8 Most Realistic Post-Apocalyptic Games to Play in 2024

Hand-picked for you by a lifelong gamer!


Sometimes, you just have to imagine an apocalyptic scenario and ask yourself, “Would I survive this?”. If you’re like me (you poor soul), then the answer is a pretty hard ‘no’ to every single scenario other than a quiet apocalypse.

Even then, it might be a stretch, though, because I’ve played a few post-apocalypse games and know that there are a LOT of things I’m not built for. 

In the interest of training for said apocalypse or just having a good time, we’ve put together some more realistic post-apocalyptic games.

Of course, apocalypses are never set in stone, so we tried to find a nice variety of world-ending scenarios with varying realities according to what might have caused said end.

From nukes to zombies, there are plenty of possibilities for ways to die after society falls.

Have fun surviving!

8. Metro: 2033

Metro 2033

As if the regular winters in Russia weren’t hard enough, now there’s a constant nuclear winter to live through.

The citizens of Moscow have learned to live, though, taking to the old Soviet Metro tunnels under the cities and surviving in small groups. It’s a rough life, but damn does it make for a good game. While the realities of nuclear war are definitely there, it does take some liberties with what could be born after the world ends.

I can’t stress enough how good every Metro game is, but 2033 is just perfect, in my opinion. It has some pretty tight gunplay, with most guns being scavenged or held together from old army surplus. You’ll want to measure your bullets, though, as you traverse the tunnels because the roving gangs of survivors can be brutal.

The graphics of a snow-buried Russia are beautiful when you eventually step out of the tunnels, but it’s the claustrophobic horror of surviving below ground that really makes the game work. 

While most of the living conditions and aspects of the fall of society, plus eventually rebuilding, are realistic, the game veers a little. You’ll come into contact with ‘Light Ones’, creatures created from radiation. It ends up making things more terrifying, so just be warned when it gets dark.

Also, if the game interests you, check out the books they’re based on by the same name!

Play on: PS4/5, XBOX One/Series, PC, Switch

7. Mad Max

Mad Max

They might as well have named this game Australia Simulator 2050. Mad Max takes all the octane and sand of the original films and transplants them into a more Batman-style gameplay universe. The result is probably one of the most underrated games of the 2010s.

The bombed-out, nearly waterless world of Mad Max is amazingly brought to life. You’ll roll through the desert for miles, blowing up dust behind you and avoiding sandstorms in your custom car. The real joy of the game comes from junking around to upgrade your ride, with the eventual goal of ruling the wasteland’s sources of water and fuel.

The combat of the game has a really brutal crunch behind it, but the realism shines when it comes to car handling and the graphics. You’ll spend hours customizing your car for battle or just speed, and it’s satisfying EVERY TIME you drive out to the desert.

For anyone unfamiliar with the films, don’t worry. There’s really nothing you need to know that isn’t told in the game’s beginning, and the story doesn’t require any sort of previous knowledge. Just get in and drive, appreciating the beauty of a desert apocalypse. Make sure to bring plenty of water and fuel, though.

Play on: PS4/5, XBOX One/Series, PC

6. Frostpunk


People really have a thing for freezing apocalypses, don’t they? Frostpunk takes things a little differently, throwing you into an alternate history in 1886 after Mount Krakatoa erupts. Now, in a volcanic winter, you have to manage a city and gather survivors to weather the frost.

Frostpunk takes a Civilization-ish approach, focusing on being a city builder in different scenarios. Each one gives a different goal or character issue, like managing a survivor settlement or a special shelter originally for the rich, taken over by the poor.

When it comes to realism, the game takes a really hard approach of putting you totally in charge of the worst decisions. You’ll have to create new buildings, gather resources, figure out defenses from the cold, and, on occasion, use a little child labor to make sure everyone stays warm. Also, the graphics, while more of an isometric view, are fantastic.

My only good advice for this game is to be careful and DO NOT mess around when a rebellion starts bubbling. They will absolutely depose you and throw you out in the cold to die with no hesitation. This game is BRUTAL.

Play on: PS4/5, XBOX One/Series, PC

5. Fallout 4

Fallout 4

Nothing quite has the prestige when it comes to post-apocalyptic gaming as Fallout. This isn’t the only time it’s on this list, either, because these games are great. Fallout 4 is the newest in the series, though, and looks fantastic even almost ten years later. Just saying that made me feel like I deserve a senior citizen discount…

Good thing Fallout is still great at any age. The graphics of post-apocalypse Boston are beautiful, finally breaking from the muted colors of past Fallouts. As with any Bethesda RPG, there are billions of things to discover and tons of replayability.

The base game’s realism is mostly involved with the graphics and gunplay, each one having some of the best in the series, but mods can make it a much more intense experience. That said, you’ll still need to think about decisions and how people are living in an alternate-history apocalypse.

Okay, so Fallout 4 might take it a little further than others when it comes to playing with what could realistically happen. That said, with the size of roaches nowadays, Radroaches aren’t a far-off nightmare.

Play on: PS4/5, XBOX One/Series, PC

4. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Genetically engineered viruses are always a fun type of apocalypse because the hubris of man has no bounds. It’s the main premise of The Division 2, picking up a while after said virus has wiped out most of humanity. You’ll play as one of a group of soldiers trying to restore some sort of balance to Washington, D.C.

Graphics are pristine, as usual in a Tom Clancy game, but the real fun here comes from the gunplay. Everything is fine-tuned to some of the best gun mechanics I’ve seen anywhere since Sniper: Ghost Warrior. The world-building is some of the most believable for an apocalyptic scenario, too, showing the rise of factions in a political area.

Good to know you’re set up in one of the nicest spots in D.C.- The White House. From here, you’ll be able to take somewhat of an RTS approach, overseeing settlements, setting up trade routes, and stopping the occasional public execution.

While The Division 2 is okay single-player, it shines in multiplayer. It’s based on a smooth drop-in/drop-out system that allows you to join up with others in their world or yours, playing along to accomplish missions or grab some new loot.

Play on: PS4/5, XBOX One/Series, PC

3. The Long Dark

The Long Dark

Hey, look, more snowy apocalypses! Although not necessarily an apocalypse of frost, the Long Dark takes place in the cold northern wilds of Canada after something shuts off all electricity on Earth. You’re the only survivor of a plane crash, and it’s going to be a really, really bad time if you want to live longer.

In terms of games taking a straight-up realistic survival approach, you won’t find better than The Long Dark. There’s nothing out of fiction here, just you versus nature from the moment you awaken in plane debris.

First things first is finding heat and shelter, then it becomes a battle for survival against wilderness, where it’s not just the cold trying to kill you. I’ve been killed by more bears and wolves than I can count at this point because this game is so damn brutal.

That’s even after having the bugs worked out in early access, this game is just hard as hell. That’s what helps sell the realism, making you keep moving to survive.

I can’t stress how much this game has improved since the first Early Access release I played in 2016. It recently even got a story mode, which is surprisingly in-depth for a survival crafting game. Just try not to get discouraged by your first few tries because it’s got a bit of a learning curve.

Play on: PS4/5, XBOX One/Series, PC, Switch

2. DayZ


My criteria for how realistic a post-apocalyptic game is comes from asking myself how long I would live in the game. Considering I immediately die three out of five times I boot up DayZ, there’s no way I’m getting through the zombie apocalypse IRL. Ten out of ten realism on that front. 

This started as an Arma mod back in the day and steadily evolved into a complex zombie survival game. Maps are insanely expansive, with buildings to explore and nature to hide in wherever you please.

You’ll need to manage literally everything to survive, though, from carry weight, ammo, hunger/thirst, and, on the off chance you’re a bit, infection. Guns will occasionally jam if you don’t take care of them properly, and god help you if that happens while some freshly dead jerks are running up to you.

The shambling corpses might not be real (yet), but DayZ takes realism to a hardcore level for survival. 

Play on: PS4/5, XBOX One/Series, PC

1. Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout New Vegas

Nobody can convince me there’s a better post-apocalyptic game than Fallout: New Vegas. I’ve been playing this game since release day on the Xbox360, and I’m STILL finding new things. It’s insanely intricate, with the realism coming from just how free you are to play your way.

There are all the Fallout fiction staples, of course – ghouls, radscorpions, power armor, etc. The difference that New Vegas incorporates is the hardcore mode, available by choice at the start of the game. This mode gives you requirements for food and water, a more realistic health/injury system, as well as adding carry weight for bullets and quest items.

It gets brutal as hell if you’re not sure what you’re doing, but it’s also one of the best survival experiences I’ve had in an RPG. The game gets so much more complex because of it, requiring you to think through your decisions a little bit more than before. You’re going to die in some really stupid ways, I promise.

Then comes the true fun of New Vegas – the vast amount of ways to play. Max out your explosives and nuke everyone, or just smooth talk your way into being an iron-fisted dictator. My personal favorite playthrough involved maxing out my luck and strength, becoming the strongest idiot in the Mojave.

Play on: PS3, XBOX One/Series/360, PC

About Ross Tyson 15 Articles
Ross is a writer, gamer, parent, and tired adult. They’re from the Southeast US, and have been gaming since their first Sega Genesis as a kid. A parent, they often find themselves playing kids games these days, but makes time for plenty of RPGs, Roguelikes, and anything with the Kingdom Hearts name on it. They’re experts in Final Fantasy lore, and will try any anime game no matter how bad it may be.

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