Many may feel that Driver San Francisco is all about the single player campaign, however after testing out the multiplayer component recently, we can assure you that this is far from the truth. Thanks to the special element which make Driver San Francisco so different, the multiplayer is not only fun but also very interesting.
That “special element” we are talking about is of course the ‘Shift’ mechanic, which allows you to jump from one car to another. Although we only played around three of the games multiplayer modes (we are told there are around 11), it was quite clear that the ‘Shift’ mechanic will play a large part in the online modes.
The first mode we managed to test out was called TAG mode. Basically the aim here was to speed around the fully realised streets of Los Angeles chasing after the owner of the Tag. Once you caught up you simply had to crash into them in order to claim the Tag for yourself. This goes on until someone has held the Tag long enough in order to reach the score limit, which in our game was 100.
This game mode is fun enough on its own, however once you add in the Shift element it really takes a whole new twist. Now in order to catch up to opponents you can simply press the right bumper, which allows you to zoom straight to the holder of the Tag, enabling you to shift into a car behind them or take a different tactic and guess their route, shift into a car in the distance and cut them off. This really adds a big twist to the Tag mode and makes things much more tactical and challenging than they would be otherwise.
Interestingly the Tag leader can also pull off a few tricks in order to keep hold of the Tag. The main tactic in our play time seemed to be to drive into the dirt tracks. The dirt tracks are long winding roads, which are essentially remote roads. What this means for the pursuers is that there’s no traffic to shift into, meaning you will have to catch up with the Tag holder the old fashioned way.
Trailerblazer makes a similar use of Shift to TAG mode. The aim here is to follow in the trail of a DeLorean as it makes its way through the streets. The longer you stay in the trail coming off the back of the car, the more points you accumulate. To make things more difficult the car swerves in and out of traffic, while you also have your online opponents to deal with, as they try to knock your car into the various trucks and cars which are heading your way. Using shift in this mode allows you to catch up with the trailerblazer should you hit said traffic or fall behind for another reason. We really enjoyed the trailerblazer mode, it was good fun, if not a little slow paced compared to the madness that was Tag.
There’s certainly a good amount of online modes within the game, whether it’s those mentioned above or the drive through the ten gates first, mode. As mentioned not all of the modes use the shift element but it just goes to show the variety that you will receive should you purchase this game and play online.
On the presentation side, Driver San Francisco is certainly looking good. San Francisco is perfectly recreated, as are the bustling streets which are full of cars, trucks and pedestrians. We weren’t sure what to expect in this respect, but we certainly came away very impressive with what we saw.
It’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of the single player or more of the multiplayer mode on offer during our time with the game, however what we did see has got us hungry for more.
Expect to hear more on this game from us when we fly over to Germany for Gamescom next month.
Driver: San Francisco is released August 30 in the US and September 2 in the UK for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. You can pre-order the Driver: San Francisco Collector’s Edition (PS3 | Xbox 360) by clicking the relevant link.