Reviews for Driver® San Francisco Deluxe Edition

80

By no means perfect, but eminently enjoyable

Locke | June 26, 2014 | See all Locke's reviews »

Having grown up by San Francisco, the setting of this game is just right for me. The music, though not exactly to my taste, goes a long way to setting the tone, as do the cutscenes, all of which embody 70's era cop movie. Being in San Francisco gives the game lots of opportunities to to exploit elevation with large hills and jumps, something you're incentivized to explore through the Dare system as well.

Driving is fun, though not without some frustration. I'm a big fan of games that let you hold on the accelerator the whole way and control your course with careful steering and application of drift, but this game is anything but. It'll take a lot more planning than that to succeed, and quite often holding the gas at max will make you fishtail or wildly spin in circles. Not that these are bad things, mind you, but like I said, not how I prefer my racing games. There's also the matter of traffic. There's a lot of it, and running into it will slow you down significantly. It does help make the world feel full, and sometimes you'll see active police chases going on around you as well, but other times it just feels in the way. While this game certainly isn't as realistic as a proper simulator (and more on that in a second), it is much less forgiving than your average arcadey racing game, so keep that in mind if realistic racers aren't your style.

The thing that sets this game apart is the ability system, most notably the Shift ability. Shift allows you to jump into (almost) any other car in the world and do with it as you will. Chasing down a criminal trying to get away from cops? Shift into a bus in the opposite lane and have them meet an unfortunate accident. You can also boost or ram cars on a shared cooldown or shift instantly between any other car on your team. The game gives you a lot of options in tackling different missions, but cracks start to show up when it takes away these options. For Dares it doesn't matter so much, but full-fledged Challenges where they do things like take away all your abilities and ask you to take out a car quickly become frustrating.

The PC port is decent. It runs well enough, though it doesn't have much in the way of options. I do get hiccups sometimes and outright drops to single-digit FPS in the presence of fire. Some textures, such as the ground, will randomly flicker on and off sometimes. I do have to say though, I've never seen such nice looking tire smoke, and it doesn't even trash my wimpy little card like I'd expect.