Here's something from a few years ago to welcome 2018, may it be a better year for gaming than 2017 was!
I was doing some shopping and noticed in an unlikely place the box of the collectors edition of this game.
And I instantly wanted to own it. This is the way collectors editions should look like. I didn't even care, that it was not the PC version, but the PS3, I instantly purchased it, without any previous knowledge about this particular game. I had known about the old games, I knew that I spent hours just driving aimlessly in the first game, because it's physics were so good (for the time). And that carried over into Driver 3 as well, which I also like for the same reason, and it had nice graphics, and interesting locations. Parallel lines was terrible though, they messed up with trying to create a GTA clone, instead of remaining true to the series roots. The out of car shooter sequences were almost unplayable.
So the series has a checkered past, which includes the second game in the series, that they made a PSX exclusive for no good reason, well apart from money ofc. It ran terrible on that weak machine, it was almost a slideshow, and basically it was the same game as the first. It was Driver for Playstation, with worse graphics and often sub 10 FPS. I've never seen a console game run that bad ever since.
If we follow the pattern of: First - Good | Second - Bad | Third - Good | Fourth - Bad | Then this game is ought to be good, right? Of course I didn't think about this when buying the game, that was all thanks to marketing.
I'm not going to drag this further, the game is good. They went back to being a driving game only, with no out of car sequences, or at least not as you'd expect.
The game has an unique way to leap out of reality, while not becoming too idiotic. It does it like this: The protagonist is seriously injured and is in a coma, and during this he's wreaking havoc in a dream world representation of San Francisco. And then you can leap from car to car, possessing the hapless driver of any vehicle and terrifying the shit out of passengers.
This means that you can assume control of any vehicle within the game world (apart from enemies).
Some might say that this is too much or too unrealistic, but I think it makes for a great change of pace, and gives an interesting twist for the gameplay.
The funniest aspect of this is when you possess the driver of a vehicle, you can hear the conversation between passengers, if there are any. These are really hilarious, I constantly tried to use vehicles with passengers to hear more funny dialogue. And Tanner even teases them sometimes. There is very little repetition among the dialogue, and I exceeded 1000 "leaps" in the game. Of course not all of them had passengers but many.
Arguably the best aspect of the game is car physics, which was always a specialty of reflections. But as I was looking through the credits, I noticed a name, the author of the terep2 tech demo which was basically a driving sandbox from 1997 that used soft-body physics, which is still not commonplace among driving games even now in 2017. It was so ahead of its time. So they had even more talent to make great vehicle physics.
The selection of cars is vast, with a number of classics. And speaking of classics there is a game mode, where you have to recreate classic car chases from movies. Of course the similarities end with the make of the cars involved, but still it's great fun.
Most of the game is made up from side missions, you have very few missions that are connected to the main story. But you can't just focus on that, because for the next story mission to be unlocked you always have to do a few side missions. Of course there are a lot more of them, than what you actually have to do to finish the game. But this game is not about finishing the story, or at least not only. It's mostly about enjoying the driving of unique and exotic wheels. And having a lot of fun with side missions, or just randomly driving around.
- Unique way to take control of cars
- The game can't remain fresh, you encounter the same types of challenges/missions again and again throughout it. The thing saving it from becoming boring is the physics.
- From about halfway the story becomes dull and the ending isn't great either.
- Success/failure in challenges mostly depend on luck. Like if enough vehicles came that fit the profile of the mission, or that if the ideal driving line is clear during your run, or a game spawns a semi truck there.
overall impression: 7/10
It's solid game, but far from being ground breaking.