We haven’t seen too many racing games released this year, but it seems that the gaming industry emphasised quality over quantity this year. One of those games was the superb Driver San Francisco, an open-world racing game with a twist, that saw players engage in astral projection shenanigans as they took control of other vehicles.
As goofy as that premise sounded, it worked beautifully. A companion game, for the 3DS has also been released, shifting the supernatural antics of Tanner away for a far more realistic and gritty version of the franchise.
But can this adult-themed handheld racing game live up the high standards of its bigger console brother, or are we witnessing a 3D car crash?
Set between the events of Driver 1 and 2, players find themselves once again in Tanners driving boots, minus his spooky car-jacking powers, and instead replaced with a bad attitude and a torrent of swearing. Comic book style cut-scenes lay the story out, as Tanner has had enough of crime in his city, and has decided to take matters into his own hands, one vigilante mission at a time.
Of course, Driver-style justice can only be done on four wheels, so you’ll find yourself cruising around the city, taking part in around 20 missions. It sounds like a lot, but this where one of the major problems with Driver Renegade comes in. Its an extremely short game, and even on a more challenging difficulty setting, you’ll find yourself beating it in around 2-3 hours.
Cars however, handle well and move quickly, with battles folding out quite well. However, there’s a complete lack of variety in the gameplay itself, with most missions revolving around playing catch up, and then ramming your car so hard into the enemy, that’ he’d subpoena you with a sexual harassment lawsuit if he wasn’t currently on fire.
Graphically, the game doesn’t look too bad, with vehicles and environments having a decent level of detail, but the constant popping-up of buildings and random commuter vehicles further sours the experience, and even though the voice acting is sufficiently impressive, a script that was written by a chap with Tourette’s syndrome makes the story come off as cheesy and predictable.
After a player has breezed through the main storyline, a career mode is leftover in order to entice people to stay along for the ride, as you cruise through New York looking for opponents and races to take part in. Its essentially the main campaign all over again, with only the slightest of deviations, as you practically repeat missions all over again.
While there’s nothing wrong with the car handling and driving aspects, Driver Renegade misses out on several opportunities here to use some of the more unique 3DS hardware to its advantage.
Throw in some mediocre and repetitive ideas, and its clear that the developers ran out of ideas early on while creating this game.
Design and Presentation: 5/10
It would be nice to take time to sit back and appreciate the fine-looking cars that Tanner drives while the well-drawn comic book sequences further the story along, but like a child discovering how to swear for the first time, the infantile script makes things worse, while glitchy background environments spoil the view.
There’s no tactful way to say this, but there’s almost no decent value in this title. A mission mode thats over in around 2 hours and a shallow challenge mode afterwards do little to keep gamers coming back, let alone keep them from leaving.
The Nintendo 3DS is in desperate need of some real games that can appeal to gamers, and this isn’t one of them. Its a missed opportunity, a gold-flaked turd that looks nice on the outside and stinks on the inside, resulting in a game that could have easily been better had the developers taken some more time to concentrate on a title that would be fun instead of a profanity-laden four-wheeler of mediocre gameplay and average visuals.
Last Updated: November 16, 2011