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Driver

Driver Speedboat Paradise photo
Driver Speedboat Paradise

Ubisoft brings Driver back as a speedboat racer


Mobile speedboat racing
Mar 20
// Jed Whitaker
  Ubisoft is bringing back the classic series Driver as a speedboat racing game for mobile devices in April. I'm not quite sure how the series developed from a game about a getaway driver to racing speedboats, but they can't just let an IP die a peaceful death -- it has to buried alive.

The Crew seeks to redefine online racing

Aug 23 // Alessandro Fillari
The Crew: (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One [previewed])Developer: Ivory TowerPublisher: UbisoftRelease Date: Q1 2014 The Crew is an open-world driving game set across the United States. From the get go, players can freely explore the 2000-square-mile game space, take part in races and unique challenges, and meet other players online to either team up with or race against. Sectioned across five different zones -- from the West Coast, mountain states, Midwest, the East Coast, and the South -- players can race across a variety of different landscapes. In the process, you'll build up your own collection of vehicles, resources, and influence in the online space. Dubbed a "social action driving game" by the developers, the intent was to create a world that allowed for seamless online integration with other players around the world. When racing with other drivers, the player can choose to join up with new drivers and form their own crew to take on races and challenges, and pull together resources for body work and customization. While it's totally possible to play the game offline within single-player mode, doing so would mean missing out on a major part of The Crew's living and active game world. To help realize its vision for an open-world racer, Ivory Tower utilized the new next-gen technology and developed a graphics engine that minimizes loading and keeps things seamless. Players can fast travel across the map at anytime to meet up with friends and engage in active challenges, with little to no loading whatsoever. While in the map you can zoom in and out and analyze the different tracks located in the cities and countryside. You can also use this to observe races in progress and see what new challenges have popped up. [embed]260646:50182:0[/embed] Speaking with online producer Tristan Lefranc, the developers at Ivory Tower have been hard at work on The Crew for more than four years. While they've done some additional work on the Test Drive Unlimited series, this is the developer's first game built from the ground up. Their goals for this title were to craft a richly detailed game world, while designing the innovative networking systems that will bring players together. "We very much wanted to be able to make a racing game for everyone," LeFranc said while going over the car customization. "We believe that with the size of the world and the content we placed in it, there would be a variety of different play styles that we players could use." During my time playing, it was clear that the developers wanted both gear-heads and casual racing fans engaged. There's usually two schools of design when it comes to whom the developers are catering to. Arcade racers focus on over-the-top action with pick-up-and-play mechanics, while simulation racers emphasis realistic driving physics and fine tuning your vehicle. For The Crew, Ivory Tower is focused on delivering a title that blurs the lines between the action of arcade style racers in the vein of Burnout and Fuel and the attention to detail and planning that comes from racing sims like Gran Turismo. A key part of the player's experience with The Crew is customization. With dozens of brand named vehicles and vehicle types, such as compacts, convertibles, street racing vehicles, and off-road cars, the developers want players to find a car that suits them and their personality. To take things even further, every car in the game is fully customizable from the ground up. Your own custom vehicles will come in handy in the various missions and challenges across the U.S. These missions range from standard street and off-road racing, to the more peculiar stunt racing tasks like Follow the Line, and even time trial challenges against other players' scores. I spent much of my time in the mountain states and southern zones, where I took advantage of transforming my street-racing vehicle to a more off-road-friendly version to take on the challenges. I do have to say that I got kick out of seeing a muscle car being turned into a decked-out off-road vehicle with massive tires. An aspect of the game that was clear was its usability. The Crew is an easy game to get a handle of, as it seeks to bring in players of all interests. Controls are very smooth, and getting a feel of new cars comes very quickly. One element I particularly enjoyed was how it keeps players engaged and always in the action. With the exception of your map and car customizations, player/crew networking and communication is all done in real time and not in separate menus. Your character has the use of an in-game smartphone, which allows them to access your collection of vehicles on the fly. From the engine parts, chassis, tires, and the decal, you can stick with your favorite car for the long term or alter it in anyway you see fit. When completing missions, you're reward cash and a random vehicle part. At first it felt a bit overwhelming, but the car customization becomes much easier to handle once you've got a feel for the system. Changing a street-racing vehicle to a fully functional off-road vehicle is not only an effective strategy for some missions, but a necessity. Some challenges call for taking advantage of different car types during races, and mixing and matches parts is a vital strategy for winning.The developers wish to give the game somewhat of an MMO feel. Specifically in the sense of players having their own identity in the game space. This is not only reflected in the cars they drive, but the skills they employ. The Crew also introduces a perk and comfort system, which will give players an edge during challenges. When players complete missions, they'll come across NPC characters from different fields -- such as FBI agents, businessmen, and stuntmen -- that will offer their services to your crew in the form of perks and comforts. Perks allow for players to have various types of bonus abilities; such as easier police evasion, better braking, drifting, buffs to nitrous, etc. Comforts function somewhat like perks, but are far more specific. When completing challenges and missions, you'll gain points which can be used to spend on comforts that can lower costs of jail time, less expensive car customization, etc. More points that you put into a specific comfort, the more useful it will become. I came away largely impressed with Ubisoft's new racing title. I'm actually not too interested in the genre outside of a few exceptions, but this particular game managed to impress me in ways that I didn't expect. The Crew expresses a lot of thought in its design, and the sheer amount of content on offer is simply staggering. In a way, it feels like racing title that isn't afraid to walk ride that fine line between staying traditional, and knowing when to take an unorthodox approach for giving what players want. Currently, The Crew has been scheduled for a Q1 2014 release, and the developers at Ivory Tower still have much more fine tuning to complete. But judging from my time with the game, this ambitious and thoughtful racing title has got all the right moves.
The Crew preview photo
Social online action racing
Making its debut at E3 2013, The Crew is Ubisoft's attempt to create a new and fast-paced racer for the next-gen consoles. Although the publisher has definitely got some stiff competition from other racing titles, what separa...

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NVIDIA updates GeForce drivers in time for Black Ops II


Last minute patch!
Nov 12
// Conrad Zimmerman
If you're gearing up to play Call of Duty: Black Ops II with one of those fancy GeForce GTX cards, there's one more thing you'll probably want to get out of the way ahead of that. NVIDIA has just released a driver update...
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Storm's Adventure with Driver: San Francisco


Aug 18
// Storm Dain
There it was, on the OnLive console, just calling me. "Please, somebody buy me!" And so I went for it. UPDATE: OnLive is dead. Damn... There is really no reason for me to play this game, other than compare it to a city ...

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HAWP: Burch has finally crossed the line


Jun 30
// Tony Ponce
I know the Burch siblings have done some incredibly wrong things in Hey Ash, Watcha Playin'? in the past, but this... this is a whole new ballgame. Take the "Shift" mechanic from Driver: San Francisco, give that ability to A...
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Shockingly, Ubisoft screws up PC games again


Feb 08
// Jim Sterling
Last week, Ubisoft warned that those customers who did not pirate a number of its PC games would be unable to play them due to a server switch that'd render DRM unusable. Naturally, Ubisoft managed to cock it up completely, w...
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Driver dev working on a 'confidental Kinect project'


Feb 06
// Dale North
It seems that the devs behind Driver: San Francisco are working on a new game for Microsoft's Kinect. Ubisoft Reflections' Art Lead Joss Scouler let this one loose on his LinkedIn profile. Among his list of published titles w...
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Black Friday: Rayman Origins $30 at GameStop, much more


Nov 23
// Brett Zeidler
We're just two days away from Black Friday. Everything has culminated up to this point. While everyone else is sifting through the piles of ads looking for the best deals after eating two platefuls of turkey, you've already g...
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Black Friday: Kmart selling MGS HD for $35, more


Nov 22
// Brett Zeidler
We are getting ever closer to the busiest shopping day of the year. Kmart has some pretty good deals going on. Here's a short list of what you can expect to find should you choose to do shopping there: $199.99 - Get a $25 gi...

Review: Driver: San Francisco

Oct 05 // Jim Sterling
Driver: San Francisco (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft ReflectionsPublisher: UbisoftReleased: September 6, 2011MSRP: $59.99 (360, PS3) / $49.99 (PC) To say Driver: San Francisco delivers a swerve is to put it far, far too mildly. Everything starts off quite normally, as John Tanner and his partner Tobias Jones have to track down the recently escaped criminal Charles Jericho. Unfortunately, Jericho is able to outfox the wisecracking cops, smashing into their vehicle with a truck and sending Tanner into a coma.  What happens next goes beyond the realm of sensibility and kicks off one of the most deliriously stupid videogame plots in recent memory. I do not mean that disparagingly -- Driver: San Francisco's story is thoroughly ridiculous, but it's so refreshingly unique that one can't help but admire the foolishness. Essentially, Driver: San Francisco is what would happen if Quantum Leap and Jacob's Ladder were both turned into the same videogame. As Tanner flits in and out of reality, he becomes an astral projector, able to "shift" into the body of any driver in the city and continue his pursuit of Jericho. It's bizarre, to say the least.  This ludicrous premise sets the scene for a game that's all about manipulating traffic to achieve one's ends. The actual missions are straightforward at heart, but the ways in which they can be completed are quite unlike anything played before. For instance, if your job is to chase down a fleeing criminal, you can possess oncoming traffic and steer it into your prey. You can also switch between multiple cop cars, jockeying for a better position as you stay on a target's tail. During the course of the game, some absolutely brilliant ideas are presented, showcasing a remarkable amount of flexibility from what looks like a shallow gimmick.  To leave a vehicle, one simply taps a button, where they'll have free rein to whiz about the city in a first-person perspective. Pushing back on the right stick allows Tanner to climb to greater heights, getting a better view of the city and as the story progresses, he can zoom out farther. Fundamentally, the system works, but I found that traveling across the city took far too long. Zooming in and out is sluggish, especially when Tanner reaches the greatest height possible, and traversing the map to reach mission markers is a slow and boring trundle.  Once behind the wheel, things are a cocktail of fun and frustration. The various races, chases, stunts and time challenges are thrillingly innovative and well designed, but the cars control pretty awfully for the type of game Driver: SF wants to be. I'm of the mind that if you go for arcade-style, fast-paced, action-oriented driving, you don't want "realistic" cars that skid around everywhere, but those are the types of cars Driver uses. It's not uncommon to spin out at even the slightest nudge, a problem that is quite common thanks to awful NPC AI and oncoming traffic that actively steers into you.  Likewise, the game also enjoys cheating. Of particular note are races, which feature rubber-banding AI to a disgusting degree. Driver seems to deliberately make races unfair in order to force you to use the shift mechanic and cheat back, but it doesn't stop it being annoying. The biggest issue is that the AI is designed to give the computer the greatest advantages while hindering players at every turn. For example, if you race into first place, then shift out of the car to possess oncoming traffic, the CPU will instantly slow down and allow enemy racers to drive past unchallenged. This is especially galling in races where you need to make two cars finish in first and second place. As soon as you leave one car to get the other in position, it will deliberately slow down. The only way to win these races is to possess NPCs and break every opposing car, which defeats the point of it being a race.  This can happen in chase sequences as well, with Tanner's car happily slouching behind and allowing an enemy to escape while you're busy trying to stop him with other vehicles. It seems like a needlessly frustrating ordeal, especially since the car handling is already challenging enough.  These moments of vexation, however, are punctuated by some vastly entertaining and very stylish missions that do amazing things with the central idea. Whether you're possessing traffic to make them perform stunts in front of a film crew, or shifting around the city to destroy criminal cars before they find and smash a sensitive vehicle, there's some amazing gameplay that you just won't find in any other game.  Driver: San Francisco has plenty of content, too. Although the main campaign can be blasted through in a matter of hours, there's a ton of optional missions to undertake and garages where new cars and gameplay upgrades can be purchased. You'll be able to spend psych points -- earned by doing just about anything in the game -- to enhance Tanner's powers, letting him ram into other cars or boost at super speeds. There's a lot to play with, for those who want to take the time.  There's a multiplayer mode, and Ubisoft won't let you forget it. I am sure the publisher wants to make its "Uplay" online pass a big hit, but it could stand to not spam me with notifications every time I boot the game up. Annoying customers into putting the code in is not a very friendly thing to do.  Nevertheless, the multiplayer is a pretty fun little experience. There are multiple game modes such as Tag, in which players have to touch each other to become "it" and stay untouched as long as possible, or Trailblazer, in which players fight to stay within the stream that flows behind a fleeing car. Each match is preceded by a short qualifier challenge to determine what position all the players start from, and these can range from seeing who earns the most points for jumping, to who can smash the most objects in a street.  Like with most online modes these days, there's an experience system, where players can earn extra upgrades to their powers and new personal icons. Ranking up is also required to unlock all the game's match types, which isn't an idea I'm particularly fond of.  The multiplayer is fun for a while, with emphasis on a while. The match types make very clever use of the game's shift mechanic, but the ideas are only clever once, and you don't really need to play for much more than that in order to squeeze the maximum amount of fun from the experience. There's a two-day trial that players can use in order to try the multiplayer before entering an online pass code, and those two days are more than enough time to experience everything as much as it needs to be experienced.  One defining factor of San Francisco is its sense of style. With its licensed cars, excellent soundtrack, and shamelessly silly narrative, Driver: SF has a very personal charm, not to mention plenty of silly humor. It's a game that knows just how stupid it is, and fully embraces the fact, rather than ever attempting to take itself seriously. Sadly, it's not a very visually impressive game. It's certainly not ugly, but the textures and effects are rather flat and dull, with only the vehicles having any sense of visual flair.  Driver: San Francisco is a good laugh, and deserves immense praise for its ingenuity. It is sadly let down by some sluggish navigation and annoying vehicle controls, not to mention some severely imbalanced AI These issues hold back the experience, but certainly don't stop it delivering a solid amount of fun. Fans of open-world experiences who want to try something new will find exactly what they're looking for here, provided they can forgive the needless hassle involved.
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Driver has been around for a long time, despite never really enjoying the kind of mainstream success that other open-world games such as Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto have. Of course, it doesn't help that the series has had...

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Error results in free Uplay Pass content for Driver: SF


Sep 06
// Jordan Devore
Driver: San Francisco was going to be the first Ubisoft game to make use of the company's new Uplay Passport, however, there's been a printing error on the inserts in some North American copies of the game. As a result, the U...
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Driver: San Francisco dev defends 'always on' DRM


Sep 02
// Jim Sterling
Ubisoft Reflections founder Martin Edmonson has defended "Always On" DRM, which requires gamers to permanently be online so they can constantly prove their innocence to Ubisoft. Despite Driver: San Fr...
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Driver: San Francisco has a pretty intense launch trailer


Sep 02
// Brett Zeidler
Flipping vehicles, police car sirens blaring, blockades being destroyed, epic background music and one-liners. There's also some cutscenes peppered in there for good measure. Yup, everything is here for a successful launch t...
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Driver: San Francisco gets a music video by Yelawolf


Aug 29
// Liam Fisher
Wait, what the f*ck is a Yelawolf? ... Ok, it seems Yelawolf is a white rapper from Alabama who is on the verge of releasing his first major-label produced album. This is quite different from my initial assumption that he wa...
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Ubisoft lightens up the DRM in Driver: San Francisco


Aug 18
// Brett Zeidler
A few weeks ago, Ubisoft announced that Driver: San Francisco would need a constant connection to the internet to be playable. This resulted in quite a few PC players to be pretty upset, to say the least. But I bring good new...
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A slew of Driver: San Francisco screens to salivate over


Aug 18
// Brett Zeidler
Ubisoft was kind enough to release a pile of screenshots today for the not-far-off Driver: San Francisco. The gallery includes a selection licensed cars, running from the police and other shenanigans. Launch the gallery below...
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Driver: San Francisco PC delayed, Mac still in the works


Aug 11
// Nick Chester
Not only will PC gamers not be getting a demo for Driver: San Francisco, but the game has been slightly delayed, as well. Publisher Ubisoft tells Blue's News that the out-of-body racing experience will be released on Septembe...
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The DTOID Show: Flaming 3DSes, Ass Creed Beta, and Elves


Aug 10
// Max Scoville
[The Destructoid Show gives a rundown of all the top news from Destructoid.com every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Subscribe to us on YouTube, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.] Howdy, pardners. ...
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Driver demos hit XBL and PSN, no demo for PC


Aug 10
// AceFlibble
Two new demos of Driver: San Francisco are heading to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network soon. A single-player demo launched yesterday and a multiplayer demo is expected to arrive next Tuesday. While you wait for the latte...
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New Destructoid Episode: Battlefield 3 & Summer of Arcade


Jul 27
// Max Scoville
Hello, my darlings. It's your old pal Max with some more internet videos for you to watch instead of doing your homework. Our robot overlord Mr. Destructoid has social-engineered his way into the Ms. 'Splosion Man Pinball FX...
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Driver: San Francisco PC needs constant 'net connection


Jul 27
// Jim Sterling
Remember that crappy Ubisoft DRM that required PC games to maintain an Internet connection in order to work? It's back, baby! Driver: San Francisco will use the controversial DRM method, because constantly checking in with a ...

Playing tag in Driver: San Francisco

Jul 14 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
[embed]203355:39215[/embed] Driver: San Francisco (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)Developer: Ubisoft ReflectionsPublisher: UbisoftTo be released: August 30, 2011 What's got me so excited for Driver: San Francisco's multiplayer? Well as Tony Ponce put it when he saw Driver at E3, it's the whole Matrix-like abilities you're given. In most of the multiplayer modes, you're able to shift out of the car you're in and take over any other car you see. It's basically like the car chase scene in Matrix: Reloaded, where the Agents are taking over vehicles in order to run down Morpheus and Trinity. Also, I can't believe I just made a Matrix reference in 2011. Shifting out of your vehicle is essential in Tag mode, where players need to be tagged it the longest in order to win. Four players will start out all next to each other with one randomly tagged it. In order to become it, you just need to smash your ride into the person that is it. Once it, you can't Shift out of the vehicle so you have avoid everyone else until you've reached the required points to win. It's very easy to get behind other players in the hecticness of a chase, especially if you mess up by spinning out of control or hitting another car, for example. It's going to be next to impossible to catch-up, so that's where Shifting comes in. With the simple press of a button, you're taken out of your vehicle and can see the entire city of San Francisco high up in the sky or right down on street level. You can move your cursor anywhere on the map and hi-jack any vehicle that's not controlled by another player. You'll want to use some strategy when you're picking a car. Do you want to pick a car that's oncoming towards your target or maybe jack a car that's about to get passed up by the tagged player? It's not going to be as simple as you think. I mean, the logical choice to me during my hands-on was to stick with oncoming cars but there were plenty of times I missed just by a fraction of a second. It's just a matter of timing and a little bit of luck. Picking cars is also a matter of strategy as there are are over 125 of them, ranging from sports cars to big, slow trucks. As for how the cars felt, it was a little like a cross between simulation and arcade style. The learning curve on the vehicle handling is a bit hard at first, but I got it pretty down after the fifth match or so. There are actually over 10 multiplayer modes, ranging for four to eight players in free-for-all games or team games. One of the team games is called Cops & Robbers, where one person is the robber and three others are the cops. The goal of the robber is to hit four drop-off points on the map and the cops need to ram the robber's car until it's completely busted up before it can hit all four locations. The robber is restricted to one vehicle while the cops can Shift into any car they want. In another free-for-all mode called Trail Blazers, the computer AI is racing around and leaving an energy trail. Players need to get behind the AI car and suck up enough of the energy trail in order to win. Everyone can Shift in this mode and you'll be doing a lot of Shifting as players will be knocking into each other quite a lot in order to get a piece of the energy trail. As for the other modes, expect things like Capture the Flag, standard racing and even a type of base defense mode. All the modes will take place in the more or less open world of the "ideal" version of San Francisco. So the city is designed to handle the modern age, as opposed to what it's really like where it feels like you're in the middle of a Twisted Metal match or something. The streets are all filled with people too, but you can't run anyone over. If I had one complaint, it was that the cursor you use to select cars when Shifting needs to be more precise. More than once I tried to select a car only to end up in another car that was right next to my intended target. It's quick to Shift right out, but does cost you some time. All in all, Driver: San Francisco's multiplayer was a ton of fun. I really hope Ubisoft puts out a demo of the Tag mode online before release. I was skeptical when I read previews of this mode beforehand, but you really need to try it for yourself to really understand it.
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I've played every Driver game since the original yet I've never actually beaten any of them. I stopped playing each one shortly after the beginning levels because the series seemed to always end up competing with my preferred...


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