Review

Zombie Driver HD Review (PS3)

If you want an enemy in your game that players can casually kill by the dozen, but don’t want to risk the controversy of slaughtering people, you can have zombies or robots. In this case it’s zombies, as you probably guessed from the title, and the task falls to you to drive your car through as many crowds of them as possible before your motor explodes.

Perhaps a slight oversimplification, but considering the developer has opted for a descriptive, SEO-friendly title over a more interesting name for its game, it seems quite fitting to boil Zombie Driver HD down to its bare bones.

Blowing something up is a great way to begin clearing the zombie crowds

As always, there’s been some kind of undead outbreak, and there are very few of you left. The streets are teeming with walkers, hungry for the flesh of the unfortunate survivors, so it makes some sense to head out into the horrifying throng with a car wrapped around you.

Viewed from above, there’s a very strong sense of the first two GTA games present in Zombie Driver HD, which goes beyond merely driving around in a city without paying attention to the road signs. The pedestrian crowd is there to amuse you by slickening the roads beneath your wheels, and careless vehicular violence becomes your primary weapon.

The military ask a few favours of you to get things going, though all the missions you take on are essentially the same. You’re given a reason to make a few stops around the city, be it rescuing important people or thinning out a particularly rampant crowd of zombies, before returning to base with as much of your car intact as possible.

Generally speaking you need to clear a specific area of zombies so you can stop your car and collect whoever it is that’s nearby and hasn’t yet developed a taste for brains. A good assortment of weapons, such as machine guns and flame throwers (a personal favourite) can be attached to your car to help you cut through the crowds, but performing doughnuts and power slides over the throng of zombies is still your primary weapon.

There are lots of vehicles gradually unlocked if you stick with it and spend your money wisely

But you can’t rely on simply driving through the mass. Their flesh might be dropping off their bones, but get a crowd of zombies gumming up your motor and you can struggle to push through. A nitro is included when you need to put some more lead in your boots, which gets a stuck car moving again before the slavering attackers make it undrivable. Often enough your ammo will be used on these crowds of undead before you even make it to your objective, but that’s just part of city life during the apocalypse, I suppose.

The carnage during these regular man-versus-zombies skirmishes is excellent, with the superbly detailed environments soon painted dark red with blood and guts. The cars also handle very well, finding that gaming sweet spot between realistic physics and easy access to handbrake turns and power slides.

Where matters slow down a little is when you encounter enemies that take more than one bullet or power slide to die. These boss battles require weapons and that means either driving straight toward them with guns blazing, or lining up your car carefully and sitting there shooting and hoping everything else leaves you alone. Which it never does.

All the highlighted zombies must be eliminated before you can rescue people

The huge and diverse city also goes to something of a waste as you’re never really given the opportunity to drive off into the sandbox sunset, and just please yourself with a zombie-crushing cruise. And with no multiplayer options to add a bit more life to the undead action, once you’ve played through the 30-odd missions the game’s more or less exhausted.

That said, you will have a good time getting through them, and although it might be a good few months or a year down the line, you’re likely to come back for another full play through. With this in mind, Zombie Driver HD’s relatively low price point and reasonable replay value make it easy to recommend, so long as you aren’t expecting something of full retail quality.

Top Game Moment: Power sliding sideways into a crowd of zombies and hitting the nitro button to speed away.

Platform Played: PC

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