|Developer(s)||Reflections Interactive (console and PC), Velez & Dubail (Game Boy Advance)|
Sorrent (mobile version)
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 2, Xbox, mobile, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance|
|Release||PlayStation 2 & Xbox
Driver 3 (stylized as DRIV3R) is a 2004 open world action-adventure video game. It is the third installment in the Driver series and was developed by Reflections Interactive and published by Atari, Inc.. Driver 3 was released in North America for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox on 21 June 2004. In Europe, it was released on 25 June, although due to the way Atari shipped the title across the continent, it made its way into independent UK retailers before the release date, reaching sixth place in the ELSPA chart for that week. A simplified version of the game for mobile phones was developed and released by Sorrent and published in North America on 23 June 2004, while it was published by Unique Games in Europe. On 15 March 2005, it was released on PC for US customers, it was also released on Game Boy Advance 25 October 2005. At one point a Nintendo GameCube version and an N-Gage version were planned, but both were cancelled. The game received mixed reviews on all platforms except the PC, which received mostly unfavorable reviews.
Although two Driver games were published between them, 2011's Driver: San Francisco is considered the sequel to Driver 3.
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The vehicles in Driver 3 are based on real-life vehicles and are designed to behave as such, using realistic damage modeling (e.g., bullet holes appear when a car is shot, or if the car is hit from behind the trunk of the car will pop out).
Weapons are unnamed in the game, with weapons beyond the player's initial weapon unlocked by completing mission or, in Take A Ride mode, from stealing them from police or other enemies. The players can unlock a variety of weapons, including pistols, rifles, and grenade guns.
NPCs react to the player's actions. For example, pedestrians will flee if they see Tanner with a weapon or if he drives too close to them.
The story begins in Istanbul, Turkey, where Jericho starts a gunfight between the Turkish Police, Tanner, Jones and his men. Loading his shotgun, he shoots his way through. Tanner is then seen, hiding behind a wall, as the Turkish police arrive. As the shooting starts, Tanner and his allies start to shoot back. As Jericho loads another 2 shotgun shells into his sawn-off shotgun and walks off, Tanner is then seen running after Jericho, slamming the car door shut, before the scene cuts to black. Later, he and Jericho are both rushed to a hospital in an operation room, where surgeons believe they were injured in a gunfight between each other. Tanner's pulse indicates a flat-line and the scene fades to black afterwards.
6 months earlier, Miami
6 months earlier, undercover F.B.I cop, Tanner, receives a phone call from the Miami Police Department about the shooting range to practice his shooting skills, by shooting red criminal targets, whilst avoiding blue civilian targets. Afterwards, the Miami P.D have been called to a hostage situation in Little Havana and rush to the scene. Baccus sees the cops and flees from his apartment, after shooting down a hostage. Baccus ends up getting chased by Tanner and he crashes his car into a wall and abandons it, with Tanner on his tail. He is pinned down and is told about the car, until Baccus explains that the car is in the Gold Coast hotel, saying he has to take it to a warehouse called 'Nastro's.' He reaches into his shirt, Tanner kills him, only to find that Baccus has a set of keys, not a firearm.
Afterwards, Tanner is then sent to do Baccus' job by retrieving the V8 in the hotel and delivering it to the beautiful, but ruthless Calita, who is head of South Beach, along with Lomaz. Tanner requests to join their crew, explaining that they need a driver and he needs a team. Next day, Lomaz calls Tanner to meet him at the old docks in Downtown. Tanner arrives and impresses Lomaz by destroying Tico's place and by shooting up the Red River Bar. Tanner is now the new getaway driver for South Beach. Afterwards, Tanner is tasked by Calita to pick up from C4 at Stiltsville. Tanner picks some up, and then goes over to The Gator's yacht to blow it up. After blowing up The Gator's Superyacht, Tanner finds Lomaz in his home, to tell him that Tico is still alive. Tanner goes after him and kills him, although this is the only mission is only on the PC, not for the PlayStation 2.
Then the Miami P.D start to locate Tanner and South Beach in a parking lot of a mall, they arrive and start to give chase. After losing the cops, Calita orders Tanner to ditch the car in the water stating 'It's no good to us. They know everything about it. Get out of here!' Tanner then decides to dump the car in the water as it's no good to them, because of the damage the cop cars did to it. Tanner drives the car up the ramp and dumps the car in the sea. Afterwards, Tanner is then asked to go and see The Gator and retrieve a sports car from Dodge Island. When arrives on Dodge Island, he first visits The Gator in his office, then he grabs a sports car and dashes out of the warehouse.
After getting clear from Dodge Island and being ambushed by The Gator's men, Tanner's next job is to chase and then kill The Gator with Lomaz by his side. As soon as The Gator starts to come out of his car, he yells at his men 'Shoot him! Take him down! He's going to kill me!' to which his men start to. But Tanner kills all of The Gator's guards and then kills The Gator, by shooting him and watching him fall into the water, believing that he is dead, to which he is not as he was revealed he is still alive.
After all of Tanner's jobs are done in Miami, Tanner then boards a plane that takes him to Nice, France. Upon arriving, he meets two Interpol agents, Henri Vauban and Didier Dubois, who have their own plans to take down the crime ring and are at the odds with Tanner. During Tanner's stay at Nice and in his new villa, he is called by Calita to come and pick him up, only to find that the locals are hostile. Afterwards, Bad Hand arrives in his van, with Tanner using new weapons to keep the hostile cars away from the van, such as the grenade launcher.
Afterwards, Tanner is tasked to pick up 3 cars across the city and then take them to Bad Hand's truck, before he reaches the compound while stating: 'The cars are no good to us, if they're wrecked.' Tanner manages to locate and find the 3 cars, one in the parking lot, one in the garage and the last in the display, while shooting the glass and setting off an alarm and evading the French police. Afterwards, Tanner is then told by Calita that he needs to go to the docks and pick up a blue container and attach it to the truck and drive out of here, to which he does.
Unfortunately, the Interpol agents accidentally blow Tanner's cover, as a chip was placed in his gun. When Tanner comes to find Didier hanging upside down and his mouth all taped up, he is then told by South Beach, that if Tanner is a cop, he won't shoot him. Tanner intends to kill Dubois, but his gun doesn't have any ammo. So Calita lets Dubois live until tomorrow. As Tanner and Lomaz are driving, they receive a phone call from Fabienne, stating that the car is fitted with a bomb, which will self-destruct when it drops below 50 mph. After when Lomaz jumps out of the car, Tanner is then tasked to drive the car, bomb back to Fabienne's place.
Fortunately, Tanner abandons his job at South Beach and is been told by Vauban to rescue Dubois and stating that he will quit his case. After rescuing Dubois, Tanner looks around, thinking he has heard something. As he looks some more, he is then stunned by Lomaz and a man named Jericho walks up to him. It turns out that Jericho had other plans, after shooting his boss, Soloman Caine. Jericho traces Tanner's moves with South Beach. Tanner is ambushed by Jericho's men and makes an escape, leaving Dubois dead and with Tanner escaping to safety, whilst evading the tail of hostile drivers, trying to stop Tanner from escaping.
Tanner's next job is to secretly follow Jericho and silently kill the guards in a building. After watching the meeting, Tanner is then tasked to chase after Jericho, only to be ambushed by some Turkish hostiles. Afterwards, Vauban visits Tanner and tells him that Dubois is dead, because the bullets were his. Tanner disbelieves this and walks away, with Vauban stating 'You walk out of here, you cross the line!' Tanner and Jones start to run for the truck and drive off. The Turkish police go after him, but Tanner holds them back by using the grenade launcher, which was used in Nice, during the getaway with Calita and Bad Hand.
After evading the cops and swimming away on a motorboat, Tanner and Jones then go after a car which takes them through the streets and the side streets of Istanbul. After a frightful chase, the man abandons his car and then escapes on foot. Tanner goes through the market, which is full of Turkish hostiles. Tanner fights through them and begins to catch up with the escaping driver and captures him. The driver tells Tanner that if he's looking for Lomaz, only he know where to find him.
Eventually, Tanner and Jones start to find Lomaz and interrogate him by beating him up. Eventually, Lomaz tells them that it's Jericho, not Calita. So Jones goes after the Bagman, whilst Tanner goes off after Calita. The game is split into two missions: One with Jones chasing the Bagman, and the other, shows Tanner going after Calita. During the chase, Jones is confronted by more of some Turkish hostiles and begins to shoot them down. After escaping through the building, Jones confronts more Turkish hostiles and shoots them down. Jones escapes via the car, loses the tail of the remaining drivers that tail and chase him, and finds the Bagman. Meanwhile, Tanner catches up with Calita and she is taken into custody.
With Calita captured and with Tanner now back working with Vauban, Calita then tells Jones, Vauban and Tanner that the cars have already moved two days ago, as they're now in Russia with their new Russian owners. Afterwards, Calita states that the Bagman is still alive and so is Jericho. Vauban then tells Calita that she should have explain them about the cars. He then explains the plan to his reformed allies about what they will do. After setting up every camera in an open house and a few hours of waiting, the cameras pick up something on TV. Jericho arrives, via the truck, along with the Bagman. After the Bagman gives Jericho half the money in the case, he is then shot. The truck then drives away, making Jones and Tanner chase after him. The only way to stop the escaping bomb truck, is to shoot it. Despite the car taking damage, Tanner and Jones succeed in stopping the truck.
When Tanner and Jones inspect the truck, they find the driver has been switched, as Jericho has escaped. The final thing to do was to chase the train, by following it along the track. Tanner manages to catch up and gets ahead of the train. Afterwards, he gets to the bridge, before the train does too. Afterwards, the final gunfight follows, with the Turkish police teaming up with Tanner, Jones and Vauban, whilst trying to take down Jericho. Eventually, Tanner gets closer and closes in on Jericho. After an intense showdown, Jericho is pinned down and is then seen on the ground, motionless. Tanner tosses him over, which Jericho starts moving and sees Tanner above him. Tanner is then faced with two things as he points his gun: Either give him the final shot to kill him or let him live. Tanner chooses to let him go, only to be shot by Jericho, who pulls his gun out and says 'Mistake!' behind Tanner.
In the final cutscene, Tanner and Jericho are sent to a hospital, where surgeons are trying to find the problem. Tanner's pulse is lost, but he survives briefly, as the paddles start to press on him.
The game was in development for around three and a half years. Special attention was paid in rendering the cities of Miami, Nice, and Istanbul. The in-game music was composed by Marc Canham, Rich Aitken, and Narco.
Atari also shot a short promotional video about Driver 3 called Run the Gauntlet.
The PlayStation 2 version of Driver 3 received a "Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
After an extensive and intensive promotional campaign, Driver 3 received "mixed" reviews on all platforms except the PC version, which received "generally unfavorable reviews", according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.
The Times gave it all five stars, saying, "The graphics are divine, with vast urban locales and spectacular crashes. The cars handle well, and each vehicle has its own characteristics. Yet this is no easy driving game — one of the reasons why, subject matter aside, it carries a 16+ rating." Playboy gave it an 88% and stated: "Your investigation jump-starts reckless car chases through more than 150 miles of highways and city streets in detailed re-creations of Miami, Nice and Istanbul. Slam into any of the 30,000 buildings and your car crumbles realistically." However, The Cincinnati Enquirer gave it three stars out of five and called its controls and animation "unresponsive and stiff".
While most reviews of Driver 3 gave the game mixed reviews, two review outlets operated by Future plc, PSM2 and Xbox World, gave the game 9/10 reviews. This disparity led some gamers and journalists to claim that the early access Atari gave Future was contingent on receiving favorable ratings, but Atari and Future denied any wrongdoing. The incident was dubbed "Driv3rgate".
After the accusations of review fixing arose, the GamesRadar forums (also operated by Future) were filled with critical posts, many of which were deleted by moderators. Although the comments were said to be removed for being libelous, some users suspected a cover-up. Some comments defending Driver 3 and Future were traced by forum moderators to Babel Media, a marketing company that made use of astroturfing. The users admitted they worked for Babel, but said that they were posting on their own behalf, not for Babel. The thread was eventually deleted in its entirety.
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