The Action driving game genre has exploded in recent years thanks to the runaway success of the Grand Theft Auto and the recent True Crime Series. However fans of the genre know that the roots of the series popularity stretch back to a game called Driver and its subsequent sequels.

While GTA has seemed to be the leader in the genre based on the popular critical, and commercial success of Vice City and Grand Theft Auto 3 the Driver series has returned to battle for the title of the elite action driving series.

Players are cast as Tanner as he attempts to enter a car theft ring in suburban Miami. Along the way players will have to resolve the history of the cars to determine where they are going, who took them, and so on. While Miami, is the base for the game there are also some nice international locations such as Nice and Istanbul. The story unfolds mainly through cut scenes, which are well rendered and are often the best part of the game, as you will find yourself caught up in the constantly unfolding story.

Driver 3 is mostly a linear game that requires players to complete a given mission to continue. Missions include stealing cars, chasing bad guys, busting up an enemy base with your car and exploding barrels and so on. The gameplay can become repetitive thus negating much of the replay value of the title.

The game does have a lot of out of car action and herein lays one of the biggest issues of the game, as control over Tanner can be tough. All of his movements look wobbly and stiff, and the gun battles are nothing to write home about. The combat scenes lack any variety as it is simply a shoot first scenario and due to the abundance of health packs and the terrible enemy A.I. there is not much of a challenge
The driving portions of the game are a bit better than the foot missions, but not all that much better but there is little time to explore the cities due to the mission time requirements. Control of the car can be tough as even slight turns can send you skidding or flying through the air.

This negates much of the game, as you will spend more time fighting to control your car then enjoying the missions.

There are additional features such as a take a ride or survival mode, but while they do allow other forms of play, they simply are not much fun.

Graphical issues hamper the game, as the PS 2 version looks grainy and low-res. That being said the cars and explosions were nice as were some of the city scenes, but shimmering surface and such made the game look like 90’s technology in parts and hampered it greatly.

The sound in the game is not much better as while the engines have a nice roar to them, there seems to be a lot missing from the background noises leaving a sterile and muddled sound. The music in the game is good but it is best at the cut scenes. Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez, Mickey Rourke, Iggy Pop, and Ving Rhames do the voice work in the game but it seems very stiff as if they phoned in their lines.

What should have been a classic is hampered by control, A.I. and graphical issues that leave you wondering what could have been.

Gameplay 70%
Graphics 70%
Audio 70%
Value 70%
Fun 60%