San Fransisco is the city for crazy car races and chases. San Fransisco: Rush, Blur, Juiced, Test Drive and the Top Gear. All of these games had at least 1 title that took place in San Fransisco. 60’s actor Steve McQueen changed the location of Bullit from New York to San Fransisco because he the scenario was good for car chases. Even the first Driver game had a level in San Fransisco. So there’s no surprise that this installment of Driver takes place in San Fran, entirely, therefore I should say “About Time!”. Though, the main feature might seem far-fetched or downright silly but surprisingly it works well with the gameplay.
The story takes place months after Driver 3. John Tanner finally succeeded nabbing Jericho and putting him behind bars. Tanner and his partner Tobias Johns, escort the prison van to put Jericho away for good. Plans change when Jericho hatches a scheme to escape involving a rocket launcher firing from a news helicopter. Tanner and Johns get into a high speed chase ending up in a terrible crash putting Tanner in a coma. This is where the game begins. While Tanner is, laid up in the hospital, he can venture his conscious into other drivers on the road.
Hence the new Shift feature (which was inspired by Google Earth). When you select the Shift button the camera pulls out to a limited overhead view of the city and time slows down, eventually in the game you can pull out to the entire city and jump into any car. You can strategically use Shift during a chase, to jump to a car closer to your target or if you’re car is getting banged up and falling apart shift to a better vehicle. If you’re on the run Shift to a car or tanker to block your pursuers. There are even challenges for you when you Shift into vehicles outside of a mission. Such as test driving a sport scar with an annoying dealer trying to freak him out or the same premise with a beginner driver and an irritating instructor. Or helping a TV crew film capture exciting stunts and crashes. Completing these objectives and more will unlock more of the story for you and willpower which is basically the game’s currency for purchasing more cars.
To prevent the game from being to easy the Shift feature has to be recharged by reckless driving: Powerslides, big jumps and driving into oncoming traffic help increases the meter. All cars have a Boost feature too and Ram attacks.
This is the first of the series to have licensed cars and it has over 120 cars to choose from. Don’t expect simulated driving like Grid. This is close to arcade driving that encourages off the wall moves akin to Burnout or Test Drive Unlimited 2 but don’t get caught up it because there is realism that might cost you a mission. Lastly, this is the first title to have multiplayer and it will offer 9 different modes with experience points. You can even play split-screen offline.
Driver: San Fransisco will be hitting the road on September 27, 2011 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.