Written by Eric Yee Friday, 11 May 2012 13:03
Now before I start listing off the top five games that you should play to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse make a note that this isn’t a top five list of the best zombie games available on the Xbox 360. There is much more to surviving societal breakdown and hordes of the undead than simply getting lots of headshots.
This list looks at multiple games that will help prepare you for not only zombies, but the various situations you might find yourself in after the dead begin to walk the earth. If you’ve played a few first person shooters I’m sure you can kill a few zombies, but do you have the skills necessary to keep yourself and a group of survivors alive for the long haul?
Call of Duty: Blacks Ops (Zombie Mode)
There are many different strategies to surviving the rise of the undead. Whether you plan on getting to the coast to takeoff on a boat or heading to the closest military base, you will more than likely need to take shelter, at least temporarily. Unless you live close to your destination, it may take awhile to get there – what with the urban gridlock and hordes of zombies in your path. Whether you find permanent or temporary shelter, you’ll need to be able to defend it.
The zombie mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops is great practice for defending an actual stronghold from those pesky flesh eaters. Sure the actual zombies probably won’t be Nazis but it is better to prepare for the worse. This game mode teaches you to be conscious of the structural weaknesses of your stronghold (windows) and reinforces the fact that you have to barricade them to keep those zombies out. You’ll also need to continually check the strengths of those barricades and reinforce them if needed.
If zombies do happen to breach the defenses you will be able to identify choke points to funnel them into. With your base being overrun this may be your best chance to make one last stand.
Left 4 Dead 1 & 2
If you’re only taking temporary shelter chances are you’re still trying to reach some destination. No game prepares you better for traversing a zombie filled landscape than the Left 4 Dead series. Each level is essentially getting from point A to point B while occasionally holding an area for a short amount of time.
If the zombie apocalypse happens to not follow the teachings of George Romero and the zombies can run, you will be ready after playing through Left 4 Dead. After facing down thousands of blood thirsty corpses you will be less likely to panic when faced with the real thing.
Left 4 Dead also teaches the golden rule of trying to minimize sound. Brushing up against a parked car may just set off the alarm attracting dozens of the undead to your location.
Most importantly Left 4 Dead teaches the importance of communication and strong team dynamics. While these may be the tenants of workplace teamwork seminars, they’ve never been more important than when you are face to face with the end of the world. While you may have your ideal zombie survival team planned out, you should know that nothing ever goes according to plan. You will probably end up with a bunch of strangers who may prove to be an asset or a detriment to your survival.
Playing Left 4 Dead online with random strangers is the best way to simulate these unknown group dynamics. Some players will genuinely try to communicate strategy and watch your back. Others will run off on their own looking for supplies without telling anyone, only to demand your help once they’ve become trapped by zombies. If your zombie survival team is made up of loved ones or friends, put them through the Left 4 Dead test before you give them a permanent spot next to you at the end of the world.
Left 4 Dead also teaches the hardest lesson of all, sometimes you may just have to leave someone behind in order to survive. Playing Left 4 Dead will help you weigh their chances of survival with your own well being. When you’re presented with such a situation in reality, your training from Left 4 Dead will help you bury your morality and do what it takes to survive.
Like I stated at the beginning of this article, this isn’t the top zombie games but a list of games that will help you survive the Zombie Apocalypse. What better game to learn from than the post apocalyptic game Fallout 3? Sure the game has ghouls but that isn’t the reason it makes this list.
After the initial spread of the zombie pandemic, survivors may band together and establish isolated communities that you may happen across. Communities won’t pop up over night; it may be years before you run into such a settlement.
While zombies are deadly, humans can be even more dangerous. When interacting with these communities you can expect them to be distrustful of strangers and may keep you at arm’s length. You should also be wary of contacting them because they may be hostile towards outsiders.
With limited resources don’t be surprised to come across factions at odds with one another. They may try to intimidate you with their superior numbers or weapons. Without laws governing them, people tend to do some pretty unspeakable things. Fallout 3 will help prepare you mentally for these scenarios.
It will also make you accustomed to travelling vast distances alone and on foot. Your ideal zombie team may not have read this article and got themselves eaten, leaving you all alone. Learning to take care of yourself and not depend on others is an essential survival skill.
This may seem like an odd choice but don’t be fooled, Minecraft offers plenty of lessons that can help you prepare for life with zombies. If you plan on settling down in a permanent residence you are going to need to learn how to build and strengthen that stronghold. While you probably won’t be building a place to live from the ground up, Minecraft will definitely teach you the importance of having a secure base.
If the creepers and spiders of Minecraft can find something you overlooked and penetrate your defenses, you can bet that the hordes of zombies surrounding your base will too.
In today’s society most of us have specialized skills, meaning we’re great at a few things but lacking knowledge in other areas of expertise. When the world goes to hell members of society that we may have relied on to do certain activities will be dead. If you want to create different materials to fortify your base or create weapons to defend yourself, Minecraft can help. While it is not a perfect tutorial for creating steel doors or iron swords in real life, it will give you a basic idea of the raw materials needed and how to craft them.
Simply playing Minecraft and learning what materials go together will give you a leg up on other survivors when shit hits the fan. Basic knowledge of smelting or blacksmithing will prove invaluable in a world full of zombies and if nothing else will give those factions a reason to keep you alive.
Dead Space 2
While there are mutated humans in Dead Space 2, that isn’t the reason it made this list. Similarly to Fallout 3, Dead Space 2 will help you become more comfortable being on your own, and watching your own back. It will also train you to constantly check you’re surroundings and be cautious of each new area. Enemies can jump out at you anytime in Dead Space 2 and often from different angles.
Dead Space 2 is a great game to develop steady hands and not panic in a high stress situations. Having steady hands is an asset when dealing with the undead. If you happen to be jumpy or have an itchy trigger finger, you may accidently shoot a teammate or waste a bullet alerting the zombie horde of your location. With the constant barrage of enemies lurking in the shadows ready to attack, Dead Space 2 is a great training tool to help you steady your nerves.
While we don’t recommend traveling at night with zombies around, Dead Space 2 will help you navigate dark environments. You’ll be able to identify the safest routes while avoiding those that could conceal undead biters.
That is our list of the top five games you should play to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. It isn’t the most comprehensive guide to survival but it should give an edge over other survivors and you may just live a few days longer than you would have. If you have any other suggestions of games to play in preparation for the rise of the dead let us know in the comments below.