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Driver 3

Score: 86%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Reflections
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Mission-Based Driving/ Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Harnessing the power of the Xbox and transferring that into graphical content is commonplace today. But with Atariís Driv3r (or Driver 3), the potential of the Xbox just didnít show through. In the case of a huge game like this, there is something to be said of limited resources in terms of polygons and textures, but the game just doesnít strike me as amazing. In fact, a lot of the textures in the game (including the main characterís) just arenít anything special at all. In addition, popups of buildings and other terrain are horribly evident. Fortunately, itís not the visuals that help move a game like Driv3r along.

On the audio side of the fence, Driv3r does a decent job of driving the story (no pun intended... well, maybe a little) and keeping the gameplay moving. There are plenty of opportunities to listen to Driv3r, from guns blazing, to cars flooring it down the streets of the three areas included in the game (which are Miami, the South of France, and Istanbul).


Gameplay:

In the event that you havenít actually heard anything about Driv3r, let me explain. Driv3r builds upon its predecessors because it continues to deliver mission-based objectives that involve a lot of... well ...driving. As an example, there are times when chasing down an enemy (or outrunning one, including the cops) and thrashing their vehicle is essential to continue the story. And that story is that of a cop named Tanner (thatís you), trying to hunt down a ring of car thieves, and track down 40 hard to find vehicles.

However, this installment of the Driver series does something a bit different. It borrows (a lot) from the Grand Theft Auto series, and allows for a huge world with free-roaming capabilities. What this means is that it is now possible to hijack vehicles and shoot people that get in your way, as well as being able to go on foot to places previously not accessible. However, Driv3r does continue to deliver missions to you automatically, unlike GTAís roam-and-find-missions philosophy.

But, for those out there interested in a completely free-roam game, Driv3r does offer a "Take A Ride" mode of play. Here you will be able to have complete freedom to travel cities and also unlock bonuses. It is also here that a player can attempt to find every little nook and cranny to hide in when the police are in hot pursuit. This is one thing I loved about Driv3r. If the police canít see you, they canít find you. Use this to your advantage and find places to lie low if need be.

Overall, Driv3r is a great game that will keep a playerís interest for a long time. I did have a few issues with the gameplay, however. One of the major issues I found was that shooting an enemy from point blank range in the back of the head wonít kill them, but firing long-range with a machine gun seems to do a better job. Because of this, attempting to use stealth and sneak up behind someone is, in a way, worse that just entering an area with guns blazing. Another major issue with Driv3r is that the controls also seemed to be a bit awkward while on foot, which made the game a bit more difficult that it had to have been.


Difficulty:

It isnít that Driv3r is overly hard, necessarily, but certain aspects of the game can make things more difficult than needed. Specifically, the way that our hero (Tanner) controls while on foot is not that user-friendly. Trying to aim his weapons precisely (without using that auto-aim option) when in a gunfight is very unintuitive. I found myself actually having to constantly adjust the gun sights and run back and forth behind corners in the environment. What I was hoping for would have been the ability to peek around corners and fire at that point. In the same manner, it is possible to crouch the character, but not move (except for rolling) while crouched, which also made combat much more difficult than it should have been.

As a whole, missions could be completed relatively easily after knowing what needs to be done to accomplish the objectives. What this means, however, is that missions may need to be replayed a few times to find out the best course of action for claiming victory. Fortunately, there are checkpoints in the form of sub-missions, where you will be returned upon being killed. It just would have been nice to also be able to save at these points, because it can often take a while to complete a full mission, which is also the only time that Driv3r allows you to save.


Game Mechanics:

As mentioned before, the controls while Tanner is on foot could use a bit of tweaking, but the overall feel of Driv3r is very good. Some may have an argument that the slightly over-the-top physics take away from the game, but there really isnít anything to deter from the gameplay due to this. What you get instead is a well-rounded game that isnít just another straight Grand Theft Auto clone. Those who enjoyed the first two Driver games (or GTA for that matter) will also enjoy this one.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Sony PlayStation 2 Catwoman Sony PlayStation 2 Athens 2004

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated