Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 63 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 63
  2. Negative: 0 out of 63
  1. Sep 28, 2011
    95
    Until then, Driver: San Francisco is without a doubt, one of the most entertaining, innovative, and challenging racing games you can play on your console or PC.
  2. Sep 22, 2011
    91
    Fact is, I haven't had as much fun with a racing game in a long time, and this is one even non-racing fans can look to for a good time. With any luck this won't be the end of the renovated Driver and we get to see the mechanic return in a sequel.
  3. Sep 21, 2011
    90
    It's a shame that this may slip past the gaze of many for it truly is one of the best games that has been released this year. If you want your faith restored in the Driver franchise, then go out and buy Driver: San Francisco.
  4. Sep 19, 2011
    90
    It has been thirteen years in the making, but Driver has the sequel it always deserved, aside from a restrictive progression model, there is nothing but pure driving and gaming bliss. Even the shifting gimmick works in such a way it adds to the experience rather than hampering it. It is great to be back behind the wheel and back in the directors chair.
  5. Sep 7, 2011
    90
    Driver: San Francisco blows our minds; it's 100% more fun than we expected and immediately re-establishes the franchise front and center in the marketplace.
  6. Sep 6, 2011
    90
    Ubisoft Reflections has pruned the dead weight from Driver's branches, and the result is a pure, focused experience, unencumbered by redundant mechanics and "me too" design choices.
  7. 90
    The most fun you'll have behind the wheel this year. It feels different from anything you've ever played before and you'll find yourself itching to complete every single task it asks of you. After knocking it out I'm still eager to take it for another spin and you can't give a game a better endorsement than that now, can you?
  8. Sep 19, 2011
    88
    Action-paced racing in an intense thriller setting – highly recommended.
  9. Sep 12, 2011
    88
    San Francisco has been faithfully re-rendered, down to every street block and tourist spot. And you can easily view and zip to events on a map using a useful HUD that shows you where everything is. The characters look great, too, and, thankfully, they never get out of the car to run around, like they did in Driver 2. This is one smooth-looking ride, baby.
  10. Sep 2, 2011
    88
    The spirit of the original Driver returns in a great and very complete game, with a very long campaign that offers plenty of hours of fun, and a multiplayer mode full of variety.
  11. 87
    The Shift-Feature is maybe a bit weird but it fits perfectly into the game. The racing speed of Driver: San Francisco is really high and the missions offer a lot of fun.
  12. Aug 31, 2011
    86
    The car's handling is great, San Francisco is nearly perfect and the progression system and on-line modes are great. There is so much to do in the new Driver.
  13. 85
    Driver: San Francisco has allayed most of the concerns I had when it was first announced, fixing most of the problems that the previous games were marred by.
  14. Sep 19, 2011
    85
    Ubisoft Reflections successfully returns the Driver franchise back to its roots by putting the action behind the wheel.
  15. Sep 12, 2011
    85
    All in All, Driver: San Francisco is a successful rebirth for the series.
  16. Sep 8, 2011
    85
    After the mediocre predecessors, Driver: San Francisco is a really good game, which offers a gripping story and lots of multiplayer modes.
  17. Sep 8, 2011
    85
    Aside from a story that is sometimes too silly and a difficulty too unforgiving, there's not a lot to complain about in Driver: San Francisco. There are certainly a lot of things to love. The gorgeous graphics and entertaining gameplay definitely make the game a thrill ride.
  18. 85
    So the story will get in the way at first - Reflections is obviously a bit nervous about introducing its zany Shift concept without narrative explanation - but, once you're behind the wheel, you'll realise that San Francisco is definitely a long-overdue return to form for the Driver series.
  19. Oct 19, 2011
    84
    The new Driver is something that has been long in the making. The result is quite good, despite the surprisingly tight difficulty level. Soul shifting is a nice innovation and the arcadish feel for cars makes it fun to push through the tight streets of San Francisco. [Sept 2011]
  20. 84
    The short of it: I don't like racers, and I rarely like driving games, but Driver: San Francisco hit a sweet spot with its gameplay that had me continually coming back for more.
  21. Oct 3, 2011
    83
    DSF is all about driving and that's a good thing as it's not trying to be a GTA game in any aspect.
  22. Sep 7, 2011
    83
    Visual quibbles aside, Driver SF is a remarkable game that rescues the 12-year-old franchise from the scrap heap. The new shift ability adds impressive mechanics that are unique to a game about high speed chases and driving. Overall, it's a fun challenge too that doesn't go overboard as far as difficulty is concerned.
  23. Sep 20, 2011
    82
    Ultimately, I like this game because of the open world driving, and because of the strong focus on the actual driving more than anything else. The shift mechanic is really cool in multiplayer and offers an experience you're not going to find elsewhere. Even the single player is ok; it's just very disappointing that they couldn't tie the main plot into all the other activities. Still, Driver: San Francisco is a solid and very enjoyable racing experience, and the scenery is unmatched in the racing genre.
  24. Sep 6, 2011
    82
    As far as we're concerned, the Driver series has a new lease on life. This latest jaunt to San Francisco will keep you playing for hours, with an enormous campaign brimming with challenges and a multiplayer package that benefits enormously from the novel mechanics that define the experience.
  25. Fun, imaginative and eccentric, this is a bold revival of a once moribund franchise and one of the year's bravest, most unexpectedly enjoyable games. [Nov 2011, p.104]
  26. Jan 6, 2012
    80
    This is the sort of wheelsport the Need for Speed arcade racers should have been providing all along.
  27. Sep 29, 2011
    80
    I am shocked to say this but Driver: San Francisco is a great game that is perfect for anyone who enjoys a good arcade racing experience.
  28. Sep 16, 2011
    80
    Tanner is back! This reboot is surprisingly fresh and innovative thanks to the shift-function, but what ultimately makes it a great game is the superb handling, which is pretty much perfect for a game of this type.
  29. Sep 15, 2011
    80
    The jump to the supernatural realm may seem puzzling at first, but it makes for an exciting new gameplay mechanic unlike most racing games out there. Couple that with some wonderful multiplayer offerings and you have one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.
  30. 80
    If you can forget trying to find method behind the Shift madness, you'll have a blast in both single and multiplayer, coming back for more when you want to burn rubber in style.
  31. Sep 15, 2011
    80
    Easily the most surprising game I've played this year. I've been a fan of arcade racing games for as long as they've been around, and Ubisoft Reflections shows that there's still plenty of life in the genre – even if it means remotely controlling the action in a hospital gown somewhere.
  32. Sep 14, 2011
    80
    Simply put, it's consistently fun, never taking itself too seriously, and instead focusing on how enjoyable the act of driving can be when you throw in a supernatural curveball.
  33. Sep 12, 2011
    80
    The forgettable story is forgiven when the package of fast, furious and fun driving is brought back to save the series from obscurity. Reflections, you are given a pass for Driv3r, this one's a keeper.
  34. Sep 9, 2011
    80
    A big surprise - I didn't think Ubisoft Reflection could do anything good with such a weakened franchise but the final effect turned out really well. Even though sometimes you feel there is too much of really similar challenges and the technical side could be improved a little, Tanner's return is definitely a good one.
  35. Sep 7, 2011
    80
    The Shift mechanic is definitely something that changes the game.
  36. Sep 6, 2011
    80
    It's short and light, but that doesn't mean that Driver: San Francisco is insubstantial. It has a good open world with a lot of options, and its supernatural cop tale builds to an effective climax that gives you a super-crazy ability that's absolutely worth experiencing for yourself... even if it only lasts for one mission.
  37. Sep 6, 2011
    80
    It's a funny new take on arcade driving, filled with content. Fans of the original will find the gameplay completely transformed, as the map offers a more strategic point of view, but it's still an enetertaining and long lasting arcade experience.
  38. Sep 6, 2011
    80
    The one-player game is a lot of fun, if perhaps a little on the short side, but at least there are plenty of side missions and things to do after you've completed the main game to help round out its lasting appeal. But I do think it's the multiplayer mode where most people will get their kicks.
  39. Sep 6, 2011
    80
    When we first heard of the Shifting mechanic we thought this would be a total disaster. We couldn't be more mistaken: the new Driver is not only innovative, but also one of the greatest arcade racing games we've seen in some time.
  40. Sep 5, 2011
    80
    The series might have been written off by many gamers after the lacklustre Driv3r, but in embracing the fantastic and relocating the series to San Francisco – arguably the spiritual home of the car chase – Ubisoft Reflections have re-acquired John Tanner's mojo, and his tires are well and truly smoking again.
  41. Sep 2, 2011
    80
    If you forgot everything about the big comeback of the first game, you'll get one neat, suprisingly coherent "supercop behind the wheel" piece with plenty of Burnoutish (almost) fun to it. Not taking itself so seriously would do San Francisco good. However, when you are seated behind the wheel, you can't deny the great qualities of the game.
  42. Sep 1, 2011
    80
    Despite the somewhat repetitive missions, Driver San Francisco is packed with qualities. It's gotten back to its roots, but with an all new feature: the "shift" ability, which is wonderfully used in solo or multiplayer gameplay. The driving is really cool, the car chases are thrilling and spectacular...and the multiplayer is really good fun. A nearly perfect come-back!
  43. Aug 31, 2011
    80
    Delivered with wit and panache, Driver San Francisco works because it's daft, rather than in spite of it. And if it proves anything, it's that having conviction in your ideas --any ideas-- can bring a refreshing new twist to an ailing series and genre.
  44. Aug 31, 2011
    80
    The shift mechanic proved to be unexpectedly good providing lots of destructive fun on the streets of San Francisco, even in the dedicated multiplayer modes. Too bad for a forgettable story: the very good CGI cut-scenes deserved a better canvas to be painted on. It's however a solid and entertaining game, a very good starting point for Ubisoft to build upon.
  45. Aug 26, 2011
    80
    After spending half an hour or so playing around with the Shift system, you completely understand it – and you begin to see just how many new possibilities it opens up.
  46. Aug 26, 2011
    80
    Undoubtedly the most complete, polished offering in the series to date. Tearing through the streets of San Francisco, forcing your car into manoeuvres that it probably shouldn't be able to do with the knowledge that you can hit X and take control of another car at any time is just as fun as it sounds.
  47. Aug 26, 2011
    80
    Driver San Francisco could have been a one-trick pony, but it has managed to use that trick in a variety of clever and interesting ways, ensuring the driving gameplay never becomes tiresome or generic.
  48. 80
    It's a turbo-powered drifty racer with a loveably fractured premise and a world that's full of challenges and stunts. It's better than it has any right to be.
  49. Aug 26, 2011
    80
    Driver: San Francisco's inspired shift mechanic and wealth of action-packed content make it an absolute blast that revives the franchise.
  50. Sep 12, 2011
    78
    Don't write Driver: San Francisco off as 'just another driving' game (despite the fact that you'll behind the wheel of various cars for 99% of the time). There is a lot more on offer here and this game will certainly be a pleasant surprise for players of the previous Driver games.
  51. Sep 7, 2011
    78
    Against all previsions Driver: San Francisco, with its Shift mechanic, works great. Lots of different tasks and a 70's hollywood style of screenplay made the Ubisoft production a solid hit and a good revamp for the brand.
  52. Oct 5, 2011
    75
    A good laugh, and deserves immense praise for its ingenuity. It is sadly let down by some sluggish navigation and annoying vehicle controls, not to mention some severely imbalanced AI These issues hold back the experience, but certainly don't stop it delivering a solid amount of fun.
  53. Sep 13, 2011
    75
    Longtime fans of the Driver series should breathe a sigh of relief, as Ubisoft Reflections has managed to produce a largely successful reboot. While the narrative is completely laughable, it does pave the way for the shifting mechanic, which is well-handled. If you can battle through the frustration associated with sporadic difficulty spikes and some of the game's other minor flaws, you're bound to have some good old fashioned fun with Driver: San Francisco.
  54. Sep 11, 2011
    75
    Given the franchise history, Driver: San Francisco is a surprisingly fresh take on a series that many thought dead and buried. It may not be perfect, but Driver: San Francisco offers up a solid amount of content along with a good variety of gameplay to keep you busy. What it loses in polish, it more than makes up for in value.
  55. 75
    Driver: San Francisco hasn't got much in the way of cutting-edge visual pizzazz or precision physics, but it gets enough online mileage out of the body-snatching gimmick to make up for some offline disappointments.
  56. Sep 19, 2011
    72
    Driver: San Francisco is a successful revival of the Driver series. The new approach might be a little odd and silly compared to the core subject matter, but it works.
  57. Sep 19, 2011
    70
    Not the return to glories we were hoping for, but not quite a total disaster either. It's a by-the-numbers open-world racer with a few cursory nods to the franchise's history, and that's about it. [Issue#76, p.88]
  58. Sep 16, 2011
    70
    There's a danger that you'll become bored with this game, but overall Driver: San Francisco is a pretty fun game with a really cool feature called 'shift'.
  59. Aug 31, 2011
    70
    Quotation forthcoming.
  60. Sep 9, 2011
    65
    Driver: San Francisco is not like the previous Driver games. A lot has changed since the beginning of the series, and not all for the better. We take for granted that the premise of the story is ludicrous, but we can't escape the feeling that the racing itself is also being pushed to the background.
  61. Aug 29, 2011
    60
    Horribly inconsistent but also daringly imaginative, but even with its faults this is one of the most innovative racers for years.
  62. Aug 26, 2011
    60
    Clever ideas are interspersed with components that fail miserably, making this the definition of 'mixed bag'.
  63. Aug 26, 2011
    60
    Driver: San Francisco would be an easy game to recommend if the mission design of the single player campaign were on a par with the quality of its technical elements. As things stands though, it seems that some good gameplay ideas have been wasted on level designers that simply didn't know how to make best use of them.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 110 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. May 30, 2012
    9
    Driver: San Francisco, Is a reboot of the Legendary franchise. after a dissapointing Driver 3,Ubisoft made changes to the game and boy is it good. The Plot to the campaign mode is just like a cop show only ten times better. Gameplay is typical car game fashion with some twists and turns. Like most ubisoft games, the characters are extremely likable especially The lead character Tanner. When a game uses a real world setting especailly if it's complex a city as San Francisco but they managed to get every detail of the city right.The removal of the on foot feature means your constantly in a car even if it's not yours. you can drive all sorts of vheicles from sports cars to massive oil tankers and everywhere in between. Using licenced cars mean you can finally drive a Mazerati without blowing your entire life savings on it. Overall. Driver: San Francisco is a fun title and I highly recommend it to anyone. Full Review »
  2. Mar 20, 2013
    2
    Absolutely horrible game, there's a reason why the sales aren't very good. Ubisoft set their video games and their stories in just a dream, you play this game at the start and its like wtf? Setting this in a coma dream is such a stupid idea and has ruined Driver and the story didn't make sense in anyway, the story is stupid, and it's 100% as if completely different people did the game instead of ATARI which is now Ubisoft ATARI not only just that but the levels are bad, the story has fell apart, the side missions possessing other people is and repetitive and 80% all you do. Tanner and his friend go to San Francisco and pursue an enemy, who's been captured, ad a terrorist fires an RFG and brakes him free, Tanner gets into a car crash and as a result, he falls into a coma dream and everything about this afterwards is in his imagination with his magical mind. When you get the cops after you, you lose them and there's no felony bar that other cops will come after you when they see you and even then, they are way to easy to lose. The physics are very unrealistic as well, do a big crash and not much damage to the vehicle is taken and hasn't smashed to bits and it was funny on the first Driver game when your surrounded by cops coming to you at a high speed they hit you and you are sent flying up. Yes, I was liking the multiplayer until I found that nobody really plays it, and that was a year ago. I've posted this review a year later and I'm sure absolutely nobody plays it now. Although it needed more objective game modes, I was enjoying the multiplayer. They should of did "bots" for the multiplayer and the story and single player is horrible. The critics don't care about the story and how much Ubisoft horribly changed everything, they never played the original Driver games on Ps1 and just care about the gameplay and multiplayer being fun. Ubisoft must not bother doing Driver 6 because even if that ones not going to be set in a dream, they're still wasting their money and doing the series more injustice. The damage Ubisoft has done to Driver is unforgivable and I sure they scarce on ideas to carry on the story, I don't see how Ubisoft can make up to this Driver 6, if they plan to do it. Full Review »
  3. Nov 29, 2011
    10
    Amazing and a sleeper hit it is.2011 is the best year ever for gaming so a game like this is going to be overlooked by most people.I actually got this game for $20 brand new because of black Friday.I would of paid the $40 for it if I would of known how awesome this game really is.The shift feature is a totally new idea and it work's flawless in this game.Some,of course,will knock it.I love it and the game is finally screaming with quality from head to toe.All those hours we wasted on Driv3r trying to find the part were it sucks you in but never did.Well people go out and get this game cause it renders all other Driver games obsolete.Game play,graphics,fun factor,replay value,sound,story it is all spot on and great in every way. Full Review »