games / Columns

The Top 8 Zombie Games: Resident Evil 2, Dead Rising 4, More

November 3, 2020 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Resident Evil 2

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week, I’m here to talk about zombie games, fresh off of a slightly weird Halloween. I think I tend to do this type of topic every year, and I wanted to keep the tradition alive. Let’s begin:

#8: State of Decay 1

I really, really want to like State of Decay. The idea of building up your own settlement, rescuing people, foraging for supplies, doing mission all sounds great. And when it clicks, it is great. I think my problem is that the controls for the game just feel really strange to me. The controls for the characters just feel clunkier than they should and it zaps the enjoyment I have for it. This complaint is only for the first game, I haven’t tried the second one, so I’m not sure if it feels better or not.

#7: The Typing of the Dead

What’s better than killing a zombie? Killing a zombie by typing words at it! There have been two Typing of the Dead games, the original, based on House of the Dead 2, and Overkill, based on House of the Dead: Overkill. Between the two, I dig the first one a lot more, even though the second one does have a better dictionary and typing metrics. There was just a really goofy charm to the first game that I loved. Part of that is based on House of the Dead 2 just being a cheesier game, but I loved that Sega replaced the guns in the game with backpack keyboard weapons things on the characters. WHO DOES THAT?! Sega, that’s who! The original game was at the general height of Sega’s lunacy and it served this game very well.

#6: Dead Space 2

I really dug what I played of Dead Space 2. I didn’t get too far because of a weird PC quirk, but I played about the first four or five hours and loved it. The game is atmospheric and scary, the combat is good, it’s open-ended in how you approach combat with the Necromorphs and so on. The PC issue is that all the DLC is unlocked from the get-go. So instead of having a crappy suit and basic weapons, you have an excellent suit and basically all the weapons in the game from the start. That kind of kills the immersion a bit. Still, this was one of the few games that actually scared me on this list.

#5: Plants vs. Zombies 1

Ah, Plants vs. Zombies 1, one of the last games PopCap games managed to put out that wasn’t a microtransaction-fueled mess. I think the reason the first game caught on so well was two-fold. The first is that, at its core, it’s a very simple game to pick up and play, but it can be incredibly complex the deeper you want to go. It adds new mechanics, be it new zombies, or setting changes, that alter the gameplay enough to make it challenging. The second reason is that the game just has a great and funny personality to it. The zombies and plants were both cute and there was some nice detail in all of the units.

#4: Dead Rising 4

I’m at odds with most of the Dead Rising community. I intensely disliked the first game, mildly liked the second one, enjoyed the 3rd one and loved the 4th one. Most DR fans are the complete opposite, they love the first game and with every successive game, they dislike them more and more. They want the incredibly hard/punishing/arcane Dead Rising game, with only one save slot, only can save in the bathroom, etc. I like the game when it’s easy. When you can create some combo weapon that can kill two dozen zombies in one swing, by releasing fireballs or something else over the top. I like stomping around in an Exo-suit, basically being unkillable as I destroy hundreds of zombies. If anything, the game is still too limited in that respect, since the suit had a battery timer. They should have just let you wear it whenever and just have it be an even more over the top sandbox.

#3: Dying Light

Dead Island was a cool idea but only the first (resort) area worked. The deeper you went into the game, the more claustrophobic it became, the streets became narrower and it just lost any fun factor it had. Dying Light doesn’t have this problem at all. The city pretty much remains the city for its length of the game. It’s a big, open area, which becomes even larger once you really understand the parkour mechanics and get the grappling hook. The combat might not have been quite as good as Dead Island’s, but the bigger world and more overall stuff for you to do more than makes up for it. Plus, the zombies actually got incredibly lethal at night, so you either had to run and hide till daybreak, or get into a defensible area where you could try to fight them off.

#2: The Last of Us 1

The first Last of Us is a really great zombie game, primarily because a lot of the time you aren’t facing zombies. You are facing desperate, or even evil humans, which would be more often the case in that type of outbreak. Plus, the zombies were pretty deadly, if you tried to out and out fight them, you could win, but more often than not you would get stomped pretty hard. Especially against some of the bigger varieties, which could take a lot of bullets to put down. The Last of Us 2 is a mostly decent follow up but it doesn’t capture the same spirit as the first game, which is a bit of a bummer.

#1: Resident Evil 2

I wanted to pick only one game in the RE franchise and I think Resident Evil 2 is the best one. It really does capture the essence of the original game brilliantly. You are able to see the splendor of the police station in ways that probably were never even considered back in 1998. On top of that, the 2019 modernizes the gameplay entirely, like marking the doors on your map with what keys you’ll need, or making the gunplay feel as sleek as any current game. I’m still blown away that Capcom was able to pull it off as well as they did and it does leave me pretty interested in their eventual Resident Evil 4 reboot as well.

For comments, list your favorite zombie games and why.

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