe now, but there was a time when zombies were a truly terrifying monster in horror media (and we know our horror – check out our Best PS2 Horror Games and Best GameCube Horror Games lists for just a few examples!); they could be anyone, even people we knew – yet they could also be friends or family who’d stop at nothing to fulfil their endless hunger by eating us!
Yet their overuse in pop culture – thanks to the rise of franchises such as The Walking Dead – has made them less scary, but we still see them pop up as enemies in video games all the time. Zombies are perfect video game fodder: there are always legions of them, they’re single-minded (and simple-minded!) in their goals, making their behaviour easier to govern from an AI-programming perspective – and players can pretty much blow or chop them to pieces guilt free for the most part. Hey, it’s them or us – right? And how can you feel remorse about killing something that’s already dead?
So there are plenty of games featuring zombies, even if we just stick to looking at the best Xbox One Zombie games – but which ones are the best? Let’s find out!
10. Zombie Army Trilogy (2015)
Shuffling awkwardly at the bottom of our Best Xbox One Zombie Games list is a collection of three games, though they’re stitched together into a single campagn like the body parts of Frankenstein’s Monster – and the third chapter was previously unreleased!
What could be even easier to kill than a regular zombie? What could be even less worthy of sympathy or consideration before we blow its head off? A Nazi zombie of course!
Taking the rotting flesh of the Sniper Elite games and placing it into a luridly coloured, B-movie style WW2 setting in which Hitler is using occult forces to win the war, the Zombie Army Trilogy features plenty of gore-soaked, tongue-in-cheek (or perhaps tongue poking through rotted cheek) action.
The slow motion X-Ray killcam that makes the Sniper Elite games so endlessly, darkly humorous has the same effect here – albeit with much more diseased-looking organs and already exposed flesh and bone.
Though the older chapters in the trilogy are feeling a bit decrepit now, there’s still a lot of fun to be had with these games – popping off an undead Nazi’s head with a sniper rifle has yet to lose its slightly bad taste charm.
And where else will you get to defeat the ultimate evil – a zombie version of Adolf Hitler himself – in glorious slow motion? This is a good one to start our best Xbox One Zombie games list!
9. Zombi (2015)
UbiSoft’s criminally underrated Zombi – which takes its name and inspiration, though not its genre, from a computer game that first originated on the Amstrad CPC in 1986, also by UbiSoft themselves – is a first person shooter that was originally a Wii U title.
Given that the Wii U didn’t reach a particularly large audience, Zombi U (as it was called then!) didn’t reach the number of players it deserved to upon release in 2012. Unfortunately, it didn’t get the audience it deserved on its subsequent, digital-only release on other consoles either.
However, Zombi offers a great, genuinely tense horror experience. One of the best features is that, when your character dies, they turn into one of the undead! You, however, respawn at your hideout and have to make your way back to where your previous character died to retrieve their backpack of supplies.
It’s an inventive use of permadeath that adds a lot to the experience – in this game, surviving a landmark-filled London which has been overrun with zombies is quite a challenge!
8. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (2016)
OK, so this one’s not exactly high on the list of games that’ll give you nightmares, but it is full of zombies – albeit cute and cartoony ones.
Blossoming from the original 2D Plants vs Zombies tower defense games, the Garden Warfare series was seen as an odd curveball when announced – a shift into third person, squad-based PvP shooting that seemed like it’d be too hardcore for the more casual gamers that made up the audience for Plants vs Zombies, but also too cutesy and humorous to attract the usual online shooter crowd.
And yet the Garden Warfare games are superb. Despite the very EA-like tendency to add microtransactions at every opportunity, the core game is such fun – with genuinely diverse characters on both sides that allow for a huge array of play styles – that you can safely ignore all of the sticker packs and other nonsense (that you can earn through play anyway), and you’ll still have an absolute blast.
It’s a huge amount of fun – either playing alone through the excellent solo modes (which other players can join you on too!) or the robust and still popular variety of PvP modes.
7. Dead Rising 3 (2013)
A return to form after the somewhat disappointing Dead Rising 2, Dead Rising 3 is an absolute blast – featuring the third person, tongue-in-cheek action that the series has always been known for. This time, crafting can be done on the fly – without requiring workbenches – so players can create insane weapons as they fight their way through enormous hordes of zombies in the goriest, most hilariously over-the-top ways possible.
Featuring a massive open world that’s bigger than the areas featured in Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2 combined, not only can players create crazy combo weapons – but combo vehicles too!
With co-op gameplay throughout the campaign also possible, Dead Rising 3 is an absolute blast – and one of the best Xbox One Zombie games with its intentionally daft story and crazy game mechanics, it’s like playing through a straight-to-DVD B-Movie in video game form.
6. World War Z (2019)
Though World War Z originated as a critically and commercially successful book by Max Brooks – which told the tale of how the world narrowly survived a zombie apocalypse, told via interviews with notable survivors – it’s probably best known for being an underwhelming, Brad Pitt-led zombie film.
It’s the universe of the film that this Left 4 Dead-esque, online co-op shooter is set in – and the relentless zombies, which can climb on top of each other to get to otherwise out of reach players, are a familiar sight from the film itself too.
Despite a modest budget and muted critical reception, World War Z was a commercial success – players have clearly had an awful lot of fun killing hordes of zombies in various real world locations, as the game sold 3 million units as of October 2019!
5. Zombie Army 4: Dead War (2020)
OK, so that question I asked earlier about where else you can shoot a zombie Hitler?
Well, not only can you take out an undead fuhrer in the Zombie Army Trilogy – but you can in the fourth Zombie Army game too! Zombie Army 4: Dead War was the first new entry since 2015’s Zombie Army Trilogy added a third, previously unreleased chapter to the occult World War 2 saga.
Though it’s another third person shooter that can be played in co-op as well as single player – with plenty of options and modes – this one takes the updated mechanics of Rebellion’s excellent Sniper Elite series to bring the Zombie Army series its best entry yet.
The X-Ray Killcam feature just never seems to get old – especially when you’re exploding the rotting internal organs of Nazi zombies.
4. Dying Light (2015)
Parkour and zombies in an open world? Sign me up!
Techland’s excellent zombie game sees players as an undercover operative – masquerading as a courier – retrieving and delivering supplies and assistance across a quarantined Middle Eastern city.
It’s a vibrant and brilliantly realised setting; the parkour mechanics within the urban environment offer plenty of opportunity to climb and leap between buildings and other structures – and it’s a genuinely tense, often scary experience at times.
Though many of the lower ranked games on this list fall more on the action side of the spectrum rather than outright horror, Dying Light does a great job of balancing both – you feel like a badass at the same time as seeing the zombies as a terrifyingly overwhelming threat.
3. Resident Evil 2 (2019)
Though the Resident Evil series hasn’t been about zombies since Resident Evil 3’s original release back in 1999, this remake of the second game – which itself was released in 1998 – makes great use of 21 years of technological improvements to bring the original bang up to date.
Aside from its tank controls and dated, fixed camera angle backgrounds, the original still remained an absolute classic with some genuinely terrifying moments. The update brings in third person shooter style gameplay, but the scares and claustrophobic feel of the game remain.
It’s a genuinely impressive remake of a beloved game – arguably the high point of the first three Resident Evil titles (and one which appears on our Best N64 Games list!) – so it’s no wonder Resident Evil 3 got similar remake treatment just a year later!
2. State of Decay 2 (2018)
Ever wanted to populate and manage your own camp or stronghold to survive a zombie-ridden world? How about tracking down supplies, establishing new outposts, creating medicines and cures, recruiting new people to your community and forming alliances or even rivalries with other communities?
How about clearing out zombie infestations in a persistent world, with RPG-esque stat increases for your survivors, who you can place in different roles in your community?
How about we do all of this while being able to invite friends or strangers into your game – or even take on co-op style survival missions against the horde online?
State of Decay 2 has got your back.
It’s an incredibly compelling, impressively detailed third person game that manages to be action packed, tense and sometimes very scary indeed. Your survivors can die – and they won’t come back; the fear of permadeath hangs over every encounter with the different variations of zombies that you’ll come across.
Despite an unfairly mixed critical reception, State of Decay 2 is an immersive and addictive game; it’s full of neat little touches that’ll give you the feeling of being in your very own, personalised zombie movie – and it’s most definitely one of the best Xbox One zombie games!
1. The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive Series (2019)
Originally releasing as an episodic game back in 2012, the first season of The Walking Dead was a critical and commercial hit, winning numerous games industry awards for its deeply affecting and emotional storyline.
Set in the world of the original comics – and with cel-shaded graphics that aped the comic book style – The Walking Dead was a narrative driven adventure with a strong focus on difficult choices and often unforeseen, devastating consequences arising from the dialogue options or actions taken by the player – and the ending is one that’ll remain with you for a very long time indeed.
This collection of remasters features every single season of The Walking Dead, along with side stories 400 Days (which bridges the gap between Season One and Season Two) and Michonne (which features the backstory and new adventure of the titular, fan favourite character).
Though the third season stumbles somewhat in its connection to the overall saga, this only becomes apparent when you play through the fourth and final season, which fails to do much with the new situation set up by the end of season three.
However, the fourth season does bring the main story to a close for The Walking Dead’s overall main character in the video games, who evolves significantly over the course of the entire series. Players form a significant emotional connection with the characters in each of the games; it’s truly devastating when they meet often nasty ends at the hands of zombies – or sometimes, other survivors – the writing and direction are stunning throughout.
Though much more focused on a tightly directed narrative style than other games on this list – opening up somewhat to more third person style action in the final season – the series of Walking Dead titles form one of the best experiences in all games period; not just zombie games. That means that this collection more than earns its place at the top of the rotting pile of corpses that form the Best Xbox One Zombie Games!
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.