Driver: San Francisco is a fun game. Fun should always be qualified, but I stand by this. Driver: San Francisco is an exhilarating, enjoyable, fluid experience that doesn’t compromise on its intelligence. I’ve gone on at length in multiple places on the various aspects underpinning the game on a textual and subtextual level that for me make it stand out as one of the best games of last year and the best game that no one seemed to champion. In light of all that and in my delight to dig deep on this racing game, I have skimped on detailing all of the surface level aspects of the game that make Driver worth one’s attention in the first place.
The driving featured in the game is arcade racing at its highest level with the right level of bombast to still feel grounded in the game world. The entire design of the game exists to facilitate the player’s flow. The choice of presenting the player an open world to drive in means that you are never “out of the game” and are always present doing something. The shift ability that allows you to jump from car to car is not only there to help should you crash and wreck a car, but it also exists as a means to get around breaking the flow of the game with time spent in menus. See a car that you want to drive? It is a button press away. Do you need a different car for a challenge or simply want something tighter or faster to suit your style? Go ahead and grab it. Even if you are looking for something specific and it isn’t in the immediate vicinity, the act of flying around the streets checking out each car as you pass it has its own visceral thrill to it.