Locations of story critical missions are highlighted in gold while Tanner surveys the city from his bird’s-eye perspective, with side missions highlighted in blue. The player is free to choose missions and there is never any particular impetus for the plot to be progressed. Indeed, simply cruising around San Francisco in one of the game’s many licensed vehicles is engrossing enough, if you’re of a mind to simply chill.
Hello John, got a new motor?
That said, mission types carry enough variety to keep you engaged – races, pursuits, dares, stunts, escorting and even bomb defusal all making an appearance, demanding the use of Tanner’s shifting in slightly different capacities. There’s even the occasional humorous touch; a shift into a brand new Audi for example prompting the passenger, the daughter of the driver, to thank her dad so much for her “sweet-sixteen present”. Cue Tanner inevitably writing it off by slamming it into the back of his prey. Alas, we don’t get to see the resulting conversation once Tanner leaps out again, but hey, you can’t have everything.
Liberally scattered across the city are a number of garages too, places at which further cars can be bought and Tanner’s additional powers (turbo boosts and increased ramming power) upgraded. All of the missions you’ve already come across can also be re-entered here, perfect for anyone looking to beat their best times or else complete a previously unattainable objective.
Includes flight simulator...
With such positivity it’s easy to forget that the game does have its flaws. Anyone looking for a ‘proper’ driving experience will find the handling of cars arcade-like to put it mildly – though, that said, it’s more convincing than GTA’s driving for example. There’s also the annoying tendency for mission critical takedowns to be showcased by the game’s engine. It looks pretty, yes. But taking the control away from you, even momentarily, sees your car go careering into the nearest barrier with alarming alacrity; so prompting yet another restart.
Driver San Francisco is a game that could have all too easily failed in its inception, with its unique selling point dismissed as just a gimmick, like so many poorly thought out and badly implemented ideas before it.
Thankfully, the game's developer, Ubisoft Reflections, was given time to get the formula right – over four years. It's a commitment that shows in the quality and just downright fun that pervades Driver San Francisco, a game worth taking the time to explore. ®
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Call of Juarez:
Ubisoft Driver San Francisco
In one police chase I just sat still and the police drove right past.
Sounds realistic to me.
I've been playing this and it's… odd, but great fun
Now, I've been with the Driver series since its PlayStation debut, spending many a happy hour thrashing around its various cities, and the one thing that immediately comes across is that the handling model is identical to all the earlier games, with the emphasis on generous cinematic power slides over the pig-boring understeer that Gran Turismo specialises in. I'm not sure how far in I am, but the ability to mucking about on side missions so far seems to be making the story mode more disjointed than previously, but there's a wit and charm to the voice-acting once you return to the story, and very recognisable style to the cut-scene animation (although LA Noire has now kicked the bar for that so high that you can't help but be disappointed by anything else).
I would take issue with the representation of San Francisco: I've driven around the actual city a lot, and this digital replica loses the sense of narrowness of the downtown streets in favour of giving you space to do those power slides. But there isn't actually a road running round the coast past Fort Point, I haven't managed to find Union Square let alone Market Street, and where the hell are the trolley buses? Still, I suppose that's all explained away by Tanner's dream-state recreation of the city. ..
The Shift mechanic really takes a bit of getting your head around, but it opens up so many different mechanics to completing various missions, and it's enormously rewarding when you find some obtuse way of solving a problem using some other vehicle. Far superior to the clumsy on-foot shoot-outs that peppered the last two instalments. A game that doesn't take itself too seriously and is all the better for it, and there's a rumour that the last level sticks to the traditional Driver policy of being virtually impossible.
Any mention of
the DRM on this title? Is it always on connection like other UBI titles?
Streets of SF
Ok so ware is the crazy drivers? the cabbies that dont give damn? The folks running lights? The cops driving the wrong way and not giving a damn ? Ooh and were is the critical mass holes? Can I get extra points for running them down ?
Or £24.99 on Amazon and you get a free box and coaster. Steams prices are a joke.