It’s a new week and time for another RipTen Rewind. For the uninitiated, the RipTen Rewind goes back and grabs a game that is more than a year old, in the $25 range and sporting an average rating around 5. The review will be a little more condensed while also taking a look the game’s impact since release, staying power and overall opinion of the title present day. So let’s get our rides gassed up and ready for this week’s high speed edition of the RipTen Rewind.
So in keeping with the thought of last week’s Rewind, this weeks pick is Sidhe‘s Blood Drive published by Activision mid November 2010. The story is pretty simple as you play a character who has survived a zombie outbreak and now will take part in a weekly car combat game show. The characters to choose from, or “Blood Drivers,” each have different abilities like armor, speed handling, etc. If you are thinking Twisted Metal you are not far off, minus cool characters and somewhat interesting back stories. The game carries a campy vibe initially, but this is lost as the title shambles on.
One of the most important things in any driving game is the cars and how they handle. Sidhe must have missed that because these cars all equally handle like either giant rocks on wheels or oversteering maniacs. I didn’t pick my character on the handling, instead focusing on the other ratings like armor and weapon,s because that will be the only difference maker in the end. Even the combat is a loose system and requires massive amounts of swearing to kill an enemy while moving. Don’t forget, you have zombies everywhere, on top of the various obstacles that make up the levels. Things get pretty frustrating quickly, and the computer does not let up for a second.
Blood Drive was not a heavily marketed game and only saw some smaller spots in magazines and such. Activision was really hoping to cash in on the Twisted Metal fans waiting for the newest installment set for the following year. The game sold a total of about a million copies worldwide with the PlayStation 3 right behind the Xbox 360 in sales. This would be considered below average sales, but once you have played the title, the low sales numbers make sense.
The game offers single and multiplayer options. When I originally played this shortly after release, there were a minimal amount of people online and connecting to a match seemed very hit or miss. When I did get into an online game there was constant lag, my opponents being dropped or kicked, and there was no way to tell what happened to them. Single player is a pretty standard affair with some decent game types, including Zombie Roadkill, where the player kills as many as possible; Demo Derby, where the focus is taking out others and Checkpoint Rally, which is pretty self explanatory and easily the most frustrating mode in the game. To extend the fun, there are also variations to each mode, but you would need to play this game for longer than a few hours to get into those, and most, like myself, will not.
Graphics on this title were rough at release and did not get any better with age. Most of the arenas or environments are plain and constantly repeated. The actual zombies not only feel tacked on, but look like someone taped them in frame. Most move jarringly, and death animations are just plain weak. Explosions and other effects are very dull and did little to immerse me in this zombie combat game show. The amount of undead and the action on screen seemed to hold up decently and not slow down the frame rate all that much.
The audio was just ok to be honest. Most of the music and noise seemed like filler; like it was just there to take up space. Much like the visual end, explosions and such lacked the punch needed to seem realistic. Voice overs were less than laugh worthy. You have commentators and characters trying to be funny and just missing the mark completely. The audio, overall, was not horrible but lacked anything to make it stand out.
Cripple Twisted Metal with boring game play, sub par audio and graphics, steal Dead Rising’s shambling masses, cut them out and tape them on screen and you just made Blood Drive. All jokes aside, the game was an attempt at wringing a little more green out of the car combat junkies who also love them some zombies. The idea seems fine, but the execution came off like a game that ran out of money while still in development.
So Chris, what’s the bottom line?
-Zombies are cool and car combat is fun
-The somewhat campy nature of the title initially was cool
-The slowdown when busy on screen was limited
-Zombies are almost burned out, even way back in 2010
-Some of the later tournaments can go hours with no save during
-Graphics were sloppy and already dated upon release
-Controlling of vehicles = nightmare
-Boring level design
-Shoddy multi player at best
You can currently pick this game up for around $15 bucks and even that could be considered a waste of money. The game will appeal to some, and to those folks I say, “go rent Twisted Metal.” You really don’t need the undead tacked, or in this case taped, on to make a car combat game good. When I start a game based around controlling vehicle and that fails, so does the title 99% of the time.