Driver 2 Review
When Driver was first released last year, it was welcomed as well as games like Metal Gear Solid or Final Fantasy were when both titles made a debut on the PSX. Driver was a sure fire hit, the game sold remarkably well, and commercials for the game ran non-stop. My thoughts of the game ran very high, high enough for me to score the game a 9.5, Driver was really that good, and everybody agreed that the game definitely deserved to be ranked among the best PS games such as Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo and Syphon Filter. Later that year GT Interactive was acquired by Infogrames who was on a buying frenzy. With GTI now being wholly owned by Infogrames, and an announced sequel being planned for Driver, would Infogrames affect Driver 2 for better or worse? Time and time went by, and all we saw were screenshots, and very rarely movies, I usually think when that happens, the developer is trying to hide something. And boy did I hit the spot with my assumption, Driver 2 is not only a horrible attempt at creating a sequel to one of the best PS games out there, but the way the game was executed is just plain disappointing.
You must be thinking the graphics have had to at least change, and you're right, they certainly have changed, in fact they changed so much that they actually suck! I thought that it was my PS2 overloaded brain just not used to 32-Bit visuals, but oh was I wrong, I decided to pop in the original Driver, and my, my I was in heaven once more. Comparing Driver's visuals to Driver 2's visuals is like comparing fresh bread to stale bread with stale cream cheese on it. Driver 2's visuals reek from horrendous pop-up, far worse than even the original Driver, buildings and cars would just literally pop out of nowhere, making the view distance so frail that navigating areas can be most disappointing. The cars have been drastically downgraded from smoothly chromed solid vehicles, to a super grainy looking big box, the cars have lost all good visuals aspects, such as solid designs, chroming, and better looking overall vehicular graphics. On top of all that there is more, the frame rates for one are as choppy as hell, they are some of the worst, and really make this game an eye sore to play. Following that we have poorly done textures such as trees, buildings and posts, and the pedestrians look straight-out pixilated. I haven't even mentioned one of the games weird glitches, which is the game locking-up on me numerous of times while I playing. Thankfully, the CGs managed to improve over the first one, but they are no Final Fantasy or Resident Evil though. Yes the environments are quite large, but you won't want to explore them due to the laggy frame rate, the horrendous pop-up and top top it all of, grainy looking car models, what was Reflections really thinking?
With the ability to get out of your car and steal other cars, I thought that Driver 2 would for sure be an improvement over the original, but man oh man was I wrong once more. Stealing cars is something that Grand Theft Auto made a first, but Driver 2 fails to make it as original and exciting as GTA did, mostly due to the lack of cars that each track offers. You've got about five different cars that you can steal, most of those can be chosen from the car selection screen, but the option is good for loosing cops and having a fresh new start. Driver 2's new two-player mode is pretty much a disaster, not only is the pop-up occur even more, but you have only one view to drive from and that is the first person view, which doesn't cut it for me at all, since I hate first person views in racing games (although I love them when they show dashboards) it is much more harder to maneuver and navigate areas because of the limited vision that you have. So two-player games are out of the question.
As for the Undercover mode, it just isn't as tight as the first Driver's was. The action feels old, un-inspired and worst of all just plain boring. The cops and all are a bit smarter than the first games, but then again you won't really care since you wouldn't want to test their IQs at all. There are tons of missions to do, so hardcore Driver fans who just don't care how bad this game is, will probably play Driver 2 and maybe beat it, but everybody else will most likely dislike it. Tanner once again goes undercover through cities such as Chicago, Havana, Las Vegas and Rio De Jenero. The cheat section is also back, and so are the Driving Games such as Quick Chase, Quick Getaway, Gate Racing, Trailblazer, Checkpoint and Survival. This is just plain horrible, how can a sequel to one of the best Playstation games, turn out so damn bad? I suggest screwing the whole idea of buying Driver 2 and just get Driver 1 for $20 instead, it's got much better graphics and the game is far better than Driver 2's.
The original Driver had a nice soundtrack which wasn't unbearable, and the crash sound effects sounded well too. The sound effects have returned and sound the same as they did last year, but the new soundtrack is plain awful. Through out the whole game, all I hear is high-pitched annoying music that nearly made my ears drums pop, the horror, oh the horror! There is some voice acting as well, which is just average and nothing that impresses me a great deal, I've heard better than this. The sound is just plain awful, nothing really to boast about.
For some reason the control in Driver 2 is so sloppy that it is almost intolerable. Smashing into a car will throw your car into an outrageous spin, casing it to go out of control. You'd think that maybe Reflections will think of people like me who are maniacs about control and using both analog sticks for accelerating and turning, sadly Driver 2 only makes use of the left stick. The button layout has remained exactly the same so even if you plan on renting or buying Driver 2 (which you shouldn't) you don't have to worry much.
In a nutshell Driver 2 is the years most disappointing game and if not the most disappointing videogame sequel I have yet to play. The visuals have been downgraded, the gameplay is way too boring, the soundtrack is plain trash and the control is sloppy. I am still stumped how Reflection let this game pass as a final product, if the two-player was pulled out and the ability of stealing cars was taken out as well, maybe room for visuals and more inspired gameplay could have been done, but Driver 2 is just plain a disgrace. I hope that the PS2 versions of Driver are set in the 90s (the 70s vehicles are too plain and slow) and if possible be developed by Angel Studios since they have done such a marvelous job with Midnight Club: Street Racing and Smuggler's Run.