Another Zombie game you say? Surely gamers are getting tired of this trope? Polish developer Exor Studios hopes to offer something different by offering a top down, isometric driving zombie slaughter game, focusing on car combat, with the thrill of bashing into zombies with tons of cold hard steel.
Through a series of hand painted stills, you are given a slight and typically stereotypical premise of a world gone to hell during a zombie apocalypse. In this version, the outbreak is fresh, and you are instructed by a shadowy military figure to get into the fray, do some cleaning up and partake in a variety of missions.
This is how Story missions are handed to you, via a radioed voice over and a text intro. The voice acting is terrible, but this is a minor niggle, as the substandard quality is often entertaining in itself. You are given rewards for completing main and secondary objectives. Bonus objectives can be quite challenging, but add to each level.
Levels can be over very quickly though and the 30-odd mission on offer won’t take too long to themselves other than the frustrating checkpoint and restart issues that seem to extend the life of the game artificially. One problem the game has is that check-pointing can throw you back to the very start of a level if you die. When you have spent one or two minutes travel from this starting point to the objective, this can get a little tedious.
The game suffers from small text syndrome, making a lot of the information in menus a strain to see. In fact the game as a whole can be difficult to interpret visually, as everything looks tiny on screen. This is necessary for the size and speed of your vehicles, but the interface suffers as a result.
However, there is plenty of fun to be had here. Cars have a good weight to then and ploughing through a horde of zombies has a satisfying sense of connection. The cast of zombies that litter each area range from standard shufflers to larger fat zombies which explode upon close proximity. There are also faster zombie dogs and larger boss zombies, but overall the design is largely uninspiring and conventional.
Crowds of zombies slow your vehicle down and traversal of the levels can be a little monotonous and time consuming. This slowdown can be a n issue when navigating your objective, as the game very often requires you to clear a specified area of zombies, with extra bodies shuffling in outside. Because your car needs to be moving, lining up your weapon aim, or the side of your car for ramming, takes time and no small measure of patience. The range of weapons at your disposal is small but each has a different feel and purpose. The flamethrower is good for dealing with larger crowds of zombies which are more spread out, whilst the machine gun is more suited to long lines of funneled zombies.
There are two more game modes on offer aside from the main story campaign. Blood Race, is surprisingly self explanatory. These are simple races against computer racers that follow well established structures. Race around the track a number of laps and use the weapons littered around the track to gain an advantage over your opponents – it really is as conventional as that. This is further bolstered by elimination and endurance modes.
The last mode on offer is Slaughter mode. This is a horde-style, survival test, with a succession of various arenas on offer, more weapons and upgrades and the opportunity to try out combos and chains of zombie slaughter without having objectives to worry about.
The major drawback to these latter two modes, and a huge oversight, is the lack of both local and online multiplayer. There is plenty to do in the game, but it is all for the single player, and why any kind of multiplayer isn’t included is a mystery.
Overall, Zombie Driver HD is a solid and enjoyable experience, certainly better than it has any right to be, though it doesn’t do much to stand out from the crowd and scream for your attention. Anyone in the mood for some mindless zombie slaying in a slightly different way, and partaking in it on one’s lonesome, may find some fun here.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Format: PlayStation 3 / PC / Xbox 360 Release Date: 24/01/13
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Zombie Driver HD for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of seven days on a PlayStation 3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.