TSA’s Top 100 of 2011 – #53 Driver: San Francisco

It’s not just Hollywood that has an unhealthy fixation with conjuring up past glories; old vanguards de-mothballed and wheeled out into the sun, painted anew before being injected with some contemporary flair. Gaming, too, seems to be on a retro-vibe, resurrecting franchises long thought dead and buried, their fans now middle-aged men and women once shaped by these ancient icons; lost gods thought permanently dethroned from a lack of worship.

And make no mistake about it, people worshipped at the altar of Driver.


Ubisoft’s forgotten franchise was an instant hit when it careened onto our consoles back in 1999. It looks pretty awful by today’s haughty and anti-aliasing obsessed standards, but back then the pure joy Driver elicited from its many players from simply tearing around a city, launching through the air like General Lee without the inbreds on board, was intoxicating.

The giddiness invoked from the premise of a modern-day Driver comes from the promise such an endeavour entails. It’s like dreaming about what kind of space marine film James Cameron could make with modern technology, or how a Star Wars film might look now, crafted without the technical constraints of the late 70s (Eh …)

Matching Driver: San Francisco’s updated technical attributes on today’s more powerful hardware is an updated, if not entirely off-the-wall, concept. Set three months after the end of 2004’s Driv3r, good driver John Tanner and woman-driver* Charles Jericho are involved in a head-on smash on the Golden Gate Bridge (you may recall this from the E3 trailer this year). Falling into a coma, the game features Tanner racing around an Inception-esque dream-world in search of, we assume, fellow stubborn chicken-player, Jericho. As this is far from reality, Tanner can shift into any car he wants, as long as his shift meter is adequately charged, of course. Obviously Tanner hasn’t dared to dream bigger.

It’s different, we’ll give it that.

It’s been too long since the last good Driver game. Unfortunately, however, it looks like we’re going to have to wait a little bit longer to spin Driver’s top, as just like its futuristic stablemate, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Driver: San Francisco has been stuck in Bay Area traffic until FY 2012.

*It’s a joke! Women drivers are awesome.



  1. Comas seem to be becoming quite prevalent in Driver, it was a while ago so I can’t remember but wasn’t the main guy in Driver: Parallel lines in a coma for a while also?

    I liked the driver series up until number 2, I don’t know what happened to number 3 but it lost its charm. Parallel lines wasn’t bad but there was too much GTA-ness about it an not enough driving!

    • You liked the series “up until number 2”? So you just liked the first game then?

      • I meant up until number 3 sorry, Number 2 actally expanded really well on the original I think.

  2. Different idea, but i dont think i will like it :|

  3. Driver was one of my favourite games way back in the mists of time. Driv3r was awful though. The series seemed to be derailed by the flashier presence of polygonal Grand Theft Auto games.
    This new one has a lot of potential and setting it in a city I’ve walked around pretty much assures my purchase.

    • And that’s where I think they started to fail with the series in trying to imitate GTA, when they hsould have stuck to what the game was good for, a great oldfashioned car chase game. I’m keeping my eye on this new reboot of the series and hopng it can bring back some of the fun that used to be the firs original dirver games.

      • Lets hope they stick to the ‘oldfashioned car chase’ of the first two games.

    • I’m still recovering from driv3r. Arrgh the flashbacks*rocks back and fourth*.

  4. I really enjoyed Driver 2, was a brilliant game on the psOne. Driv3r was a bit rubbish tho, and Parrallel Lines picked it up a bi and I quite enjoyed it. I do want this game to be awesome, I thought it was out Spring 2011 tho??

  5. That opening paragraph is genius Kovacs, had me grinning from ear to ear mate.

  6. Oi! Who you calling middle aged Kovacs?!


  7. I loved Driver still got the 1st one. I loved the video of it for practicing you know salom, 360, handbrake cross them off – Brilliant.
    Might replay Driver this Christmas spend a lot of time on that than GTA lol.

  8. One of my favourite franchises from my early days of gaming.
    Hope it’s as good, if not better, than the first two games.

  9. whats the picture quote from?, i know it, just cant rememeber it at this time!!

    • Reservoir Dogs – Mr White i believe.

      • aha , thats the one! nice one forrest

      • No worries – Glad to be of service! :)
        Tarantinos first few films were filled with fantastic one-liners!

  10. Driver 1 was epic, could do pretty much anything you saw in the movies :), 2 wasnt too bad. Driv3r was absolute shite, still wondering if there was any creative talent involved in that one.

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