Review by Blake Miura
"The most frustrating, annoying, enraging game of all time."
I remember the original Driver. It was a great game. I played it and own it on the PC, and the graphics are astounding, the physics great, the sounds okay, and the actual gameplay incredible. There's nothing quite like having three cops chasing you, jumping over a bridge, and then slamming on the brakes and having the cops go flying into a limo or something. I wanted to experience more of that same magic, so I picked up the sequel for my Playstation... and it's none of the same.
Gameplay - 21% / 100%
Instantly, I noticed that this game may very well be a huge waste of money. The boring, uneventful first few missions feature almost no cops, no interesting chases, and very, very rudimentary goals. Go from Point A to Point B. Tail Car A. Tail Train A and Get to Platform. Basic stuff. The most common missions are the worst - get from Point A to Point B. At first they are very boring, but they quickly get extremely difficult. The timers are farrrrrr to tight and I found that even after several tries it seemed almost impossible to make it. I beat most missions by only 6 or 7 seconds. The police are also way too aggressive. They drive like absolute idiots and they also home in on you in a perfectly straight line, so if you swerve behind a pole they will simply run head first into that pole. They also do not do anything more advanced then sandwich you against a wall - apparently finding routes to head you off is out of the question. Only rarely did I find myself stopped by a roadblock, as well. The police also ruthlessly destroy civilian cars, run into walls, and do not compensate for poor driving conditions. On grass or slick pavement, they will spin out and crash or flip. This is not the behaviour I expect from policemen - who are supposed to ''serve and protect.'' The guys in this game kill more innocents then I do.
Also, speaking about the innocents... are they idiots? A car will not get out of the way, no matter what. They wasted a button on the horn, and considering that the horn doesn't DO anything, they could have given a proper ''look behind'' button instead of the awkward L2+R2 method we have to use. These cars will change lanes even if you are going the speed limit and are slightly behind them. They will turn out in front of you (left turn on a straight road, with you coming from the opposite direction) and ram into you... and then drive off and cause more accidents to get back onto their predefined paths. Havanna is the worst - I saw buses spin out for no particular reason, cars run red lights, stop and sit quizzically staring at green lights, and generally random stupidity.
What else is there? Lots. Lots. Number one, there is no speedometer. The police will arrest you if you break the speed limit - but what the heck exactly is the speed limit? There is no speedo, no tach, no gear indicators, nothing. You often have to match the speed of other cars through trial and error. And then if you so much as tap another car, even accidently or very, very gently, the cops will attack you ruthlessly. As well, if you are in the closest lane to the sidewalk, the pedestrians will run at your approach and this too will get cops after you (why?). Red lights aren't easily visible so it's very easy to run these on a regular basis.
Also, when chasing someone, they follow a predefined path. Which means that if you even for a second try to bump them off course, you careen madly out-of-control into a wall or something and lose them - and these guys drive like idiots, often sideswiping you and then continuing on like nothing happened. I get a double decker bus and then head-on some guy, and he knocks ME back three hundred feet and continues on like nothing happened. ARGH!
Also, Tanner is obviously too much of an idiot to figure out how to open his door if his car is on its side (drivers side up) or roof. For God's sake, I can't count how many times I finally beat a mission only to be rammed by a civilian and turned onto my roof, which INSTANTLY ends the game. I know it's realistic, but having the cars right themselves would be a nice touch.
These game is begging for difficulty settings. You can turn the cops difficult up or down but it doesn't make too much of a difference, and an option to adjust the timers to make the game a little less annoying would also be much appreciated (and were promised for this version). Not to mention that the Director mode is still useless. It turns away from the cameras I want, there are numerous bugs on drawbridges and such, and there is STILL NO REWIND BUTTON. I remember a huge outcry about the lack of a rewind button, which would make editing a 6 minute replay much less tedious, and now these is still not one. Even worse, you have to watch the intro scene every time you start the replay over, wasting even more time.
Graphics - 39% / 100%
Terrible. There are numerous glitches. For instance, even when perfectly intact, car's hoods still do not fit on perfectly and it looks like they have been frontended. Pop-up is severe and considering how ugly the game is anyhow, I see no reason for it to pop up so badly. I often have thought a road continues but then suddenly it ends, and then I crash and have to retry. The map is small and difficult to read, and the arrow that points to the objective is extremely difficult to see when far away to the point of being almost useless. Also, on the big map your car is a small black dot and is very difficult to find at the best of times (which is almost never). All the cars are very low-poly and compared to the original game, they are very undetailed and blocky. I find it very difficult to tell one car from another, and for a dyed-in-the-wool car guy like me, I should be able to do it in my sleep. The variety is kind of nice though.
Sound & Music - 12% / 100%
Horrendous! The cars sound nice, even great at idle, but then push the gas and they all sound like giant Hoover vacuums. The skid sounds repeat quickly and are annoying, while the crash sounds are okay but mostly sound the same (there are only 4 or 5 of them). The police cars, too, sound like crap and the sirens of the Brazilian cop cars make me want to beat the crap out of myself for buying the game and the system for playing the game.
Extras (Multiplayer, cheats, etc.) - 21% / 100%
Multiplayer blows, no doubt about it. You are stuck in first person view with very poor cars, and even after I supposedly unlocked the Buick GSX and Mini Cooper I could not select them. The game types (Take a Ride, Capture the Flag, Cops and Robbers, etc.) are all boring. CTF especially sucks since you are only allowed two players in the game, and take a ride sucks since there is no traffic or police to make cutthroat races of survival. Cops and Robbers is the only mode I will think twice about playing since it has some cool chases, but the film director is not enabled in multiplayer... but why? Multiplayer is the one time you can perfectly co-ordinate a chase scene and then you are saddled with the poor Quick Replay mode which chooses bad angles for the wrong car and will miss huge wrecks and jumps just to show empty streets.
As for the cheats, they don't work. Don't waste your time. Anyhow, the GSX isn't all that much faster then a normal car and the Cooper doesn't handle all that much better then a normal car. Invincability and Immunity are rewarded for beating the game anyhow, so why waste your time beforehand??
Overall - 31% / 100%
...then again, why waste time beating the game or even playing it at all? I still play this game since it has its brief - very very brief - entertaining moments, but this sequel was so rushed it could almost make one cry. I'm not exactly sure, but I think the first Driver was only 5-6 months old when this one was released. You might be one of the people who finds enjoyment in this game, but I know for sure - I'm not one of them.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 11/11/01, Updated 11/11/01
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