Driv3r, more commonly known as Driver 3 (marketed as DRIV3R), is a racing, shooting, and adventure video game. It is the third installment in the popular Driver series and was developed by Reflections Interactive and published by Atari. Driv3r was released in North America for the PlayStation 2 on April 5, 2004, Xbox on June 15, 2004. In Europe, it was officially released on June 18, although due to the way Atari shipped the title across the continent, it made its way into independent UK retailers before the release date, even making a #6 position in the ELSPA chart for that week. On January 10, 2005, it was released on PCfor US customers, it was also released on Game Boy Advance October 25, 2005. A scaled down version was released for the mobile phone in June 2004. At one point a Nintendo GameCube version and an N-Gage version were planned, but both were canceled.
Driv3r brings back features from Driver 2 and adds the ability to ride motorcycles and boats, use weapons, swim, climb ladders, and enter certain buildings among other things, as well as controlling more than one character.
The game opens in medias res in Istanbul, Turkey, in a shootout between a gang and the Istanbul police. The scene later shifts to the hospital where it shows Tanner and Jericho injured and the doctors examining one of them, and later shows one of them flatlining.Plot
The game goes back six months before in Miami, where undercover police officer Tanner(voiced by Michael Madsen), is attempting to infiltrate South Beach, one of the cities most ruthless gangs. The game begins with Tanner practicing in a shooting range, before being called to assist police in capturing Baccus, a member of South Beach who has betrayed them for a position within another gang. Tanner shoots dead all of Baccus's protectors before going after Baccus in a car chase. Baccus finally crashes his car before running down an alleyway, where Tanner shoots him. Baccus reveals the location of one of South Beach's most expensive cars, which Baccus gave to a rival gang as a token of loyalty. Baccus then puts his hand in his pocket and Tanner shoots him dead, only to discover he was only reaching for the keys to the car. Afterwards, Tanner has a sitdown with his partner, Tobias Jones (Ving Rhames) about South Beach, where Jones reveals the leader of the gang, Calita (Michelle Rodriguez) once killed many of her own men in order to settle a dispute with some Mexican drug lords. Despite this, Tanner decides nonetheless to infiltrate the hotel where the stolen car is being kept, and return it to South Beach. Tanner then meets the gangs lead members, weapons specialist Lomaz, and Bad Hand. Tanner convinces them to give him a shot to work for them. Once he is accepted by the group, Tanner begins conducting various jobs for them, in pursuit of a total of 40 stolen high performance vehicles.
South Beach end up having a falling out with a local crime lord named "The Gator", so Calita sends Tanner on a job to blow up The Gator's Superyacht which is docked by an island south of Miami. Afterwards, the Gator gets back at South Beach by informing the police, who have no idea of Tanners operation, of South Beach's next job. The police ambush the deal at the mall, and Tanner and the other members escape, with Tanner being forced to dispose of the getaway car. The Gator then calls a truce by offering to sell a car to the gang at the Gators docks, but the deal turns out to be an ambush and Tanner is forced to escape. Afterwards, Tanner and Lomaz return to the docks where they chase the Gator in a car chase to his private warehouse, before Tanner chases him in a boat chase. The feud with The Gator ends when Tanner shoots him into the sea. South Beach then moves their operations to Nice, France, and Tanner relocates as well. However, Interpol agents Henri Vauban and Didier Dubois have their own plans to take down the crime ring and are at odds with Tanner. Tanner decides to work the job his own way, which, in several cases, leads him into direct conflict with the Interpol agents. When Tanner arrives in Nice, he is immediately requested by Calita to meet her at the centre of town to talk business, but before Tanner can get there Calita calls him to inform him that local gangsters have ambushed her, and Tanner is forced to get to Calita before the locals kill her, and then escape in Bad hands van. Afterwards, Tanner is forced to do jobs in order to help South Beach secure their 40 stolen cars, first by stealing 3 cars on the list and placing them inside a moving truck, and then stealing an 18 wheeler full of merchandise from a shipping yard, which belongs to a Russian gangster known as the Bagman. Later, Lomaz tells Tanner and Bad Hand about the Bagman, and that the Bagman once had a right hand man named Carnot, who the Bagman had always suspected was a cop. The Bagman finally confronted Carnot about it, and in a rage cut one of Carnot's fingers off. Carnot, desperate to prove his innocence, took the blade and cut another finger off his own hand. Carnot disappeared the next day, leaving the Bagman to believe he was indeed a cop. Later, Calita has Tanner steal another car from the Bagmans Russian smugglers, which ultimately starts a turf war. South Beach faces more troubles with the local gangsters of Nice, including a French woman named Februinne, who is desperate to keep South Beach from taking over business. In order to keep the gang from having any firepower, Februinne kills the gangs arms dealer, Zeego, and then has her men ambush the deal in which Lomaz and Tanner are present. Tanner is nonetheless able to secure Zeego's truck of weapons and drive it back to the gangs hideout. Afterwards, South Beach kidnaps Dubois, who had been attempting to sabotage the stolen cars, and beats Tanner, who they suspect is a cop. The gang give Tanner a gun and tell him to shoot the restrained Dubois. Tanner pulls the trigger, but it turns out the gun is not loaded. Calita then informs Tanner that the gangs contact in Nice will kill Dubois tomorrow, and that it is none of Tanner's concern. Later, Februinne once again tries to assassintate Tanner and Lomaz by putting a bomb in their car, and informs them by phone that the bomb will detonate if they go below 80. First, Tanner drives onto the beach, where Lomaz jumps onto Bad Hands truck and into safety. Tanner then takes the car to Februinnes heavily protected compound, and uses the car to destroy one of Februinnes arms trucks. Afterwards, Tanner confronts Vauban about Dubois, and is also suspicious on the fact that Vauban is missing two fingers. Vauban reveals that he is Carnot, and that he ordered the cars years ago when he was still undercover in Bagman's crew, hoping to expose the Bagman's secret contact. Tanner and Vauban then ambush the restaurant where Dubois is being held, and after a car chase, shoot the kidnappers and reclaim Dubois. Afterwards, Vauban has Tanner and Dubois go to the boathouse where the laptop, which holds all the information about the deal, is being kept. Despite the fact that the boathouse looks empty, Tanner is still suspicious. After looking around the warehouse, Tanner is hit in the face by an unseen man, and falls to the floor. The man turns out to be Jericho (Mickey Rourke) from Driver 2, who is still looking for revenge after Tanner infiltrated his previous gang. Jericho, angry with the fact that he was simply nothing more than a puppet, killed his former employer, Solomon Caine, and took over his business, hiring South Beach as his contact in Miami. Jericho then shoots Dubois with Tanners gun, while Tanner escapes out the back. Tanner is forced to go all the way across town, finally getting to Vaubans apartment. Meanwhile Jericho and Calita stare over Dubois dead body, talking about moving their operations to Turkey.
In Istanbul, Jericho arrives at Lomaz's apartment, informing him and Calita that Tanner has arrived. Jericho then exits the building and drives off, unaware that Tanner is following him. Tanner tails Jericho to his meeting place with his contact, which turns out to be the Bagman. Later, Jones arrives in Istanbul and both he and Tanner meet with Vauban at the local police station. Vauban tells Tanner that Dubois is in a body bag and the bullets are his. Tanner then walks away and ends his cooperation with the police force, forcing Tanner to escape to the nearest warehouse. Tanner and Jones deduce that if they can track some of the cities arms dealers, they will lead them straight to Lomaz. The two track down one of the dealers and chase him before running him off the road. Tanner then gives chase on foot through a market, killing several gangsters and finally making it to the dealer, who reveals Lomaz's location. Tanner and Jones go to Lomaz's apartment, whee they beat up Lomaz. Lomaz then reveals the location of the next deal between the Bagman and Jericho. Tanner and Jones stake it out, before the Bagman finally arrives. Unexpectedly, Calita arrives instead of Jericho, and suspects the deal is a sting. Calita leaves unexpectedly, much to the Bagman's annoyance. The Bagman spots Jones hiding and Jones gives chase. The player is then given control of Jones as chases the Bagman by car. However, the Bagamn leads Jones into a trap. Jones is forced to escape the trap, taking out several of the Bagman's men in the process. Jones finally gets to a car, and escapes back to the safehouse. The game then skips back to the deal, where Tanner gives chase to Calita, first by car, and then by motorbike, but he triumphs and arrests her. Once it is evident that Tanner has found a way to stop the gang from selling the stolen vehicles, he is brought back onto the force and aids in stopping the sale. Tanner and Jones interogate Calita, and inform her that Caine has not been returning her calls because Jericho has whacked him, threatening that Jericho will whack her next for screwing up. In fear, Calita reveals that the cars have already been moved to Russia, but there is still hope to capture the Bagman and Jericho, who are making the final transaction at an unknown location. Calita reveals the place of the meet to Tanner and Jones, who then have Vauban and the local police track the area continuously. After waiting for some time, the Bagman and Jericho finally show. However, Jericho shoots the Bagman dead when the Bagman only hands in half of the money. Tanner and Jones then give chase to Jericho, who has climbed into a truck, before finally running him off the road, killing him. However, it turns out to be Bad Hand in disguise. Unbeknownst to the two cops, Jericho has avoided numerous roadblocks and made it to the train station, where he gets on board a train. After deducing Jericho has made it to the train station, Tanner and Jones split up: Jones going to meet up with Vauban and Tanner going to give chase to the train. Following the train chase, Jericho gets off the train, where him and his men stage a gun battle with police. Tanner, Jones and Vauban give chase to Jericho, shooting dead several of Jericho's men. After the long lasting chase between Tanner and Jericho, Tanner finally corners Jericho in an alleyway, where he faces Jericho in a final showdown. Tanner eventually gains the upper hand and single-handedly takes down Jericho. However, Tanner decides Jericho isn't worth finishing off and turns away. Jericho uses this opportunity to shoot Tanner in the back with a concealed gun claiming "mistake".
The scene shifts to the hospital and shows both Tanner and Jericho unconscious on operating beds. One of the men flatlines, it is left unclear which one, but a doctor uses a defibrillator on him.
The vehicles in Driv3r are modeled after real life vehicles and are designated to behave as such. For example, bullet holes appear when a car is shot, vehicles only take significant damage when the engine is hit, rims of blown tires screech against the curb, and individual pieces of the car can be shot out or can fall out after taking damage.
Weapons are unnamed in the game. Weapons' firing range and rate vary depending on their type. When the game starts in Take A Ridemode, Tanner is only equipped with one weapon. Other weapons can be claimed by seizing them from police and armed civilians who have been killed, or from hideouts or safehouses. Weapons vary from pistols to grenade launchers.
The PC version of the game has an extra mission called "The Hit". The Xbox version allows for custom soundtracks within the game, although the player cannot change the song track.
|GameSpot||5.4 / 10|
|GameSpy||5.2 / 10|
|IGN||5.4 / 10|
|Game Informer||6 / 10|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||59 / 100|
After an extensive and intensive promotional campaign, Driv3r was met with mixed to poor critical reaction, with the vast majority of magazines and websites giving the game mediocre scores; IGN andGameSpot both gave the game 5.4 out of 10.
Driv3r was criticized for Tanner's lack of hand-to-hand combat skills and meleé weapons. There were also criticisms for the poor implementation of the 'on foot' missions. This was also a criticism levelled at Driver 2.
The game won the MegaGames.com award for Worst Game of 2005.
Police AI vehicles were criticized for the use of "doublespeed", a way of cheating in which a pursuing cop would suddenly double its speed making it hard (if not impossible) for the player to escape. The AI can easily stem from the series' long use of rubberband AI. No matter what vehicles players can pick (either fast or slow or even a police car), the police AI seems to always catch up and stay with the player.
Despite generally negative critical reception, the game did receive some positive feedback, as two magazines published by Future Publishing(PSM2 and Xbox World) gave it 9/10. Having played the game and seen the overall media response, readers of both magazines began to question the integrity of the scores, and a long discussion on Future Publishing's GamesRadar forum saw the mini-scandal dubbed "Driv3rGate" (adding the suffix '-gate' to the name as per media tradition owing to the Watergate scandal). The affair gained a fairly large amount of coverage in the games press and on Internet forums and was still being discussed as late as 2008. Another Future publication, Official PlayStation 2 Magazine (UK), gave the game 6/10.
Although a number of forums maintained that the magazines had come to a deal regarding publicity with Atari, no proof either way was ever cited and the scandal eventually simply died down.