Blood Drive review
Too much flesh for this needle


Before I get started, keep in mind, I have not experience online play yet, mostly due to the fact that nobody else seems to be on when I am. As a result, this review will only cover the offline aspects.

Surely it can't be too bad...
Here's Blood Drive in a nutshell, folks - destruction derby with weapons blowing each other up in battlefields littered with legions upon legions of zombies. Already, you're thinking "damn dude, this sounds stupid", and all I have to say is "well, no shit, this isn't 'reading a book while sitting on a recliner next to your fireplace', this is 'total *bleep*ing mayhem'!" Seriously, you can talk shit about how mindless it might seem and is, but... you know what, this game isn't too good. It lives, breathes and smokes mediocrity. Nothing ever really stands out as fun or good, nor is there much you could consider bad; just mediocrity all around the place.

Turning a ghost town into a battlefield.
Las Rulettas was once just some town with a lot of casinos, bars and other gambling joints. Now it's a battleground for vehicular combat. Yeah, not much in the way of a storyline, but games like this don't really need one. No cutscenes or any of that crap - just cars destroying each other. Hell, the game doesn't really tell you diddly squat!

Blow cars up and run over zombies.
The game is set out like a tournament, with many events leading up to the final. The basic objective is to blow up the other cars before you get blown up. Sounds simple and easy enough, and the choice of vehicles is just as simple - you like bulky yet slow cars, or fast yet thinly armored vehicles? That's the choice you have to consider... oh, no, actually, there's also needing to choose what sort of tweaked packages you want - love the idea of double ammo and weapon upgrades, or are you more of a rageaholic with a hard on for random weapons and an engine upgrade? The choices are yours as you begin each event...

There isn't much variety to be had in the three different modes. There's a mode which has you driving to each checkpoint; one which is like a combination of capture the flag and king of the hill - essentially, it's to see who can hold the skull the longest (hint: if somebody else has the skull, ram into them - it's all yours until the computer gets you back); and finally, there's the one you'll be investing most of your time in - the one where you shoot up zombies and other cars. You're given six arenas, which have some stuff that make them stand out, with buildings in some and one essentially being one big circle while one takes place outside an airport, but after a while, every single match feels exactly the same no matter what arena you're on. In the end, it's only the aesthetics that are different, because each match has the same objective, and the AI rarely changes - they might be a little trickier or bigger pricks, but other than that, it's all the same crap, and it starts getting pretty boring...

Before I continue describing the gameplay, I have to warn those who may actually want to buy this game that the steering controls are bloody sensitive. Just the slightest tap on the left stick will have you car essentially do a u-turn, or at least something close to it. This is especially annoying when you're using the faster cars, and even more so when you're getting smacked around by bulkier cars, because while doing about 200 u-turns, you'll probably smash into something and end up in a compromising position, ready to be blown to bits. Add onto the fact that there's no lock on button, and you'll probably miss a lot!

Speaking of weapons that'll probably hit the walls more than your opponents due to the shitty controls, the weapons you'll get to use include drunk missiles, a rail gun, harpoon launcher, mine layer, and the ever-useful mini-gun which makes quick work of droves of shamblers (or the more powerful zombies, if you will). The bigger guns are definitely best used to clear Behemoths (big zombies) or other competitors. The six pick ups available are two kinds of Repair Kits, Boost, Unlimited Rage, Invulnerability, and Unlimited Ammo, all of which can help in keeping you alive and destroying everything quicker. At least each of them unique icons and colors from one another so you can easily identify them from a distance. I mean, they could've been pricks and, you know, make them look the same...

So what we got so far is that it ends up getting boring, and the controls are slippery, but at least the power ups are there. What else? Well, how about a lazy single player? Instead of trying to make each tournament seem different in some way or give us some short campaign with different storylines depending on the character chosen, it's all the same... except how many events are in each. Whoopee. I sure got myself one humdinger of a boner.

Here's a major problem that might seem like a minor inconvenience at first, but later on, it prevents you from wanting to finish the game - in order to progress, you must come first in each tournament. At first, you'd be like "OOH YEAH BLOOD DRIVE LET'S TAKE IT NICE AND EASY" because each of the earlier tournaments have like 4 events each, but later on when there gets to be over 14 events in each tournament, forget it; unless you can master some of the loosest driving controls and get a feel for the oftentimes shitty framerate, you aren't about to come first, and these tournaments can take a least a couple of hours to go through the whole way - weeping tends to commence at about the 5/6 mark where you probably won't be coming first. Now, I can tolerate and even enjoy this in games like Alex Kidd In Miracle World or any other fun and legitimately challenging game that has to be beaten in one sitting, but in this situation where you have quite a few of these whose appeal inevitably rivals that of the electric chair, well, it's going to put you right to sleep, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Rotten carcass alert.
Blood Drive looks and performs like crap. The textures are pretty minimal, only giving each of the environments and cars a little texture, but not too much, and the colors, although plentiful in some cases, have that desaturated look to them, like it's all depressing to look at... well, then again, this is post-apocalyptic, supposedly, but this just seems a little too dull for that. It's like I'm playing a PS2 game like Dark Cloud, except this has lots of framerate issues. There is hardly ever a moment when the framerate is consistent in a good way... oh, when it's consistent, it's shocking, and even then, it's only for a bit anyway. It might sound like I'm exaggerating, and maybe I am a little, but trust me when I say that it gets really annoying. It's like they didn't even finish it - hell, it's like they just spent all their time finding ways to drag the single player mode on further and further!

Yeah man let's rock out!
The music you'll listen to consists of pulse pounding rock, with some guitar riffs here and there that is meant to make the events more exciting. Now, the soundtrack itself manages to do the job well enough, though only maybe a couple of songs you'll listen to throughout are worth remembering. The rest are pretty... well, let's just say that if you listen to a lot of rock and metal, these tracks won't seem too memorable. As for the voice acting, it's cheesy enough to not take too seriously. The actors sound like they're having a bit of fun behind the microphone, and you won't be able to help but share in it with them – the announcers, especially. They could use a fair few more lines, but what they deliver is just awesome.

Driven to success or failure?
Now... in a vain effort to cover my ass, Blood Drive actually tried to be a good game. What it really comes down to is that it overstayed its welcome. The graphics also suck and the soundtrack is nothing to really sing out loud for, but even if you had gorgeous graphics and an ass kicking soundtrack for this game, it'd still be boring to go and finish. If anything, it would've worked better as a downloadable title with way fewer levels, more polish, a more lenient way of progression (in which if you come in the top three, you progress, and first place just nets trophies), and with more reason to purchase it so that there'd be more people playing it online. It's just the only way this game would work better.

Story: 2/10
None at all, and if there actually was some, it's just filler. Don't care either way.
Gameplay: 3/10
Has a nice concept going for it, but then it just becomes an exercise in giving a shit as you start to fall asleep. Not terrible, but nothing exciting either... oh, and it gets worse as you progress, so keep that ritalin handy - you're bound to get bored. Should've been, at best, a small downloadable title.
Controls: 5/10
Driving can feel pretty loose. Everything else isn't half bad.
Graphics: 3/10
What the hell, I thought this was released in 2010, not 2001! Very dated visuals ahoy! Oh, and the framerate likes to skip beats very often. Bad for these kinds of games.
Sound: 5/10
Forgettable soundtrack, but the voices for the announcers are cool enough.

Overall: 3.5/10

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