Streets ahead (nearly) with Driver SF

Driver: San Francisco came out a few days ago and as a fan of all things cars, and in particular the original version it was a must get game. I still remember the buzz of seeing those original camera angles and seeing the hubcaps fly off as the old american car lurched around the corner, great attention to detail back then. I was concerned, having played the demo, that the weird astral projection jumping around cars element was going to detract from the good honest car chasing, burnout, doughnut, drifting and jumping that was after the point of the game.
I was also interested in what opportunities there were to use the film director side. Driver was one of the first games I remember having the power to edit the replays from your driving. Driver SF has included this feature and it just keeps recording as you play. At any point you jump to film director where you can change camer cuts, make slo-mo replays etc. it is not completely full featured but it does let you start to explore making a car sequence.

Where Ubisoft fall down though is with their web interface for the results of the game. Yes they have put in the ability to send to facebook and twitter as you play, which is nice an forward thinking but if you start to publish your driving masterpieces it all gets a bit clunky. Unlike Dirt3 which pushes clips you make straight to youtube this game seeks to make a portal that you visit to collate all your info and film clips. The trouble is you cant do much with them. The short videos you make are player with the flovision player and the layout doesn’t seem to work very well if you have more than 3 videos. Each video has a great download button, which gives you a non-descript raw data file. My Mac with all its codecs, perian etc had no idea what to do with it. So the video above was just a screen cap one from the website. I am sure they are going to improve that over time. Though there was not answer on the ubisoft forum or response on a facebook request so who knows if they know.
So here is a game that I really like, had some great fun driving around a mirror world version of San Fran, in real branded cars doing loopy stunts, the I get to the more creative side of things that could offer so much so quickly and get stopped in my tracks. Well you can’t have everything.
One very cool plot point though, (not really a spoiler) is that the original, and irritatingly hard at the time, training level for Driver has been included. It is also linked to a retro reference with an iconic film car and it opening up was a very cool aha moment that more games should have.
The other brilliant film references are a set of movie chases that you gradually unlock. They are nods to some of the best car chases ever on film and the things I grew up watching. Bullit, The French Connection, Starsky and Hutch etc. I was hammering around the jumps in SF shouting I am Steve McQueen. This caused some consternation with predlet 2.0 as he said “no dad it’s Lightning Mcqueen”.
Anyway, if you were brought up on old car chase movies, and like racing games… well this is worth a go. If you want to make machinima, just wait until they decide to offer some more features I would suggest. So those 210 miles of road will just have to be a more personal experience too.
There is a link to my Driver SF page including a few more clips but I am not sure how many you get to store

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