Driver: San Francisco has a story that shouldn’t work. It shouldn’t be interesting. It shouldn’t be compelling. It shouldn’t be as intriguing as it is. It should be boring. That’s because the game sets up a world in which our actions don’t matter.
The game takes place in the mind of John Tanner. While chasing Jericho, an escaped convict, he gets in a car accident that leaves him comatose. As he lies in the hospital, a nearby television reports the news, and that information seeps into his mind where we get to play as a kind of ghost-detective-driver. Tanner then tries to solve game’s big crime mystery, but there’s no escaping the fact that nothing he does really matters. He uses his ghost power to jump into the bodies of various citizens, helping them with their car related problems, but these people don’t actually exist. Nothing exists. Driver is a story without stakes, yet it still works.