Release Date: 9/27/2011
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The Good: Lots of awesome real world cars, game looks good, cars handle well, huge variety of missions, story is interesting and off-beat, characters are actually likable
The Bad: Side missions repeat ad nausea, story is unbelievable, a lot of the cars feel the same, boost almost feels useless at low speeds
The Driver series has been pretty rocky ever since the first game came out in 1998. The PS1 classic was one of a kind but sparked some bad to average sequels. San Francisco is the come back for the series and it is very and strong will please fans of the original. The story is kind of weird and takes a super natural spin with the lead guy (John Tanner) getting into an accident and falling into a coma after wanted criminal Jericho smashes into his car. Tanner can now leave his body and float around the city entering any car he wants and this is what the game is wrapped around.
Most of the game consists of various side missions such as dares, speed chases, races, protecting vehicles etc. You can leave the car on the fly and move around to any car and smash into the car you need to take down. This can also be used in races to slow opponents down so you can win, but don’t consider this cheating since most of the races are very challenging. Some times you have to swap between two cars constantly and keep them in 1st and 2nd place which is pretty exhilarating. Or you can just enter cars in oncoming traffic and smash them up to win the race. This can also be down in other various missions and its great fun and never really gets old to take a big rig and smash it into cars to take them out.
However, this all gets old very fast because there are 50+ to finish and as you unlock more of the city you get more side missions to complete. Dares consist of doing certain things like drifts, speed limits, jumps, etc. The reason for completing these is for willpower which you can use to buy cars and new garages to unlock more cars. The selection of cars is awesome with pretty much every popular car you can think of. They even added the DeLorean and if you hit 88 Mph you get willpower! Driving is first person view looks great and the car handles well and drifting, jumping, and doing crazy stunts is great fun and the city is huge and you really won’t get bored here during the first half of the game. After the last half picks up you will be more engaged in the interesting story and probably stop with the side missions because they just repeat forever almost.
On another note, the main missions are really interesting and towards the end of the game you really get to use your super natural powers, and overall the main missions have more diversity than the side ones. The voice acting is great and the characters are people you actually get interested in because of the drama the story brings you through. While the whole story is hokey you still get a kick out of being able to veer away from the realistic type of game while keeping it feeling pretty real with awesome licensed cars. You can boost in these cars and unlock a thrill cam, but the boost feels useless at low speeds because it doesn’t boost you at all and you can’t really use it to boost out of a spin.
Multiplayer is pretty fun, but overall you will get sick of the game due to the constantly repeated missions and there’s only so much you can do with a car. I highly recommend this for anyone into cars, action, or just plain old arcade style racers. If you can stomach the repetitive side missions, or if that’s just what you like, then you will find a good 25+ hour game here with the huge city of Frisco ready to explore.