Considering only style, flare, and
ambience, Driver 2 is a five star game without question. Considering only the technical
end of things, Driver 2 is a three star game that constantly reminds you that it could
have been a whole lot better if only it were more fun to play. For lack of a good
solution, I decided to split the difference and call it a four star game, but this is only
true if youre capable of looking past the graphical and technical flaws. If
youre prone to being annoyed by these things then its best to stick to the
three star rating.
I know Im in the minority on this one, and in all fairness
maybe Ive become spoiled playing games on the Dreamcast and PS2, but heres my
beef with Driver 2: Numerous technical problems, graphics that inhibit gameplay, and
inconsistent game physics that perplex and periodically frustrate.
technical side Driver 2 is plagued by all too frequent slow-down and draw-in. Slow-down
occurs frequently when the action gets too intense, which means it happens way too often
due to the sheer number of police and commuters that you come into contact with. Sometimes
the slow-down is only for a second or two and looks more like a small pause in the action,
and these times can be overlooked without too much effort; other times the effect is
persistent and the duration is aggravating, and serves as a wreck-causing catalyst as you
suddenly try in vain to adjust to steering at a fraction of the speed. The draw-in is, of
course, far more persistent as the road, buildings, and surrounding landscape materialize
before your vary eyes as you speed down the road. To some extent this is necessary and
even understandable on the increasingly antiquated PS1, but draw-in to this extent is
excessive and infringes on gameplay. For example, tearing down the street with the cops
hot on your tail, youre dusting them, freedom is almost yours, when Bam! a wall
materializes in front of you. Your would-be getaway route is in fact a dead end. While
its true that you could have seen it if youd have been watching your map,
driving games like this require eyes on the road as your constantly avoiding cars and
making high speed turns to shake the cops. Driving only by the map isnt always
possible and wouldnt be as much fun in any event. Even on a straightaway your line
of sight is being drawn in so close to your car that if the constant appearance of
buildings popping up all around you doesnt bug you, then the inability to weigh your
options by reading the terrain that hasnt been drawn-in yet almost certainly will.
are the low resolution graphics that lack the crisp precision present in better driving
games. There are the little things like the outline of your car that has zigzagging lines
instead of straight ones, but personally I found the greatest irritation to be that, when
whipping around corners, I constantly smacked into street lights that I hadnt seen
because the jagged, pale-gray pole faded into the background and blended so well that it
looked like the side of a building. The game physics are also periodically inconsistent.
You can do top speed and get into a head-on collision with a firetruck, youll go
flying, but the truck will react to the collision as well. Conversely, if you should
happen to run into say, a small dumpster, disastrous wreck is an understatement as the
dumpster is actually both indestructible and immovable, meaning youre way better off
getting into a head-on with the firetruck.
I wasnt impressed with the control either; it took itself too seriously for my
taste and for its capabilities, as the game itself suggests an arcade atmosphere, but this
style is popular with a lot of gamers and leans away from arcade and toward realism. In
any event the control is more Grand Turismo, and less Crazy Taxi or Smugglers Run,
although still somewhere between them.
The things Driver 2 did well it did very well. The cinematic cut scenes are
spectacular. They create a great seventies underworld feel, and do it a lot better than
the already impressive first installment. Driver 2 also features four new cities packed
onto two CDs making it much longer than the original Driver.
exciting and innovative feature is the ability to exit your car and steal a new one. As
long as the cops arent on your tail you can grab a new ride. This is an excellent
technique when your damage meter is almost maxed out or your felony meter is high because
grabbing a new vehicle resets both. There is a variety of vehicles to steal, including
several varieties of cars and more exotic vehicles such as firetrucks. You can also cut
off cars in traffic, force them to stop, hop out of your vehicle and pull a good old
fashioned car jacking by tossing out the frightened driver. This is, of course, enormously
A much needed multiplayer aspect has been added to Driver 2. This was a notable absence
in the first driver and one of the few areas where effort was made to fill a gap left by
Driver instead of just doing the same thing a little better in Driver 2. There are a
variety of multiplayer games, but basically they are the one player driving challenges
from the original Driver, but adapted for multiplayer gaming. The games include survival,
trailblazing, and various chase and be chased games.
improvement is the exception to the rule, however, as the overriding theory of Driver 2
was to do the things that worked in Driver and do them better, but to make very little
improvement on the things lacking in Driver. This lack of progress is even more evident
because the rest of the field has improved dramatically in the year since the first Driver
was released. Ultimately it is clear to me that Driver 2 was begging to be made for a next
gen system. With a little luck, Driver 3 will be. If the technical end catches up with the
creative vision, the Driver series will become an instant masterpiece. Until then
youll have to look past a lot to see the treasure underneath. For the time being,
however, I respectfully remain in the unimpressed minority who wanted more.