The graphical engine for Driver SF is a nice one; it has a great level of detail for the cars and the environments. The way that it presents cut-away vignettes for Tanner and Jones in many of the story scenes, and the way that it has picture in picture frames for many of the passengers in the various challenges, just shows how nice and detailed the actual engine is. When you get up close and personal with these characters in a scene you can see a great deal of care has been taken to detail them down to the pores in their skin. The graphics are clean and polished and the frame rate is silky smooth, just like the reflections on the beautiful recreations of the vehicles. The lighting engine is also striking and the effects for Shifting are subtle.Animations
It's tricky to talk about animations in a game that focuses on in-car action, or is it? Well, for a start there are different cameras in Driver SF and the cockpit camera features a fully animated interior with Tanner pressing the steering wheel for the horn, changing gears and even hitting the hand-brake during the hand-brake turns. His hands move around the wheel just like some crazy Hollywood stuntman uber-driver and you get no disconnect if you're driving in the cockpit view at all. In fact, it's like being in the Dodge Charger that Tanner is driving at the time (or any other car for that matter).
Then you have the great lip synch and animations in the various cut-scenes, simply put the level of animation detail is highly polished and extremely fluid.Physics
The car-handling physics for Driver SF are excellent; they have really tuned this from the demo and polished the controls right up. The way you can power slide around corners in the Chevelle or the Charger (a car I've driven for real) is superb. It makes for some truly fantastic moments in the single player game, as you careen through trash in an alley and then do a power slide away from the screaming sirens of cops. This is driving physics that really put a smile on your face. It does take some getting used to and the swinging back end of the muscle cars can end up with over compensation and a nice slam into the side of a building.
The vehicles also take damage which affects handling and control of course; the cosmetic side of it also looks great and has crumple physics on many of the vehicle surfaces.AI
Cop AI brings back fond memories of Driver with some vicious takedowns and pincer moves used against you. The cops are relentless and their aggression ramps up the more you have on your tail. The opponent AI in races varies it seems based on several factors and they will use dirty tactics sometimes depending on the kind of race it is. Opponent AI in missions and challenges varies and it's all highly polished with the handling being taken into account.Film Director
Once you activate your Ubi Pass (one time activation) the game then lets you take the footage of the last 5 minutes of play, mess around with it in a simple but effective and powerful film editor. You can change camera locations, track cars, alter playback speed and create your own mini-driver movie to upload onto the site via the game and share with your friends. It's a simple to learn and tricky to master feature, one that adds even more fun into the full game and provides even more reason to replay challenges and setup some sweet driving action!Sound
The all important sounds are there, the engine noises are fantastic and the roar of the Charger and the McLaren SLR are spot on. The screech of tyres and the crunch of metal from a bone-jarring impact are all recreated aurally to give you some of the best driving sound yet.Music
The music has the spirit of the series firmly in hand, it's great stuff and it truly echoes the Driver feel. The actual licensed tracks that accompany the game are fairly varied and there's a pretty solid list here Driver Music
John Tanner and Jones steal the show, with Tanner's cocky and humorous personality bleeding through into the various conversations with the in-game NPCs and opponents. But its Tanner's repartee with his partner and their easy back and forth that really works and it's beautifully acted. Again, the voice acting in the game is spot on and everyone pulls out the stops!