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LTTP: Driver: San Francisco (PC)

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LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

I picked up Driver: San Francisco during the uPlay launch promotion for just $1. I’ve always wanted to try Driver after hearing all abouts its crazy premise on the Giant Bombcast.

I played as a cop named Tanner who gets knocked into a coma during a prison break and now has to solve the mystery of where the escapee has gone to in his dreams. Tanner is also a fantastic driver. And he also has the ability to possess other drivers/vehicles.

I would have loved to sit in the meeting room where this game was pitched. It’s nuts but it works.

Being able to possess cars at will enabled setups like ramming other cars into my opponents during a race. I could also possess partner car during a getaway chase and use them to box in the perpetrator. Obviously the first thing I did was possess someone on the other side of the road and steered them right at my opponents. They never explained why I couldn’t take over the other racers though. I chalked it up to it being a video game.

Possessing different drivers not only opens up gameplay ideas and events but it also allows me to delve into the stories of San Francisco residents. They’re mostly lighthearted stories that were meant to give context and amuse.

I appreciated the tone — it’s good to see a game not take itself so seriously despite the real world setting and inclusion of licensed cars. The whole notion of this being a coma induced dream frees up any guilt or worry about fatally injuring anyone during the hundreds of traffic accidents I created. It also helps that the pedestrians will jump out of the way of traffic 100% of the time. It’s one of those T rated games.

I didn’t finish the game due to technical issues (which I’ll get into later) but I did play a fair bit of it; enough to realize that the game isn’t too difficult with the right upgrades. From what I played, the story missions didn’t actually require any of the upgrades. I could have gone through from story mission to story mission but I am a bit of a completionist and thus couldn’t resist getting into off road races and cop chases.

Driver: San Francisco isn’t the prettiest games on the block; it’s meant to run at 60 FPS on consoles and they didn’t do much to deviate from that when they ported it. With that in mind, it’s not surprising to see it run at 60 FPS at 1080p resolution on my hardware. What was surprising and disheartening was the apparent memory leak.

Having to reset my game every half hour or so (sooner if I restart events) was annoying enough to discourage me from playing Driver: San Francisco any further. It’s a shame because it has such an interesting hook. I wanted to see how far they took the driver hopping mechanic. I also wanted to see how they wrapped up the story. Technical issues makes this a difficult recommendation. I would not hesitate recommending this on other platforms though.

Just when I thought I could feel good about PC gaming again, something like this comes along and spoils the party.

Stay Away

Ratings Guide

For more information on Driver: San Francisco, visit the official website.

2010 PC Rev. 1.1 was used to play Driver: San Francisco.

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