I have to admit that when I picked this game up on Steam, I had never even heard of it, but the name alone instantly filled me with expectations for a cheesy, B movie experience. But did it deliver?
Graphically speaking, Zombie Driver HD is fairly decent looking but not exactly what I would call breathtaking. Textures are fairly decent and are saved from any up close PC gamer scrutiny from the game’s top down, GTA2 style perspective. The graphics, while completely functional, aren’t anything special, but they do a nice job of painting the picture of the (very) familiar scenario of a world ruined by zombie apocalypse.
As you might expect from the title, this game is heavily focused on driving and not once do you see the face or hear the voice of the main character, it’s all about the different cars, which are unlocked as you progress through the game. You start the game with a Taxi, which is obviously the worst of the vehicles, but as you move through the game you gain access to sports cars, trucks, and even tanks. The driving controls are functional, for the most part, but they did leave me feeling frustrated from time to time.
There are several points throughout the missions where you have to take out a certain group of zombies in order to get to some survivors, and I often found myself having to laboriously turn around (and with the taxi’s rather wide turning circle, this is no quick feat, even with the use of Nitro to help you out) just to target the last few stragglers and having what should have taken two minutes take forever. This is the game’s main source of frustration, as there is no way (as far as I am aware) to target a particular zombie and focus fire. You just fire straight in front of you, meaning that the car has to be lined up pretty much perfectly to make the shot.
The other elements of the gameplay, such as the different weapons and pick ups, add a nice slice of variety into the game but are hardly a breathtaking innovation. In the half an hour or so of gameplay, I saw an automatic machine gun, flamethrower and some kind of rocket/grenade launcher. Each obviously has it’s own rate and method of fire, meaning that the bloody slaughter of endless zombies does have some spice to it. The ammo on these pick ups runs out very rapidly, but they are fairly common and, even if there are none around, you do have the option of simply mowing through the zombies, although this does damage your vehicle of a horde surrounds you.
Unfortunately, even the direct running over of zombies lacks any real punch or impact, leaving the combat feeling flat. I am unsure as to what makes it lack this much needed feeling of meatiness, as especially when you run the zombies over, they explode in a rather gory shower of blood, but it just does not feel satisfying, and that is the main thing that places this game firmly in the category of “meh”.
If the combat had more punch, if it left you feeling satisfied after slaughtering an entire town’s worth of zombies, I would say that it might be worth purchasing for some silly, enjoyable fun but the lack of any real meaty combat or original ideas leaves this, to me, as an avoid.
If you want to take a look at the gameplay and combat in action, take look at my video below.