Zombie’s, brain eating freaks, the walking dead, ex girlfriends, whatever you want to call them, you can’t deny that zombies are pretty much everywhere right now, whether it’s with movies like the upcoming World War Z, TV shows like The Walking Dead or indeed everybody’s favourite past time, video games. They’re everywhere! Quick! Check under your bed!
There is a fairly big choice too when it comes to zombie based video games, all of which seem to put you in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, whether its the Dawn of the Dead inspired Dead Rising games by Capcom or the more arcadey feel of the Left 4 Dead games they’re all pretty similar and in my opinion, zombie based games are beginning to wear a bit thin. And even when they try to do something different to stay interesting, like Deep Silver’s Dead Island game and make it more of an RPG with zombies, it fails.
The very nature of zombie games is never going to work in an RPG setting, unless of course you were playing as a zombie and you start off killing and eating the brains of small rodents and as you level up, you can start killing and eating the brains of humans….hmm, why has no one made this game yet???
Zombies are made up from an innate fear in all of us of being trapped, alone and with no way out so an RPG where you effectively level up and get stronger doesn’t seem to make any sense to me. Capcom, however set the standard for zombie games with Dead Rising, where it gave you the ability to use anything as a weapon,
which is pretty much what would happen in a real zombie apocalypse, particularly in a country where guns are hard to come by, in that situation I’m pretty sure you would be grabbing whatever you could use as a weapon! Dead Rising also gave you huge customization options, allowing you to dress your character up in whatever clothes you could find which is always fun! So Dead Rising and Capcom had it right there.
So what did Left 4 Dead do different? Different types of zombies for one, ranging from your standard zombie types to tanks and witches (I hate witches! They always seem to come after me!) also Left 4 Dead has the excellent addition of co-op, both online and off, making Left 4 Dead a fun way to spend a few hours, especially if your playing with friends!
But perhaps the best thing about Left 4 Dead (for me anyway) was the Gnome you could rescue whilst working your way through the abandoned theme park in Left 4 Dead 2! It’s always fun to think that your putting your life on the line for somebody’s favourite garden ornament!
So there’s plenty of full retail zombie games available at the moment and even the Xbox LIVE Arcade has a ton of them as well as the indie games section where you can buy the rather excellent I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMB1ES!!!1 which if you haven’t played, you really should as it is, in my humble opinion at least, one of the best zombie games ever!
So there’s a lot of zombie games around at the moment both as full retail and downloadable titles. And with a new Resident Evil movie and video game coming out soon, it seems the public’s love of all things zombie seems like it’s as strong as its ever been and it shows no sign of slowing down. The trouble is however, you have to ask yourself, is the zombie genre becoming a little over saturated with clones of the same game? Left 4 Dead 2 was no different from Left 4 Dead and not that much different from Dead Rising, the only difference really was Left 4 Dead put you in a group and gave you weapons and a gnome. Dead Rising gave you a shopping mall, the ability to use anything as a weapon (using a toy lightsaber to hit a zombie with and discovering it makes the right noise is a moment I will never forget!) and the downloadable titles, well there always more likely to be clones of other games because they’re made with a lower budget.
But ultimately, all zombie games are more or less the same, and in my opinion are becoming a little stale because if it. So, unless something changes and a developer does something quite radically different, I can see the zombie genre of games disappearing forever.
What do you think? Are there too many zombie games? Will the genre ever die out? Do you have an excellent idea for a zombie game?
Let us know in the comments section below.