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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Ubisoft Reflections

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 6, 2011

 

 

- Shifting between cars is fun
- Lots of side missions
- Fast paced game
- Lots of vehicles can be purchased

 

 

- Although overall a fast paced game, some side missions can drag
- Handbrake is a little too sensitive
- Silly storyline (some won't mind it, some will)

 

 

Review: Dirt 3 (360)

Review: Pure (360)

Review: Splatterhouse (360)

 

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Driver: San Francisco

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

driver san francisco          driver san francisco

 

Driver: San Francisco (DSF) is another addition to the franchise and a unique one at that. The game begins with big time crook Jericho making a grand escape from prison and our hero Tanner gives chase only to end up in a crash that leaves Tanner in a coma. Tanner is having dreams while in the hospital and this is where the game takes place.

 

In these dreams, Tanner can jump from body to body within a vehicle so he can switch up cars he's using at will. If you've happened to played Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday, it's similar to the body jumping mechanics in that except Tanner is

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always driving during gameplay. Once the game gives you full control, you'll have missions available to you spread all over the map. Complete a certain number of missions and the game allows you to continue the main story.

Every mission begins with a cutscene (unless it's a blue marker which is more of an extra mission). Some scenes are just there to spice things up while others are important.

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The superfluous ones usually contain little silly stories such as raising somebody's heart rate when they see you doing dangerous drifts or jumps while other missions are more focused on things such as filming yourself pulling off a crazy stunt.

 

Being a driving game and all, there's a ton of race-based missions such as your basic "race the other drivers to the finish line," but there are also solo races against the clock where you have to get somebody to their destination on time and some of these require you to hit certain objects with your car to gain a few extra seconds. (I found these ones to be the hardest.)

 

If you're in a race against multiple opponents, you can shift out and take control of another car (you are not allowed to take over your opponents car) and use it to smash into an enemy or use other methods to your advantage to try and slow your opponents down. It's certainly the most creative racing game I've ever played and this is what separates this game not only from its predecessors, but from all other car games I can think of as well thanks to the game's odd storyline that makes the shifting mechanic somewhat "believable."

There are more missions out there too such as "chase" missions when you possess a police car driver playing hero and aiding the cops on a bust by smashing a criminal and sometimes you'll even find yourself on the other side of the law by taking over a gangster's car to help the bad guy escape so you can gain new leads toward finding Jericho. It's also easy to jump from one completed mission to your next mission using the shift because you have the ability to shift using a bird's eye view of the city. After a while when Tanner becomes more in control with the shifting mechanic, he can zoom out even further to help you reach your destinations even faster. Also, once you complete your first few types of different missions at the start of the game, you quickly gain the ability to charge your car to deliver a nasty bump against an opponent and the ability to use a speed boost without the use of nitros. These come in handy when you're engaged in a mission.

 

driver san francisco          driver san francisco

 

That also comes in handy is visiting the garage. You can use points gained from completing missions as currency so you can buy a ton of new cars or buy upgrades. Upgrades can help because missions do vary in difficulty and some can be a pain in the ass so don't just keep putting them off and thinking you can just make do without them.

Once you need a break from the main story, you can jump right into split-screen multiplayer with a friend.

 

There are competitive and cooperative modes. For competitive we have tag where whoever holds the tag long enough until a bar fills up is the winner. The other guys obviously have to catch up and try to take it from him. Next we have trailblazer where you have to follow the marked vehicle and stay within the trails to score. Whoever fills the score bar first wins. I didn't really like this mode too much. Classic Race is the next on our list and it's pretty self-explanatory. The shift feature is taken away from you though to make it more of a fair match. Sprint is 5 short individual races and the shift is also blocked here. Checkpoint Rush is a mode where you simply must cross checkpoints to score (the checkpoint disappears once one person goes through) so whoever falls behind has to rapid shift to keep up before the other person's score bar fills up from crossing the checkpoints. Now for the co-op modes, we have Go the Distance where one person has to trail the other car (keep inside the lines) to keep replenishing its fuel. The mission is over once one car runs out. Clean the Streets is when you and your friend prevents certain vehicles from reaching their destination, and finally we have Survival where you do the complete opposite and outrun the cops. If you have nobody to play with you can also jump online.

Visually, the game is very impressive. Not only are the cars very detailed, but the large city looks stunning and considering just how big it is, you know a lot of people put a lot of hard work and dedication into this. Tanner and other character models also look very impressive and detailed. With a game packed with visuals this impressive, it's no wonder how it runs so smoothly.

Driver is a well made game and even though I sometimes got bored of doing side missions, overall it was better than I expected. It's a good addition to the series and shifting is a pretty cool feature that maybe not all people will like, but you'll just have to see for yourself.

 

- J'Tonello

(October 24, 2011)

 

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