Zombie Driver Review

Highway to Hell

Fact File:
Developer: EXOR Studio
Players: 1
Platforms: Xbox One
This Review: Xbox One

Recently on the Xbox Live store, for Xbox One, Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition took a price cut. The top down GTA London'esque driving game was previously selling for around £11 ($14) but in a recent sale was being sold at around £3.

 As this game is not  much more complex in both its gameplay and its delivery of story than a simple free web browser game, these sale prices are horrifying. Indeed we're seeing a trend in which Microsoft seem to feel games like Roundabout warrant an £11.99 price tag on their store, and roundabout is the same sort of quality as the $1 indie games on the 360, and it is indeed laugh out loud ridiculous. The price tag I mean, not the game. Seeing these basic and primitive games and admittedly being intrigued, is instantly soured by these absurd price tags. However the point is, Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition was semi-reasonably priced, and relatively intriguing so I snagged it.

Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition is a console port for the Xbox One and is described as a vehicular combat game set in a, you guessed it, Zombie apocalypse. The game was developed by EXOR Studios initially for the PC and was later, obviously, successful enough to warrant console ports. The game is kind of reminiscent of that old school GTA London look, a top down perspective of your vehicle and scenery, and includes some old arcade style pick ups that rotate on the spot. Essentially this game is a post apocalyptic Crazy Taxi game.

There are a selection of modes to choose from when purchasing the title which do well to add variety to the game and increase replayablity. The three modes are: story, blood race, slaughter.

The story is pretty self explanatory, you have a story mode which incorporates voice acting into the action and breaks up the mindless zombie killing with some contextualizing structure.The military is unable to enter the infection zone to evacuate building still harboring survivors so the player's role is to drive around the sand box areas and collect survivors. There are portions where areas must be cleared before completing a survivor pick up, crates are collected in place of survivors (supplies) and structures must be destroyed. Overall the story is not very engaging in terms of narrative however the string of objectives is enjoyable.

Blood Race is simply a race gametype where the player can race against AI opponents on a selection of race tracks. Pick up abilities and weapons are utilized in this game mode and so there is a PVE element that can aid in winning races. There is a medal system in which your placing in a race awards you a bronze, silver or gold medal and there is leader board support for global and friends time placement.

Slaughter is your traditional zombie wave survival gametype, with increasingly difficult wave progression. Pick-ups and car upgrades are spawned as rewards for completing waves and players use these to progress as far as possible. This game mode I enjoyed the most, for me it had most replayability, and posed the greatest challenge. Rising through the rankings and achieving gold medals for these survival stages was engaging and enjoyable.

In terms of gameplay there isn't much to it, but that's not a bad thing, the simplicity to playing the game is old school arcade and it works. You have your traditional left trigger reverse, right trigger accelerate functions which keep movement nice and simple and your left joystick for directional movement. That's it and that's what makes it so easy to jump right into and play. Then you have the A button to fire your weapon, B to boost and Y to bring up your map. Minimalism people, don't take it for granted.

There are a selection of vehicles to unlock through-out the story mode and they can all be upgraded with in-game cash. In-game cash is earned from killing zombies, increasing style combos and finding cash pick-ups within the maps. Players can optimize their machine guns, nitro, flamethrower, rockets and railgun and upgrading these factors on one car applies it to all. However armour, ramming and car speed are unique to each vehicle and must be optimized separately. Players can drive in vehicles such as a limo, taxi, ambulance, tank, police car and sports car to name a few and all of which have free alternative paint jobs. Each car also has a capacity for the number of survivors it can carry above the display for how many survivors need saving in the selected mission, which is very handy.

Customization ,in terms of the complexity of the game, is satisfying. You can't expect to be able to customize cars to the level you can in GTA V, and the paint jobs coupled with the customizable upgrades are enough to keep most of us satisfied.

Enemies are your typical weak zombies, strong zombies, exploding zombies. Which would be rather stale and cliche if it were a first person shooter, but it does the job for this title and there are no complaints on that here. The exploding zombies are sure to put you on edge as you tentatively traverse the city with the last slither of your health flashing, as just one collision could end your game with a bang.Additionally you have some boss fights against larger more damaging enemies, which aren't very good, and these tend to be more tedious than enagaging.

Overall Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition isn't a bad game. Not at all. It's an old school type arcade game, genius in its simplicity, engaging in its minimalism. It doesn't spend its time forcing you to have to take a degree in game controls to pick up the pad and play it, it focuses on giving you a wide variety of vehicles to crush zombies with. In terms of Microsoft's pricing, as much as I enjoyed Zombie Driver UE, I don't think the £11-$14 price tag is justifiable. Would I have paid more than £3 for this title? Sure. But I wouldn't stray much further than £6. It's a good game and If you can get it on sale, I recommend it.

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