Driver San Francisco Video Game Review

Fast chases, tons of cars, super coma abilities (more on that later), a buttload of activities and sidequests make Driver San Francisico a fun ride. Unfortunately the story was late to the party. Shift into the review for more…

Slightly longer nitty-gritty plot description from the Official Website is as follows: Crime boss Charles Jericho – smuggler, murderer and the man John Tanner has been chasing across the world – is on the loose. He escaped justice following a well-planned jailbreak that also left Tanner suffering a brutal car crash. 

With Jericho on the loose, Tanner and his partner Tobias Jones engage in a frantic manhunt across San Francisco. Jericho clearly has a plan, but what is it? Tanner must track down the most dangerous 
man he’s ever faced, because the stakes have never been higher.

If you’ve ever played the previous Driver games, you might be a little disappointed in what Driver: San Francisco is offering up. Following the events of Driv3r, Tanner witnesses Jericho’s escape and the end result of a chase leaves Tanner in the hospital. From here on out in the approximately 8 hour campaign, you play as Tanner, who is in a coma and you now have the special ability to shift into any car, taking over as the driver. This makes for some interesting car chases, shifting into a transport truck and weaving into the car your chasing is a lot of fun. The more you advance in the game, the more you can upgrade your abilities, allowing for a boost feature or ramming feature, so you get rid of that pesky slow driver in front of you. Besides the story mode missions, you also have a bunch of quick activities to choose from. These range from short little “dares” (e.g. drifting, driving fast in oncoming traffic, etc), cop chases where you need to take down the opponent car, races and a variety of timed challenges. You won’t be running out of things to do in this game.  

In the process of shifting into another car.

The story unfortunately doesn’t live up to the gameplay. A combination of cheesy dialog and paper thin storyline, combine to create an underwhelming plot. At first, the idea of being in a coma comes off as interesting, but as the story progresses and Tanner keeps questioning the events that are happening (events we the audience figured out at the beginning), the aggravation that you experience when you realize that everything you’re doing doesn’t really matter in the end, reaches it’s peak when the ending comes and goes in a blink of an eye. 

The graphics on the PS3 version I found was above average.  The car models are detailed and accurate to the make and model.  The city is nicely detailed and matches up with San Fran, as far as I can tell.  The character models in game are a little low on the polygons and yes, people still manage to jump out of the way when you try to run them over. The brightness was a little too high and I believe the 360 version doesn’t have this problem. 

Low character models jumping out of the way of a sweet ass DeLorean.

Lots of a variety in the sound department with plenty of licensed music. The cars are nice and loud with each one sounding different than the previous. Voice acting, as I mentioned earlier, could’ve been better than what was offered. The dialog comes out sounding wooden and the jokes fall flat. All in all, the sound, minus the voice acting, above average.

I never had a chance to try out multiplayer (look to the future for possible posts on that matter), but I did notice that it offers up both split screen and online play.  The Official Website describes the features as such: Ram, tail and overtake in 19 different, frantic and addictive multiplayer modes including online competitive modes, split screen competitive modes and split screen cooperative modes, where SHIFT adds a completely new online gaming experience for players and their friends. (Looks like this might be one for my brother-n-law and me to play.)

Conclusion time! Honestly, I don’t know who is going into the fourth Driver game expecting an amazing story.  So with that nitpick aside, the game offers up thrilling car chases, tons of activities and a huge online offering.  I say, buckle up and get ready to shift your pants.  

Story – 2/5 – Cheesy voice acting and thin storyline manage to slightly dent the overall package. 

Gameplay – 4/5 – A lot of variety and side missions is the name of the game. Tons of activities and huge multiplayer offerings make for a nice ride.    

Graphics – 3/5 – Nice looking cars and environments. Sadly, character models are little low in quality and the PS3 version suffers from some bad brightness issues.  

Sound – 3.5/5 – A variety of licensed music and sweet sounding cars are pleasure to the ears.  The voice acting on the other hand managed to drive itself into a tree. 

Overall (not an average) – 3.75/5 – If your fan of fast cars, classic cop chases and a variety of features, you’ll be happy to know Driver San Francisco is your kind of ride.  

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