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Tanner And The Driver Franchise Come Out Of Their Coma

by Dan Ryckert on Jun 14, 2010 at 04:57 PM

Back in 1999, gamers had a blast skidding around the corners of San Francisco at blistering speeds in the original Driver. While that game featured four cities, the city by the bay proved to be the most entertaining thanks to its jump-friendly hills. In the upcoming Driver: San Francisco, you'll be spending all of your time in the returning favorite. The city isn't the only thing that's coming back, however.

When we last saw John Tanner, he was in an Istanbul hospital after being shot by crime lord Charles Jericho. That was back in 2004, and the protagonist from the original trilogy was replaced for 2006's Driver: Parallel Lines. This upcoming installment sees Tanner return to the driver's seat after waking up from his coma.

At some point during his recovery, he acquired a new ability called shifting. While we don't know exactly how it will be explained in the storyline, shifting will allow Tanner to essentially warp from car to car. With one button press, the game will go into slow motion and your viewpoint will raise to a birds-eye level. You can then move a cursor over cars in the area to see their make, model, and attributes, and then release the shift button to drop down into your selected vehicle. The gamer assumes full control of the new car, but the driver will appear unchanged to other passengers. It's yet to be seen how the passengers will react once their trip to the post office turns into a high-speed car chase, however.

This ability will be managed by a gauge that you build up by performing various stunts. With every crazy move or drift you pull off, your shift gauge fills up more and more. As you build it up, you can extend the time you spend in shift mode and even allow the viewpoint to pull out farther, giving you a much wider selection of potential vehicles.

Featuring over 200 kilometers of road network, Driver: San Francisco will ensure you'll be exploring the city like never before. Hopefully, Tanner's new shifting ability, the one-city focus, and nine unannounced multiplayer modes will be enough to revitalize a series that's been receiving mixed reactions ever since the original.