There’s just no escaping zombie games. Game developers have pumped out countless titles that force the player to fend off the flesh-eating horde in spectacularly violent ways. Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition is a vehicular combat title set in an overrun city, where you must drive to survive. Even if the port is packing all of the DLC, it’s not enough to justify its shortcomings.
First of all, an apology. Sorry, but the U.S. military can’t get you out of the danger zone. Fret not, as the boys in green are kindly offering you refuge in a military outpost, providing you help them out. You can expect some passable voice acting and writing in this, though the unskippable cutscenes can be a bit of a time-waster, especially when you’re replaying levels.
For a 2012 game, it looks decent. The game captures the gritty, murky look of a post-apocalyptic world quite well. The same can’t be said about the lackluster gore effects, and the pathetic squeaks you hear after mowing down a crowd of walkers makes it more irritating than fun. It’ll take a bit of time to get used to controlling your car, regardless of which camera option you use. Anyone who is sensitive to motion sickness will want to stick to the ‘classic’ top-down perspective, as the other options shake the camera a bit too much. On the plus side, it runs at a steady framerate with no noticeable graphical issues.
In the story mode, the army will give you objectives to fulfil: areas need clearing out, civilians require rescuing, zombie-spawners have gotta go, etc. Specific goals require you to kill all enemies within a set area before parking on a green circle. Problem is, the flesh-bags will keep entering the area right after you clear ‘em out, so that can be a pain. Bonus objectives offer money, upgrades, additional vehicles and paint jobs, and are nice little distractions.
Your to-do list is never particularly daunting, and having to complete these samey-objectives can feel a bit repetitive after a while. You’ll play the occasional mission where you need to drive an army truck or a tank, in an attempt to break up the tedium. Sounds cool, right? Not so. The harsh reality is that these slow, sluggish vehicles are about as resilient to damage as the normal cars, and the fact that they’re missing the nitro boosters – unlike the aforementioned normal ones – makes riding them around feel like a slog.
Maneuvering through the city’s gardens, alleyways and streets is a lot of fun, particularly when you’re racing against the clock. Most fences and obstacles can be smashed through; not even cars can keep you back. However, there aren’t any other reasons to explore every nook and cranny due to a lack of collectibles or easter eggs. At least you won’t have to stray too far to find pick-ups, as they are fairly plentiful and respawn in a short amount of time.
Money can be spent on upgrades to improve the stats (armour, speed and ramming) of each car separately. The meagre selection of weapons on offer pack a hefty punch, and can also be upgraded to hold extra ammo and deliver more damage, regardless of what vehicle you use. Using your rechargeable nitro to squish the crowds is a good way to save some bullets, though chances are your vehicle may be pulled to a standstill by overwhelmingly large crowds of walkers. Most of them aren’t too threatening, except in large numbers. The suicide bombers are the ones to look out for, as they can take out chunks of your health bar. Otherwise, the rest aren’t too frustrating to deal with.
Outside of the campaign, there are two additional game modes to try out. While the Slaughter mode is a brain-numbingly dull battle against relentless waves of reanimated corpses, Blood Race stands out as the best mode in the entire game. There are three game modes: race against other drivers, kill them for points, or keep driving for as long as possible before your vehicle blows up. While the AI will put up a fair fight, the real challenge comes from trying to grab gold medals in order to unlock additional tournaments, maps and vehicles to use. Adrenaline-filled races and high-octane chases are guaranteed in this one.
There’s not a lot of punch to Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition. Turning the undead into slurry isn’t particularly satisfying, no thanks to its sparse armory and the forgettable missions, but zipping around the large map can be quite fun. Unlockable and upgradeable vehicles are a nice inclusion, and do encourage a bit of experimentation and playing around. The additional game modes are a mixed bag, with Blood Race being a lot more thrilling and exciting than having to fend off waves of enemies in the drab, pitifully easy survival mode. On the whole, Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition is a bit like a straight-to-DVD zombie movie: a decent romp with some fun to be had, but sadly riddled with many unignorable flaws.