A Shift From The Norm!
Driver San Francisco has been a long time coming, its been 12 years since the original Driver was out for the PS1, 5 years since the disappointing Driver Parallel Lines was out for the PS2 and since the PS3 was released in 2007 there hasn’t been a single Driver game. Gotta say though it was well worth the wait!
Driver San Francisco was developed by Ubisoft Reflections and published by Ubisoft. For the PS3 it really does have it all, great soundtrack, excellent graphics and above all a huge range of different vehicles.
One weird thing I found about the game is the storyline. Its about the main character Tanner recovering from a bad crash in a coma in hospital and in his dreams he gets this crazy ability to be able to shift into any one’s body and car. I suppose this has been done to try and better explain what can be done in the game but I reckon they could have thought of a slightly better storyline. In a way its a bit like what Sam Becket used to do in Quantum Leap.
Although the reason behind the shift ability in the storyline is a little far fetched the ability to be able to move straight into different cars is a great idea. At any time throughout the game you press the shift button, decide which car you want to move into and straight away your driving the new car instead. This can be really handy if your chasing loads of cars as you can shift into a truck coming the other way and smash into them head on, then shift straight back into your own car. If you just want a drive round the city to complete the various challenges then you can shift into any car you want to give them all a go. Also if your car has fallen to bits then simply shift straight into a brand new one at any time. Shift is a really useful ability to have.
The handling was questioned by many people before the game was released but I can’t see any problems with it. As with other racing games you’ll need to use the handbrake to drift round corners. Acceleration is done with R2 and brake with L2. The handbrake is quite sensitive but after a bit of practice I found it easy to smoothly drift round corners in almost all vehicles without much trouble.
The soundtrack on the game is really good and features 76 different songs that are a mixture of 70s car chase rock and loads of much more modern music. As the music is all in tune with whats going on it does make you feel like your in a real car chase film.
The single player game play is great, as you are driving round your screen shows the map, your position, your life meter and the speed you are going. You can open the map up more by pressing the triangle button which is great to help you work out where you want to go. There is a massive open world with 208 Miles of map for you to drive around. The game also features a huge 120 different vehicles that you can shift into at any time.
The missions in the story involve stuff like racing round checkpoints, taking down escaping criminals in your cop car, getting away from your enemies and performing different stunts. Most of these missions are fairly easy to do although the odd one may be a challenge and take a few attempts. On top of the normal storyline there is also various challenges that you can find and play on your way round the city, for completing these you are rewarded with coins that you can later use in the garages to buy cars or upgrades.
A nice surprise about Driver San Francisco is the multiplayer mode where up to eight players can compete in classic races, free for all catch type races, take-down and team co-op races. For any racing type game this is a great selection of fun split screen and online multi-player action.
To conclude we would say that Ubisoft have gone all out with Driver San Francisco, in my opinion it’s the best Driver game since the original that was released in 1999. Although the storyline is a little strange at times, the new abilities, excellent game play, fun multiplayer mode and super soundtrack make it a thrill to play and a great addition to the series.