While my taste in music has practically always been set to the all ‘80s station, I happen only recently acquired an appreciation for that funky music which ruled the radio waves only a few short years prior. You know the kind. If not, just pick up any good flick from the ‘70s wherein you are treated to the sight of now-vintage muscle cars tearing their way through the crowded streets of the big city and you’ll hear it for yourself. Or, if you’re familiar with the music I’m talking about and have a hankerin’ for muscle cars roaring down metropolitan highways, alleys and avenues, then I heartily suggest you pick up Driver: San Francisco.
Not only does it feature a soundtrack that will have you jumping for joy with delight, but this game flat out hauls its own ass as well as that of anyone who plays it. Thought the story follows in the footsteps of the franchise’s previous entry, Driv3r, it is not essential for anyone to have had played that title before jumping into the driver’s seat of this one (which marks the first time the series has appeared on the PlayStation 3).
And, speaking of “jumping,” Driver: San Francisco marks a new twist on the formula — one that owes more than a passing nod to the television series Life On Mars (to say nothing of about ten-million movies and TV shows). Series “star” John Tanner returns once more — as does his nemesis, Jericho. Only this time, Tanner’s put into a coma at the beginning of the game during a near-lethal chase throughout greater San Francisco and left to get through the various mysteries and challenges the game holds by “jumping” behind the wheels of other cars (with non-vegetative people driving).
Tanner still goes through the game as if he’s fully-conscious, only with this super ability to “shift.” A simple press of the “X” button allots players a temporary out-of-body experience, to wit they are able to select another vehicle (as well as host) to commandeer. In the name of the law, of course. Well, some times. You see, the act of shifting can sometimes put you behind the wheel of a speeding getaway car, wherein your objective is to lose your fellow PD folk. Other times, you can take over the body and automobile of said fellows in order to pursue getaways. The fun extends that much further by being able to possess an oncoming car (say, a big mother-grabbing truck) which you can use to subtly “persuade” the bad guys to stop.