Video games and zombies are like peanut butter and jelly, few things in life go better together. For decades the Zombie video game genre has been one of the most popular in the industry, and why wouldn’t it be? The zombie-slaying fantasy is so darned satisfying and fun!
From Yakuza to The Last of Us, today you and I are going to celebrate the endless hordes of undead creatures and ravenous zombies that have hounded us on the PS3. Here are my
Top 10 Zombie Games for the PlayStation 3
Yakuza Dead Souls
The Yakuza franchise is more alive than it has ever been. With the recent release of the innovative Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Lost Judgment, the 2021 sequel to the 2018 Judgment, publisher SEGA has proven that Yakuza games are not done giving fans what they want.
Yakuza: Dead Souls, known in Japan as Ryū ga Gotoku OF THE END, is the sixth game in the Yakuza franchise. It is also one of the most exciting entries in the Yakuza video game franchise and one of the best zombie games available on the Ps3.
This zombie-themed spinoff entry features a much heavier emphasis on gunplay than any other Yakuza title before it. And while some people weren’t too fond of this change, I loved it.
The game boasts a highly varied arsenal of firearms that make the minute-to-minute gameplay of slaying ruthless undead hordes a blast to play. No pun intended.
To top it off, Yakuza: Dead Souls manages to expertly weave this newfound emphasis on shooting mechanics with the hallmarks of the series.
That is, a simple yet elegant progression based system to improve your effectiveness in combat, plentiful minigames such as bowling, karaoke, pachinko, etc., surreal and irreverent humor, and a cinematic penchant for storytelling.
If you have a Ps3 and love slaying zombies, Yakuza: Dead Souls is a must-try.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts
After the unprecedented popularity of the television series, it was only a matter of time before a video game adaptation would follow.
On the one hand, we got Telltale Games episodic adventure game that elevated the comic book source material to new heights, and which focused on gut-wrenching decision making. On the other hand, we have The Walking Dead: Survival Instincts, an immersive adventure packed with action and hideous zombies.
The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for the Ps3 serves as a direct prequel to the TV series and tells the story of Daryl Dixon and his brother Merle as they experience the zombie outbreak.
Actors Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker return to the franchise as the voice actors for their respective characters and give some legitimacy and familiarity to the story.
If you are a fan of The Walking Dead tv series, Survival Instincts does a fantastic job of immersing you into that savage world from the get-go. Each level is a bleak and ravaged landscape through which you adventure and build a powerful arsenal of both, melee and ranged weapons, including Daryl’s iconic crossbow.
Fair warning: the game is surprisingly light on narrative, which is uncommon in a franchise known for its melodrama.
So if you are looking for more of the usual Walking Dead high-quality narrative chops, this one is not for you. However, the game does excel in immersing players into the role of its characters and portrays the zombie survival fight down to the T.
How To Survive
If you think you have what it takes to make it out of an undead apocalypse, How To Survive for the Ps3 is a great opportunity to show off your zombie-slaying and survival skills.
This is a game that asks you, how far will you make it? And, what will you do to get there?
In How to Survive, released in 2013 by french video game developer Eko Software, not only do you have to face the ever-present threat of rabid, brain-starved zombies, you also have to discover and scrounge for resources, such as clean water or food, in a world that has gone to hell and in which provisions are exceedingly hard to find.
This game stands out for me because it does a good job at taking a more “realistic” approach to zombie survival game mechanics.
It does so by moving away from the more action-oriented games that populate the genre. Instead, the game leans heavily into the “survivor” fantasy; which means you’ll have to worry about finding enough food and water, seeking shelter, and crafting weapons and tools from the detritus that dots the zombie-infested landscape.
In that sense, How To Survive feels a lot like State of Decay, a fantastic zombie game that you can find on my list of best zombie games for the Xbox 360!
I also love how you are given the choice of between 3 characters before you are let loose on the world.
How to Survive is an intense experience, pitting you against the undead creatures from its very first moments armed with just a shovel and taking you with gathering supplies such as roots, medicinal plants, plastic, cloth, etc. These items will eventually form the base of an engaging and satisfying crafting system that will enable you to become more powerful as you progress.
On top of that, you will have to monitor different “Energy” bars, such as Health, which decreases when you take damage, as well as Hunger and Thirst, which continuously decrease over time. This means that in addition to gathering, crafting, and killing, you will also have to upkeep these bars.
This is a game that offers plenty of the usual zombie thrills, but it also expertly introduces a surprising strategic element that constantly engages the player; which is why How To Survive easily makes my list of the best zombie games for the Ps3.
Dead Rising 2: Off The Record
Coming in at the number 4 spot on my list, we have a classic title remade!
Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, developed and published by Capcom, is a remake/re-imagining of the fantastic Dead Rising 2 that asks the player, what would have happened if the protagonist of the first Dead Rising, Frank West, had been the protagonist?
The answer: one of the best zombie games released for Sony’s Playstation 3.
Some would argue that Dead Rising 2: Off The Record is the exact same game as Dead Rising 2, but these people would be missing the point entirely.
Dead Rising 2: Off The Record offers players a new villain, a new map, a sandbox mode with no time limit, new enemy encounters, new story missions, new narrative cutscenes, new weapons, the return of Frank West, and the return of the fan-favorite camera-mode. All of which results in an experience that feels fresh and exciting for old players and new players alike.
Dead Rising 2: Off The Record lets you do everything we’ve come to love about the Dead Rising franchise, i.e. kill hundreds of zombies, solve cases, take on many a psychopath, rescue survivors, craft powerful and wacky weapons, level up, learn new abilities, and look a fool by dressing up in all manner of zany guises.
If you played the original Dead Rising 2, you may think that Dead Rising 2: Off The Record is not worth your time, but you would be so wrong. The introduction of Frank West adds an entirely new perspective that changes the experience without sacrificing all of the action and terror that makes this franchise great.
But if you never got around to playing DR2, Dead Rising 2: Off The Record is the perfect place to start.
The Evil Within
The legendary Shinji Mikami has gone down in video game history as one of the industry’s brightest minds, and one of the great proponents of the Survival Horror genre.
These games, most of which revolved around zombie outbreaks, expertly wove atmospheric exploration, puzzle-solving, inventory management, and moments of abject horror into unforgettable experiences that many of us have come to love.
Pulling the trigger in these games was not always recommended.
The Survival Horror genre changed after a while, choosing to forego the slow methodical pace so characteristic of its best games for a more action-oriented Hollywood approach. The Evil Within for the Ps3, however, is a return to form.
The Evil Within tells the story of Sebastian Castellanos, a detective who lands a nightmarish case when he is sent to Beacon psychiatric hospital to investigate a slew of brutal murders.
One of my favorite aspects of The Evil Within is its pacing. As soon as we step into the hospital the unrelenting nightmare begins.
The Evil Within also does a fantastic job at differentiating itself from other games in the genre by deemphasizing the shooting mechanics that permeate the competition and placing a great deal of emphasis on stealth.
You start the game completely unarmed and spend the initial levels running away from one of the franchise’s most horrific enemies, lest he catches you and brutally kills you dead.
There is plenty of horror, challenging puzzles, and tons of atmosphere here. All of the games on this list include violent elements and gore to some degree but be warned that The Evil Within ups the ante by a long shot. This one is for mature audiences only.
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
When Red Dead Redemption hit the gaming world, players all over the world were treated to one of the best gaming experiences ever made.
While those familiar with the great work of Rockstar Studios have come to expect big things from them, most of the player base was floored by the impeccable presentation, poignant dialogue, fully-realized characters, and the many other details that showed the industry just how high the medium could soar.
Undead Nightmare, a standalone expansion for Red Dead Redemption released for the Ps3 in time for Halloween 2010, elevated the base game to some truly lofty heights. Without exaggeration, I consider Undead Nightmare to be the best money I’ve spent on a video game. Ever.
Something instantly clicked for me when I learned that Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare would offer players access to the incredibly detailed open world of the base game, but this time it would up the ante by introducing hordes of undead zombies.
This is the finest Sandbox Survival Horror game I’ve ever played.
Just a few minutes out in the open world, with the dark around you and the quivering growls and squeals of the undead creatures drawing ever closer will get hooked and invested in the world. The tension that is placed on the player in this game is above and beyond any of the competition with its more limited-level design and structure.
There are plenty of zombie types for you to annihilate here. You have your typical shambling rotting corpses, but there are also more dangerous spitters, tanks, and some truly terrifying fast ones that rush you while moving on all fours like ravenous, hard-to-hit animals.
This game will put your aim to the test since most of the time nothing short of a headshot will drop the bad guys. Setting them on fire also works, exceedingly well actually.
Undead Nightmare is the complete package as well, including two multiplayer modes. These are the horde-like Overrun and the territory control Land Grab, both of which are rife with detail and atmosphere.
Chaos has flooded the streets of the world and the whole of society is on the verge of collapse due to a rapidly spreading virus that has turned much of the population into vicious zombies. Sounds like more of the same, right? Wrong.
Dead Nation does a few things differently and I love the game that much more for it.
So, let’s make it very clear from the get-go: Dead Nation is not your typical zombie action-shooter, far from it. Some very interesting doses of survival-horror mechanics have been added to a solid twin-stick shooter framework by developer Housemarque.
Controls will be familiar to anyone who has played a twin-stick shooter before, you move with the left control stick and aim your weapons with the right one.
Housemarque added a powerful charged attack, which is ideal for bursting undead hordes, but it affects player mobility significantly by reducing player speed and handling. This means that Dead Nation is a much more methodical twin-stick shooter than most and that running around gunning like crazy will generally get you killed.
This game presents players with scenarios where the best approach is to study the environment and enemy movement patterns to anticipate their attacks, thus gaining the advantage.
You can create useful distractions, such as shooting a car so that its alarm system goes off and attracts the undead away from your location, or set up strategic chokepoints around bridges where a well-placed grenade can decimate the oncoming horde.
Further distancing this game from the droves of mindless shooters is a weapon level and progression system which allows players the ability to increase firepower and rate of fire, as well as reduce reload times, etc.
With careful planning, players can turn run-of-the-mill weapons into certified zombie destroyers. On top of that, players can modify their speed, resistance, and strength attributes.
Originally released in December 2010, Dead Nation was offered by Sony in 2011 as a free download after the infamous PSN security problems. But don’t let this fool you. Dead Nation is a game I would recommend regardless of its price.
To understand exactly what Dead Island, with its horrifying horde of ravenous zombies and its well-implemented four-player co-op, is like, you need to imagine a combination of a Fallout-style open-world first-person RPG and Left 4 Dead’s frantic co-op action.
In Dead Island for the Ps3, players enjoy near-total freedom to explore an enormous tropical island that is divided into 4 expansive areas such as a tourist complex and a sprawling cityscape, all the while completing a plethora of missions and combating hundreds upon hundreds of zombies.
One of the coolest aspects of Dead Island’s main design is the fact that often, going the melee route is far more effective than attempting to take on your rotting enemies with the aid of handguns and other firearms. While the firepower is present, especially during the game’s latter stages, ammunition is in short supply and must be wisely used.
But, my favorite aspect of the game is definitely the experience and level-up & skill system.
Anytime that you kill a zombie you get a small number of experience points (the experience allotment is much larger when you complete missions) that eventually add up to level gains which award skill points. These skill points can be used to purchase new abilities or level up already existing ones. Skill points are divided into three different categories: Fury, Combat, and Survival.
- Fury skills and abilities are powerful, on-command skills and moves that can be unleashed on the undead hordes as long as your fury gauge is filled.
- Combat skills are related to the types of weapons that each character can use, and improve weapons damage, critical hit chance, weapon duration, etc.
- Survival skills are related to things like life recovery, lock picking, and inventory size.
Something else that sets Dead Island apart from other co-op zombie games is the fact that players are given a choice between 4 different characters, each with their own unique set of attributes and abilities.
It is the interplay between these abilities that elevates the games minute to minute multiplayer gameplay.
Dead Island is a game that is full of action and blood, where you have a lot of freedom and agency in how you approach the many missions available. Dead Island for the Ps3 is not Left 4 Dead, but it offers the same cooperative thrills of Valve’s masterpiece and adds an extra layer of engagement to boot.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies
For the uninitiated, the premise of Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies challenges players to survive wave after wave of rabid undead while gaining progressive access to better weapons and defenses.
As players make short work of each wave, they earn resources which are then used to purchase useful power-ups such as more ammunition, extra experience per kill, etc.
The more skilled you become at killing the zombies, the more tools you access which make you better at killing zombies. It is an addictive and highly engaging gameplay loop that makes this game deserving of a spot on our list of best zombie games for the Ps3.
Learning to use the available abilities and perks to increase the chances of surviving each consecutive wave is extremely fun. Additionally, the progressive nature of each unlock means that players are encouraged to replay the levels after each failed attempt.
And replay you will, because the undead in COD: Black Ops are very tough. Meaning, players will have to eventually come up with more resilient strategies than simply aiming down sights and pulling the trigger. Different levels of difficulty will further enhance the replayability of the title.
This one is probably the most “mindless” of the games on this list, but don’t think for a second that it is any less fun.
The Last of Us
Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us is not only one of the best zombie games ever released on the Ps3, but it is also one of the best video games released ever.
The Last of Us for the Ps3 takes the preexisting zombie apocalypse genre and turns it on its head, presenting players with a uniquely twisted take on what it means to survive in a world that has gone to hell.
To start with, zombies in The Last of Us are not your typical undead. In fact, the zombies in the game are still technically alive. Instead of reanimated dead, these people have been infected by a mind-controlling fungal spore that turns people into violent “Clickers” and other worse things.
The story, which is quite simple, follows Joel, a man who only wanted to protect his family during the initial outbreak and who somehow ended up becoming the focus of a harrowing tale of survival and hope.
The main adventure of the game begins when Joel is charged with escorting a young girl who may hold the key to humanity’s survival.
Mechanically, this game requires players to think hard about the tactics they will use to succeed. Sometimes, the best choice the player can make is to hide or run away from the savage Clickers and other enemies. Combat in The Last of Us isn’t easy. Health does not regenerate on its own, ammo is extremely rare, aiming takes skill and precision, melee weapons will break in the most inopportune ways, and the enemy AI is relentless.
From a narrative perspective, The Last of Us does an EXCEPTIONAL job at accurately creating a bleak, sad, cruel, and outright depressing world in which the breakdown of human society can be seen, heard, and felt in every surface and interaction.
The characters are all painfully realized, and display powerful human emotions and flaws, making this one of the most emotionally engaging games you will ever play.
Few games in this medium have been able to achieve what The Last of Us has done.