Driver: San Francisco – Demo Impressions

The game boasts a large soundtrack, and if the demo is any indication, it should be pretty good.

The demo for Driver: San Francisco was just released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and I had the chance to play through it today. It’s not my first exposure to the series though; I played some of Driver 2 way back when on the PlayStation. Driver: San Francisco had me resuming the role of Tanner, but this time with a bizarre ability.

Tanner and his partner Jones have pursued long-time bad guy Jericho to San Francisco. While attempting to catch him Tanner gets in a wreck and enters a coma. Upon waking from this coma Tanner realizes he has the ability to shift into other people’s bodies. So even though everything else in the game is attempting to purvey something similar to the real world, Tanner has this unrealistic, albeit fun, ability.

The demo has three missions, the first titled Prove It. In it Tanner explains to Jones his ability. Rightfully so Jones thinks he’s full of it, so, Tanner proves it. As Tanner I had to get close enough to someone driving and shift into them. After pressing the shift button the game slowed down and I moved a cursor to select the car I wished to shift to. I then did a few stunts that Tanner told his Jones he would do.

The second mission was Team Colors. Tanner was assisting a father-daughter racing team, helping them to finish in first and second place. Early on it seemed like it would be difficult to get a one-two finish because the person I wasn’t controlling drove noticeably slower. However, in the back half of the race, my opposition had wrecked, each at least once, making it easier than I thought.

There are a lot of nice cars in this game. From American muscle to modern European, Tanner has a lot of options.

The final mission, I believe Escapist, had me possessing a driver working for Jericho. Tanner’s plan was to have this driver progress up Jericho’s chain of drivers, aiming to gain knowledge from the passengers this driver was transporting. I pretty much had to outrun the police and get to a rendezvous point within a time limit here. I failed the first time I attempted it, but found a few cheap methods of losing the police the second time around. During the mission Tanner chatted up the passenger, who wasn’t interested. The dialogue between the two became annoying since Tanner kept prodding, and the passenger kept getting annoyed.

While I have no knowledge of the streets of San Francisco, I can attest that the city and the game for that matter looked fantastic. The different vehicles I drove seemed to handle differently, and they were all modeled nicely, and for the first time in the series, after real vehicles. I thought the concept of shifting was ridiculous especially in a game attempting to recreate the real world, but it was fun and could be put good use when Driver: San Francisco comes out on September 6, 2011.

2 thoughts on “Driver: San Francisco – Demo Impressions”

  1. You seem to be a bit confused. The game itself takes place within Tanner’s mind while he is still in a coma. So it’s not as bizarre as you may think. Many people don’t seem to know that this is the case and have written the game off straight away due to its “unrealism”. I guess it’s the kind of thing you could think up when you’re in a coma or even having a dream. The game looks good and I think people should look into the game and its story more before writing it off straight away. Personally, I think it’s looking very promising and could be a pretty popular game if people gave it a chance.


    1. You are correct Ryan. I wasn’t aware of the game taking place in Tanner’s coma when I wrote this, but after a bit of scouring the internet, I found an interview about the game and it does take place in a coma.

      I wish that was explained in the demo, however, realistic or not, I still enjoyed the Shift mechanic.


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