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The next game in the Driver franchise is Driver: San Francisco, which directly following the previous Driv3r, but this time there’s a catch: It will be only a dream! That’s right, as Tanner, the recurring undercover cop protagonist who drives around with his doors locked (usually), the player enters into the game just as he suffers a head-on collision in San Francisco while in pursuit of Jericho (the antagonist from the previous game). Bedridden in a hospital, Tanner’s life of driving invades his dreams as well, allowing for several new mechanics and features not seen in previous installments.
One of the attempts to diversify gameplay in Driver 2 was allowing the player to exit the vehicle and get into other cars during missions; however, this mechanic was deemed too derivative of other titles in the sandbox genre and thus subsequent Driver games scrubbed that feature. Driver: San Francisco introduces a similar feature that allows changing cars, dubbed “Shift” in which stunts and dangerous activities (i.e. driving into head-on traffic) will recharge this ability. As you are experiencing a dream, the Shift feature allows you to lock on to passing cars to transfer your essence, taking control and continuing the mission you may have been on or triggering another if you transfer into certain special vehicles.
The game features over nine different multiplayer modes, of
which only one has been announced (Trail Blazer) in which racers must chase an
AI car consistently to generate points. Each mode will be able to be played
using a split screen as well as online, so if you have friends in the room with
you they can join in or race one-on-one.
The video replay feature, known as director mode, has been reintegrated into the game after its short-lived removal in Parallel Lines. This mode essentially allows you to review past attempts at missions to locate possible shortcuts or even to show off to friends. I personally didn’t use this but I’m sure more hardcore players trying to shave precious seconds or milliseconds off their times would love it (this series punishes for even slight errors, as I recall from Driver).
Unlike previous titles in the series, Driver: San Francisco will have licensed vehicles, all of which can be visually destroyed (finally) and range from zippy dune buggies to sports cars. In addition to the 120 real cars, the majority of San Francisco will be recreated in-game with approximately 208 miles of drivable road as well as many landmarks like the Bay Bridge.
Developed by Ubisoft Reflections and published by Ubisoft, Driver: San Francisco is taking the series in an inventive direction by encapsulating it in a dreamworld where anything is possible and stunts come easy. With the addition licensed cars, the new Shift feature and the returning director mode, the developers have decided to bring the series back to what made it so great: uninterrupted driving and none of that silly walking around nonsense. Set to be released by August 30, 2011 in a wide variety of formats, including OS X, PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and alternate versions for the Wii and 3DS, Driver: San Francisco is setting itself up to be a gem (and it looks AMAZING).