Do you like driving games? Do you like driving games that also incorporate third-person shooting elements? How about driving games that also let you telepathically insert your character into the brain of unsuspecting non-player characters? Yes, that last one sounds a little bizarre, but that's precisely the idea behind "Driver: San Francisco," the sixth installment in Ubisoft Reflections' long running action-driving franchise.
Though this is the sixth installment in the series, "Driver: San Francisco" actually picks up where "Driv3r" (numbers in sequels, Russ Frushtick's favorite) left off. Fans will immediately be familiar with NYPD undercover cop protagonist, Tanner, and crime lord Jericho. At the end of the third game, it was unclear whether either were alive, but "huge" surprise: they both are. Tanner actually won the shootout in Istanbul, and he's taken Jericho to the pen.
Of course, Jericho escapes, and as Tanner pursues him, he winds up in a coma-inducing car crash. So, here's where it gets weird: the rest of the game is played out in Tanner's head. The game's missions are taking place inside his noggin, and that's where the "shifting mechanic," as Reflections' Martin Edmonson told Joystiq, comes into play.
Basically, Tanner has the ability to "shift" into another character's place. See a sweet Mustang you would like to drive, or maybe it's vital to a mission, and highlighting that character places Tanner into the car. You'll see Tanner driving, but a look into the rear-view mirror, and it's obviously a possessed person physically steering the vehicle.
The whole thing's kind of strange, but at least it's an original concept. I can see how this could be utilized to set up some interesting missions. If you're equally intrigued by "Driver: San Francisco's" story, Ubisoft released this brand-new trailer this afternoon. It seems to show the game's beginning section, the part where Jericho breaks out of the clink and busts Tanner's head all up.
"Driver: San Francisco" has been through its share of delays, but Ubisoft announced today that the current release date is set for August 30th. I'm not entirely sure I trust that date, given the seemingly never ending delays we write about around here, but we'll see.