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'[GAME] Driver San Francisco'

This thread has been linked to the game 'Driver: San Francisco'.
Mon 17/12/12 at 15:22:
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,033
The original Driver was and still is a very good game but it had a rather tough opening sequence where you had to prove yourself as a driver. I struggled with this and at one point wondered if I was ever going to pass the test. The bad news is that Driver San Francisco brings that challenge back, the good news is that it is an optional side event... one Iíve yet to pass!

The last game in the Driver series wasnít well received but John Tanner is back behind the wheel for another attempt. Early impressions of the game certainly had me questioning whether Tanner would have been best keeping his car in the lock-up.

The story revolves around crime boss Charles Jericho. Jericho is being transported from prison for trial and Tanner is somewhat edgy about the transportation of his nemesis and watches over proceedings with his side kick, Jones. Jerichoís journey goes according to plan, unfortunately it was his plan rather than the plan of the police. With some outside help, all hell breaks loose and Jericho is free. The end result of the opening chase sequence is a nasty car crash which leaves Tanner in a coma and Jericho still at large.

It is quite a dramatic start to the game but then it gets a little ridiculous. Tanner isnít much use as a main character in a coma and so we get to play out his dreams. The story mode is inspired by news broadcasts Tanner subconsciously hears from his hospital bed. In his dreams, Tanner soon finds he has the ability to leave his body and possess another, an ability which is known as shift. Itís a hard one to swallow and very far removed from the other Driver games. However, by the end of the game you will realise that shifting is more than just an outrageous gimmick.

The game is set in San Francisco, something which should come as no surprise if you paid attention to the title. What will perhaps surprise is just how much of San Francisco is in the game. From the other open world racers I have played, this has by far the largest playground space. The other surprise is just how much traffic is on the roads. The main city centre areas are packed at times needing sharp reflexes to manoeuvre through. Graphically it also impresses, especially the detail of the character faces in the story scenes.

As with most open world racers, you are free to pick and choose what you wish to do. All events are marked on the map leaving you free to pick and choose whether to do story missions or side quests. Exploration is also encouraged with some collectible icons to be found which unlock bonus events. The game is littered with events and each time you progress the story more events are unlocked.

The story missions are familiar Driver territory, the only difference this time round is that when Tanner is undercover it is because he has Ďshiftedí into the body of the driver. Youíll find yourself chasing down other cars trying to disable them, tailing vehicles, trying to escape the police or get to a destination within a time limit. Sometimes youíll have a mix of these. The story is summarised after each chapter as if Tanner is in the station piecing together the clues with Jones. Each chapter starts with a recap which is handy if you have got side tracked by the numerous other events.

With this being an open world setting, you are free to choose your path to the destination. A mini map is there for quick reference which can also be expanded which is very useful for those that want to plan ahead without pausing to bring up the main map. When not in event the shift power becomes useful. When shifting, the view point moves higher which allows you to pick an event at the other side of town quickly without having to drive there. As the game progresses and other areas of the city unlock, the height of the shift increases and it becomes a very useful tool for those that donít want a lengthy drive.

There are other Ďmainí side quests which are unlocked with story progression. These are random events completely unconnected but they are a nice distraction. There is a little story to these missions told via conversation between driver and passenger. With Tanner possessing the driver there is a lot of surprise from the passenger with how their acquaintance is driving and some mildly amusing conversations. With these events you can be jumping into a police chase, or a criminal trying to escape or something entirely more menial. There is a nice bit of variety.

The more you play the more you get to grips with shifting. It is easy to forget about shifting but youíll learn how to use it to your benefit. If you wreck your car it is not event over, you switch to another, but it gets deeper than this. If you are pursuing other vehicles and struggling to keep up then shift to a vehicle further up the road and set off for a head on collision. Some of the race events add a twist with having to get 2 cars over the finish line in 1st and 2nd, youíll be constantly shifting between them.

Other events offer a chance to show off. Youíll be challenged to complete all manner of ability tests. These can cover driving certain distances in oncoming traffic, drifting certain distances or jumping a certain distance. Time restrictions are added as the challenge increases. There are a lot of these events scattered about with plenty of variety to avoid repetition.

A boost ability and ram ability are unlocked early on. Hold down the ram button to charge up a more powerful hit. The boost ability speaks for itself. Both work off a meter which will need to recharge after use.

Events and general driving actions are awarded with willpower points. There is no currency in Tannerís dreams so youíll be spending points instead. Youíll need points to buy garages to start with before you can start filling your garage with the numerous vehicles on offer. The more events you complete the more vehicles there are to buy. Unlocking all cars is going to take some effort. The collectibles unlock bonus events. Extensions to the ability meter can also be purchased allowing for longer boosting or harder impacts with the ram.

Car handling is typical of the Driver games, it isnít Gran Turismo realistic but it is also not so arcade-like that you can swing the back end round every corner, spinning out is easily done if you arenít careful. There are some off-road sections where the car handling is drastically different and more challenging.

Driver San Francisco is a thoroughly enjoyable driving game. It is quite conventional with the shifting but this oddball feature turns out to be rather well implemented. The driving is solid, there is a vast number of events on offer and there is good variety between events. The Driver series is back on track and to my surprise, this is up there with my favourite racing games of this generation.

9

(Note: There is an online mode which sounds like fun but after failing to find a game, it is an aspect Iíve been unable to try.)
Wed 10/04/13 at 16:40:
Regular
Posts: 1
driver has always been a good game but san francisco is better u can fly cos he is in a coma and it an open game so its a brill game
Mon 17/12/12 at 15:22:
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,033
The original Driver was and still is a very good game but it had a rather tough opening sequence where you had to prove yourself as a driver. I struggled with this and at one point wondered if I was ever going to pass the test. The bad news is that Driver San Francisco brings that challenge back, the good news is that it is an optional side event... one Iíve yet to pass!

The last game in the Driver series wasnít well received but John Tanner is back behind the wheel for another attempt. Early impressions of the game certainly had me questioning whether Tanner would have been best keeping his car in the lock-up.

The story revolves around crime boss Charles Jericho. Jericho is being transported from prison for trial and Tanner is somewhat edgy about the transportation of his nemesis and watches over proceedings with his side kick, Jones. Jerichoís journey goes according to plan, unfortunately it was his plan rather than the plan of the police. With some outside help, all hell breaks loose and Jericho is free. The end result of the opening chase sequence is a nasty car crash which leaves Tanner in a coma and Jericho still at large.

It is quite a dramatic start to the game but then it gets a little ridiculous. Tanner isnít much use as a main character in a coma and so we get to play out his dreams. The story mode is inspired by news broadcasts Tanner subconsciously hears from his hospital bed. In his dreams, Tanner soon finds he has the ability to leave his body and possess another, an ability which is known as shift. Itís a hard one to swallow and very far removed from the other Driver games. However, by the end of the game you will realise that shifting is more than just an outrageous gimmick.

The game is set in San Francisco, something which should come as no surprise if you paid attention to the title. What will perhaps surprise is just how much of San Francisco is in the game. From the other open world racers I have played, this has by far the largest playground space. The other surprise is just how much traffic is on the roads. The main city centre areas are packed at times needing sharp reflexes to manoeuvre through. Graphically it also impresses, especially the detail of the character faces in the story scenes.

As with most open world racers, you are free to pick and choose what you wish to do. All events are marked on the map leaving you free to pick and choose whether to do story missions or side quests. Exploration is also encouraged with some collectible icons to be found which unlock bonus events. The game is littered with events and each time you progress the story more events are unlocked.

The story missions are familiar Driver territory, the only difference this time round is that when Tanner is undercover it is because he has Ďshiftedí into the body of the driver. Youíll find yourself chasing down other cars trying to disable them, tailing vehicles, trying to escape the police or get to a destination within a time limit. Sometimes youíll have a mix of these. The story is summarised after each chapter as if Tanner is in the station piecing together the clues with Jones. Each chapter starts with a recap which is handy if you have got side tracked by the numerous other events.

With this being an open world setting, you are free to choose your path to the destination. A mini map is there for quick reference which can also be expanded which is very useful for those that want to plan ahead without pausing to bring up the main map. When not in event the shift power becomes useful. When shifting, the view point moves higher which allows you to pick an event at the other side of town quickly without having to drive there. As the game progresses and other areas of the city unlock, the height of the shift increases and it becomes a very useful tool for those that donít want a lengthy drive.

There are other Ďmainí side quests which are unlocked with story progression. These are random events completely unconnected but they are a nice distraction. There is a little story to these missions told via conversation between driver and passenger. With Tanner possessing the driver there is a lot of surprise from the passenger with how their acquaintance is driving and some mildly amusing conversations. With these events you can be jumping into a police chase, or a criminal trying to escape or something entirely more menial. There is a nice bit of variety.

The more you play the more you get to grips with shifting. It is easy to forget about shifting but youíll learn how to use it to your benefit. If you wreck your car it is not event over, you switch to another, but it gets deeper than this. If you are pursuing other vehicles and struggling to keep up then shift to a vehicle further up the road and set off for a head on collision. Some of the race events add a twist with having to get 2 cars over the finish line in 1st and 2nd, youíll be constantly shifting between them.

Other events offer a chance to show off. Youíll be challenged to complete all manner of ability tests. These can cover driving certain distances in oncoming traffic, drifting certain distances or jumping a certain distance. Time restrictions are added as the challenge increases. There are a lot of these events scattered about with plenty of variety to avoid repetition.

A boost ability and ram ability are unlocked early on. Hold down the ram button to charge up a more powerful hit. The boost ability speaks for itself. Both work off a meter which will need to recharge after use.

Events and general driving actions are awarded with willpower points. There is no currency in Tannerís dreams so youíll be spending points instead. Youíll need points to buy garages to start with before you can start filling your garage with the numerous vehicles on offer. The more events you complete the more vehicles there are to buy. Unlocking all cars is going to take some effort. The collectibles unlock bonus events. Extensions to the ability meter can also be purchased allowing for longer boosting or harder impacts with the ram.

Car handling is typical of the Driver games, it isnít Gran Turismo realistic but it is also not so arcade-like that you can swing the back end round every corner, spinning out is easily done if you arenít careful. There are some off-road sections where the car handling is drastically different and more challenging.

Driver San Francisco is a thoroughly enjoyable driving game. It is quite conventional with the shifting but this oddball feature turns out to be rather well implemented. The driving is solid, there is a vast number of events on offer and there is good variety between events. The Driver series is back on track and to my surprise, this is up there with my favourite racing games of this generation.

9

(Note: There is an online mode which sounds like fun but after failing to find a game, it is an aspect Iíve been unable to try.)

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