I recently saw Driv3r in a youtube compilation of the top ten worst open world games ever made, and yeah not gonna lie this game has more glitches than the matrix and enough gameplay issues to warrant its inclusion on any such list, but that aside it’s still one of my favourites ever made on pure nostalgia value alone. The thing here is that all the care, attention to detail and artistry went into the very cinematic, gorgeous cutscenes and what we’re left with in actual gameplay is fuzzy, jerky, free-for-all scrappy madness with all the loose wires still hanging out as if the de-buggers were on strike during production. That didn’t bother 14 year old Nate who was just happy to finally be allowed to get his hands on M Rated games for once. This game sees you play as ruthless rogue Miami vice detective Tanner (a steely Michael Madsen), who trails a gang of international car/drug/prostitute/anything smugglers over to Nice, France and eventually to Istanbul for a fiery showdown. Cue endless car chases and shootouts, tough talk, atmospheric background music and tons of free time to drive all over all three cities mowing down pedestrians, shooting cops and causing destruction. Mickey Rourke is a hoot as Jericho the big boss of this crime syndicate, having a ball with sly dialogue like “Remember me? I remember you. You’re the cop.. and I’m the guy who said I’d find you.” Michelle Rodriguez does her patented tough chick thing as his lieutenant Calita, Ving Rhames gives solid support as Tanner’s partner and voice of reason Jones and Iggy Pop has a quick cameo as reptilian thug Baccus. Honestly the cutscenes here are so slick, well orchestrated and streamlined they’d make a cool movie looped in together and indeed I’ve seen such an edit over on YouTube. The game itself, not so much although it does have strong points too. The driving physics are so ballistic and insane that a simple sideswipe against a wall can have your vehicle doing furious cartwheels for half a kilometre, so it’s kind of like this freaky Russian roulette as to which crash, fender bender of head-on will react realistically and which will send you flying to the moon. Also the cops are absolutely maniacal insane daredevils with no regard for their own or civilian lives, they will literally T-bone you at close range, empty every fucking clip of ammo they have at the drop of a hat and make the overzealous officers in Grand Theft Auto look like choirboys, it’s quite frustrating. The three cities are well painted and feel kind of dreamy, hazy and curiously empty of too many AI extras. Miami is picturesque and there’s a few direct references to Michael Mann’s Heat in the way Tanner’s house looks, while Nice is a quiet seaside town with impossibly narrow streets that serve as a terrifying gauntlet of carefully placed death traps when engaged in car chases. Istanbul is a rabble of street markets, kiosks and cluttered streets with plenty of stuff to destroy, a sun scorched vista. Each city has its own ambient background score that sets mood nicely. The missions are wanton chaos and quite difficult because of all the bugs, but I’d just sand-box it most of the time anyways, the single time I did manage to beat this was so maddening it probably took a year off my life. The soundtrack is a plus though, as it should be in any game with driving involved. Not a great game by anyone’s measure but like I said, I’ve got huge nostalgia for it and that shit can transcend quality in any arena of life.