I know, searching for realistic zombie survival games may sound like a futile exercise. But the best zombie games do have an element of realism to them. In this instance, it could be in relation to graphics, world interaction, enemy AI, or crafting abilities.
All these factors play a role in the immersion of a game, and the more immersive a zombie game is, the better it is likely to be. Read on for the most realistic zombie games, and let us know if you agree in the comment section below.
DayZ is a great place to start if you’re looking for realistic zombie survival games. This interactive game takes place in the aftermath of an apocalyptic undead outbreak in the fictional post-soviet Republic of Chernarus.
You start with basic clothing and equipment, and must search and scavenge your way to better equipment all while trying to avoid incoming attacks by zombies and other online players.
Survival isn’t easy, though. The realism of survival in DayZ accounts for food and water intake, blood levels, temperature, illnesses, and overall health. There is a LOT to monitor. But that’s what makes the game so good and what makes it one of the most realistic zombie games around.
Despite being originally released as an Arma 2 mod, DayZ has become a successful standalone successor since it was first released in 2018, and it continues to stand out as a must-play within the genre.
4. No More Room in Hell
No More Room in Hell is an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Originally released in 2011, this first-person survival game is set during a zombie apocalypse and is heavily inspired by The Living Dead film series.
The game is slower-paced than your average zombie game, with slow movement, slow enemies, slow reloading and healing – basically, slow everything.
But this is what makes the game one of the most realistic zombie survival games available. In the event of an apocalyptic undead outbreak, the likelihood is that people will be fatigued by the constant fight for survival and demoralizing loss of loved ones, and won’t have the free-running energy levels seen in games such as Dying Light (no hate, I still love the Dying Light series).
This co-op horror game has multiple gameplay modes including objective-based, zombie waves,and outright survival. Realism in the game is added to by the lack of indicators in the HUD bar, fast stamina depletion, and (controversially) zombies of ALL ages.
Another great thing about No More Room in Hell is that you can download it for free on Steam.
3. State of Decay 2
State of Decay 2 is a game that has evolved a lot since it was first released in 2018. There are now 5 maps, a whole host of new weapons, new gameplay modes, and far less technical issues.
State of Decay 2 is a tough game to master but the rich open world, strong character development, and intricate survival elements will keep you hooked throughout. There is a strong sense of community survival, and you’ll have to work with other players if you want to stay alive. Scavenging for weapons and gear in abandoned buildings feels rewarding, and meaningful upgrades can regularly be found.
It should be noted that there is no PvP in State of Decay 2, and it is purely PvE. Personally, I prefer PvE and think that it allows the game to focus on realistic zombie interactions. If PvP is your thing, though, maybe this game isn’t for you.
Another great thing about the game is the mods. There are certain realism mods, such as the Brimstone and Romero mod, that make the game feel more realistic and/or more difficult. All in all, State of Decay 2 is easily one of the most realistic zombie survival games around, and well worth checking out before the third installment in the franchise is released.
2. Project Zomboid
Initially, I wondered how immersive a zombie game could be from an isometric viewpoint. This was quickly quashed, though, when I started playing Project Zomboid. I was blown away by the levels of immersion, and this quickly became one of the most realistic zombie survival games I have ever played.
This is a top-down, sandbox survival game that thinks of everything. It’s not just about defeating enemy undead, you also have to factor in starvation, dehydration, depression, disease, loneliness, and fatigue.
There are four starting towns within Kentucky, each of them ridden with undead and abandoned buildings ready for scavenging. The game does little to help you, and there is no hand-holding to walk you through the early stages.
In fact, it is the difficulty of the game that makes it so incredibly rewarding and addicting. You must learn from your mistakes if you want to progress further on your next run.
There is tons of content in Project Zomboid, and the game has the ability to keep you hooked for 100s of hours.
1. Days Gone
If you, like me, were put off by the negative reviews when Days Gone was first released, I implore you to rethink the decision to overlook this game.
Not only is this one of the most realistic zombie games ever made, it is one of the best games of the past decade and will go down as a classic in years to come.
Once the developers (Bend Studio) patched the many day 1 bugs, the true beauty and depth of the game came to the fore. With one of the most engaging stories in recent times, the level of immersion in Days Gone is amplified by the stunning graphics, realistic driving mechanics and player movement, and a real need to scavenge for supplies in order to survive.
It took a while for the protagonist, Deacon St John, to grow on me, but that’s partially because the dialogue is so believable and, in real life, you’re not gonna like everybody all the time. As the game goes on, though, players grow very attached to Deacon and you’ll no doubt be rooting for his survival by the end.
With multiple zombie types, horde locations, and infestation sites, there is a lot to be getting on with in Days Gone. It doesn’t seem to become repetitive, either, and this is the first game in years that inspired me to push for total completion.
If you want a real challenge, try completing the game on Hard difficulty. If that’s not enough, try the Survival Mode, though this is for masochists only.
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For more info about Days Gone, check out the walkthrough by theRadBrad below.