Driver: San Francisco Baffles Me

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Another game Ubisoft demonstrated at their E3 press conference is Driver: San Francisco, a game that promises to [cliché about roots and s**t sequels or something]. They showed off some driving and then made a big deal about a new feature called “shift” that their press release says is groundbreaking. I’d go the other direction and say it’s inexplicable. Before I get to the part where I hurt people’s feelings, I’ll let the press release explain it. Hit the jump for more.

“Thanks to a groundbreaking gameplay feature, players can now seamlessly ‘shift’ between well over a hundred licensed vehicles, keeping them constantly in the heart of the action.” You read that, and then warning bells went off in your head, right? Well let me explain further. “Shift” allows you to pause the game, fly into the air and look for a new car and then start driving that car.

Huh?

Yeah, it’s an immersion-destroying gimmick that exists, as far as I can tell, to let the player cheat. But it’s not a fun cheat, like making you indestructible or super fast. It doesn’t do anything to make the game more enjoyable. It’s a developer-sanctioned noclip code that you would only need if you’re really bad at the game or if the game is so poorly made that you can’t progress without using it.

And this isn’t Burnout Paradise or some sort of mindless racing game like that. Drive has a story. In this game, you are John Tanner, detective, and you’re hunting down a bad guy. There’s something about the main character being in a coma, and he’s projecting or something from there, but it still makes little sense. I just can’t for the life of me think of any good reason for this “shift” mechanic to be in the game. Nice work, guys.

Driver: San Francisco is scheduled to hit Q4 2010 on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

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