Somehow, Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition achieves the impossible: making driving a car armed with a flamethrower through hordes of undead killing machines in a city overrun by zombies seem dull and repetitive. It's had a 1080p makeover for Xbox One and includes a whole bunch of DLC, but this doesn't manage to hide the incredibly average title poking out from under the shiny veneer.
The top down camera will remind many of the older GTA games but unfortunately makes the game physically uncomfortable to play for long periods, with none of the alternate camera modes offering any real improvement. Graphically, Zombie Driver looks pretty good, but it's difficult to judge, since you'll rarely have time to relax and take in the scenery. Zombies will swarm around your vehicle in their hundreds fairly quickly, looking like armies of tiny ants about to devour an especially delicious sugary treat! The sheer number and speed of the zombies is impressive and immediately makes the game challenging as you realise that you can't simply drive through them all due to the damage they'll do to your car as they throw debris, explode or simply launch themselves into your bodywork. Luckily, there's usually a weapon pick up close by, so soon you'll be firing rockets, machine guns or flame throwers to clear the pesky undead. These killing sprees can be rewarding as you rack up combos for different types of kills, earning you massive points and cash to spend on upgrades for your vehicle.
Story mode has the player rescue survivors, kill giant monsters, take down zombie hives and complete a series of optional objectives whilst catching a glimpse of the dark workings that surround the outbreak. Each level can be attempted several times to improve on your score, earn extra cash or destroy your friends on the leaderboards. It's fairly repetitive but it can be fun to come back to earlier levels once you've maxed out your vehicle.
Slaughter Mode puts you in a small area and sees you kill wave after wave of zombies and collect rewards and power-ups between rounds. As there will soon be seemingly endless swarms of zombies surrounding your vehicle and you'll soon be an unstoppable killing machine, this is the place to really rack up the combos!
Blood Race is a three event tournament to challenge your driving skill. There's the simple 'Race', 'Endurance' (where a bomb is strapped to the car and the driver must survive as long as possible by hitting certain checkpoints) and the Burnout Takedown-style 'Eliminator' round. All three offer all the usual pick ups and items to allow you to burn, shoot or explode your enemies as desired. After each round you will be shown how you performed versus other players on your friends list or worldwide, which adds an extra challenge for the competitive amongst us.
Despite a real effort to add variety to the gameplay through the various modes and unlockables, Zombie Driver is incredibly repetitive and will struggle to hold the attention of hardcore fans of zombies or driving games, as it offers nothing spectacular in either genre. Sure, the developers throw in some different zombie types and some opportunities for clever driving to rack up big scores, but overall the experience is nowhere near as entertaining as the the title would suggest it should be. The most fun can be had outside of the story mode, especially in the tournament gameplay of Blood Race, which keeps rounds short and interesting enough to pack a bit of a punch.
Zombie Driver offers a relatively welcome distraction and can be a fun title to pick up for five to ten minutes at a time. The lack of any real multiplayer and the repetitive nature of the story mode mean that despite numerous challenges to complete and upgrades to collect, it lacks the 'just one more round' appeal that would make it a real contender in the arcade marketplace, though.