Cars, guns & zombies. For lots of people that will be all they need to know. Three of the most popular gaming tropes of recent years, all mashed together in a game that can only be described as a post apocalyptic episode of Top Gear. Ultimate Edition currently available on just the Xbox One is an update of an update. First released in 2009 on PC with the name Zombie Driver and soon finding its way to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, with HD stuck on the end, this latest version includes everything previously released with the extra sparkle of a full 1080p 60fps presentation.
Played from a top down perspective much like the old Grand Theft Auto, Zombie Driver puts you behind the wheel of various vehicles from a yellow taxicab, school bus, limousine and all the way up to a tank. These are not just plain old jalopies mind you, a plethora of Mad Max style mounted weapons have turned these once straight forward modes of transport into death dealing killing machines, a sadistic Pimp my Ride. Controls are sharp and responsive, but the camera seems a little too close to the action at times, especially when travelling at speed
Bashing, crashing and shooting your way through the Horde to rescue a bunch of civilians is pretty much your staple mission in game. Drive from A to B, clear-out the surrounding area and evacuate the plebs back to the military HQ. Ammo pickups, extra boost fuel and different weapons scattered across the city all help you achieve this, but it’s still just the same mission regurgitated with the odd huge boss thrown in for good measure. It’s entertaining in short bursts, but not gripping enough for most to want to complete the campaign.
A couple of different modes did extend my interest in ZDUE but not by much. Slaughter mode was definitely the most fun, you’re free to razz around the map like a boy racer, with the aim of surviving for as long as possible against increasingly tougher waves of the undead and mutated. It really is a lot of fun and would have been even better if you could play online with friends. The same can be said for the Blood Race mode, a great idea which brings back fond memories of top down arcade racers of yesteryear, but without any form of multiplayer feels like a hugely wasted opportunity.
Having never played either of the first two versions, I did a fair bit of ‘Googling’ and ‘Youtubing’ and the difference to the graphics of the game seem substantial. It looks fantastic on the Xbox One; the fast/smooth frame rate definitely helps with the high tempo of gameplay. Blood and gore is nicely done with your trail of butchery being marked out by slick red tyre marks. The amount of on-screen action is fantastic if a little overwhelming at times. There is the odd omission, like the load out screen for you vehicles. It seems to be rendered in 4:3 aspect which leaves big black borders down each side of the screen, even sitting a few feet away and having recently been to Specsavers I was straining to see all the detail and really had to lean forward. I’m guessing that this is a hangover from the original version but when so much care has gone into other visuals is a glaring fault which is a shame.
Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition is the best version of a game made in 2009. If you owned or have played with the bog standard original or the HD version there really isn’t enough new things on offer in this version for me to be able to recommend it. However if like me you haven’t played any of the others it offers a fun alternative to the bigger titles currently available. You won’t find yourself sitting down and playing it for hours on end but in short twenty to thirty minute bursts its enjoyable enough. I’m pretty sure that it will be appearing on PS4 in the not too distant future and after that I’m hoping that the developer – EXOR studios, will come up with something that doesn’t rely on cars, guns, or zombies. Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition is a well crafted game, but their reliance on re-jigging the same game for the last 5 years can’t go on forever.
Developer: Exor Studios
Currently available for Xbox one on the Marketplace