The Ultimate Zombie Game
Zombies in popular culture have had a weird evolution. At first they were just plain old popcorn movie terrors that belonged in a B-grade horror movie, then they somehow got introduced into the comedy genre and more recently we have seen a drama-focused method of depicting zombies in the shape of The Walking Dead. Zombie themed videogames are in full abundance. At one point you couldn’t walk down the street without tripping over hundreds of zombie games that have you shooting the undead in the face as violently as possible. Zombies have gained massive popularity and I think every gamer in the world would be severely disappointed if the world ended any other way.
Of all the zombie videogames out there, none of them have really fascinated or immersed me. Sure, Telltale’s Walking Dead was phenomenal, but it was more story focused and survivability was never an issue. If a zombie apocalypse happens, you can be sure that survivability will be the way of the game. Food will be scarce and every bullet will be a precious resource. Not a lot of games have embraced this concept and would rather have you slaughter entire hordes with novelty items rather than build any sort of tension. Walking Dead: Survival Instinct flirted with this idea, but fell flat with poor execution and horribly rushed concepts. But what would the perfect zombie game be like? I have a few ideas and here is my wishlist for what I would think would make an excellent zombie game.
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Right off the bat, free roaming is an extremely important aspect. You would need a world the size of Red Dead Redemption or Skyrim to fully embrace the idea of survivability. Massive cities populated with hordes of zombies to rural locations such as farms or ranges would be ideal. You would go to various outposts and locations to search for food and other necessities such as weapons and ammo. Exploration would be key to your survival and you can’t sit in one location for long before running out of resources. A story can also be developed using the free roaming elements and side-missions can be done for various survivors.
If you have ever played Fallout New Vegas’ Hardcore mode, you might have a rough idea of how this works. Many games would ignore your hunger and tiredness and just have you murder a bunch of zombies. What we need are gauges that measure your hunger, thirst and fatigue which you have to maintain at all times. When these meters run out you can be severely limited and ineffective so it’s instrumental that you maintain them at all times. This provides tension and a feeling of desperateness when your meters run low and you can’t find any resources. This then makes exploration an important aspect of survival because you will need to raid locations in order to get resources you need.
Zombies in recent games are portrayed as weak and you can easily take them out with a swing of an axe or a shot to the head and they don’t present any real challenge. What this game would do is make the zombies capable of destroying you without any effort at all. This will force you to develop strategies and use stealth elements to get where you need to go. Distract zombies, lure them into traps, use the environment and so forth. It will be better to avoid rather than confront. The weapons you have available are scarce and break easily so you can only use them when you absolutely have to. Ammo is a precious resource too so blindly firing into a group of zombies is not recommended at all. The potential of this is astonishing and the tension that can derive from proper implementation can be legendary.
It’s all about surviving. Going in rambo style won’t help anyone and would only negatively impact you down the line. You need to carefully manage your resources, make sure you don’t alert too many enemies and only use offense when you absolutely have to. The product of this can be a tense, nerve racking experience that would have you on the edge of your seat at all times.
Zombie games in recent times have been much more action focused and would only have you mow down a group of zombies with a minigun than provide any tension or atmosphere. We need this sort of game in our lives and pave the way for more amazing zombie titles rather than the generic “shoot the walking corpse in the head” we have now. What’s your personal wishlist for a great zombie game?