Coming up in Episode 17 – Driver: San Francisco

It’s not retro, it’s not indie, and it’s not modern, but who cares? Next episode we’re going all last-gen on you with an open world driving game that has a fascinating take on hopping between vehicles. It’s Driver: San Francisco!

This Ubisoft game released in September 2011 for XBox 360, PS3, Windows and Mac OS X. There is also a Wii game under the same title, but this features different gameplay and story, and it’s the former version we’ll be playing for the show.

In the fifth main game in the Driver series, we again follow undercover detective John Tanner, with partner Tobias Jones, as they seek to foil the plot of nemesis and escaped convict Charles Jericho, who is attempting to assemble components to create a chemical weapon. After a run in with him during the escape, Tanner is placed into a coma, yet able to piece together the evidence within a dream world version of San Francisco, in which he can inhabit the bodies of most motorists, and freely hop between cars by way of an out-of-body experience.

It’s this mechanic the makes the game feel truly unique, as most similar games require the user’s character to physically get out of the car, and typically drag an innocent driver out of theirs in order to make a comparatively cumbersome change of vehicles. A press of a button can pull the camera up to a birds eye view, in which anything on the road can be highlighted and immediately occupied.

The game consists of a series of challenges that make use of the mechanic, and mandatory ones will reveal more of the story. All with the unique twist of body possession, these range from stunts, to races and time trials, and tasks that are more aggressively solved by occupying innocent road users in order to deliberately (but satisfyingly) ram them into enemy targets.

Listen out for episode 17, due for recording on Saturday 12th October, where you’ll find out if this is all as fun as it sounds!