My first reaction to Driver San Francisco was something around the lines of saying “well that is different”. Starting off my review by mentioning the games feature called “shift” where you can jump from one car to another of your choice. Shift plays a major part of the gameplay in Driver San Francisco. At first my thoughts were, as I said, about it being different for a driving type game. I actually didn’t care for it all that much either. However, as I continued to play it I got use to it, and it and now I like it.
This is definitely no Driver game that we’ve seen in the past. They took a new step with this title having the game played around the shift option. So this will certainly feel like a new game of it’s own, with some of the old qualities still in tact.
One of the major things when playing Driver San Francisco in a shift world is when you need to make a getaway or you are trying to stop someone from getting away. No longer is it just about racing them down and smashing your vehicle into them. In a shift world, you will shift into oncoming traffic and then drive straight into your target. You will then do it again, until you’ve stopped them all or have gotten away.
I will say it sounds pretty odd to explain, and I will certainly tell you to play the demo to get a good idea of what I am referring. The nice thing about those situations of trying to make a getaway or stop a guy from escaping, is that you can still do it the old fashioned way. Though in this game, I can’t really see anyone not taking advantage of using the shift feature. Even in the races the shift feature is still useful. When you shift out from the car you are racing, it will still continue in the race whether you are driving it or not. So you can shift into oncoming traffic again and take out the other racers, and then shift back into your vehicle which gives you a better chance at winning. Heck, sometimes you don’t even need to finish a race as you can just end up destroying the racers by using shift. There are some courses that you will race on in which there isn’t a chance to shift into oncoming traffic forcing you to have to win the race the old fashioned way.
Outside of using the shift, the game still feels good. The driving is very good and of course the handling of vehicles varies from vehicle to vehicle. Getting the hang of the handling will still take you some time until you get a good feel. I wasn’t the biggest fan of that either as I started out playing, but as I got further and attempted different vehicles I did get use to it. Also, during races it’s still very “catch-up” friendly. If you mess up horribly and you still have a little bit of time, it won’t take you long before you are back in the hunt. It hasn’t been the most difficult of games though it did have it’s moments.
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