Driv3r! One of (if not THE most) hyped games of 2003 and 2004. Everyone was talking about it! Telling each other how great it would be and how fun it would become. Sadly, it was one of the biggest let downs in video game history.
The story is about Tanner, an undercover cop, and Tobias Jones, his partner. They are trying to infiltrate a car theft syndicate lead by a notorious criminal called Calita. Shortly after starting the game, you see the opening cut scene and then Tanner in hospital as his pulse flat lines. That's as far as I'm going to go into the story, because I don't want to ruin things. It's actually a well structured plot, and one of the strong points in the game.
Graphically it looks alright in some parts, but things look quite choppy from a distance, and character models look laughable. Cut scenes look impressive, and they are actually good to watch. They do a good job of explaining the story and never feel stale. During gameplay, the frame rate can become very unstable at times. For example: if you blow up multiple cars at once, the game starts to chug for a few seconds. This can also happen when being chased by multiple police or being fired at. Controls will take some getting used to, but feel fine once you learn them. It does, however, feel very clunky while trying to shoot someone, because manual aim is inverted, and makes aiming a pain. To make up for that however, there is an option to turn auto aim on.
The game has some good ideas, like on foot missions and classic police chases and vendetta parts, but these are executed in such a poor way, that they feel like another run-of-the-mill GTA clone. While moving Tanner, you can move forward, and side-step to go another direction. At first, this feels very clunky. To make things worse, there is no run button, so you'll have to jog slowly around the city if you're on foot. You can duck behind things to avoid enemy fire, but you can't move while crouched. Instead, you do a useless roll. It seems like Tanner isn't very athletic. Apparently, he can't jump over simple barriers or fences which makes the game quite boring. This is also one of the most glitchiest games I have ever played. You can get hit by an oncoming vehicle, start spinning in the air, and land perfectly fine. Other bugs include drowning without your head being under water, and some cars not even moving.
The game is not terrible though. Given all those negatives, you can find at least SOME fun out of Driv3r. 'Take a ride' mode lets you explore either Miami, Nice or Istanbul. You can pick your car, the time of day, the starting point, etc. The driving is very good. Cars and bikes stick to the road well and hardly ever spin out of control. Boats however do seem slow, but you can shoot while driving a boat, which ultimately makes up for it. The 3 cities are quite large and fun to explore. I always used to cruise around for ages, finding new things nearly every time. Missions feel varied. You steal a car one minute and escape an island the next. Each mission feels great and they are, in my opinion, a key addition to the game. It's a shame there aren't many of them. You could beat the game in less than 6 hours if you stick with it, and that is far too short for what was a full priced game. While you do have free roaming and challenges once you've done the missions, it does get rather stale after a good while, and becomes tedious to the point that you'll stop playing.
Driv3r is a victim of its own hype. While it does offer some good points, it is smothered in glitches, clunky controls and some boring gameplay. You can get Driv3r cheap these days, so I'd say it is worth a buy for around $10.00 or less, but any higher and you should avoid it.