#392 Driver

Posted: 20th October 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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1010th played so far

Genre: Driving
Platform: Playstation 1/PC
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Reflections Interactive
Publisher: GT Interactive Software

Sometimes I picked these final games based on them being a well known series or being important in another right. Sometimes, though, it’s just the game that’s left over, and in this case one where the name is pretty much the genre. I’m honest not entirely sure whether the game deserves that honour, but it’s in the list and so we’ll see what it does have to offer.


I’m not sure I’ve ever figured out the differences between racing and driving in the book and I suspect that when writing it that they didn’t always look too closely either. The difference that I’ve been able to work out is roughly this: Racing games take place on a set track, and always focus on beating another group of cars. Driving games often take place in a more open world, although that isn’t the case in earlier games, and focus on other goals rather than driving. We’ve seen that with Crazy Taxi 3, for example, where you work to get your passengers from one place to another as fast as you can, as the timer ticks down.

Even so, the distinction is meaningless for a lot of games, but I do appreciate the games that have you do more than just race around a track – the variety and open levels add enough to the gameplay that I usually enjoy it more.

Our Thoughts

I tried, I genuinely tried. The first mission of Driver sets you down in a parking garage and tasks you to perform nine different tasks in sixty seconds – accurate stops, slaloms, reaching a certain speed and so on. It sounds like it’s possible to optimize so you can do this, but this doesn’t feel like a tutorial mission, this is a challenge to try after you’ve been playing for a while. Jet Set Radio did this, but its training montage was entirely optional and seen as a harder, later challenge. Driver, however, has you do this as a mandatory first mission and as a first player with (at this point) decent driving game skills I couldn’t manage it. It didn’t help that some are fairly vaguely defined, and so that was it. There was no chance I could get past that level (and I’m not the only one) so I have no chance to say anything about the main campaign.

I made it into free driving, which doesn’t have this issue, but I can’t recommend that too much either. It’s fine to be driving around, but without a goal the world is fairly empty and boring. Other games have done similar concepts – play Burnout Paradise instead – but this game is too primitive to offer you much joy driving without a goal.

Final Thoughts

Driver was a huge disappointment. I get that they wanted to make you know how to drive the cars, but this was too hard, and I think that some aren’t entirely necessary to start playing the game. Without that content, though, there’s not much to the game and it’s not worth the effort needed to set this up.