I want to preface this by saying yes, I know, two of these games are zombie survival games, and yes, zombie survival games are so overplayed. But zombies and friends, they just go together! Like peanut butter and jelly. Sweat and gamer palms. You get the point. If zombies aren’t your cup of tea, be sure to comment below and tell me what games you liked! These are the games that made my year, got me through quarantine, and helped me forge some new friendships along the way.
Number 3: Divinity: Original Sin 2
In Divinity: Original Sin 2, you and your friends can take control of four heroes. You can either play as pre-made characters with their own unique stories, like the Red Prince, on the run from assassins, or Fane, an undead shapeshifter. Of course, the stories you can create with your own custom characters are up to you to decide. The gameplay, however, is what really sets this game apart from other RPGs. It reminds me of a video game version of Dungeons and Dragons, with an incredible campaign. The isometric view gives you a great idea of where to place your party, and of course, a tactical view of your surroundings. You have to use a combination of brains, brute strength, and magic in order to get through the predicaments you’ll find yourselves in, of course, taking into account each of your characters’ unique abilities. You can hack ‘n’ slash your way through, or you can use reason and deception to make NPCs work alongside you. Any playstyle is a viable option if you are properly equipped and play your cards right! However, your enemies are often smart, and strong. It can be frustrating when you ultimately face defeat after a long battle, and I’ve certainly had many-an-argument with my girlfriend over this game. Despite the frustrating defeats and arguments, something about this game really pulls us in and keeps us coming back. Therefore, Divinity: Original Sin 2 safely seats itself on my top 3 list of games to play with friends in 2020.
Number 2: 7 Days to Die
I have made so many friends playing 7 Days to Die. First I started out with a couple of friends, and eventually I had to host my own server to accommodate them! This game is filled to the brim with nice, helpful players who just want to shoot zombies and have fun. 7 Days to Die has been in the alpha stages for a whopping seven years now, and because of that, the Fun Pimps have gotten themselves somewhat of a negative reputation for how long the game has been in development. However, when playing with friends, this game has a lot to offer, especially with the new content and graphical improvements implemented in alpha build 19. The amount of things to do keeps all of your friends busy. Be it with mining, farming, or protecting the homestead. Take on horde after horde of the undead in this open-world first-person survival sandbox. Call your friends, grab some weapons and ammo, and prepare for day seven. Gathering your bearings before the horde comes is important, but it won’t be easy. You and your friends will need to be prepared to craft your own tools, the shirt on your back, and even guns, because many of the weapons you’ll need are only found in gun shops and military bases. You constantly need to reinforce your walls, upgrade your turrets, and find better weapons in order to handle each horde as the balls to the wall action grows more intense with every horde! It’s a big world out there! Lots of loot to find, cities to explore, and zombies to kill! Why not do it with friends?
Number 1: Project Zomboid
In this isometric zombie survival simulator, you and your friends will find yourselves in a zombie-infested Knox county, Kentucky. Create your own survivor, picking one of the many professions you were before the zombie apocalypse, such as a carpenter or doctor. These professions will impact your base skills, such as building shelter, or treating people’s wounds. Additionally, you get to choose positive and negative traits to further boost some stats, and give your characters certain weaknesses. In order to survive, you’ll need to steer clear of the cities, because the zombies come in terrifying numbers, ready to eat you and your friends alive! In Project Zomboid, you have to manage anything from your survivor’s basic needs such as hunger and thirst, to sleep, and even depression or a smoking addiction. If these needs aren’t met, the consequences could be deadly, as when your needs aren’t met, your accuracy and strength could be reduced, on top of your character becoming more and more panicked. Unlike in 7 Days to Die, you really shouldn’t take a hack ‘n’ slash or shoot em up approach. If you aren’t careful, you’ll easily become overrun and have to fight through hundreds of zombies. Instead, the best offense is a good defense. You should be avoiding the zombies and hole up somewhere out in the country, far away from any semblance of what used to be civilization. Once you’ve established a home, you can start working on a farm, barricading the windows and doors of your shelter, and even building alarm systems. But be prepared. Once the electricity and water shut off, shit starts to get real.
All in all, these are my favorite games of the year, but Project Zomboid takes the cake. I’ve had a blast bonding with friends over these games, and I can’t wait to play even more! As always, let me know your thoughts below! I would love to know what you and your squad are playing.