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Techland’s 2015 masterpiece Dying Light found a novel way to revive the zombie game genre: combine the FPS terror of Left 4 Dead with the first-person free-running systems of Mirror’s Edge. This mixture proved to be a wild success, and fans continued to enjoy the game’s base content and expansions for many years.
With the release of Dying Light 2 in February 2022, Dying Light fans were treated to a brand-new story in a new setting with further expanded mechanics and gameplay. While many continue to plunge the depths of Dying Light 2’s content, some might be looking for something new that is also similar.
What follows are 10 of the best games that channel that Dying Light magic we have all come to know and love.
It’s a pretty common setup for a zombie story. An outbreak of a zombie virus causes civilization as we know it to collapse, and now mindless, flesh-hungry husks roam the streets while pockets of humanity struggle to survive.
What makes Sony Bend’s Days Gone special is its biker protagonist, Deacon St. John, and the game engine that allows for hundreds of zombies on screen at once. If you’ve ever wanted to outrun a wave of rotting flesh on a motorcycle, Days Gone is a great option.
One of the spine-tingling mechanics Dying Light incorporates into its gameplay is the night sections. These extremely stressful scenarios challenge players to escape the night while an advanced, highly predatory species of zombie are out on the hunt.
If, for some reason, you found those moments to be exhilarating and not at all terrifying, then GTFO by 10 Chambers would be right up your alley. In it, players drop into a subterranean research facility that has been overrun by mutated creatures. Sneak through their ranks and complete objectives to survive.
The Last of Us
The current gold standard for zombie stealth/action games is, of course, The Last of Us. Like Dying Light, The Last of Us has its protagonists traversing a post-apocalyptic land in the wake of a zombie pandemic and fighting for their survival.
The Last of Us Part II tells a similar story while expanding the narrative from the first game, and is also worth checking out if you’re looking for more “zombie apocalypse” fare.
Left 4 Dead
Zombie video games as a whole owe a lot to Left 4 Dead. This 4-player co-op FPS revolutionized action horror when it launched, and it is still enjoyed by many of its fans to this day, nearly 15 years later.
Its sequel, released only a year later, introduced even more variety in zombie types, new characters, and even more expansive scenarios than the first game. If you haven’t played them, or even if it’s been a while, these two games are absolutely worth visiting.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
Looking for an immersive FPS? Happen to enjoy zombie media? Have access to a VR headset? Then boy, do I have a game for you. Skydance Interactive’s The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners capitalizes on the success of The Walking Dead series to create an awesome VR-only game.
Feel what it must be like to experience zombie survival first-hand, sneaking and bashing your way through the streets of New Orleans. You’ll even manage your weapons and inventory in a tactile manner that is only possible with VR. This is about as real as zombies will ever get (hopefully).
Dead Rising 4
After taking a hiatus for Dead Rising 3, Frank West is back in the biggest Dead Rising game yet. This time, the series returns to Willamette, Colorado, the location of the first game’s iconic zombie mall. Chasing another story that spirals into a government conspiracy, Frank explores the entire town and completes missions for a range of zany characters.
As has become a tradition for the series, just about everything you see can be turned into a weapon, or combined to form some kind of zombie-impaling implement. If Dying Light’s crunchy melee combat struck a chord with you, there’s plenty of crunchiness to be had in Dead Rising 4.
Metro Exodus has less to do with zombies, but it does capture the feeling of exploring a post-apocalyptic world that is overrun with nightmare creatures. In the world of Metro, a nuclear war has devastated the planet.
As series hero Artyom, players will embark on a journey by train to discover a land that hasn’t been affected by the widespread radiation. Craft and use weapons along the way to destroy the mutant monsters who thrive on that same radiation.
This might come as a surprise to some, but Dead Island and Dying Light are actually cousin series! They are both developed by Techland and feature a number of similar mechanics, most notably their first-person melee.
However, Dead Island sets itself apart with its tropical setting and unique cast of characters. Now is a good time to play through the first Dead Island, since the recently announced Dead Island 2 will be arriving early next year.
Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
If all you want out of Dying Light is its incredible first-person parkour movement, then you’ll have to go straight to the source of its inspiration: Mirror’s Edge. The first Mirror’s Edge game establishes a wholly original world with some incredible gameplay.
The more recent Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst further expands that same world and fleshes out the series protagonist, Faith. There aren’t many options for first-person parkour, but these two games definitely fit the bill. Since, you know, they invented it.
Another game that captures the thrill and horror of parkouring to safety at night while being hunted by night creatures is Outlast 2. This game doesn’t have zombies, but you will be hiding and running away from terrifying entities.
Outlast’s signature night vision camera view only serves to amplify the fear you’ll feel when you’re sprinting away from some unknown terror. The developers have included a button that allows you to look over your shoulder in these situations, but it is rarely a good idea to see what is pursuing you.