Gameplay, Story and Value:
Driver is essentially Fast and the Furious only instead of racing cars, you’re stealing them, or providing a getaway vehicle, or ruining peoples’ dinners. You’re an undercover agent tasked with infiltrating a crime organization by way of your mad driving skills, which you’re actually have to have if you ever hope to pass the game’s grueling tutorial stage! That’s right, before you can even set rubber to road you’ll have to prove your worth by performing a long series of driving maneuvers in a cramped underground parking garage in under 3 minutes, sans any form of instruction!
Luckily, the driving mechanics in the game are pretty good, leaning heavily on the arcade end of the racing spectrum. Each mission has you performing different tasks in different locations, ranging from delivering stolen cars to a set destination to driving through outdoor restaurants to send a message to rival gangs.
Everything works relatively well, though it wasn’t long before the missions became a little tedious. Despite having seemingly different objectives in each mission, everything really boiled down to “Get your car from here to there without taking too much damage.”
You’ll be relying on your somewhat cumbersome map to plot out the best route to reach your destinations, which while not always fun can often create rewarding experiences when everything goes as planned. The difficulty in execution comes from the fact that the local fuzz is always on the look out for you, and depending on your Felony level will continue to up their game with faster, more aggressive driving as well as obstacles like road blocks.
Presentation, Music and Sound:
Visually, Driver is exactly what I’d expect from an open driving game on the PS1. Everything looks passable though lacking for variety, and traffic is generally light due to hardware limitations. Pre-rendered cutscenes look about on point for the time, and really I have no complaints. The only “problem” is that it’s so by the books that nothing really stands out as special.
Sounds are what you’d expect, and music is entirely average.
Fun and Afterthoughts:
I can see how a game like this would have appealed to my friends and I back when we were kids, especially before things like PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games would set the standard for this genre. Today, though, it’s really hard not to get bored with Driver. The driving is fun enough and I can’t think of anything the game does to really turn me off, the problem is that it does absolutely nothing to draw me in, either.