Driv3r - PS2

Also known as: Driver 3

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Also for: PC, Xbox, GameCube
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Adventure: Free Roaming
Combat Game: Driving
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Reflections Soft. Co.: Reflections
Publishers: Atari (GB/US/GB)
Released: 21 Jun 2003 (US)
25 Jun 2004 (GB)
18 Feb 2005 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
Accessories: Analogue Control Compatible: all buttons, Memory Card
Features: Vibration Function Compatible

Summary

It's now been five years since the last instalment in Reflections' Hollywood car chase-inspired Driver series - a time that, apart from the similarly-themed Stuntman, has been devoted to this: the much-awaited yet oft-delayed DRIV3R. Not far removed from Driver 2 - apart from a generally larger scale to the proceedings and the obvious improved visuals - the game delivers the usual addictive blend of driving-based missions and on-foot shoot-outs (this time in greater supply), all tied together by some lengthy CGI-fuelled narrative.

You step into the shoes of Tanner once again, the undercover cop and master 'wheelman' who, in typical fashion, will do whatever it takes to bring the bad guys down. The story this time sees Tanner, along with longtime partner Tobias, infiltrating a global car theft ring - a task that, as you'd expect, involves plenty of car chases and firefights, as well as objectives such as tailing gangsters, chasing witnesses, stealing cars and, well, shooting lots of guns.

In similar vein to GTA, the game world is both expansive and detailed, with three large cities playing host to the tyre-screeching action, including Miami, Nice and Istanbul. Within these lies over 150 miles of major highways and city streets to explore, as well as a good deal of uncharted open areas, alleys (complete with cardboard boxes, no less) dirt roads and smaller byways.

As far as the actual cars are concerned, things have expanded here a little, with Tanner now able to take to the wheel (and other assorted controls) of over 50 different vehicles, including not only the standard four-wheel types, but also motorcycles, boats, police cars, vans, mopeds, muscle cars and even 18 wheelers. Each of the vehicles benefit from fairly intricate destruction models, meaning that they crumple and break realistically as you less than subtly wreck the hell out of them.

As well as the main single-player experience (known as Undercover mode), DRIV3R also offers an option called Take a Ride, which allows you to select your city, time, vehicle and weather options before going for a spin at your own leisure. And as befits such a title, there's also the addition of a number of Driving Games offering a large array of painfully addictive challenges such as Quick Chase, Trailblazer, Survival, and Checkpoint Race.

On the whole DRIV3R is an accomplished racer, which once again showcases Reflections' ability to do what it does well. If anything it's let down a little by the pedestrian-based missions, which suffer from awkward controls and a few annoying bugs, but the driving is what it's essentially all about and this is both a great deal of fun and very difficult to put down.