Driver 3 from Reflections by ATARI

By Rico - I was hyped on Driver 3 from the moment I heard it was coming to Xbox. Everything I read about the title seemed like a sure-fire hit: huge cities to drive through, the ability to walk freely throughout each level (a la Grand Theft Auto), and a sweet replay feature where I could play the director. Everything was lined up for what I was sure would be the game of the summer. Sadly, my hopes were shattered once I stepped into developer Reflections' virtual world.

The problem with Driver 3 is that it manages to underachieve on so many levels. Primarily, the game is simply too damn short! With just under thirty missions that average about a half an hour each, at best you're looking at fifteen hours of core gameplay. I don't know about you, but a game that requires just fifteen hours to traverse three massive cities is lacking something. To be fair, there are additional mini-games thrown in, but the implementation is weak due to the fact that you must load each game from a menu and thereby lose all sense of immersion.

PRESENTATION - One area where Driver 3 excels is in its storytelling. Every cut scene is gorgeously rendered and meticulously polished. Actors Michael Madsen, Ving Rhames, Mickey Rourke, and Michelle Rodriguez lend some flawless voice talent that sucks you deeper into the story with every new mission. Driver 3's cinematic feel is played out well with options for additional blurring and other visual effects while playing through. Add to that the incredible Film Director mode for any saved replay and you can spend hours just creating crazy chase flicks for friends and fellow Xbox LIVE players to view. Yup, ATARI slipped in the ability to upload your own Director's Cut for anyone on LIVE to download and view. Move over James Cameron!

Unfortunately, the rest of the game feels a couple quarts low. With only two views to chose from (first and third person) the player feels constrained by the camera. A few more options would have been nice in this area. While the three cities of Miami, Nice and Istanbul are enormous, once the game is finished there is little to do except drive around in them which grows tiresome and makes you wonder what the point was of creating such beautiful environments for the player to do absolutely nothing in.

Overall Score
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