With the announcement of Rage 2 today, gamers are discussing the Mad Max inspired art style and post-apocalyptic world. While the first Rage flew under the radar, especially in comparison to Bethesda’s other post-apocalyptic series, there are many sleeper hits within this genre. Everyone knows Fallout, Borderlands or the thousands of Zombie apocalypse games, but there are some genuine gems that either didn’t receive enough recognition from gamers despite good reviews, or were harshly criticised like Rage. Here’s a list of the best post-apocalypse games you’ve never played.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in September 2015, this action adventure game was heavily overshadowed due to the Oscar winning film release Mad Max: Fury Road earlier in May. While Mad Max doesn’t live up to the extremely high expectations set by Fury Road, it is still a solid post apocalypse game. With an emphasis on vehicular combat and exploration, Mad Max is exactly what gamers should expect from a Mad Max game. The harsh Australian desert is a perfect setting for the bleak but adrenaline fuelled world that Avalanche Studios developed. Players are given a huge amount of customisation options, allowing for them to custom tune their approaches to stealth, the Arkham Asylum style melee combat, and most importantly their car. In order to build the perfect car, known as Max’s Magnum Opus, players will learn to conquer this desolate desert land.
Fallout 1 & 2
While the Fallout series popularised the post apocalypse genre in 2008, it is fair to safe the majority of gamers have never experienced the first two. This is a shame because, although developed by Black Isle Studios as topdown tactical RPGs, as opposed to Bethesda’s first-person shooters, the spirit and charm of Fallout was firmly established in the first two titles. The quirky sense of humour, whacky nuclear apocalypse scenarios and the insane RPG customisation were all first made by Black Isle Studios. Fans of the Fallout series will appreciate the distinct ‘Fallout’ tone while RPG fans will be impressed with the ridiculous control players have over the game and how their decisions impact the world. A perfect example of both of these is the ability to make the game almost unplayable if players give their character low intelligence, because all dialogue in the game is changed to reflect your character’s battle with language and communication.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture
In the past few years, there has been an increase in Adventure-Exploration games. Games like Gone Home, Firewatch and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter take a minimalist approach to gameplay to give players a deep and emotional story. One such standout is The Chinese Room’s Dear Esther, released first in 2008 and commercially in 2012. While this popularised and established the foundation for the renewed genre, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is its spiritual successor. From The Chinese Room and God of War’s Sony Santa Monica Studio, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is the least apocalyptic game of this list. However, the feeling of isolation and solitude is almost overbearing if not for the rich tale it weaves in its explorative gameplay. The heartbreaking journey to the end of the world uses its relatively tamer tone to highlight the beauty of humanity that is lost in an apocalyptic event like the Rapture. It is bold but definitely worth playing.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
The Stalker series is not only the best post-apocalypse survival series you’ve never played, the best shooter series you’ve never played, and the best horror series you’ve never played, but also the best series you’ve never played. It is the inspiration for this list. While the third game in the series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Shadow of Chernobyl is the best introduction into the series. Set in a world where the radiation of a second Chernobyl disaster has mutated all life into horrific supernatural abominations, the player must hunt down the truth of the world and their own identity.
The creativity of developers GSC Game World is on full display as every aspect of the game, from its deep combat, rich story and unique design, is perfectly executed. As a PC exclusive, available on Steam, many of the issues with the original release, such as bugs and pretty dated graphics, can be completely fixed through community mods. Fans of the Fallout series will appreciate the more serious take on the nuclear apocalypse, while shooter and RPG fans have a generous amount of content to seek their teeth into. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl isn’t just a must play for fans of the genre, but a must play for gamers everywhere.