I don’t do PS2 games a lot, I don’t know why really, but it’s kind of odd that I don’t. It’s more than obvious that a whole lot of people stopped playing the PS2 and moved on to next-gen, so when I suddenly run out of next-gen games to review (or saving most of them for special occasions), it almost pains me to go back. More than likely I’ll stumble over my nostalgia and find that most games I loved are most games that would be absolute BALLS by current day standards. Nevertheless I did this with Red Faction and today, Driv3r will be my next target. It’s a… driving… shooting… thing. If you’re any fan of the ‘Driver’ series you’ll know what it is and what a disappoint it apparently turned out to be. You’ll hate it, swear with it everyday, then go back to complaining on the internet about immigration policy and the Conservative’s stance on NHS funding (derp derp UK politics).
I was reading the reviews, as young as I was, and I was quite shocked. Once I had the game in my hands it was a 6/10, sure it had some issues, but they obviously weren’t living in the mind of a 10 year old (parental guidance at its best). With Driv3r came a whole new set of tools at my disposal, the Director mode; you couldn’t actually make passable machinima, since the music was just three tracks looped, but this was Sony Vegas to me. Me and a friend would constantly keep swapping the controller, filming scenes and then just piecing them together with slow motion and other ‘coo’l effects. To me this was godplay, to the rest of mankind, this was not Driver. I was having fun, they weren’t.
To begin with, the shooting was apparently ‘way off’, even though I had no actual problems with it. Cars would handle like ‘skateboarding through an oil slick, blindfolded’, even though I never had an issue with driving. The story mode would go nowhere, this was at the time when a videogame story was laughed at then pointed towards a Final Fantasy game. I could go on about all the problems everyone fussed about, but in the end, I had some fun with this. Story mode wasn’t exactly my kind of celery so I ended up just diving into Sunday drive with the only two maps available. For some odd reason, I just loved it. I loved how you could drive down the street as the sunsets across the Miami horizon. I love the bridge between the two Miami towns, and how you could fight the police on top of it, then push the button to raise the bridge, tipping them all into the river below.
Speaking of water, remember how in Assassin’s Creed you couldn’t swim? In Mercs 1 how you couldn’t even go near water? Well, here, you can swim. Sure it’s some rudimentary animation but at least we don’t have to just turn into solute every time we go near H2O. Along with swimming you can drive a car, boat, van and if you’re lucky you can find a motorcycle too. It seems that the developers went with the kitchen sink method, chucking everything they possibly can in your face and then walking off. Not that that’s a bad thing, in this case, many reviewers argued it was too much. There wasn’t depth or substance in a series which had only been told in static images and fuzzy dialogue in its PS1 carnations. Yes we ventured out of the automobile, but that wasn’t until Driver 2, and there wasn’t a great deal you could do.
Nostalgia tells me this is a good game, and I’m ignoring all the faults. If you’ve played Driv3r and was disappointed, I don’t really blame you, since a lot of people are saying it almost completely mirrors GTA 3, but doing everything wrong. Maybe that’s the way to view it, it’s just another GTA clone, well I think that can be proved wrong. GTA clones can sometimes be more fun and more rewarding than GTA itself. Take for instance, Saints Row 2, which is absolutely bonkers and steps out of the line. It’s not serious, you can customize your character into a big fat naked woman, you can skydive off the highest building OR you can get a buddy to get a golf club, shrink yourself using cheats and play golf with just you and the skyscrapers around you. It’s better than GTA IV.
So what makes Driver better than GTA? Nothing. It’s just a fun 70s action cop movie flair shoot-em drive-em up. There’s no real heart and soul, it often feels copied and pasted but if I copied and pasted the works of Shakespeare and maybe took out a sonnet or two, it would still be great. Right?
Yes I am terrible sorry for the LACK of PS2 games but I can barely remember any of them. Perhaps if you jog my memory (leave a comment with a game you want me to ‘GTNPA’). I would be ever so grateful.
One last thing, what a stupid title. Honestly. I was actually even more stupid, I didn’t notice the three until a week after I got it and from then after I talked about it as “Drive-three-are.”, I was a very slow ten year old.