Step into the shoes of undercover officer John Tanner as he attempts to stop the criminal Solomon Caine from destroying San Francisco’s peace in Driver: San Francisco, Ubisoft Reflection’s action-driving simulator that packs quite an explosive punch.
The Wii Driver: San Francisco game is the fifth main entry of the Driver series, an open-world driving game where players are free to explore virtual city streets while taking on missions and side quests. The game showcases protagonist John Tanner in his fight against crime, in this case, Solomon Caine, a villain who stirs up trouble by creating volatile situations for various gangs in San Francisco in an effort to escalate a turf war. Solomon Caine also happens to be the thug responsible for the death of Tanner’s partner, making things personal for the detective.
Driver: San Francisco for the Wii differs drastically from its counterparts on the Xbox360, Playstation 3, and Microsoft Windows platforms. In Driver: San Francisco, the events of the story serves as a prequel to the Driver series where John Tanner is just starting out as a rookie cop. Notably missing in the Wii release is the “shift” ability present in other console versions where Tanner can enter another car at whim by possessing the driver in a telepathic state. The Wii version also contains watered-down graphics to fit the system, most notably the absence of pedestrians on the streets.
With that said, Driver: San Francisco is still an excellent game for players wanting an adrenaline-fueled driving simulator. In the game, players alternate roles as John Tanner, his new partner Tobias Jones, and the criminal Solomon Caine. Missions span across eleven chapters and include such objectives as chasing down and ramming into criminal cars, avoiding pursuit by police, and engaging in illegal street races. As you may have guessed, the emphasis is more on driving rather than anything else, and this is apparent by the inability of your character to get out of the car.
To aid in your quests, various abilities can be gained by earning points through performing driving stunts and engaging in some reckless maneuvering. These abilities include being able to fire on your opponents while driving and slowing down time in order to improve your responses. Players can also upgrade their vehicle and firepower as they progress in the game. Ultimately, the story propels itself through constant action and the occasional cutscene which updates the plot.
In addition, Driver: San Francisco for the Wii comes with a few hefty add-ons such as cooperative mode where a friend can jump in and help you out through another Wii controller, or else connect with a Nintendo DS and aid you by navigating the map and interfering with opponents. There are also modes such as Party Play, Cops and Robbers, and a few other extras to extend the game’s lifespan.
Definitely the biggest drawback for the Wii Driver: San Francisco game is control issues. Motion sensing for the Wii Nunchuk and remote are often not as accurate as it should be, causing you to miss your target or collide with other obstacles during a mission. In addition, the controls are somewhat confusing and require too many motions to remember.
In terms of difficulty, some quests are way too hard to pull off, while others are just too easy. These erratic difficulty settings and the hard-to-manage controls can be a source of frustration for gamers, although they can be compensated with coop play.
Driver: San Francisco can be played on the Wii and requires the Wii Nunchuk. There are multiplayer as well as single player modes available.
Driver: San Francisco for the Wii is a decent entry to the acclaimed Driver series. It contains everything you would expect from a Driver game including cops, criminals, wild chases, and shootouts. The scope of the game has been shrunk to fit the Wii capabilities quite well. Other than a few occasional glitches and the hard-to-master controls, Wii owners have plenty of good reasons to pick this one up. However, if you own other consoles, their version of Driver: San Francisco contains improved graphics and features not found in the Wii release and are better options.