Review by Mister_T
"A step back in the right direction for Reflections, but it's not there yet"
Driver was a great game. Driver 2 was a greater game, despite its glitches. Driv3r took the series in a completely new direction, and failed miserably. Driver: Parallel Lines is Reflections' attempt at correcting a wrong and in some ways, it does just that. D:PL brings the series a little closer to its roots, yet also steps closer to Grand Theft Auto and all of its clones.
Just how does this all add up? Well, here's the low down:
The story starts out well enough. It's 1978. Drugs, women, and song. You're a kid; The Kid, actually. You're just a small time driver for petty criminals around New York City. But you get noticed and pretty soon you're doing big deals for bigger men and before too long you're caught up in all sorts of shoot-outs and drug wars. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and when you're left holding the goodies at one point in the story, without revealing more than the back cover of the game case does, it's off to the slammer.
And here's where the plot development comes to a screeching halt. The remainder of the already short story seems to have been thrown together at the last minute and consists entirely of TK getting his revenge and uses very few missions to do so.
If you like any sort of Hollywood-type driving/action movie, you'll probably love the story, even if the second half is too short.
While not much improved over the previous installment, this game has some of the best graphics in the business. The cars are all very well done and actually get riddled full of bullets, unlike in GTA. The buildings aren't perhaps quite as well done as they could be, and mouths don't move when people are talking (except during the cut scenes), but this most likely contributes to the very fast loading times.
The cut scenes (and there are quite a few) are exceptional. If you have ever played another Driver, then you will know what to expect and will not be disappointed in this department. If you haven't, then expect cut scenes of top of the line cinematic quality. This has been a high point of the Driver games since their inception, and the tradition easily lives on here.
Game Play 8/10
To me, this is the most important part of any game. The story can be the best the world has ever seen and the graphics can push the system past the edge of its limits, but if the game play is lacking, it will completely ruin the game. D:PL brings the great car handling that has been ever-present in the Driver franchise, but it also gets a few tweaks. For one, there is no longer a burnout button, which I can deal with. However, now anytime you accelerate as hard as possible in your car, you automatically do a burnout, which is quite annoying when the cops are busy pushing your car around all you are doing is helping them by spinning your tires. In addition, the brakes seem to be a little too touchy, but you will get used to that quite quickly.
Another addition is the ability to shoot from your car. After adding guns in Driv3r, Reflections couldn't just simply remove them, and giving you the ability to shoot from your car was the next logical step. This, as with the rest of the shooting in the game, is poorly done and is the main reason this section scored so much lower than it deserved. The aiming system has been refined for this go around, and while much better than it was before, is still quite abysmal. The lock-on targeting works well except for the fact that sometimes you will want to shoot something right in front of you and you have to toggle through several other targets before you get to it.
TK seems to run about as slowly as that elderly jogger that goes by your house every morning at 5 a.m. and makes the on foot portion of the game less enjoyable. Luckily, you won't have to be on your feet too much, as the designers correctly brought back much of the emphasis of the game to driving. The lack of a jump button also adds for some interesting situations, but not having to deal with Tanner's jump from Driv3r again is a fair trade, I suppose.
A great selection of driving-oriented music from both eras of the game sucks you into the game play and makes the game much more enjoyable. There will be classics such as "Low Rider" that you should recognize and quite a few others that you will not. This is possibly the best game soundtrack that I have ever heard. If every game was like this, we would have world peace...or at least we should.
Replay Value 8/10
Like any car-hijacking game, there are quite a few things to do along with just running around once you've completed the game. You unlock many entertaining cheats by simply driving around the three areas in the game and these can provide a little extra enjoyment. Also, the ability to switch back and forth between eras after you have completed the game is quite enjoyable. There are many odd jobs for you to do throughout the game that get you money with which you can customize your many cars. Be sure to spend your money on the sports cars, as they can provide that extra speed and handling that the others cannot.
Overall 8/10 (not an average)
While D:PL adds a lot of what was missing from Driv3r into the mix, the game still doesn't play as well as the original two games did. If I still had my PS1 hooked up, I would almost rather play Driver 2 than this game. However, this is still a great game and belongs in any Driver or driving game fan's collection. You will have hours of fun with this game, and with the current price tag, you can't go wrong. If you can find this game in stores, it should be under $20 and it's even less on internet auction sites. So do yourself a favor and pick up this game. You'll wonder why you hadn't bought it before.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 10/25/06
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