Alone in the woods with little more than a few days worth of food supplies and a bundle of sticks. A scenario like this would make all but the most experienced survivalists uneasy, yet that’s exactly the kind of setting a lot of gamers are looking for these days. Whether you are a homesteader looking to build a civilization from nothing or the survivor of a disaster just looking to scratch by, we present our top 5 online survival horror games so far in 2014.
Set in a dense city based loosely on Chicago, Nether is a first person survival horror shooter with a twist. While bandits plague the streets, zombies are nowhere to be seen as a more supernatural threat stalks the dark alleys. Players fight against demonic creatures as they scavenge for supplies and weapons needed to survive the harsh conditions of the city.
While the primary activity in Nether is PvP, the developers are trying to give players a reason not to shoot on sight with random public events. From securing safe zones to taking down stronger monsters, players will either need to be part of a group already or make friends with the locals. The success of PvE is rather debatable in its current state, PvP generally takes priority amongst players unless playing on a dedicated PvE server.
Currently in Nether there isn’t much to do besides gather loot, kill Nethers, and hunt players. However in the future there are plans to add playable Nether creatures, 16 different tribes for players to join and fight battles to take over the city, and more. It’s fun enough to make it on to our list but currently it’s one of those games you let sit in the oven for a while longer before enjoying. Unless just PvP and looting sounds appealing enough.
Nether is under development by Phosphor Games Studio and is currently available through the Steam Early Access program, meaning it’s still in its early days. If zombies just aren’t scratching your survivalist itch, give Nether a go or read our Nether Early Access Preview.
#4 7 Days to Die
7 Days to Die or 7DTD as it is often abbreviated is a zombie survival horror game set in the fictional post-apocalyptic region of Navezgane County, Arizona. Quite often any zombie game which features any form of building is unfairly labelled as a minecraft rip-off with more zombies. In the case of 7 Days to Die, that would be the correct assumption to make.
Primarily focused around scavenging an abandoned wasteland and finding a place to build shelter, 7 Days to Die offers a fresh mix of both building and intense combat. For the seasoned Minecraft player the game is extremely easy to pick up and play without missing a beat, resources are mined, items are collected, and bases are built block by block.
One of the key differences with 7DTD however is that it uses some physics based gameplay to add interesting new challenges to building. Buildings must be structurally sound or they will collapse, meaning players must take extra care especially when building multiple story bases to ensure it can support the weight of the building and players or zombies inside.
If zombies begin to gather on a floor above you it could collapse under the weight, turning your basement bunker in to a death trap. Additionally players must worry about how sturdy the pre-existing buildings are, with careless players potentially dying to a collapsing bridge or apartment building. It makes building interesting and challenging for the ambitious player.
Another unique twist is that 7 Days to Die is also partly a tower defense game. Each night the zombies become faster and more aggressive, they will also head straight for your base in great numbers. To survive each night, players must defend their base from the endless onslaught of the undead. If players don’t, they will find the horde just keeps growing.
If you have ever played Minecraft and found yourself wishing it was set in a dark zombie apocalypse rather than a light-hearted fantasy world, we can highly suggest 7 Days to Die as a game you will most likely appreciate. Currently under development by The Fun Pimps, 7 Days to Die is in Alpha and still actively being worked on so keep that in mind when playing.
#3 The Dead Linger
Set during a zombie apocalypse, The Dead Linger is an open world survival horror game that caught my attention very early on. While at first glance it may appear to be “just another zombie game”, there’s a lot more on offer here for the gamer willing to give it a chance.
Firstly, the game world is not only procedurally generated but it is also the size of a real planet, just let that sink in for a moment. It’s an impressive feat and presents an unfathomable amount of gameplay opportunities for where the player can explore, build, and fight for their life. This is the setting for the primary focus of The Dead Linger.
The developers want to offer gamers a sandbox which truly lets them put their survival plan to the test. Eventually, no matter the scenario you should be able to recreate it and play it out in The Dead Linger. In this planet sized game world there are towns, cities, farms, forests and all types of landmarks to transform in to a new home or a place for a last stand.
The Dead Linger features physics based gameplay, meaning players can pick up and manipulate most objects in the game. This crosses over to the building and barricading features, planks of plywood and building materials are nailed together with a free building system. No restraints or snap-on objects, offering ultimate freedom in building and crafting.
Created by indie developers Sandswept Studios, The Dead Linger is currently in Alpha and therefore being actively updated and improved. Some features are currently only basic implementations and there is still a huge list of features to be added, however the feature list is huge to begin with and the game is definitely not lacking much in its current build.
If you’re looking for a unique zombie survival game, The Dead Linger already has a bunch to keep you busy. In the future there will be features such as vehicles, boats, planes, farming, improved character customization, improved crafting and much more. If you’re looking for a new zombie survival game and don’t mind somewhat basic graphics, give it a shot.
Arguably the game that defined an entire genre and gave it mass appeal, DayZ is the game everyone reading has most likely played or is at least extremely familiar with it. Set in a fictional post-soviet state of Chernarus, players awaken on a beach with very little supplies.
The only goal is to stay alive, and that is much harder than it sounds. Especially when you are completely surrounded by deadly zombies and psychopathic players just waiting to handcuff you and forcefeed you cleaning products until you vomit and die a painful death.
The main factor that set DayZ apart was its focus on offering as realistic a survival experience as possible, resulting in it being built on tactical military shooter Arma 2’s game engine. The shooting and survival mechanics are more closely aligned to being a simulator than a tactical shooter, but it’s not quite realistic enough to earn that label – but it’s close.
Chernarus is a large map, covering 230 sq. km of forests, cities, military bases, and more in which players can scavenge, fight and explore. DayZ is purely PvP focused unless players join a dedicated co-op community on a private server, meaning gamers looking to play DayZ should generally be interested in the brutal PvP experience if they want to enjoy the game.
DayZ forces every encounter to be an all-or-nothing situation, with players dropping all of their loot upon death. This means other players have no problems shooting others for the chance at one extra clip of ammo or can of beans, and victims must suffer the demoralizing punishment of starting all over again. However that’s part of what makes DayZ so much fun.
DayZ is under development by Bohemia Interactive and creator of the original mod for Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead, Dean Hall. The game is currently in very early Alpha meaning only the most basic features have been implemented for testing. To help decide whether DayZ is the right survival game for you, read our DayZ Early Access Preview to find out more.
#1 Project Zomboid
This game might not of made the list if it hadn’t just released its multiplayer component for testing recently, but it’s definitely our top online survival horror game for 2014 hands down. Set during the zombie apocalypse in a recreation of the towns Muldraugh and West Point in Kentucky, players are stuck in a quarantine zone. No help is coming, you will definitely die.
But that’s what Project Zomboid is, it’s a game about how you died. The only goal is to survive as long as possible, how you do that is entirely up to you. The reason Project Zomboid makes the top of our list is because it is probably the most comprehensive survival experience currently on offer – it is the best combination of PvE and PvP gameplay.
Project Zomboid is a zombie survival sandbox, therefore players can choose freely how they survive – but they must still follow basic rules such as scavenging for food and dealing with zombies. It has everything you would expect from games like DayZ and The Dead Linger but adds its own fresh ideas to the genre. The game is brilliant all the way through.
Line of sight and perception are meaningful mechanics, players must not only worry about their physical health but also mentally with depression and moods playing a role, loot never respawns and neither do zombies, more zombies than we have seen in any similar zombie game (inb4 Dead Rising 3), extensive farming and base building. This game has it all.
If you ever wanted a true zombie apocalypse experience where eventually the supplies run out, water and electricity shut off and you are forced to live off the land – Project Zomboid will most likely be your new favourite game. Currently available through Early Access, Project Zomboid is still under development by The Indie Stone. Check it out!