You know the drill, In order to survive the zombie apocalypse you must shoot hordes of zombies and try to survive as long as you can…on foot…that’s 90% of zombie games. Earn to Die brings a brand new zombie experience where you drive as far as you can while running over any zombie in your path.
Summing up Earn to Die is somewhat of a tough task, at its core it’s a physics-racer that has you driving a handful of customizable vehicle across unforgiving terrain. Another aspect is survival cause let’s face it there’s pretty much no way you can beat a course on the first try…nor the tenth. This isn’t because you lack driving skills but more because your vehicle simply can’t handle it. This is where the last piece comes into play–customization and this is truly where Earn to Die shines.
The course designs are excitingly chaotic with jumps, steep climbs that even a Hummer would be terrified of, and many many zombies to drive over. Although the outlook for your survival never looks good you need to man up and trek through each course. You will fail. Don’t fret. With each run you’ll earn a chunk of cash which allows you to upgrade your vehicle…which allows you to progress further. This creates a much more satisfying experience where failing doesn’t becomes frustrating.
The joy of Earn to Die clearly lies in the customization field. Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade: Camaro , school bus, all the way to a massive army vehicle. With each vehicle you can upgrade the gas tank, arm it with weapons, better tires….Hark, there’s more, each vehicle handles differently which contributes to the addictiveness.
Now that I’ve waxed so poetically on the highlights of Earn to Die, it’s time to dim the lights and bring up its weakness. The difficulty. There’s very little challenge in the main campaign. In fact I might go so far as to say that there’s no challenge. If you’re smart on your vehicle upgrades all you have to do is hit the gas, sometimes tweak a few things during the run, and now you can beat the game with little to no effort. The lack of difficulty is rather disappointing and brings down the overall enjoyment.
There are two modes that make up for the lack of challenge (unfortunately you have to play through the whole campaign to unlock them). Championship Mode allows you to replay each stage but with a twist. You’re given a set amount of money from the get-go to spiff up your ride. Everything is at your disposal, but you can afford only a portion of upgrades and this is maddeningly addictive. The other mode is Halloween Mode which just came out the other day. Pumpkins are scattered throughout the course requiring you to really focuses on how you approach each course. Halloween Mode is fantastic and whets my appetite for future updates.
The Bottom Line: 7.5/10 (Good)
Earn to Die is so close to being an absolute must buy but it’s too bad that its lackluster campaign mode drags it down. However the Championship and Halloween modes are worth working towards.