Back when the Grand Theft Auto series was simply an over-the-head, 2D game, Reflections released a game titled Driver. It offered large, open-ended, 3D cities as the backdrop for amazingly fun, open-ended driving missions. Now, one sequel and a ‘stuntman’ later, Reflections has released their next incarnation. It seems fitting that the creators of Stuntman, one of the single most frustrating games ever made, would go on to create something to top that: DRIV3R (read: Driver 3). Between glitches, stiffness and just plain boring gameplay,DRIV3R is one of the greatest letdowns I have ever come across.
DRIV3R’s story is the continuation of that of hard-nosed cop, Tanner, as he tries to infiltrate a car thief ring based out of Miami. The gang is trying to steal 40 of the world’s most expensive cars, for a buyer in Istanbul. Throughout your journey, you will drive and run along the streets of Miami, Nice and Istanbul. The story is told through pre-rendered cutscenes that truly eluded me. There is absolutely no substance to them, and at times they seem more like a music video you’d find on MTV. For five minutes of video, you may only hear 30 seconds of actual dialogue. Events just seem to happen randomly. At one point, Tanner is talking to a man in a warehouse when out of nowhere a woman shoots him, and Tanner acts as if it was nothing and continues on with the conversation. There are plenty of characters to fill DRIV3R’s story, however, you don’t care about a single one.
Most of DRIV3R’s missions are introduced through either one of the cutscenes, or simply some text at the bottom of the screen, telling you what to do next. Mission objectives seem random, and aren’t even explained over half the time. However, that is really the least of your problems when playing the game. These missions are some of the most difficult and frustrating you will ever come across. I don’t mean Ninja Gaiden ‘difficult because they’re so well created’ difficult, but rather ‘difficult because of a myriad of technical problems’ difficult. The worst part about the missions is the fact that checkpoints are usually so far between one another, that you’ll be forced to drive great distances over and over again if you screw up. Even in the early missions, there are times when you have to drive a few miles, and then get out of your car just to get shot-up and drive those miles over again.