Driver SF: Best Car Chase Game of All Time?
Turn the key and burnout in Driver San Francisco, which captures the iconic car chase feeling like few other game before it, including the previous Drivers and classic Driver 1.
THE CITY 10/10
The city of San Francisco unlocks by playing missions and mini games, with the difficultly level amping up each mission to that of the classic Driver's, later in the game. The city itself is one of the most realized cities in a game today, thanks to very impressive, but maneuverable traffic counts, all at a blazing 60 frames per second. The level of detail parallels something you'd see in an arcade game; very colorful, plenty of variety and alive. Thousands of pedestrians line the streets, definitely giving the city a realistic feel, unlike some other open city games that are like ghost towns... This is comparable to Midnight Club 2 and 3's massive traffic count. The game is a hi res work of art, with blue skies, bustling streets and some of the best hills in the world for flying through the air on, then slamming back to the ground with force. It's like a roller coaster on quite a few SF hills. It's a very large game, I'd say bigger than Midnight Club LA, but not as massive as TDU2, though that game didn't have the amazing detail of DSF either. Plenty to explore for hours. There is currently not a day/night cycle. I don't think game cities get much better, and I've been playing car games since the 80's. Top variety of roads, freeways and more. Also, plenty of random cop chases going on to watch or join.
Plenty of variety of licensed vehicles including sportcars, muscle cars, big rigs, mini cars, trucks, buses, vans, you name it but no motorcycles sadly. Absolutely impressive variety onscreen at one time. On the freeway, I count over 50 cars onscreen at once, all with high detail close up. Each has a different feel to the handling, all well done. And if you enjoyed the game 18 Wheeler from Sega, jack a tractor trailer complete with trailer, and drive or smash your way to your destination as you please.
THE CONTROLS 10/10
These are easily some of the most responsive controls in the car game genre. You can flick the car back and forth at lower speeds up to 111+ mph, or smooth out your turning with smooth precision. The direction you take it is up to you and your driving skills. The vehicles feel weighted with great physics known from the Reflections team, with plenty of opportunities for crashing and flipping your vehicle all about. This is classic Driver revved up to an entirely new level of intensity. The emergency brake is present, though will require the most practice to master, along with a new ram button for added power, a boost and the chance for more skillful stunts: Reverse 180's, drifting, e-brake corners, burnout circles, ramming, the list goes on. Keep in mind, this game requires skill to truly master the controls, as was true with Driver 1, with each vehicle offering a unique handling experience. Set up includes 3 default options, but no mappable button layout. The e-brake is set in stone on the circle button, turning with the left analog, gas right bumper, brake left bumper, ram and shift.
Think of shift as the ability to instantly zoom into an overhead view of the map, then warp into any vehicle you want in as much time as it takes you to see it. Shift in the next level of "choose your own ride". No waiting to open doors and pull people out. There is no delay, literally. See it and you can drive it. With this instant option, you can imagine what incredible gameplay thrills you can devise. As you play, it upgrades to allow a higher view of the city if you prefer. There's no on foot, but this is the next best thing, and honestly, this game shines even without on foot.
Great selection of classic 70's style tunes along with some modern hits and remixes. The city atmosphere is present if you shut off the music, with honking horns and city sounds. The cars and vehicles sound pretty much like the real deals, with plenty of crisp, gurgling power and bass to their roars.
Options are limited, preset control choices, options for vibration, volume of voices, music, effects and engine. Online options too, but missing the classic cop difficulty option.
Featuring very impressive character models, the story takes the famous Tanner into another state of mind after being struck by Jericho, his arch enemy. In this state of an out of body experience, Tanner interacts much like a regular Driver game, but with the added ability of shift, allowing him instant teleportation as he wishes. Solid storyline overall, with a very unique take on a driving game, filled with plenty of action.
CAMERA VIEWS 10/10
You have an excellent close 3rd person car view, next in the cycle is one of the most useful and playable interior dash views in existence, a front hood view where you can see the hood, and lastly, a FPS view with just the road ahead of you. All views are highly playable and useful, partly thanks to the easy to flick left, right, back and front camera flick views, which allow precision looks as well with a fine touch of the right analog. A neat new feature is the zoom, where you can zoom in left, right or forward to get a closer view while driving with the left analog.
EXTRA MODES 9/10
There's one of the best multiplayer selection of games available in a car game, including the much hyped TAG mode. Tag mode is also available in single player, but so far, you need to jack a police car to tag the crooks scattered generously all around the city. To say Tag most is an absolute blast is an understatement. It floors the competition in terms of other open city chase games with cops and robbers.
Film Director is back, with about 5 minutes to record your own footage, though the options could've been more generous with camera views. It's a big improvement over Driv3r nonetheless.
There are few games that compare to DSF when it comes to capturing that Hollywood Chase, only this time, Reflections puts you right in the driver's seat as though you were actually there. Slam into the pavement from a ten foot coast off a tall hill, and you'll feel the impact as the interior shakes wildly for a brief moment, absorbing the impact. The sense of speed picks up the faster you go naturally, with an excellent sense of speed. Most importantly, the chases are challenging as you careen through the city after your target, blasting through alleyways choked with litter, busting through crowds of pedestrians, light poles and debris. As the game progresses, the chases become more clever, and there's even a mode of chases that allows you to relive famous recreations from the best car chase movies ever made. Brilliant.
If you even half-liked Driver 1 or 2, give this game a green light or you'll be missing out on an absolutely classic car chase game with few equals. Highly recommended. Overall, 9/10. Don't miss it. Spread the word, Driver San Francisco should be next on your list of must-play games. Driver is better than ever.