Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition impressions

EXOR Studios zombie slaying driving game made its way to next-gen this week with its release on Xbox One in the Ultimate Edition with all the DLC included from the original PC/XBLA/PSN release plus a few other additions and technical improvements that come from putting the game on a next generation console.

The story is based around a zombie infested city and a driver who needs to complete objectives (rescue people, destroy things etc) to help contain outbreak by assisting the military. You start with a taxi which you can upgrade and gain access to other cars as you progress through the story such as a limo, police car, bus, military stuck, ambulance and sports car, there are 15 vehicles in total which gives great variety for all the modes and objectives. You get cash for completing missions, getting big combos and destroying things which is then used to upgrade the weapons and vehicles. The vehicles control differently as you’d expect when using a smaller car like a taxi compared to a stretch limo which is a nice touch, they also have their own strengths and weaknesses too.

Gallery_08In terms of weapons you can get 4 choices: flamethrower, machine gun, rockets and rail gun. I’m really not a fan of the flamethrower, it feels weak (even when upgraded) and doesn’t do much, I like the machine gun and the rail gun the most, the rail gun when fully upgraded has two beams and is very powerful, going through buildings and can kill a lot of zombies at a time which is fun to use.

You get ammo and health through pick-ups dotted around the map, if you run out of ammo you can resort to just driving through zombies to kill them which is quite satisfying although you can only do that for two types of zombies – regular dead people and the zombie dogs. The other main one is the bloated/gassy zombies which explode a poisonous green gas you just drive into them (costing you a lot of health in the process) so its better to just ignore them if you don’t have enough ammo.

Gallery_01Once I got playing the first thing I changed was the camera from the standard smart camera which moves around to the static one which I felt made it easier to look at, there’s also a retro camera option (new for the ultimate edition) which brings an old-school fully top-down view but I didn’t really like it and static was my preferred choice.

There is a meaty amount of content in the title to keep people going with 31 missions in story mode, 36 Blood Race Events and 9 slaughter arenas. Personally my favourite mode was slaughter, with the maps bringing waves of zombies, rewards (like weapon and vehicle upgrades) for completing rounds and trying to get high scores is a blast on these levels, I’ve got gold medals on all of them and I’m top of the leaderboard (at time of writing) on the last level with a much higher score than the person below me (a video of that below).

Zombie Driver UE Slaughter HS

Garden in Flames leaderboard

Story mode missions are fun, some are shorter than others but you can just drive around the city destroying zombies if you like which is fun to just cruise around sometimes, each story level has an optional side mission to so there’s a bit more to do as well. The story is light but it’s just there to give you a purpose to what you’re doing I guess which is fine.

Gallery_09Blood race events have several different types of levels that make up a tournament: race, eliminator and endurance (or can be done on their own) to get bronze, silver and gold medals in which are fun in bursts and there are lots of levels to try with branching routes it’s quite hectic but fun too.

I was a bit disappointed you couldn’t play the Blood Races with friends online, I think it would be great to be able to compete with friends in multiplayer and instead of just the scoreboards and some levels have 5 opponents in them I felt this way about Slaughter mode as well, if there was a co-op mode it would have been even better but that shouldnt detract from how good they are on their own.

Gallery_03On a technical level the game received some nice upgrades such as 60fps, doubled the amount of zombies on the streets, improved resolution and other technical improvements (for more see the official blog post). I think the game looks good and the frame-rate holds up until a ton of zombies are on-screen. I describe it like that because it really did take a lot for me to notice the frame-rate drop and even then its still perfectly playable and I only noticed it on the final Slaughter mode level. There’s some screen-tearing at the top of the screen when the on-screen activity becomes more demanding too but its not a huge issue for me, the developers have obviously put a lot of effort into improving how it looks and runs which is shown in the game.

Gallery_06I had a ton of the fun with Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition, there’s a lot of content in the package with separate modes to avoid it becoming repetitive and samey. The achievements are somewhat more challenging than other indie games I’ve played taking some time to complete which adds an extra layer of playability but overall I really enjoyed the game as someone playing it for the first time. If you have played it before the DLC content being included might still be new to you (Blood race/Slaughter mode levels and new vehicles) along with the new coat of paint will give you a bit more to do although I don’t know how much extra you will get out of it if you played the original release extensively.

Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition is worth the entry price and a fun game with plenty of content and one I’d definitely recommend checking out especially if you haven’t played it before.

Review code provided by EXOR Studios

Xbox.com store link – £11.99/$14.99
Formats: Xbox One
Developer: EXOR Studios (self-published via ID@Xbox)

A couple of videos I made:

Slaughter mode – “Garden in Flames” high score video

Story mode – Mission 15