Driver: San Francisco is one of my most anticipated games this year. I wailed in dismay at the news that it was pushed from August 30th to September 6th, because it meant waiting yet ANOTHER week for a game I want NOW. Conversely, I squealed in delight when I saw the news of the single player demo being released on Tuesday morning. Though the last two days have been filled with life events and other tedious things, I did manage to get through the demo, and am just as happy with what I played over the last two days as I was when I played it earlier this year and at E3.
The demo provides three campaign missions for you to play through, highlighting some of the big draws of the upcoming game (otherwise known as the thing-that-will-piss-my-wife-off-because-she-won’t-get-any-time-on-the-Xbox-for-at-least-a-week-when-I-get-my-hands-on-it). The first thing I’d like to say (although this is probably a repeat of something I’ve said before) is that Driver: San Francisco feels like Driver, in a good way. Like Martin Edmonson said, it’s like being in a car chase movie from the 70’s. The cars burn out, drift, fishtail, and just plain kick ass.
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The first mission, titled “Prove It,” seems like a very early mission, as you have to prove your “Shift” capabilities to your partner. Prove It consists of Shifting into a vehicle that is driving wildly, followed by jumping it off of a moving car transport truck, “tagging” a police car, evading understandably upset police, then hitching to a moving tow truck. The second mission, titled “Team Colours,” really puts a lot of focus on the Shift mechanic. You find yourself Shifted into one part of a two-person team. Your goal is to finish a 2v2 street race with both members of your team taking the top two spots. This pretty much means you race one car to the lead of the pack, then quick Shift to your partner and race your second car to the lead of the pack. You continue alternating this pattern until you reach the finish line. The third mission, titled “The Escapist,” is one big car chase. Evade the police and get to the safe house with a time limit to beat the mission. It’s simple, but there’s something absolutely exhilarating about a large scale car chase through 200 square miles of San Francisco.