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For those of you who missed this first time around, \'Driver\' pulled together the best elements from both \'Need for Speed\' and \'Grand Theft Auto\', into an amazing three dimensional living world full of personality - with a cast of vehicles and pedestrians that went about their daily chores regardless of what you were doing. Cars stopped (and even queued) at the traffic lights, changing lanes to overtake and turning intelligently at intersections. You could spend hours with your vehicle parked by the curb just watching the residents of each city going about their business.
The developers have attempted to take to concepts of this masterpiece to a whole new level. Let\'s find out if they have succeeded…
Probably the biggest change in the gameplay is that \'Tanner\' (your character) can now get out of his car and run around the cities on foot. The prospect of hi-jacking a school bus at the traffic lights sounds wonderful, but in practice he staggers around all over the place like someone who\'s just finished his tenth pint of lager - making simple tasks like crossing the street a really frustrating ordeal.
On the plus side, each of the four cities featured in the game are huge. The highways now have on (and off) ramps, many of the roads are curved rather than grid-like and the residual traffic all moves around in a far more realistic way. These subtle changes make for a far more believable (and frantic) driving experience.
Also much improved is the intelligence of the pursuing cops who now seem far more deadly than before. Even when played on the medium difficulty setting, we found that many of the little tricks we used to escape from them in the first game, were no good this time round.
At the heart of Driver 2 is the STORY MODE. Here you are taken on an adventure into the underworld gang scenes of Chicago, Havana, Vegas and Rio and asked to complete various different tasks. Most of these have to be done in a VERY tight time limit, forcing you to learn your chosen route through the city until you can do it with your eyes closed. The missions themselves are far more adventurous than those seen in the previous game and include:
· Deliver a car wired with a bomb before it detonates
· Crush all of the gang\'s cars using a huge Bus
· Chase a villain through the city at speed without losing them
· Tail a suspect at distance so they don\'t spot you
· Escape from a warehouse compound (like a maze)
· Beat a train to reach a stranded car on the tracks
Obviously, the car chases are the most fun and are now much more random than before, with the escaping vehicle showing off some truly amazing skills as they weave in and out of oncoming traffic and fake sharp turns to get you to go the wrong way. Enemies also throw grenades at you during later levels, which adds another new aspect to the game.
Even the vehicle lineup has been spruced up to include: Vans, Busses, Fire-Trucks, Limousines, Ambulances and Money-Trucks. The drivability of each vehicle varies massively, with the larger ones being slow and cumbersome (but great to smash other cars out of your way), while others are far sportier and handle like a dream - even at dangerously high speeds.
Graphically, Driver 2 is a total disaster… If the original was a little like \'oil painting\' - rough around the edges, but if you stood back from the screen a little you could appreciate its genius… then I guess the sequel would have to be a piece of \'modern art\', because no matter how you look at it you really can\'t understand what the hell the artist was thinking of when they made it..!
Buildings appear a few feet in front of you, roads suddenly end without warning and it seems that every other car on the road is the same make as yours..? The night time missions look terrible due to grainy reflections on the road, blocky smoke effects from your tires and sky that\'s drawn using only 4 colors and looks like something a child has produced with a few crayons.
Worse still are inexcusable little bugs like the brake and reverse lights on the truck that appear in the wrong place, pedestrians who leap through cars and buildings to escape from you and vehicles that just disappear when the train appears on screen..!
Thankfully the sound effects are wonderful, as is the voice acting used to play the various characters in the game.
· 3 levels of difficulty
· Story mode takes you through four different cities
· 2 Player games include - Take a Ride, Cops n Robbers, Checkpoint, Capture the Flag
· 1 Player mini-games include - Quick Chase, Quick Getaway, Gate Racing, Gate Racing, Trailblazer, Checkpoint, Survival
· Film Director mode allows you to create your own mini chase movie
1 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 2 Players (without Multi-tap)
2 way split screen multi-player option
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'Driver 2' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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