Call it mainstream, call it overplayed, call it whatever you like: I still love zombies. It was with an initial intrigued raise of the eyebrow, therefore, that I met the announcement of Blood Drive
. Running over zombies in a myriad choices of vehicles was something that sounded potentially fun in a maniacal, cackling-crazily kind of way.
Unfortunately, I was immediately met with great disappointment when I loaded up Blood Drive on my PS3 and chose my first driver/car combination: Jackson and his Moonshiner. Entering the tournament which consists of seven cups, I sifted through the eight options of drivers to see which suited my taste more. The Moonshiner’s unique “rage” ability was a shockwave, and the handling statistics seemed fairly balanced. I’ve always preferred to race in a car that wasn’t too specialized in one area over another (acceleration, speed, damage, etc.), and Jackson shared my like for rocket launchers.
In addition to these set statistics on each driver/car, players are given the option for various load-outs before each zone. Tank, for instance, gives your vehicle double ammunition when you pick up weapons on the field while other add-ons will increase your impact damage.
Each cup essentially follows the same zone line-up. There will inevitably be a match for killing the most zombies, a demolition derby to wreck the most vehicles, and a fairly standard race. Ultimately, I attribute this game’s disastrous outcome to two faults. The first fault is the most noticeable: the handling of the cars. I was not a particular fan of any of them, as they all felt like a fight against the controller. Given that the entire game is played behind the wheel, this is a glaring fault.
Rigid maneuvering aside, the second fault was that the game was simply trying to be too many things at once. At the forefront, Blood Drive is a zombie-ridden game. There are even different forms of zombies, like larger mutated ones that are tougher to bring down (read: they take more times being run over to die). Switching gears to the checkpoint races, however, the zombies are almost completely ignored. They still flood the levels, but save for the few getting caught on my front grills, I was never attempting to hit them however urged I was by on-screen messages that in doing so I would refill my rage bar. The demolition derby also seems to ignore the zombie theme and opt for a taste of Burnout given the emphasis on vehicular destruction.
Although the idea of what essentially feels like multiple game modes put into one cup seems like it would keep the gameplay fresh and interesting, they ultimately lack harmony with one another. This is particularly an issue because you are not able to switch vehicles mid-level. You therefore have the same vehicle you might have pre-selected as a good racing machine to use later in tackling other players who might be riding in enormous trucks in the demolition derby. That does not seem sensible to me.
Blood Drive took the fun out of racing/driving games, as well as the fun out of zombie-themed games. I am a big fan of both of these genres/themes, but the combination of the two in Blood Drive felt forced and unpolished. The experience culminated in more of a chore to complete each cup, which consists of various zones and events within them. Playing multiple events on one map also gets very tiresome, as the maps are definitely not entertaining enough to warrant several back-to-back revisits.
If you are insistent on trying the game, I suggest the only semi-useful character: Superstar. His car favors acceleration and steering, and therefore makes up for the stiff and uncomfortable controlling of the other vehicles. Regardless, Blood Drive takes two traditionally fun video game concepts (racing and zombies) and combines them for a terrible recipe of boredom and frustration.