The wheelman is back!
Driver San Francisco is a story-driven racing game, an underrated, surprisingly enjoyable and memorable gem from Ubisoft Reflections (and Martin Edmonson, the developer who worked on Driver 1, 2 and 3), and it's especially an original racing game, with a very original multiplayer as well.
John Tanner, the undercover cop, returns in action to finish his mission once and for all, but in a weird way. He goes into a coma after a huge car crash, and while he is dreaming, he gains a special power called "Shift" that gives him the ability to get into any driver's body at any time. In other words, he can switch to any car he sees around the city.
You may think that this is way too ridicolous. I thought so too, until I started playing this game. I'm an avid fan of the old Driver series, but even this one delivers, even though everything is different! The Shift surprisingly works well, it makes the action non-stop and less boring. The core of the storyline may be weird too, but it's well interpreted and well executed! Because of these, and because of how the entire atmosphere of the game is not the same as the old Driver games, I personally like to think this is a reboot of the series rather than the sequel of Driv3r.
+ Shift ability makes the game less boring and more strategical, bringing the racing genre to a whole new level.
+ Surprisingly not repetitive, especially the story missions.
+ Awesome driving physics with very smooth steering, even when using keyboard.
+ Licensed cars, trucks, vans, from 70's muscles to modern supercars.
+ Contains both licensed songs and original OST.
+ Lots of challenges, activities, story missions, chases based on famous car chase movies and high-speed pursuits. Single-player alone lasts for many hours!
+ Intriguing storyline with interesting characters and well-detailed cutscenes.
+ Low price tag!
+ Very original multiplayer...
- ...But not very active.
- AI cop cars totally predictable and always faster than you, no matter what car you're using.
- Lifeless city: all traffic cars going at the same speed, only-walking civilians, no particular/interesting scenery.
- Yellow-ish graphics.
- No different weathers and day/night cycle.
- Stiff car physics with no interesting car crashes, except in rare cases.
- Very limited and overhyped film director mode, could have been much better.
- Inability to repeat a story mission of choice.
- No manual transmission, and steering wheel compatibility could have been better.
- Terrible PC port: missing HDR and some lighting sources, missing minor features such as varied traffic after storyline, crashes and other general bugs... and guess what, the console versions have been patched a lot more with added features and many fixes... the PC version is left in the dark (that's Ubisoft for you).Personal rating: 8/10
Worth every penny if you can go past the issues - especially with this current low price tag.