Platform: Playstation 2/XBOX (haven't played the PC/WII version)
Story (8.5/10): The first indirect sequel in the Driver series. Gone is Tanner, his replacement, an 18 year old named TK. The game starts in 1978 but halfway through it fast forwards to the year 2006, hence the name parallel lines. The description of the whole story can be summed up in one wordâ€¦revenge. Also new to the series, the storyline is presented in a non-linear fashion therefore you have the freedom to choose when you want to do a mission. The cut scenes are quite good but some of the facial animations look strange and overall there are a lot less of them then in Driv3r. Overall though, I liked it. TK is a cool character and the overall story pace is quite good.
Controls (6.5/10): The controls are the biggest problem for me. Everythingâ€™s been changed from previous installments. The gameâ€™s setup resembles GTAâ€™s but a few nice additions have been added. For one, you can shoot your gun in a forward direction, this is awesome because it works perfectly when youâ€™re in a chase or youâ€™re being chased. The Thrill cam mode has smartly been moved to the down directional button as opposed to holding L1 and R1 as in Driv3r. The thing that I hate though is the general vehicle mechanics themselves. For me, their very arcadey and loose and that irritates me. Their good for weaving in and out of traffic but for pure driving, their annoying. Cars feel light and making precision turns is a bit of a hassle. Bottom line, I miss the car handling that was found in Driver 1, 2, and 3. On-foot control has slightly been fixed but again drawbacks appear. You canâ€™t swim or jump and TKâ€™s general walking and running animations still look a little funny. Will Reflections ever get ground gameplay right? The shooting elements are alright but manual aiming is way to slow.
Graphics/Sound (7/10): The graphics in Driver Parallel Lines are a mixed bag. The city (NYC) is real big and thereâ€™s a lot of road to drive but theirs just one problem, nothing stands out. All the architecture looks the same and for the most part, everything looks kind of bland. The two eras look different from each other only in color (some of the roads and hills also change a bit) â€™78 looks real bright and warm while â€™06 looks darker and cooler (lotâ€™s of blue colors in â€™06) Overall, I think that 2006 has better cars but 1978 has a better environment. Speaking of cars, the game level of damage and car detail has taken a huge step back from Driv3r. The crash effects are in my book sub-par and the damage modeling also looks worse. I honestly think that itâ€™s the games whole art style that is at fault here. As opposed to Driv3râ€™s more realistic look, everything in DPL looks like shiny plastic. The cars look considerably smaller (almost toy like) and you just donâ€™t feel the crash impact as you did in part 3. The whole bullet damage system has also been screwed up. It doesnâ€™t matter where you shoot, the car will always blow up after a set amount of damageâ€¦I hate that.
There are positives though, car customization is awesome, there is alot of traffic on screen at once and some of the little details in the game are really cool. Like when your bumper slides along the ground it creates a nice spark effect. Also, if you knock over a fire hydrant, water spits out and again, it creates a nice visual effect. Another thing that I like, if you crash your car enough times it basically will stop working. The engine will catch fire but the car wonâ€™t explode, unless itâ€™s shot atâ€¦thatâ€™s cool. The music is pretty good in the â€™78 era but it turns into a crapfest in the â€™06 era. Engine sounds are pretty good and the voice acting is acceptable.
Missions/Difficulty (8/10): There are a total of 32 story missions. In comparison to other free roam games, this is a short game. The missions themselves are fairly interesting and fun. Some include street races while others are assassination types. Overall, itâ€™s a fun 5-15 hours. Driving games are gone but in their place are a ton of side missions. These range from things like â€œCircuit racesâ€ and â€œPerfect Deliveryâ€ to â€œLoan Sharkâ€ and â€œDestruction Derbyâ€ Also, there are 100 star tokens scattered through out the two eras with pretty much all of the being reached by hitting a jump. Difficulty is very easy and both eras are accessible after reaching 2006.
Overview: I remember watching a interview with Gareth Edmonson on 1UP and there he was talking about bringing the series back to itâ€™s roots. I didnâ€™t know that â€œbringing the series back to its rootsâ€ meant changing the controls, storyline, and overall structure of the game. Driver Parallel Lines is a fun game but ultimately, itâ€™s a GTA clone that does some things right.