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May 20, 2003
DRIV3R - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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That's one big bang!
The first Driver was released in mid-1999 on PSOne and received much critical acclaim and became a worldwide hit. The seqel Driver 2 expanded on the game but received poorer reviews although it still managed to sell in vast quantities worldwide. Indeed both games have amassed a stunning 12 million sales worldwide across a variety of platforms. Once again the story will play a major part in the title.

You play Tanner a ruthless undercover cop and a fearless driver. In DRIV3R Tanner is immersed in a global car theft ring. A mysterious buyer has ordered 40 stolen high performance cars. It's your job as Tanner to find out who the buyer is, before his cover is blown.

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That's one way to get a car.
DRIV3R is an action-packed driving adventure game that stays true to its roots, incorporating the cinematic gameplay and gritty street crime of its predecessors with ground-breaking graphics and three mammoth, wide-open city environments: Miami, Florida; Nice, France; and Istanbul, Turkey. In all, DRIV3R boasts 156.14 miles of road and 35,768 buildings. Impressive stats for any game.

But let's continue with the stats of this game. DRIV3R includes over 70 playable vehicles, including cars, bikes, boats, artics, and buses. Tanner has 8 different weapons at his disposal, including handguns, machine guns and grenade launchers. The game itself includes over 30 story integrated missions with this story being told through over 30 FMV sequences with some amazing voice talent (more on that later). The developers are also promising a "Thrill Cam" as well as a "Director Mode" with slow-mo effects. Obviously these will be used to replay the major events such as collisions and explosions.

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Reflections have also spent a bit of time (and probably money) securing some of the best talent in Hollywood to voice the game. Michael Madsen, Ving Rhames, Mickey Rourke and Michelle Rodriguez will play the lead roles in the third installment of the gritty, crime-fighting Driver video game series. Michael Madsen, who has starred in blockbuster crime films like Kill Bill, Donnie Brasco and Reservoir Dogs, will give voice to DRIV3R’s lead character Tanner, the jaw-breaking undercover cop who dominated the first two installments of the Driver series, and who in DRIV3R will stop at nothing to bring down an international car theft syndicate.

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Check out the collisions!
Ving Rhames, who has appeared in films that include the Mission: Impossible series, Pulp Fiction and Con Air, will provide the voice of Tanner’s hardnosed partner, Tobias Jones. Mickey Rourke, famous for his roles in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, The Thin Red Line and 9 1/2 Weeks, will be the voice of Jericho, the sinister leader of the international crime syndicate. Michelle Rodriguez, best known for her roles in S.W.A.T., The Fast and the Furious and Blue Crush, will provide the voice for Calita, the sexy leader of a Miami car theft ring. The music will be provided through 12 licensed tracks. While not yet announced I am a little concerned with the lack of tracks on offer. Compared to the hundreds of tracks in Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City it seems a little sparse, but time will tell.

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The cities look gritty.
With an Australian release date set for June 1st (the same week as Europe - following a delay announced in January 2004) DRIV3R is sure to generate a lot of hype in the coming weeks. Reflections' first game on Playstation 2, Atari Stuntman was a polished game let down by some frustrating difficulty levels, terrible load times, and the need to repeat stunts about 3.4 million times before completing them. But DRIV3R is Reflections' premiere series and they look to have built an even better graphics engine, written an engrossing story and secured enough Hollywood talent to make a major motion picture. If this game can put all the pieces into place then this will be a hit.