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Driver: San Francisco

Discussion in 'Other Racing Games' started by Scott Webber, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. [​IMG]
    Driver: San Francisco will put you back in control of the series' original wheelman, Tanner. In order to keep this installment fresh, Ubisoft has integrated a new shift mode that will keep drivers on their toes. In his preview, Miguel Concepcion had this to say about the new mode:​
    "I initially thought that this was some not-too-subtle way of adding filler to the total playtime, but I was assured that many of these scenes outside of Tanner's body do have some relevancy to the main plot. If anything, many of these missions were actually fun, although the characters didn't necessarily sound or act distinctly "San Franciscan." At one point, I was part of a roving camera crew looking to capture some accidents on film. So I then jumped into the body of another car to give the camera crew what they wanted, even if it did mean a head-on collision."
    Speed on over to the rest of Miguel's Driver: San Francisco preview to read even more about the upcoming title. Driver: San Francisco is coming out for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, and Wii on Aug. 31.
    What are your thoughts - Good or bad Move by Ubisoft?
     
  2. Seem no one here like Driver's game, personal I'm a big fans of DRIVER series, but damn it's really hard to find a real copy of 1 & 2 in my damn country, just hope this one really bring back the classic handling from DRIVER~
     
  3. The Driver series first made an appearance in 1999, but has steadily been with us along the way, now it’s time for number 4. Inspired by cop chases and television series like Starsky and Hutch, Driver puts you in the position of cop Tanner in his pursued to capture villain Jericho. But is this a chase worth pursuing?

    Story
    Unlike most sequels Driver actually starts where the previous one left off, luckily the story is told in a way that newcomers can immediately jump in and enjoy the action. Cops John Tanner and Tobias Jones are supervising in San Francisco when Jericho hijacks the prison car and escapes. In their first encounter tanner gets wounded and ends up in a coma fighting death. Higher forces come into play however when Tanner learns to shift into bodies and take their identity without anyone knowing. It’s an interesting concept and helps elevate the game without losing a sense of immersion.
    By smartly helping the law, and breaking it, Tanner hopes to get closer to Jericho in his web of gang members and crooks. The story is extremely compelling and one of the main attractions to the game. Thankfully Ubisoft Reflections bypassed the obvious handicap of being a racing game, by using voice acting and cut scenes to help the story prolong.
    driver-san-francisco-jerich.jpg

    Gameplay
    Driver San Francisco is a sandbox arcade racing game that promotes absolute freedom. Main difference here however is that you can shift into any car, which refreshes the familiar gameplay mechanics. This is especially apparent in later missions where the game encourages you to use other vehicles in pursuits.
    Completing objectives earns you willpower, an in-game currency that buys you cars or upgrades. The missions are very diverse and differ from doing stunts, chasing bad guys or managing a long drift. Key missions meanwhile help the story progress, unlocking new territory and abilities along the way. Most of the missions are fun to do and offer a fair amount of challenge.
    You can probably imagine that shifting into other people (without them changing appearance) can lead to some funny scenarios. Driver captures these moments brilliantly with convincing voice acting and impressive visuals all-round. At some point I jumped into a dad’s body driving his 18-year-old daughter to the shops for her very first vehicle, complete with a complimentary flower on the dashboard of the VW beetle.
    This other time I jumped into the body of a nervous college student racing for his tuition money. I almost felt the fear of my fellow passenger as I raced towards a demanding win, and my passenger’s disbelief after. Later I caught up with the two and learned that the scary passenger had entered in another race for even more money. The developers clearly have a good sense of humour and it’s exciting to see all the different scenarios pan out.
    The key however is to win all the key missions and reach to the end of the game. With all the side objectives it’s easy to get distracted, as Ubisoft managed to create an interesting and fun experience surrounding the San Francisco scene. Impatient petrol heads can complete the game in about 10 hours, but all the extras double that amount for a healthy 20 hours of offline gameplay.

    Driving
    All the games that pass the RaceDepartment test are assessed on driving mechanic. Some games do well in this area, while others do not. Driver San Francisco does not claim to be a simulator or in-between, for that reason Ubisoft has not added support for steering wheels. Is this a deal breaker? No. I can’t imagine driving this game with a wheel to be honest. In Driver cars turn fastest when pulling the handbrake and donuts are incredibly easy to do. These mechanics make it easier to recreate any Hollywood chase, and that’s fine by me. The problem this creates though is that it’s sometimes too easy to drift, which makes proper driving harder as a result.
    To help spice up the action, Driver contains 125 cars from all automotive branches including the Mclaren mp4-12c (exotic), Fiat 500 (eco) and needless to be said: old muscle cars like the Ford grand Torino. Unfortunately the difference between cars feels highly artificial because apart from speed, there’s not much to it. Therefore the fastest vehicle is almost always your best bet.
    Despite the arcade sticker, Driver San Francisco offers cockpit view in all the cars and a turbo boost that could actually exist in real life (just a subtle increase in revs and speed if you stay away from the upgrades). Finally Tanner turns the wheel 900 degrees just like in real life with an incredible attention to detail, as visual in the “cool” hand palm reverse driving technique. All these mechanics ensure a fun driving experience despite being an arcade.
    driver-san-francisco.jpg

    tanner-cockpit-view.jpg
    Multiplayer
    Driver can be played in split screen mode or online. The former adds the missions found in the singleplayer such as: race, chase and tag. The visuals suffer a penalty in split screen mode but it’s fun nonetheless. Unfortunately you can’t drive with four people or add AI cars, so the experience draws thin to say the least.
    Online has a bit more meat to it. Ubisoft Reflections ships each copy of the game with an uPlay pass for online functionality, but after a printing error they decided to offer the code for free in the Playstation Store and Xbox Marketplace.
    Racing online is easy and within seconds I was connected to 8 other people playing tag and guide. My online sessions finished without any slowdowns and the shifting ability transfers nicely to the online world for added tactical depth. Doing well online earns you rankings and unlocks new content, making it a mode well worth playing.
    110821_302566_driver-san-francisco-ps3-ps3-7585.jpg

    Presentation
    Driver San Francisco has one of the best overall packages I’ve seen. The main menu is effective and completely styled towards the old 70s cop movies. The graphics continue this trend by adding a minor sepia and noise effect to the picture, which does wonders in setting the wary mood.
    Meanwhile the scenery is modelled convincingly and, apart from the buildings, most objects are destroyable. It looks mighty impressive and adds to the impressive overall presentation of the game. Something gamers looking to record famous cop chases will especially enjoy.
    As I was cruising the coastline city I did notice a few problems. Sometimes the world suggests there’s an alley, while it’s actually blocked by an invisible wall. Citizens of San Francisco will also tell you that the city isn’t recreated accurately, despite adding most iconic landmarks. More hurtful to me however is the lack of weather effects and a full 24 hours cycle. That alone would’ve made the world much more convincing.
    Meanwhile the cars are inline with the buildings. They look nice and it’s easy to distinguish each specific model from a distance, but it’s nowhere near GT5/Forza level of detail. Still it deserves praise that all the cars have internal views, and working animations for the horn and steering.
    Sound wise the game delivers an impressive soundtrack that’s diverse enough to keep it from getting repetitive. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the cars’ sound, differing from lawn mower to mediocre at best. Remarkably the engine noise from the chase cam is similar to that of the cockpit view, which isn’t right. Positive remarks are reserved for the ambience and the subtle increase of revs when applying the turbo.
    Finally, the cut scenes are both impressive in content and design. The facial expressions are among the best I’ve seen and definitely blow away other games in the genre. The story is beautifully written paired with convincing voice acting from start to finish. I should note that some of the characters are stereotyped a bit. The typical cranky exam instructor is in there, together with the silky smooth salesman, but most won’t mind.
    driver-san-francisco-1.jpg

    Verdict
    Sometimes a game can genuinely surprise me, Driver San Francisco is one of those games. The story is well told and the game manages to keep itself fresh by periodically opening new territory and offering new missions. This is backed up by a punchy presentation from start to finish, with graphics up there in the awe scale. The game could’ve been better with a more dynamic world and more accurate recreation of the beautiful city of San Francisco and the various cars. If you’re going for a fun game without any kind of simulation, Driver won’t disappoint. In fact it might even surprise you in a good way. After two disappointing predecessors, Driver San Fransisco returns the series to an all time high. Welcome back.
    driverratingresize.png
    Special thanks to Ubisoft for providing us with a review copy.

     
  4. Ubisoft has not added support for steering wheels :(
     
  5. snap this up when i get a new grfx card to replace my dead gtx295
     
  6. Omer Said

    Omer Said
    Weresloth Staff Premium Member

    Fantastic review mate :) Definitely worths a try. I hope driving and cops are good as the first one.
     
  7. Haven't played the Driver series since the very first one. No wheel support not a problem for me as see this as a possible pick up for the console. Also, nice review Robin. :)
     
  8. Roy Magnes

    Roy Magnes
    Gentleman Driver Staff

    I have had the game for nearly 2 weeks to the Xbox, and I really love it. Could not let it rest for the first week, still struggeling to put it away to do other things :)
     
  9. Maxi Lustox

    Maxi Lustox
    @ Simberia @Simberia

    The out of body floating to different cars put me off in a big way, that and the ubisoft token lag you get in abundance with every game, and then theres the infamous ubisoft drm. Not in this lifetime.
     
  10. Wait, what? No steering wheels? Seriously?
     
  11. The text "Ubisoft has not added support for steering wheels" is enough for me to remove this game from my Steam's wish list.
    Nice review!
     
  12. very well written review, not my kind of game at all but enjoyed your text immensely and I suppose anyone will now know precisely what he/she gets for the money. Good stuff!
     
  13. I have Driver, Driver 2, Driv3r and Driver 4: Parallell Lines and I must say that until GTA IV I had my best arcade driving experiences in those games.Sadly of false promises of multiplayer support and only a ported version of Driver 4 to PC I more or less gave up on it, and looking at gameplay videos it does look awfully ported as well :(I will give it a try in some way and see if there's still something left of the original driver that used to please me 10 years ago :)
     
  14. NO Wheel Support & NO 1920x1200 Resolution Ducks dann hard uninstall & back to Dealer
     
  15. i hate how you guys are complaining about it not having wheel support...it was not meant to have wheel support.it is an arcade racing game....
     
  16. Petar Tasev

    Petar Tasev
    Ryder25

  17. Ah, the "driving game" that doesn't support steering wheels. For no extra charge, you get Ubisoft's lovely DRM system as well!

    A cheap way of getting users onto their rubbish platform.
     
  18. Petar Tasev

    Petar Tasev
    Ryder25

    Is the game and this DRM system really that bad that its not worth it to get for $1?
     
  19. Dunno, should be worth it, check reviews, gameplay videos.

    For me personally, a driving game in which you can't drive with a steering wheel, the stupid DRM system, and the uplay thing... They'd have to throw in Heroes of Might and Magic or something for me to bite. And even then I'd have to think about it.