Review by Pinlander

Reviewed: 07/31/06

Contrary to popular belief, this game is boring

When this game came, about the entire video game media praised it. Back then I thought the game must had some merit, because the media said so, I just didn't figure what sort of merit.

Then a friend bought one, so we tried it out. After a hour or so I came to a conclusion that the game was boring. However, my friend showed no signs of boredom. So, I watched him play for 3 hours. In that time I found out that Driver is even more boring to watch than play. For many minutes, nothing interesting happens... and then nothing interesting continues to happen. I tried to suggest to my friend that we could go bicycling, but he repeatedly turned down the offer. Finally, it got so insufferable, that I lied about having an big exam tomorrow and went home.

He continued to devote time for Driver for about a month until he got bored. Even today I haven't figured out what is special about this game.

OVERVIEW:

Basically, you drive around San Fransisco with a car. Depending on situation, you either must hurry to a certain place in time, flee cops or chase people. There is other objectives, like scaring the crap out of your passenger, but mostly this game is about getting to places before time runs out.

THE CATCH:

Probably the selling point of Driver is it's theme. The game takes place in 70's San Fransisco, it got lots of gangsters and cops. Yay, organised crime is cool!!!
(lest we forget, most members of Natural Born Killers, Finland's most ill-reputed crime organisation, are either dead or behind bars).

GRAPHICS:

Driver probably has all the graphic problems of PSX games. Jagged outlines? Yup. Blocky shapes? Yup. Clumsy animations? Yup. Ugly, broken colors? Yup. Limited visibility? Yup. Messy textures? Yup. Clipping? You got it.

Don't say presenting a huge metropolis in a PSX couldn't be done better. Auto Destruction might not be video gaming gold, but it sure did a better job presenting a large 3D city. Driver tries to cram too much detail, making the graphics look contrived and taxes the processor. As a general rule, a 3D game for PSX shouldn't try to look detailed ("Vagrant Story" is a exception to this rule).

SOUND EFFECTS AND MUSIC:

Sound effects are much better. They are like right from "Bullitt", "Blues Brothers" or "Vanishing Point". As far as I remember, there is no music in this game.

GAMEPLAY:

Controls are another strong point in this game. The car handles like you would expect a car to handle. They might not be in the same league with "Need For Speed" or "Ridge Racer Type 5", but are one of the best things in this game.

Other than that, this game offers little to be excited about. Almost every mission is similar, and the game gets monotonous rather fast. This wouldn't be so bad if the idea would be any good. However, there is probably nothing so boring as being
an goddamn errand boy.

But hey, there is cops to spice things up. Unfortunately, cops are the bane of Driver. Everything about them defies logic. First of all, crime is a crime only if a police witnesses one. You can endanger the traffic as much you want when there is no cops around, since civilians obviously own no phones. Even more ridiculous is the preferred modus operandi of the police: crashing in to the perpetrator at high speed!!! The police also does not possess fire arms: they do point you with something looking like a 9mm, but never shoot you with them. Guess they are bananas painted with black paint.

The one thing funny in this game is Survival. In this mode, player immediatedly has about a dozen police cars right behind him/her. It is unbelievably heated and very difficult: I was damn proud when I survived over one minute. If they would remove everything else but Survival, and sold this game, say, for 5-10 euros, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it.

CHALLENGE:

Most of this game is trial-and-error, so success is 99 % perspiration and 1 % inspiration. The police AI is shameful, so losing them is a piece of cake. Thought, as polices can be seen in a radar, so avoiding car chases in the first place is laughably easy.

THE STORY AND NARRATIVE ELEMENTS:

Obviously player is an undercover cop named Tanner and is seemingly trying to crack some sort of case. For some reason, other polices still chase him.

I didn't follow the plot at all, so can't really comment on it.

LONGEVITY:

That pretty much depends on the player. For me, this game is far too uneventful to entertain me for very long.

SUMMA SUMMARUM:

It seems like I am a completely wrong person to talk about this game. I generally grow bored very fast with these kind of games. In my opinion, you'd be better off playing "Need for speed: high stakes" for car chases.

Driver, like GTA, is too simplistic and glorified take on organised crime. For a change, I'd like to play a crime game, that would actually involve lenghty preparations, making contacts, ahead planning and actually having to elude polices longer than 5 minutes. I want a game where an carefully planned gig fails because of horrible execution. I want a game where everybody is an possible snitch. I want a game where my crimes are reported by the entire media and the whole society follows my getaway like it is "The bold and the beatiful". Is that really too much asked?

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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