Driver San Francisco Review

The story

In a car chase early on, Tanner and his partner get into an accident, and our hero is sent into a coma. Subconsciously, Tanner pursues Jericho through a dream-world version of San Francisco, tracking down leads and tailing persons of interest in an attempt to find out the man’s plans so he can thwart them upon waking up. But it’s more interesting than that – being that this is Tanner’s dream, he has a degree of control over the environment. At any point, he can ‘Shift’ to any other car in the city and take control of its driver.

The city/missions

San Francisco is a great city. The landscape alone makes this a perfect setting for a high-velocity racing game. You can choose to complete the story missions or to roam the city looking for dares and activities.

Completing the primary story quests requires you first do a few side missions that put you in the vehicles of a variety of people living in the city. So you’ll go from protecting an armored truck to helping patrol officers take down street racers.

You have to do a certain number of these before you can continue through the “Tanner” missions that navigate the main story thread.

If you want to explore, just grab a vehicle and hit the streets. In all, the game gives you tons of stuff to do. Once you unlock the entire city you will see a vast world of options.

My problem came late in the game, though. The side missions, dares, and activities are all pretty repetitive in their basic goals. The game has eight chapters. I was ready to skip the side missions, for example by about chapter five.

Once the story starts to get interesting you might just want to focus on the main missions. You can’t. So be prepared to power through the side stuff if you want to see how this tale ends. I did appreciate the activities and stunts once I beat the game. They’re a great way to earn credits to purchase unlocks, cars, and upgrades.

Go online

This is where Driver San Francisco really does good work. Take the shift feature online, add a couple fun modes, and you’re left with a dynamic multiplayer experience.

There are several game types to unlock, like Tag and various races. My favorite is cops-n-robbers, in which one player controls a getaway vehicle that has to reach drop-off points and escape while the others, as cops, try to smash him to pieces.

You’ll start off slow because the game requires you to reach a certain level of rank before the modes begin to unlock. Just jump into a free for all game and practice your shifting.

The game’s free roam is fantastic given the layout of the city. But it’s the 11 modes where you’ll see how fast and powerful the game can be.

*note*  the uPlay code issue has been addressed by Ubisoft by making the online passport you’d otherwise have to pay for completely free  to everyone.

Controls

The controls are relatively simple, with the standard accelerate and brake buttons (RT and LT respectively), along with some game-specific controls including a cool “charge and ram” feature that allows you to slow down crooks your chasing, or even fellow racers, much faster than just slamming into them.

The one control that is both new to the Driver franchise and to driving games full stop, is “Shift” – and thankfully developers Ubisoft Reflections have made shifting as simple as driving, with a mere tap of a button you enter shift mode, move “yourself” around the world, target a new vehicle, and then tap the same button to enter that car and the body of the person driving it.

Besides negating the need to spend time running round looking or a new car to steal, what’s also innovative about shift mode is that it also doubles as the in-game map – entering shift allows you to freely move around the map, find a new mission or task and then go straight to it by entering the nearest driver/car.

No need to jump in and out of the game to check out the map to see where you have to go anymore.

Overall

Driver San Francisco isn’t your typical racing game. The shifting is fun, dynamic, and creates a layer of gameplay you can’t get anywhere else.

It also masks what can be a repetitive single-player experience outside of the main storyline thread. The story itself is very interesting but requires you to just accept that Ubisoft didn’t want this to be a simple racing story.

The plot throws a few curve balls at you late in the game, and I always wanted to see what happened next. The city and play style were clearly designed as a homage to action flicks of the ‘80s and ‘90s, which I don’t mind one bit.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Driver: San Francisco.  it sometimes gets old with repetitive missions and questionable application of its main gameplay, the multiplayer really takes the game to the next level it was quite a fun way to spend my spare time the last few days i give  Driver: San Francisco a 9 out of 10 great game and i can’t wait for the next one.