Is Driver: San Francisco going to be any good?
Driver, a game that redefined what racing game genre, came out years ago on the Playstation One. It had amazing graphics for the time, great controls, and a storyline that would rival the cop shows that were going on back in that day. Years flew by, with every other year or so a sequel coming out. They changed the formula very little. Why change something that was already so great?
Driver: San Francisco was announced awhile back. People kind of groaned because the Driver before sucked butt. San Francisco was Ubisoft Reflections chance on bringing the series back to life. It seems that it just might work.
A few months after the events of Driv3r, it is revealed that Tanner and Jericho survived the shootout at the end of the game. Jericho is transported to San Francisco in the back of a prison truck and Tanner follows him there. Jericho escapes, overpowers the guards, and hijacks the truck. Tanner pursues. Getting stuck in a alley, he is forced into the front of a tractor trailer. The crash leaves him in a coma, where the game takes place.
One of the games latest, and most key feature, is what is called shift. It allows Tanner to shift from car to car and continue the mission that way. Car about to die? No problem. Just switch to any car in your vicinity. However, be warned that it’s not unlimited so be careful. You recharge by doing stunts, driving into traffic, and just being as destructive as possible. Shift can be ungraded to be more distant. Think of it as a Google Earth in terms of how it works. Just find a car you want, click, and its yours.
The game is said to “return to the roots”. It’s true. With that comes top notch controls over the cars. I feel like I’m actually driving it. The cars have a variety of weights to them rather then every car feeling the exact same. Getting out of the car returns in this game, but I’m not certain to what extent that will have later in the game. It just feels tacked on with shift now in play. However, the game can be finished without ever having to use shift. I’m assuming a achievement will go along with that.
Playing through the demo I noticed something that shocked me. For the first time ever in the Driver series, there are licensed cars. There are over 120 of them in the game, ranging from golf carts to muscle cars. They all felt exactly as they should, from the look right down to how it sounds and handles.
The sounds of the cars is top notch. I turned up my speakers at one point only to see that when I revved the engine, the floor vibrated. It left tingles all throughout my body.
Multiplayer is now available for the first time, but seeing as it wasn’t in the demo, I can’t comment on that at this time. At this point, however, only two modes have been announced. Trail Blazer, which allows you to follow a AI-controlled car for points, and Tag, which is exactly what it sounds like.
The demo was excellent. It looked great, ran nicely, and left my wanting more. I am definitely adding this to my wish list for this season, which seems to growing with each passing day.