I vaguely recall playing the first two Driver games back on the original PlayStation console. I remember the Driver 3 getting a real negative reaction when released on PS2 a few years back, too. So, I didn’t jump at the chance of getting this, until I started to see some positive gaming reviews for this and finding out about a unique gaming mechanic that I think might be interesting to explore.
Driver: San Francisco storyline is basically a homage to the television series Life On Mars, beginning as our main character John Tanner suffers a traumatic incident and the game appears to play out in some kind of coma dream. The beauty of this convuloted story premise, is that Tanner is able to shift is aural body between drivers of vehicles at a whim, making for some exciting gameplay and racing around the streets of San Francisco.
The great thing of the game is that the main story can largely be ignored, as the player can simply drive around to complete the numerous small challenges that are scattered around the map. Indeed, you really are required to do some of these challenges in order to upgrade your abilities, purchase vehicles/garages and even progress through the larger story, eventually.
The driving mechanics are excellent, in terms of feeling in total control of the your vehicles and its power and speed. I think Driver:SF has the best drifting experienced in any racing car game I’ve played. To fly around corners at top speed, hand-brake turn and drifting back into the correct lane of traffic has never before felt as exciting and smooth.
For the most part, the game itself is not hard and you most likely only fail a mission due to lack of preparedness or malfunctioning of the game’s AI. Collectables in terms of finding movie reels opens up special bonus missions or re-creating famous car chase scenes from film & television. I really loved this feature.
Driver: San Francisco is a great experience, and sure the story is kind of wacky and unbelievable, but the game is pure fun and well worth experiencing. An under-rated game that is well worthy of attention!
score: 8 out of 10.