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Driver: San Francisco 3 PS3 Review - -
Driver San Francisco
Reviewed by
Ash Pinch
Driver San Francisco PS3 Review. Driver focuses on what any game called Driver should, and that is driving, and it does this well and anyone use to arcade racers will feel right at home.

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 8.5
Sound 7.8
Value 8.2
Publisher: UbiSoft
Review Date:
Sep 2011
Ash Pinch


Driver: San Francisco

The Driver series sees its beginnings back on the Playstation 1 and was one of the first games to feature a full city for players to drive around.  This is a series that has definitely seen itís ups and downs, unfortunately mostly downs in recent history.  These days however it seems like every second game released features sandbox style game play and unrestrictive game rules.  Does Driver: San Francisco offer enough old school driving mayhem to please fans of the series but still add something new so that it can stay relevant?

The story for driver has a huge influence on the game play for driver, this is because Tanner it put into a coma early on, this is not really a spoiler, this had been strongly hinted at and is basically revealed within half an hour of playing.  You then spend the rest of the game trying to figure out what happened and tracking down a major criminal, with your sidekick along for the ride.  The story sounds pretty average, the ďand then I woke upĒ kind of storytelling, but it is handled in such a way that will actually allow you to be drawn into the story.

The fact that Tanner is in a coma has allowed the developers to add a completely unique game play element into Driver: SF, Tanner is able to leave his body and hover over the city, and then go into the body of anyone driving another car.  This is certainly unique and can create some interesting strategies, for example, to stop a high speed pursuit you can possess a truck coming in the opposite direction and ram into the car.  You canít do this in any other game, it does seem odd that Tanner canít simply stop the car they are chasing but I suppose he can make up his own rules while in a coma.  Sometimes when jumping into another drivers body you can get involved in their conversations/arguments, on particularly memorable mission involved scaring a driving instructor when giving a student a hard time.  Itís nice that Tanner doesnít seem to take this new found super power too seriously and has time for things like this.

You would expect a game called Driver to have a good driving mechanic, fortunately this does not disappoint.  Each car feels distinct enough for players to develop favourites over time and feel uncomfortable driving other types of cars.  It definitely has an arcade feel to it and this feels just right, you will find yourself sliding your car, or somebody elseís car all over the road.  Unfortunately there is no burnout button as there was in the original.  There are a nice variety of side missions available that will let you test out these different cars and styles.  The game does a good job of getting drivers to try out a range of different driving abilities.  Speaking of driving abilities, Tannerís abilities improve as the game progresses, such as the ability to ram other cars with more force and accuracy.

Driver seems to have a fairly average graphics engine, with minimal shading or shadows really visible.  Character modelling and talking animations do look really good though and this really makes a difference in the quality of the cut scenes.  All the cars that Tanner is able to drive having fully modelled interiors that look good, everything here is as it should be, this adds a lot to the experience.  The world itself can look pretty bland, it would have been nice to have a bit more detail go into buildings, but this is not essential as the focus will generally be on driving.  The whole game has a strange light yellow filter which gives it a real 70ís feel and I liked that , despite it being set in modern times they never felt out of sync with one another. 

Some of the cars featured in Driver are meaty and growling beasts while others are perky and spritely sounding things, both ends of the spectrum are handled well and each car sounds as you would expect.  The radio is nice and really has a 70ís feel without actually being 70ís songs, this aspect was handled nicely and really does add to the experience, weíre not talking about the level of radio as GTA but it never takes away from the driving.  The voice work is also handled well and is complemented nicely by the character animations.  Dialogue can get a bit long in some points but the voice actors do well to try and keep players listening and not skipping through cut scenes.

Driver focuses on what any game called Driver should, and that is driving, and it does this well and anyone use to arcade racers will feel right at home.  If you are willing to overlook the gimmicky nature of transferring into other cars there is a good game in here, you do really have to buy into this completely to enjoy it though.  There is nothing here that will ruin the experience, bar a couple of side missions here and there, and there is a lot of fun to be had.  The story is not the strongest aspect of this game and nor should it be, you canít get out of the car and walk around, the star of the show is the cars and it fits the Driver franchise to a tee.


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