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Glaring Single-player & Multiplayer bugs but it has the best graphics!
on 14 January 2013
After a year of Xbox and PC gaming with Driver-SF, I can say the graphics are still definitely the best of any racing platform... But somehow this game doesn't multi-player as well as Project Gotham Racing 4 or even Forza 4. Primarily because the multi-player game customization options are the most limited of any racer!!! For instance :-
A. Why can't I pick the car I want to drive? My preference is a Lamborghini / McClaren not a drift car like a Lancia or some tank slapping ancient wreck?!
B. Why can't I pick the road surface: off-road, motorway, city streets etc, Why is it always randomly assigned?
C. I spend more time waiting for players than I do playing games! The game matching system is flawed. At least offer police chases in FREEDRIVE while one waits for players to join a game. Every time I get the "RETURNING YOU TO LOBBY" screen because of lack of player-matching I curse this game!
D. My PC version of Driver-SF is dead. It crashes every time at the LOBBY screen due to 'FRIENDS' profile data corruption! Something is rotten with online 'FRIENDS' data. Previously I tried to add many FRIENDS to generate more games and reduce time sitting in the LOBBY doing nothing. But now the game won't play anymore, even after a fresh install on a new PC. This is unforgivable Ubisoft! I don't want to create a new profile as that will reset my Level 38 rating to Zero.
I've completed this game on Xbox and PC and play online with the PC version but no longer wish to pay for Xbox Live! I found the single player on both versions an exercise is sheer agony and frustration! Overall however, its a cracking game, but the unfathomable gameplay restrictions mean going back to Forza or PGR / Blue for casual racing games with friends. So lots of room for improvement here if Ubisoft is open to feedback...
I find Forza pretty but it has over-rigid driving controls, and N4S is bland & blurry! Driver on the other hand is fast and fluid with a solid frame-rate and clarity that is eye-waveringly beautiful. Its still the best and most fun driving game available IMO. Although the field of competition is shrinking. I was a big fan of the PGR racing series that was later Blur but is now RIP regrettably!
#1. PC Activation is a pain as are the extra patches and updates. But shipping an incompatible UbisoftGameLauncherInstaller with a June 2012 retail purchase with no fix apart from scouring gaming forums is unforgivable Ubisoft!
#2. When using an "Xbox Controller for Windows" with Driver-SF, if the controller is dropped or has low battery or the USB cable is accidentally unplugged during gameplay, the game loses all Xbox controller connectivity, and the entire game must be exited and restarted. In Multiplayer this is a huge pain in particular! Other Ubisoft games such as "Far Cry 2" do not have this problem and do not lose connectivity!
#3. Major online glitch that Ubisoft is largely ignoring, see below!
#4. You can't play quick customizable offline racing games with robot cars like in Forza or PGR.
#5. The PC version has no local gaming options, so PC LAN-Gaming is not available! I would buy more copies if Driver-SF had Lan gaming.
#6. There is no Xbox System-Link either, and the Xbox split screen multi-player doesn't let you pick your preferred car! In addition, the split-screen gameplay would be much better if it was on the HORIZONTAL AXIS!
#7. The PC online multi-player also doesn't let you pick your own cars, until you've reached level 25 and then you can morph into a preferred car in Tag and Trailblazer, but not in Classic Race or Sprint GP! These limitations and restrictions appear on the face of it-- unnecessarily stupid and a waste of the beautiful graphics as you struggle with less forgiving cars like the drifting Lancia or some tank slapping ancient wreck! In addition, the Level 25-40 advantages give advanced players an unfair and unbalanced edge over novice Level 1-24 players! And again, there's little control either over road surface choice: off-road, motorway, city streets etc.
#8. I spend more time waiting for players than I do playing games! The game matching system is fundamentally flawed. At least offer police chases in FREEDRIVE whilst one waits for players to join a game. Every time I get the "RETURNING YOU TO LOBBY" screen because of lack of player-matching I curse this game!
#9. Glaring bug. The Multiplayer lobby as mentioned is hugely flawed and basically there's nothing to do while waiting for players to join a game, not even police chases. Moreover, there is a major glitch! My PC version of Driver-SF is dead. It crashes every time at the LOBBY screen due to 'FRIENDS' profile data corruption! Something is rotten with the online 'FRIENDS' profile data held on Ubisoft servers. Previously I tried to add many FRIENDS to generate more games and reduce time sitting in the LOBBY doing nothing. But now the game won't play anymore, even after a fresh install on a new PC. This is unforgivable Ubisoft! I don't want to create a new profile as that will reset my Level 38 rating to Zero. This is a glaring bug in this game! So watch-out as adding friends as will crash the online Multiplayer lobby every time!!! Basically the bug is triggered if you add too many 'friends" and this is far too easy to do and likely because if you don't add friends, you can sit in the Multiplayer lobby for most of your life waiting... When contacted, the only thing Ubisoft would offer was a new serial number which meant my entire gaming profile was reset to Zero! I didn't fancy having to play from the beginning again with no perks or cars! What's unforgivable, is that Ubisoft have known about this bug for some time they call it "server side corruption", but they haven't bothered patching or fixing it!
#10. A novice, medium, expert-level system for Driver-SF either selected before each mission or at the start of the game. The PGR series (PGR3/PGR4) had this feature and it made the game hugely re-playable. Why do I suggest this? Because the developers can't tailor missions exactly to a players strengths and weaknesses. So having a changeable level of difficulty makes the game hugely playable and repayable. I am still playing PGR3 and PGR4, and you can turn up or turn down the difficulty level to suit your mood which makes the game repeatedly fun. Whereas with Driver, I'm still sitting in the multiplayer lobby waiting for someone to race, after tearing my hair out in single-player because of its fixed difficulty level on all missions!!!!
#11. With such great graphics its a shame a lot of the game-play is poor. I'm not talking about the ridiculous plot. I'm talking about the sheer agony and frustration or repeating missions and how much work it takes to unlock and earn bland vehicles. Why would anyone want to slave over an Abarth, Dykeman truck or a Caisson bus???? Moreover, why is it you can unlock the high end Lamborghini LP640 and LP670, but not the cheaper Gallardo until much later in the game?
#12. Overall the WP points system is hugely flawed. At the end of the game I had 3 million WP, but nothing to spend it on! Why complete missions just to unlock a car when you still have to earn WP points to buy it? This only serves to slow the gameplay to a crawl! The second time I played the game, I left the game on overnight to earn WP to bypass this annoyance!
#13. The game would have been far more enjoyable if you could earn more sports cars faster like the Ford GT, and use any of these earned vehicles on all the missions.
#14. Personally I wish they didn't put dots or symbols over cars. I'm referring to cars you are chasing or evading etc. Far Cry 2 doesn't need it. It looks childish and kills realism! The same applies to Multiplayer. In some online games players can 'shift' cars so quickly that the red-glowing highlighting is more of a distraction than a help!
#15. I wish they'd make chases more realistic and less like GTA4, where if you're a millimeter too close or a kilometer too fast you lose a car you're tailing. This is stupid, instead, if the target sees you they should react. Maybe they should speed up and drive faster, or maybe they should drive more recklessly, or maybe they should turn around and ram you! In addition, the timed missions are infuriating much like GTA4, and many are inconsistent, as some force you to restart the entire mission, whereas others return to the last checkpoint. With such realistic graphics why can't they add more realistic gameplay? What I'm saying is, If the player completes MOST of a given mission, they shouldn't be forced to replay the entire mission from the beginning like a platform game from the 80's!! At the very least I wish Ubisoft would take a page out of the Hitman series and offer multiple ways to complete missions!