Driver San Francisco PlayStation 3
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Released on 2011
With crime lord Charles Jericho now on the loose San Francisco faces a terrible threat. Only one man can stand against him. He has driven the streets of a hundred cities, spent his whole life putting criminals behind bars. But to take Jericho down, there can be no turning back, and he knows that this may very well be his last ride. His name is John Tanner. He is the DRIVER.
Developed by Ubisoft Reflections, creators of the original title, DRIVER SAN FRANCISCO is the return of the established action driving video game series that has sold 14 million copies worldwide. Gamers play John Tanner, a hardened detective involved in a relentless manhunt throughout the City by the Bay. Thanks to a groundbreaking gameplay feature, players can now seamlessly shift between more than a hundred licensed vehicles, keeping them constantly in the heart of the action. With its timeless atmosphere, unique car handling and renewed playability, DRIVER SAN FRANCISCO offers the free-roaming, classic, cinematic car chase experience.
- The true car chase experience
Rediscover the cinematic driving sensations of DRIVER: loose suspension, long drifts, sharp bends and high-speed pursuits in dense traffic. Drive over 100 licensed cars involved in some of the most intense chase sequences ever seen.
- A relentless Manhunt
Uncover a thrilling storyline in which personal revenge fuels Tanner’s relentless manhunt for Jericho. Follow Tanner's survival race across San Francisco and discover how this chase will bring him to a point of no return.
As Tanner recovers from a terrible crash, he realises he has acquired a new ability that enables him to instantly change vehicles and take control: SHIFT. Experience unprecedented intensity, diversity and freedom; shift into a faster car, deploy civilian vehicles to destroy your enemies and even take control of your opponents’ car to force their demise.
- A car chase playground
Drive on more than 200km of road network, over the Golden Gate Bridge, and along iconic locations throughout San Francisco. Shift from one car to the next and dip into the lives of different residents, a head-spinning array of characters, each with a unique perspective on a city under siege.
- Multiplayer Mayhem
Experience 9 different, frantic and addictive on-line modes, where the SHIFT feature allows players to be anywhere at any time. Ram, tail and overtake your friends in offline split-screen or online modes.
- …And More
Record your best stunts and chases with the Director replay mode to edit and share your movies. Test your driving skills with 20 challenging races and 80 “dares” spread all across the city. Listen to over 60 music tracks with songs from famous artists, not to mention the original memorable DRIVER theme.
"Now, watch this drive..."
After making everyone fall in love on the PSOne, the arrival of Driv3r in 2004 all but killed the budding franchise stone dead. Glitchy and blighted by infuriating mission design that left teeth marks in your controller, the ill feeling it created lingered long enough to ensure that 2006's Driver: Parallel Lines left nary a ripple on the gaming consciousness. But good ideas never die, they just hibernate for a bit, and now Driver is back and ready to leave skidmarks all over the HD consoles.
Long-time fans may be shocked at how things have changed though. Central to this latest sequel is the concept of Shift. This uncanny ability allows you to leave your body, float into the sky, then pop down into someone else - and whatever car they happen to be driving. How is undercover cop Tanner able to do this? He thinks he's had an accident that has given him special powers. We know he's had an accident that has left him comatose. So it's Quantum Leap by way of Life on Mars, with a dash of Google Earth. Not the most obvious entry point for an open world driving game.
Whatever you think of the way this idea has been worked into the story, the gameplay benefits are obvious, even though they do take some getting used to. We're accustomed to playing open world games now, and hunting for the perfect vehicle to commandeer is a skill we've built up over the last six or seven years. What Driver is doing is getting rid of the tiresome routine of "stop, get out of car, wait for better car, stop better car, steal better car, drive away". You see a trade-up, you take it.
Naturally, this changes the way things work for a game based largely around car chases. Since you're no longer tied to any single car, the freedom to body-hop up the street means that tackling missions takes on a strangely tactical edge. Saving time doesn't mean hitting the perfect handbrake turn around a corner, but picking the right cars to take over, and the right moment to nab them. Shift is a finite resource and can only be topped up by stylish driving, so constantly ping-ponging across the map won't be possible. Sooner or later, you'll have to stick with one car and make it perform.
The cars are all licensed from real world models and, crucially for a series where cinematic crashes and stunts are part of the appeal, they all fly to pieces in suitably authentic ways. You'll have plenty of room to experiment with them as well. The virtual San Francisco boasts 208 miles of road, and the city's famous hills and curves make it perfect for Driver's legendary car carnage.
Shift becomes even more mould-breaking once you click over to the multiplayer menu. Ubisoft is keeping eight of the nine modes under wraps for now, but what we have seen is Trail Blazer, where four racers try to stay in the slipstream of an AI pace car. Under normal driving conditions, that would be fun. When everyone is able to hop from car to car, it becomes downright insane. There's no limit to your Shift usage in this mode, and the frantic scramble to leap one car ahead of the pack or to deny a rival that sweet ride that could lead to victory is something we've never experienced in a racer before.
Clearly, between Driver: San Francisco, Split/Second and Blur, the driving genre is undergoing a seismic shift. We'll have to wait until this Autumn to see if body-hopping will be enough to put Driver at the head of the pack once more.
Cops and Robbers
It been too long since wee had a chance to crank up the bass, ease off on the clutch and head across the Golden Gate Bridge on the tail of some really dangerous criminals. Luckily, Driver: San Francisco (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Nintendo Wii) is almost here, and it shaping up to be everything we could ever have wished for. Way back on the original PlayStation the Driver series let you race around massive 3D cities long before GTA ever got in on the act. The latest instalment promises to take things in a brand new direction and we can wait!
The idea is as simple as it is bonkers. Youe Tanner, the franchise classic super-cop, and while chasing down your arch-enemy - the master criminal known as Jericho - youe been caught up in a massive collision. Now youe in a coma, but you think youe still racing after Jericho in your Dodge Challenger. This is going to get really weird.
At the heart of Driver: San Francisco is a brand new hiftmechanic, which allows Tanner to hop out of his body, circle the streets, and then possess any nearby cars to continue his quest. It a brilliant concept, and it ensures that the new game missions are some of the most inventive wee ever seen in a sandbox title. Need to put out the blaze in a burning building? Why not shift into a fire truck and head over to save the day? Is the criminal youe chasing getting away? Shift into an oncoming bus and ram him off the road! Ten minutes into the game and shifting around will be second nature to you. Twenty minutes, and you won want to play anything without it.
Alongside the main campaign missions that see Tanner trying to catch Jericho - while attempting to get his head around what happened to him, of course - youl also be able to shift into passing cars in order to trigger side-quests. Youl get to help a news crew capture some dangerous stunt-racing footages, or maybe hop into the body of a teenager who wants to freak out her driving instructor. All of these missions involve blasting around in fast cars and pulling off some insane tricks, and with the ability to boost your motor into super-speeds along with a special ram move that lets you jab rivals off the road - you should definitely buckle up for some of the craziest battle-racing wee ever seen. The game script is fast and funny, with some brilliant moments as Tanner tries to get to grips with his powers.
Driver: San Francisco has around 140 licensed cars, all of which come with a brilliant fish-tail steering model that taken right out of 0s cop movies. On top of that, the developer has boiled down all the best bits of the city by the bay, offering long, roomy straights through the middle of the downtown district, and hair-pin turns as you head towards the coast. Those famous Frisco hills are perfect for catching air, and the game filled with traffic to shift through, pedestrians to scatter, and alleyways for you to blast down, knocking through fruit stalls and trash cans - just like in the movies.
On top of all that, Driver multiplayer modes are looking very special, too, with a range of game types that play brilliantly with Tanner weird new ability to hop from one car to the next. Along with standard races, Trail Blazer sends everyone chasing after an AI controlled super-car, while Tag turns the playground favourite into a brutal fender-bender, as players chase after whoever is t That only the start: expect absolute carnage as multiplayer heats up, and with so much potential for mayhem, it lucky that youe got a massive chunk of the city to race about in for each mode.
Will Tanner ever wake up? Is Jericho free for good? Can the city take this much stunt-racing? Only time will tell. The Driver series has been away for quite a while, but that just makes a return as good-looking as this all the sweeter. Whether youe come for that cop-movie feel, for the handling of all those real-world cars, or because you love the crazy Quantum Leap-style premise, we reckon youe in for a treat with this one. Buckle up, put on your shades, adjust the wing mirrors, and get ready for some brutal racing it looks like Driver: San Francisco is about to change open world games forever.
In a medium where developers seem increasingly obsessed with recreating gloomy reality, Driver: San Francisco (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii) is a breath of fresh air. Breaking away from the franchise previously super-serious world, the game outlandish plot sees petrol-head detective John Tanner plunged into a coma following a brutal midtown collision. As he lies fighting for his life in a hospital bed, events jumps back in time to just after Tanner's crash, throwing you into an imagined version of San Francisco in which our hero must thwart the devious plans of his mobster nemesis Jericho. The majority of Driver: San Francisco literally plays out inside Tanner's head, which is an odd premise but one that allows for plenty of creative fun to be had.
The rules of the road are very different in Tanner's dream state. At any moment, a tap of a button initiates 'Shift', an out-of-body experience that lifts you high above the streets, allowing you to glide around the city, target another vehicle and swoop in to possess its driver. It's a unique, innovative and generally very well implemented mechanic that's the basis for loads of exciting gameplay. Your ultimate goal is to track down Jericho, hunting peripheral members of his gang before finally coming face to face with the big cheese himself. To do so, you need to complete a series of side-missions, invading citizens' lives and completing objectives that earn you 'willpower' to unlock the next part of the story.
The game's wit and charm shine through in the often humorous side-missions. You'll take control of a teenager and engage in an illegal street race to pay for his college tuition, scare the hell out of an instructor as a crazy kid on a driving lesson, go for a high-speed joyride to frighten a car salesman into giving a test driver a discount, and race an ambulance to hospital so your spider-bitten patient in the back can receive a much-needed shot of adrenaline. All the genre staples are accounted for, with cops versus robbers missions, stunt runs and races, and the game consistently messes with perspective. You'll take on the role of a cop on a fugitive's tail, play as a fleeing criminal and become a civilian caught in the middle of a pursuit. It's all very colourfully written and acted and never takes itself too seriously.
The game features 200 miles of road to tear around, including ridiculously steep inclines, winding hills, snaking overpasses, loads of sharp corners and busy streets. It a great location and driving is a blast, with a line-up of 100 lovingly recreated, licensed 1970s cars that largely feel distinct from one another and really give you the feeling of being in a classic car chase movie. The handling is weighty and responsive, and it feels great drifting around corners and hurling down busy freeways.
The wheel deal?
However, on a few too many occasions the game wrestles control of the wheel away from you. It's so eager to show you slow motion, cinematic cutaways whenever you total an opposing car that you lose control of your vehicle following major crashes, which can leave you swerving off into scenery as you watch sparks fly and vehicle parts splinter. Occasionally too, the challenge level veers from one extreme to the other. The ability to Shift can make it a little too easy if you're falling behind your target, for example, because you can simply use it to jump forward a few cars to get you back on track. On the other hand, it can be frustratingly challenging at times, the game deciding you haven had enough punishment and spawning new waves of aggressors right in front of you.
When a game is this much fun though, such infrequent issues are easily overlooked. The story is absolutely daft, but Driver: San Francisco embraces the madness, runs with it and takes the franchise in a new direction. Imaginative, eccentric and one of the most surprisingly enjoyable games of the year to date, it represents a long-overdue and triumphant return to form for the series.
+ Unique Shift mechanic.
+ Cars look and feel great.
+ San Francisco is a brilliant racing playground.
- Storyline might be too ridiculous for some.
- Occasionally veers between being too easy and too challenging.
- Not a game for ultra serious driving simulation fans.
We're used to games being a little bit crazy - after all, this is a medium whose high watermark is a fat Italian plumber stomping on turtles - but Driver: San Francisco (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii) has got a fair claim to being the craziest of them all.
You're an undercover cop working the West Coast city to put a halt to a criminal mastermind's devastating heist plan that could claim millions of lives. Oh yeah, and you're in a coma.
Think that's crazy? What's even crazier is that it works.
Being comatose, much of the game takes place in a dream-like state. You're John Tanner, the series' long-standing frontman, and you're able to drift through the clouds, picking cars from afar and then, with the touch of a button, shift into them.
It's a mechanic explained by the flimsiest of plots, but at least Driver: San Francisco does the decent thing and plays it for laughs. Tanner will transport himself, Quantum Leap style, into the most awkward of situations, and there's a seemingly never-ending supply of quips and gaffes as you shift about the city.
The story itself, meanwhile, is hokum, but at least it's enjoyable hokum. At certain points in the game you'll be presented with missions that drive the plot forward, and over the course of around 10 hours in the single player game it twists and unravels pleasantly enough, taking in some surprising turns as it toys with the fact that it's protagonist is lying in the coma.
But that's all there as an excuse for Driver: San Francisco's shifting mechanic, which developer Reflections exploits to its full potential. Think winning a point to point race is hard? Try shifting from car to car and coming in first and second.
Driven to succeed
It's not just plain races that Driver: San Francisco offers, and one of the game's biggest thrills is seeing exactly what Reflections will do next with the shift mechanic. There are takedowns to be had, enlivened by the fact that you can possess any number of cars to destroy your mark, or there are drift competitions and stunt events as you propel as many cars as you can off the back of a transporter in under a minute. The variety is quite incredible.
So too is the multiplayer, where again the shift mechanic is explored to the full. Again there are straight races, but the more offbeat events are even better, providing knockabout fun as players shift from car to car in pursuit of their goal.
For a driving game, then, Driver: San Francisco is refreshingly innovative, yet it's clear that great pains have been taken to ensure that those who fell in love with Tanner over a decade ago are well catered for.
At the core of the game is a spin on the tail-happy handling that's defined the series. There are a host of licensed cars on offer, but it's the American muscle that really shines, arcing around street corners while great plumes of tire smoke dance into the air.
It's also, much like the first game, achingly cinematic. Slick graphics that run at a butter smooth 60 fps help, but so too does the setting.
San Francisco's proved itself in many movies to be the capital of car chases, and that's no different here. From the winding Lombard Street to the jagged inclines of Russian Hill, it's all here and it's all a delight to drive around.
And if all this shifting business sounds a bit too strange for you, Driver: San Francisco has even thrown in some classic missions where the supernatural stuff's been stripped.
These movie missions - unlockable by collecting tokens in the city - riff off classic seventies cinema and are a reminder of why we loved Driver so much in the first place. Get your head around Driver: San Francisco's strange mechanics, and you'll find that this is the best in the series yet.
+ Loads of variety
+ Driving is fun
+ Excellent multiplayer
- It's all a bit daft
DRIVING SCHOOL: THE HISTORY OF DRIVER
Undercover cop Tanner screeches back into action this week, but for many it was a comeback they thought would never happen. The history of Driver is a tale of dizzying highs and notorious lows, but one thing has remained constant: car-crushing action.
The series began back on the original PlayStation in 1999, a passion project from Newcastle-based developer Reflections. The studio had mangled cars in its hit Destruction Derby, and was looking for a more cinematic way to develop their ideas. Hollywood car chases were the obvious inspiration, in particular the Walter Hill movie The Driver, and so the game was born.
By casting the player as an undercover cop, doing jobs for the mob in order to get closer to Mr Big, Driver was able to have it both ways. You were playing the hero, but also got to evade police cars by barrelling down side streets, crashing through piles of boxes and performing suspension-crunching leaps over bridges and hills. The story, of course, was almost entirely surplus to requirements, and it was with good reason that the game included its own movie editor. Placing cameras and adding slow motion to show off your action replays in all their glory was almost as exciting as the driving itself.
The game was a well deserved smash hit, and a sequel was inevitable. However, a dark cloud loomed over the series. A cloud called Grand Theft Auto. This top-down car-jacking game had been a cult hit in 1997, but with the news that it would be bursting into full 3D on the PlayStation 2, the pressure was on for Driver 2 to beat it to the punch.
So it was that in 2000 the second Driver game was hurriedly crammed into the original PlayStation, with a crude on-foot mode added so that Tanner could get out of his car and orrowanother. Driving was still as fun as before, but the game was straining against the ageing PS One hardware, and the control and animation for the pedestrian adventures left a lot to be desired.
It would be four years before Driver returned to consoles, but in that time Grand Theft Auto III had not only wowed critics and gamers like, but spawned an even more popular sequel, Vice City. Driver 3, or DRIV3R as it was awkwardly named, was suddenly the underdog, and a year-long delay from its planned 2003 release date didn't help.
Anticipation was high when the game finally launched for PS2 and Xbox in 2004, but the jubilation was short-lived. The game was riddled with bugs and glitches, while the missions were fussy affairs, demanding tight time limits and precision driving that the clunky game engine struggled to deliver. Review scores were scathing, and the series seemed dead in the water.
Yet just two years later, Driver redeemed itself with Parallel Lines, a return to the classic cop show carnage that had made the original such a hit. Opening in the 1970s - the golden age of muscle car mash-ups - it followed a new character, sixteen-year-old TK who'd been sent to Sing Sing prison. Catching up with him thirty years later, the game followed his quest for revenge on the gangsters who set him up. Parallel Lines wasn't a massive success players were clearly still wary after DRIV3R but enough people played and enjoyed it to reassure everyone that the series was back on track.
Which brings us to Driver: San Francisco, the latest (and possibly greatest) entry in the franchise. Still developed by the same Newcastle studio that has created every Driver game,
it also welcomes back original creator Martin Edmondson in the
director's chair, and original star Tanner behind the wheel.
In keeping with this back to basics approach, the game has ditched the controversial on-foot sections, in favour of pure driving action. Variety now comes from hift a bizarre mechanism brought about by a near-death experience that allows Tanner to send his conscious mind floating down the highway to ossessany other driver he likes. It sounds weird, but it works fantastically, adding a layer of strategy as you plan your route not only in terms of streets, but also the vehicles ahead of you. The same feature is present in the new multiplayer modes a first for the series.
It's no surprise that the game to mark Driver's triumphant return is set in San Francisco, the hilly city where Steve McQueen bounced up and down in the greatest car chase ever filmed for Bullitt. It's a classic statement of intent for the series: the king of the car chase has returned, and it's going back to basics in more ways than one.
Driver: San Francisco had to settle for second place in its first week on release, but it was a good performance nevertheless for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii title, which is the first new entry in the popular series for four years.
Meanwhile, EA's latest American football title Madden NFL 12 made its debut in sixth place.
Techland's eagerly awaited first-person action game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC was able to overcome last week's leader Deus Ex: Human Revolution, no doubt thanks to the buzz created by its stunning debut trailer earlier this year.
Driver San Francisco User ReviewsTop reviewPrev
After making everyone fall in love on the PSOne, the arrival of Driv3r in 2004 all but killed the budding franchise stone dead.…
It been too long since wee had a chance to crank up the bass, ease off on the clutch and head across the Golden Gate Bridge on the tail of some really dangerous criminals.…
Driver: San Francisco - Review (30/08/2011)
In a medium where developers seem increasingly obsessed with recreating gloomy reality, Driver: San Francisco (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii) is a breath of fresh air.…
We're used to games being a little bit crazy - after all, this is a medium whose high watermark is a fat Italian plumber stomping on turtles - but Driver: San Francisco's got a fair claim to being the…
DRIVING SCHOOL: THE HISTORY OF DRIVER…
Deus Ex stays ahead of Driver in charts (05/09/2011)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has managed to extend its lead in the UK all-formats chart for a second week, despite a strong debut for Driver: San Francisco.…
Dead Island shambles to top of UK charts (13/09/2011)
Zombie survival experience Dead Island has shuffled its way straight to the top of the UK all-formats chart.…
Next1 year agoDriver San FranciscoI brought this game on saturday last week and i loved the beginning of the free drive but as i progressed through the game i absolutely loved it and i have brought loads of cars and i completed it on tuesday after and now i go on free drive and do smaller missions and dares but altogether the game is brilliant. My verdict- Cars=10 Graphics=10 Realism=10. The whole thing = 100 because it is so brilliant and i definutly recommend it to people who are looking for a fun, realistic racing game 10/10 :)1 year agoDriver San FranciscoGraphics = quality, Handling of cars = excellent, gameplay = average. If you're like me and love the classic driver games i.e the first and second on ps1 and driver 3 on ps2, then it will take a while for you to get the jist of this game. First of all, they've gone back to the time when you can't get out of your car, also, in my opinion, the story is nowhere near as long or as good as any of the others. secondly theres not a lot of story play to it, theres about 7 story missions with at least 25 side missions ranging rom races to cop chases to stunt work. there is no 'take a ride' feature this year but you can free roam as you please in between missions. overall 7/101 year agoAmazing...I'm not a big fan of racers... need for speed: most wanted was the best I had played, nfs: hot pursuit was too realistic as is racedriver: grid. However Driver San Fran is imo a perfect driving game. It's an arcarde racer, so you don't have to worry about slamming into things! If you do end up slamming you can just perform a 'shift' wich is the games way of saying that you can leap from your car into the driver of another, this works incredibly well in practise and really demonstrates how the different cars handle. The city of San Fran is a geat setting, with iconic landmarks, unbelievably steep declines and inclines. I have only played a little of the story mode, but it's reasonably gripping for a racer, and theres heaps of missions to do and choose from.Prev
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