WeView: Driver: San Francisco

Right, that’s quite enough of RPGs for now I think, lets try something a bit different now. With its driving based gameplay and coma driven storyline I don’t think you can get more different than last year’s Driver: San Francisco.

Although seven years separate San Francisco and the abysmally named Driv3r, it’s set just six months later on. Whilst Driv3r may not have been a shining beacon of gaming fun, it was nice to see the series returning to the adventures of John Tanner.

Fortunately Reflections didn’t take much else from the very poorly received third entry in the series, heavily overhauling the mechanics and introducing the ability to shift between the drivers of different cars. That may seem a bit odd but it all makes sense in the context of Tanner’s coma. Well hopefully it does.

Fortunately the weirdness of the game didn’t put Peter off when he reviewed it back in September. Score wise the title came in at a respectable 8/10, something that certainly isn’t to be sniffed that. If you’d prefer you information presented in letters rather than number we’ve got you covered as well.

Driver: San Francisco could have been a bit of a damp squib. It all hinged on the usefulness and implementation of that shift mechanic. Balancing so much of the game’s prospects on that one innovation was a huge gamble for Reflections.

Thankfully, it has paid off and the game’s most risky change from previous titles has become its most useful and endearing quirk. San Francisco isn’t perfect by any means. There will be those that don’t enjoy the distinctive handling of the cars, those that won’t appreciate the humour or the semi-period feel of the environment.

This is a game that is bursting with character and, for those that appreciate a ‘70s soul-and-funk-fuelled power slide through metaphysical pondering, it is a delight.

That’s how things went in the review, but what are your thoughts on the game? Did you feel it fell flat, or did it manage to pull everything together? Whatever your thoughts on the cop-fuelled, coma based driving are let us know in the comments below.

Once you’ve managed to formulate your opinion of the game into some kind of coherent comment, remember to rate the game on the Buy It, Bargain Bin It, Rent It, Avoid It scale. If you’d like your opinion of the game to be included in Monday’s community verdict article then you’ll need to have got everything together by Sunday afternoon at the latest.

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18 Comments

  1. Driver is actually a brilliantly fun, unique driving game with an odd story; I have played Driver roughly around 30hrs in total!

    I have got the game Driver Platinum!

    Driver, the single player, starts off great with stunning CGI cut scenes and the graphics are great! it even has an arcade feel to it.

    The characters followed in the game are fantastic, including the Duo Detectives!

    The new, and unique, game feature that Driver delivers is called a ‘Shift’. It means you can control other drivers in any type of car they are driving. Shift is actually a really great new style to the gameplay as you can do tons of things in Driver and can ‘shift’ as many times as you want. It really is a cool new style; I would like to thank Reflections in doing so.

    I am a huge Driver fan and still play/own the first Driver game on PS1.

    When I first played the demo of Driver SF my attention and hype turned into a waste of time! But, playing Driver the full game itself is far from better than the demo, I was so glad I risked my wallet to get Driver: San Francisco, it is indeed a great game. The story is fantastic with a good plot and the side missions are a lot more fun and addictive. I love the cars in there as there are roughly over 100 cars and you can buy a garage and own these cars, even all 100 of them!

    There are a few great scenes especially driving on the Golden Gate Bridge, so be sure to drive down there ;)

    Now for Multiplayer – The fun doesn’t stop it continues to grow. There is so much fun to be had in multiplayer and it is probably the best bit in Driver: San Francisco. There are 5 types of game modes, but these are locked for a certain levelling up before playing.

    You can buy cars and change upgrades to certain game modes to win or play for fun. The best game mode is Takedown. You and others are cops and the mission is to takedown the player before he/she escapes. If you have played Driver before (PS1) you’ll know the feeling of Takedown, it was so much fun and hard to win on PS1; well this time, on PS3, we are the players, not AI, that is the fun and challenge part of the Multiplayer.

    There are also other modes in Driver which are great to play and levelling up!

    BUY IT

    Also remember it has an online pass!

  2. After playing the demo I knew I wanted to buy Driver but as I already had quite a few newish games at that point I decided to wait. I’m glad I did with a big price drops it had (wish I got the collectors edition with the toy car!).

    I have to say that I think the game is very well executed. Yes the cars don’t drive like real cars but that is part of the fun. This isn’t a free roaming GT5. It is more GTA but focussed on the cars and in-car missions.

    I love being able to roam the streets in a vehicle and picking little challenges. Or in turn continue with another part of the story. It is very easy to spend either 10 minutes playing or two hours depending on your mood.

    As for the shifting, when I first heard about the idea, I thought “WTF?!? That is just wrong!”. But someone on twitter (maybe Crazy_Del!) was raving about how good it was. And after the tutorial in the demo I was sold. The idea works brilliantly in most scenarios as well as being key to the story mode. It stops this being just another arcade driving game. Without it the game is just above average.

    And best of all Driver:SF has the best split screen multiplayer I have seen for ages! The co-op modes are brilliant! Car chases with your team mate, shifting into trucks coming the other way to try to create a massive head on collision with the bad guys! Endless fun.

    Quite simply BUY IT! It is that cheap new that it is a no brainer.

  3. I enjoyed the demo, so I’d decided that I was buying the game but wasn’t in any particular rush to buy it so I decided to Bargain bin it. I’ve now just completed the single player and enjoyed every minute of it, and with the 140 vehicles available in the single player career mode there is a car, van, pick up, bus, lorry or refuse cart that’ll suit everyone. You do get used the the car handling and Shifting mode almost straight away, I enjoy the handling and Shifting mode personally. Online play is where the game also excels with loads of event types and variations of the Shift mode to play with as you reach certain EXP levels these new modes unlock, you can quick shift back to the original car without targetting also Shift a vehicle into the path of the opposition for a head on and target impulse an opposition vehicles when the meter has built up to full to send it spinning. I’m still trying to learn these new modes in online play but there are full tutorials in the online freeroam to practice with.
    The game really is great fun and an original concept that I would certainly recommend, good times ;)
    Verdict has to be BUY IT, but as the the price is now so low even a buy it price is actually a bargain bin price.

    • The tutorials mentioned are available in the online menu, not freeroam as that is only available in single player…just to clear that up! :P

  4. One of the best driving games i have played this gen – A bold claim, but one that is true. It’s up there with Motorstorm Apocalypse, Split Second & Dirt 2 for me!

    I was initially concerned about the shift mechanic (which turned out to be absolutely brilliant in the end) & especially about boost being ‘up’ on the analogue (which turned out to not be as much of a pain as i thought), but other than that, i was keen to see how the title had progressed from the PSX days.

    & i was not disappointed – A helthy blend of old school precision driving & new school open world mania made this a great title for me.

    Buy it (it’s dead cheap now).

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