Review: Zombie Driver
What are the implications, I wonder, of naming a game Zombie Driver . The pleasant surprise at knowing that my driver was not a zombie (more a sigh of relief) was shown to me by the title screen where Zombies are attacking my car (supposedly) in a run-down city.
As one the last few survivors in a city that is cordoned off and due to some weird bureaucracy reason they can’t let me out but they can pimp my car out with really big guns and nitrous. So the General in charge of the cordon can’t send his soldiers in any more and can’t let me out yet so this is the time people usually make deals, in this case that I help him out (by killing zombies, of course) and he will deck my car out with all ranges of destructive ordinance.
Before I dived into the first mission I was actually trying to figure out how to zoom in and out as the camera angle gave a very restricted view which really ticked me off, due to the fact that you can barely see what’s coming your way – right until just before it hits you right in your windshield with a big SMACK – that is. You get the reminiscent feeling of playing one of the earlier GTA’s, but with the added zombie factor, which is not too bad, but it can really mess with your head when you are doing doughnuts to kill zombies (Now we know why, if you don’t read the interview below. So hopefully the camera will be fixed soon).
On this note, the firing system is weird to say the least. I understand they might want to limit where you shoot by allowing you only to shoot in the direction your vehicle is facing but I mean honestly it wouldn’t kill anybody (cept the zombie) to have the weapon mounted on the roof for a small price and then allowing it to have swivel action.
The first mission is simple enough: drive up to target zone, knock/ram down some zombies pickup some people and it’s off back to the base. You would expect to have a variation in the missions because as they say “variety is the spice of life”. Literally, all the missions are just going to a target zone and ramming all of the zombies down. I won’t lie it feels good to just mow down zombies (risky at times), but a time challenge or delivery/escort mission would mix the things up thus taking the game a long way.
At the beginning of the next mission I got sent to a garage area where I got to upgrade my vehicle with said promised guns from the General . In the garage area you can choose between other cars or upgrade your car with speed/damage/tanking ability. Thing is, each car is different in that some would cater to speed and others to space. A really big oversight is the lack of any form of radar/GPS. Most people expect this in games, be it a upgrade or a simple feature which would save you from going on really long annoying trips off round and round the merry go round.
Where the flaws anchor the game down this really cool feature adds more to the game and this is there combo system, the more zombies you mow down the more it builds up the combo which finally gives you more money. So, the better you are at powersliding over then ramming into and finally giving the zombies a quick dose of bullets in quick succession the more money you get.
You may very well end up with oodles of money or you might end up poor as a pauper. You could either use your cash to just upgrade all the cars or just put into the one car that is special to you. Oh wait scratch that, as you upgrade the guns for one car it seems to work on all the cars quite mysteriously. I would have expected that when you buy guns it would apply to the car you buy it for and not work on all cars, but it seems they managed to not make the mistake with the upgrades. As you upgrade on car it stays on that car alone.
The storyline is a cheap one, think of Resident Evil and you have whole story line with a slight twist at the end. Nothing that really makes you want to save the people, more the opposite at time I mean I drove right across a zombie infested town and I don’t even get a thank you.
The night mod, is the add-on mod for the game which increases the difficulty of it. What it does is simply turn the whole game into night allowing you to see with your headlights and that is all. Nothing new, no guns or missions so well the slight difficulty of driving even more blindly while spinning with your lights on could induce a epileptic attack (so caution please).
Sadly the second game in a row that I came across with no multi-player. Not even a most basic circuit racing with some zombies running for fun, or tag team zombie mowing which I rate would be most just to see who could reach highest amount of zombie kills.
On the whole a game which I would recommend it to most people who do not mind the mindless ramming of zombies. If you by some chance want a plot you are out of luck, story is thin and that is if you do not count the usual zombie conspiracy.
An important note is that since their is no difficulty scaling meaning there is practically, aside from the Night mod.
Ok, you could try to play for the few achievements but that is it. There is constant development in the pipeline so we can expect most of the problems to be fixed and hopefully at some point a nice sequel.
I hate scoring Indie games but if I were to award it a score it would be about 80%. Reasons:
- No multi-player (big minus for me)
- Camera problems
- Same mission style over and over
To sum it up: If you enjoyed driving around in the earlier GTA’s then you will enjoy this. If you enjoy mindless mowing down of zombies you will enjoy it.
A short interview with Pawel Lekki
1) What inspired you to make Zombie Driver? (where did you derive your inspiration)
The concept was created by Tomasz Tulikowski when we decided to make a small arcade game with lots of fun. We had a bunch of ideas but finally we decided that Zombie Driver is the best one. It’s a mix of the old school GTA1 and Carmageddon with some new and unique game play features. We have also taken a lot of inspiration from D.I.P.R.I.P. – a free mod created on the Source Engine that was released some time ago on Steam.
2) What audience are you targeting with this game?
The game is meant for the mature audience. We think it appeals to players that enjoy action arcade games. Zombie fans will surely find some unique features in Zombie Driver that have never been combined in such a way.
3) Can we see add-ons/expansion packs in the future?
Yes, we are definitely going to support the game. We are expanding modding support and have already released a darkness mod in which you can play the whole game in a night setting. We are already working on a patch with more camera modes, gamepad support and some options to make is compatible with older hardware configurations. On top of that we will be adding new game modes that will be free to download. You can expect a lot more fun with the game besides the main story mode.
4) What do you see Exor games doing in say 5 years from now?
This is a very far perspective and it’s really hard to make predictions. The games industry is constantly changing. It’s hard to tell how digital and retail distribution will look like in 5 years as well as no one is sure about the console market’s shape in that perspective. One thing that we can say is that we will try to make our games the best we can. We have some neat ideas for really cool new games that not necessarily feature armed vehicles or zombies :)
5) How would you describe Zombie Driver?
Zombie Driver is a really fun arcade game for action/driving fans. Nice snack for a good price that you can play between the blockbuster heavyweight titles.
6) Comments on the fact that there is no in game mini map and lastly the bad camera.
We are taking all criticism very seriously. New camera modes are coming in a patch very soon (hopefully still this week) along with gamepad support and some rendering options to make it more accessible on low-end hardware. A minimap will be added in a second round of patching.