Just in time for the Halloween season, Zombie Driver HD is hitting consoles and Steam. This arcade-level release is a straightforward driving game inspired by one of the best. As players drive through a post apocalyptic nightmare, zombies and mutants attack from all sides with an intent to kill you mercilessly. The only tools you’ll have are weaponry and upgrades to your vehicles. It’s a carmaggedon!
I dove into Zombie Driver with no preconceived ideas. Having seen no more than a screenshot, I was surprised to see that the game is influenced heavily by the PlayStation (and PC) classic Grand Theft Auto 2. Using a top-down perspective, Zombie Driver challenges players to drive through zombie hordes to complete various objectives. While far less dynamic than the action within GTA 2, Zombie Driver spends its time making the environments look outstanding and insuring the physics act as they should.
The majority of the missions are spent driving from point A to B, C, and finally back to A, again. There are other variations like missions that involve taking down mutant bosses or enemy spawns. Also, there are a few side missions that add a bit more flavor. There’s definitely nothing innovative in the mission designs, but I wasn’t expecting to see a genre title like Zombie Driver remake the wheel.
What is important for a game like this is the gameplay and the combat. I’ve played a lot of vehicular combat games from the poorly crafted (Auto Assault) to the hall-of-fame caliber classics (any Mario Kart game). The good news is that Zombie Driver delivers combat a bit above average for the genre. Especially when compared to the arcade-class games, Zombie Driver provides the explosiveness and accuracy that is necessary. It was disappointing to see that there are only four weapon choices and that all of these weapons are offensive (where are my flaming oil slicks!). However, the weapons do work as advertised and upgrades make them helpfully more lethal.
Beyond the decent gameplay and the derivative missions, there is a story in Zombie Driver. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it very interesting or impactful. Again, for the genre, I was expecting a whole lot. If you’re looking for Left 4 Dead quality storytelling, this is not your game.
In addition to a story mode, Zombie Driver includes two additional modes to eat up your spare time. Blood Race and Slaughter add non-objective style gameplay to break up the monotony and allow for competition with friends. While Zombie Driver HD does not have online or offline multiplayer, the leaderboards provide enough competition to keep you playing and competing with your pals. I especially enjoyed the Slaughter mode which is identical to the Horde mode seen in Gears of War. There’s plenty to master and the repetition isn’t that bad.
In the end, Zombie Driver HD delivers a simplistic but fun variation on Grand Theft Auto 2 that genre-fans should enjoy. The story is pretty flimsy and the weapons could use some expansion, but gamers looking for a car-combat arcade game should check out Zombie Driver. Especially considering the $10 price tag, Zombie Driver HD is worth picking up.
CraveOnline received two copies of Zombie Driver HD for Xbox 360. Before starting our review, we played through 8 hours of the single player game.