Human psyche is a funny old thing. It makes us crave different things as individuals that gives us our own unique identities. Things such as candy cotton pinks, unicorns and rainbows or cars, speed, explosions, blood and even zombies! Whatever our cravings or tastes, you can be largely guaranteed that you’ll find what you’re looking for within the various genres of video gaming. There’s the cutesy and charming, the intellectual puzzles and for those who crave all of the above high-octane thrills, there’s Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition as it splatters a release onto the Nintendo Switch.
Developed and published by Exor Studios, this now, ten-year old game has seen a number of significant changes since its original release on the PC platform, from a new graphics engine to high-definition sharpness and frame-rate optimisations; all of which has transitioned over to this Immortal Edition made exclusively for the Switch. All previous DLC is also bundled, including The Apocalypse Pack, Tropical Race Rage, Burning Garden of Slaughter and a series of Brutal Car Skins for extra personalisation and customisation. You’re essentially getting the whole updated version in a complete, neat package that you can take on the go. So, what is Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition? Well, read on and I shall reveal all.
In basic terms, the game plays as top-down shooter in an early GTA-style. In other words, from a bird’s eye view, you control a variety of armoured vehicles through the streets of a huge, free roaming city, as you complete a series of missions, objectives and sub-quests; all within the setting of a huge zombie apocalypse. There are three modes of play to choose from: Story, Blood Races and Slaughter. Each of the modes revolve the same central theme and core mechanics of its gameplay, but each one possesses its own individual elements to help mix things up a bit. In fact, you get a lot of content within this game, from over thirty-one story missions, epic boss fights, thirteen different vehicles that can be equipped with up to nine upgrades, a series of thirty-six races that incorporate classics, eliminations and endurance and a wave-based survival mode that takes place over nine arenas. Whew!
The game’s story mode charts the events that follow the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse. Being one of the survivors of the aftermath of a nuclear accident, you begin running a series of missions under the duress of the military. You start out with a yellow taxi, although its paint and liveries can be upgraded and changed, and set out to complete a series of tasks that can range from rescuing survivors, defending installations from invading hordes, transporting dangerous cargo and taking on a series of boss-types or destroying nest sites. There’s never anything here too complicated or difficult to work out, with the overall objective always revolving around driving to a set location and killing everything around. It’s a simple and basic premise, but one that has been executed particularly well to produce some genuine moments of fun and excitement.
To add an extra layer to the proceedings, each of the missions also come with a number of parameters, from completing your task within a set time limit to killing a specified number of zombies. This in turn, along with successful mission accomplishments, awards you with monetary gains that can be used to upgrade your vehicle with stronger offensive and defensive capabilities. Certain missions can also reward you with further cars, expanding your garage to include sports cars, limousines, firetrucks, bulldozers and even a tank. The action here is suitably fitting, from meaty explosions, blood-splattered gore and tight controls that gives you a high degree of accuracy within the manoeuvring of your chosen vehicle.
It all adds to create a level of gameplay that can be quite satisfying, although the ugly head of repetition can rear itself, despite the game’s best efforts to mix things up. It’s initial wave of exciting can soon fade as you trudge through the crowds of infested humans after level after level. Although there are a variety of zombies, vehicles and weapons, the gameplay does begin to grind after a while, making this a game more suited to a casual style of play. It’s perfect for a quick burst of excitement, but can begin to falter over more extended play. Its reasons were something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, whether it be the repetition of a constant wash, rinse and repeat style of play, or the game revealing too much of its content too soon. Whatever the reason, there’s definitely something here that just feels….missing.
Its other game modes do bring a touch of variety, although none of them hold the same level of engagement as the main story component; although they do hold enough on their own to make them standalone additions. The Blood Race Mode contains a series of racing events over a pre-determined course within a boundary of the story’s city. There are three separate events: Classic, Eliminator and Endurance. Classic is all-out racing, but to spice things up, each vehicle is outfitted with a variety of weapons and the streets are filled with zombies. Eliminator tasks you with taking out as many vehicles as you can before a timer runs out and Endurance plays in a time-trial style where your vehicle contains a ticking bomb and you must race through a series of checkpoints in order to extend its time.
Slaughter mode plays like a horde mode, with you driving around the streets of the city taking out as many zombies as you can. Set within a series of arena-style levels, you pick up a variety of weapons and health and mow your way through the gathering crowds of zombie types. Again, each of the modes on offer do hold their own and can provide some form of entertainment, although over the long-term they still contain the same level of repetitive gameplay and dwindling of interest over extended periods. Whatever mode you play though, this is explicitly a single-player affair only. There’s no multiplayer element, either in a couch or online capacity, although there are leaderboards that you can compare with your friends. It’s a missed opportunity really, as a multiplayer element would have significantly ramped this game up further and added an extra layer to it playability and long-term appeal.
Overall, Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition isn’t a bad game at all, in fact it’s quite hard to dislike and does contain something that draws you back in; but it’s best played as a casual game in short bursts, as extended periods do begin to grind after a while. All of its play modes do hold a certain level of engagement, with its main story campaign holding a lot of satisfaction with its meaty mechanics and a variety of elements. It performs well and looks particularly good, especially during the night missions, although its overhead view can be a bit disorientating at times with its constant spinning as you handbrake-slide to continuously move back and forth as you mow down the impressive crowding of the zombies. However, if you’re looking to satisfy your need for cars, speed, explosions, blood and even zombies, then you’ll be sure to find all that and more within this high-octane ride of a game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Zombie Driver- Immortal Edition Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
Zombie Driver: Immortal Edition brings a blood-fest of vehicular mayhem that’s best played in a casual style.