The 10 Best Post-Apocalyptic Video Games, Ranked

Make like it’s the end of the world with these killer Xbox and PlayStation titles.

Attack on Titan has finally gotten its North American launch and it’s putting us in the mood for more catastrophe (or you could try these tips from our friend, Craig Robinson.) 

Here’s a list of the top ten best post-apocalyptic video games you can buy. Busting out any of these Xbox or PlayStation titles will definitely scratch even the worst world’s end itch.

10. Attack on Titan

Based on the Japanese anime that made a splash stateside, Attack on Titan is a game that fleshes out a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been savaged by awful, humanoid giants. The final remnants of humankind barricade themselves behind three walls and train a legion of cadets like you to battle the man-eating monsters using only a killer set of agility-enhancing gear and, presumably, a huge set of brass balls.

9. Mad Max

The granddaddy of the apocalypse genre, Mad Max got a namesake video game last year as a tie-in to the Tom Hardy reboot. Unlike most games based on movies, Mad Max is a surprisingly excellent outing in the desert wasteland. Unsurprising for a Mad Max game, it’s chock full of intense car chases, bloody battles and piles of minion bodies all set in the bitter, unforgiving desert that is as much of a character in the series as Max himself. 

8. Motorstorm: Apocalypse

Of all the games on this list, Motorstorm Apocalypse integrates its apocalyptic landscape into gameplay more than the others, using the same natural disasters that ruined the West Coast world as obstacles in the high-octane racing. So when you’re speeding to make the jump over a freshly opened crevasse or you’re drifting around an incoming hurricane, you’re reminded that the apocalypse part of Motorstorm Apocalypse is there for more than just show. 

7. Rage

From the publisher that made Fallout – they’re a morbid bunch over there – Rage is a blend of first-person shooting and frankencar driving set in a world turned vast desert badlands, courtesy of an asshole asteroid. Rage’s excellent high-points are dragged down by lots of fetch missions (people in the waste are so damn needy) but it’s still a stand-out for a game that does the wasteland right.

6. Spec Ops: The Line

Equal parts psychological mindfuck and bombed-out city warscape, Spec Ops is a disturbing gorefest of three soldiers on a retrieval mission through the sandstorm-ravaged remnants of Dubai. It’s a situation that’s bound to occur when the wealthy elite of the Emirates decide to bail out on the city and leave the lower castes to battle it out. Thankfully, as the military outsider, you’re armed to the teeth when you’re dropped in but survival or sanity are hardly guaranteed.

5. Metro 2033

In Mother Russia, subway is home. At least it is for the survivors of the nuclear winter in Metro 2033, where the populace has taken to subterranean dwelling to avoid the radiation, dark ones, Fourth Reich and Red Line Stalinists on the surface. It’s almost as bleak as The Last of Us but we really blame that on the fact that the game takes place in Russia more than the post-apocalyptic setting. 

4. Telltale’s The Walking Dead

Zombie apocalypse, plain and simple. Telltale always dishes out a story in a terrific and highly-stylized way, with choose-your-own-adventure choices at every turn. Their epic (and continuing) take on the Walking Dead’s world is a favorite of gamers and fans of the show alike since it supplements the show but can stand on its own as a complex and emotional character-driven plot. Plus, who doesn’t love a future where everyone is doomed to be a mindless, brain-eating bag of meat? Well, besides this girl.

3. Gears of War

The cornerstone Xbox series has a long lineage and plenty of tearjerker moments but we’ll take the first game and the introduction of the Locust and the story of how humanity itself scorched planet Sera over any of the rest. Suiting up as the burly COGs was a high point among games where the world has gone to shit. In fact, it still is and that’s why we’re excited Gears of War 4 is coming later this year.

2. The Last of Us

Naughty Dog Studios’ masterpiece is a moody cross-country journey where isolation is almost as crushing as the fungally-mutated remnants of the citizens. Even the hope of a cure only makes the situation more of a pressure cooker. Of all the games on this list, The Last of Us’ world is the bleakest and seems like the least fun to endure in real life. The game itself, on the other hand, uses that awful apocalyptic landscape to tell a story of a magnitude rarely achieved in video games. Hopefully they don’t ruin that brilliance when they make a sequel.

1. Fallout 4

The entire Fallout series would qualify for this list but we’ll give credit to the fourth entry because it’s one that continues to reside in our gaming rotation. It also continues to get a ton of love from its wasteland-loving studio and fanbase with mods, DLC and, later this year, the VR treatment. That makes Fallout 4 the closest thing you can get to actually living in a world ruined by nuclear holocaust…short of building your own fallout vault, that is.