Before I get into reviewing this game, I feel the need to offer a preface. There are probably few gamers who were quite as impressed as I was when the original Driver
came out for the PlayStation. Driver
literally invented a new genre: Mission-based Driving
games. It was the first; the innovator. In recent days, there have been many other mission-based driving games, most notably Grand Theft Auto
. However, it is worthy of note that before Driver
came about, GTA
wasn't a wildly popular and controversial series, but rather was a top-down (bird's-eye-view) game with a niche market interest at best. In the years to follow, Grand Theft Auto
took the Mission-Based Driving game and ran with it, mixing it with some shooter elements, and providing a gaming experience that got strong reactions on both sides of the spectrum. You could love it or hate it, but you could avoid reading about it. Now, DRIV3R
is out for the PS2, and they've fought back by trying to be more like Grand Theft Auto
- and losing any spirit they might have had left. When the gameplay was bad, it was horrible, and when the gameply was good, I kept thinking I was playing a GTA
Title. The answer to others trying to mimic your success can never be to mimic them back. The only answer an innovator should ever give is to continue innovating. I feel that I have been let down by DRIV3R
; and I really was hoping it would be good.
So, that having been said, here's how the game faired...
What can I say about the graphics in DRIV3R? There are several good vehicle models and the scenery looks very nice. The map is quite expansive and you can move about with little perceivable load times; everything seems to be streamed from the disc. There are several cinematic camera angles that can be used, but they tend to be most useful in the 'Director' mode - a customizable replay mode that allows you to playback the action, from your choice of angles and with a few stylistic tricks such as slow-motion playback. More on this in Gameplay. The graphics aren't bad, but aren't earth shattering, either. Unfortunately, the 'suspension of disbelief' that they might have inspired is crushed when the poor collision detection allows decent looking policemen models run halfway through a wall. Not to mention getting a tree stuck IN your car. These things are hard to overlook.
As for the sound, the sound effects are decent, though sometimes repetitive, and the music is pretty good. The story-telling parts of DRIV3R have fairly high production value. Unfortunately, the "game" part really brings DRIV3R's score down.