2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: DRIV3R (PS2) (Video Game)
I'm a big fan of both the Driver series and the Grand Theft Auto series of Playstation games. The huge success of the GTA PS2 games have pushed the expectations for Driver 3 to huge levels. Back in the PSX days Driver was king. With Driver 3, for me, the crown is regained.
Comparisons between the two series are inevitable because they both involve travelling around expansive city environments while often being chased by police. But they are in fact very different in terms of gameplay, style, graphics, presentation and sound. In GTA there is an emphasis on humor and extreme violence. Driver 3 has very wisely not tried to match GTA in these respects but continued in the same way as previous Driver games, with the emphasis on realism, car chases, cinematic cut-scenes and a strong cast of characters in a movie style plot.
Driver 3 has kept things familiar with the usual game modes of Undercover, Take a Ride and Driving Games. The soundtrack is quite superb and all the bands and their songs are listed in the instruction manual for music lovers to enjoy at their leisure. Tanner is back and badder than ever. Other characters to return are Tobias Jones and bad guy (Y2J) Jericho. But you control undercover cop Tanner, aka "The Driver". The cities to roam are Miami, Nice and Istanbul. And they are HUGE. They also look very very good. You must utilise the Take a Ride mode to do them justice. Certainly here, in terms of graphics and road miles, Driver 3 is a level above the last GTA game.
I have had to give it 4 stars, unfortunately, beacuse so much time has been spent on the Undercover mode that the developer has forgotten about the hugely fun multiplayer mode seen in Driver 2. All the other driving games are there, yes, and even some new ones, but I had got so much enjoyment from games such as "catch the flag" in Driver 2 that I was gutted not to see it included in Driver 3.
So to the gameplay. The controls are simple and easy to use. Tanner can run, walk, jump, crouch and even swim but not with much grace. Because that is all saved for the driving. A lot of work has been put into the handling of the vehicles. The range of vehicles is as wide as you would expect, but they all handle differently. Handbrake turns maybe unecessary but they sure do look good. As do burnouts. You won't mind making mistakes either because the collisions in this game are spectacular. Each vehicle has 20 or so damage zones leading to many possibilities for how it might look after a few knocks. Bumpers, doors, bonnets, even the wheels themselves can fly off the axels but only when that little meter is full does your engine actually stop. And its not just the vehicle that suffers, Tanner himself will lose some health during hard impacts. And the time consuming film director mode means there is no excuse for not staying crash-happy. Tanner will also need to engage in gunplay on occasions, but with plenty of health pickups around they are easy enough to complete. You won't see any blood and guts flying around but that is not what its about. Yeah you can run down pedestrians too but it's not really worth it with the very strong police presence around which are very hard to shake. No pay'n'spray here. Getting arrested or killed is gameover.
The music, the cut-scenes the film director mode, the gameplay and the beautiful urban landscapes all contribute to the movie atmosphere - and to great effect. This is one super cool, super slick, super stylish game of epic proportions.