Backlog Quest: Day 25 – Driver: Renegade – Serious road rage

Dear Journal,

Today I really let loose with the road rage.

Driver: Renegade was released about the same time as Driver: San Francisco but it is not the mobile release equivalent.  Rather, the game takes place between the events of Driver and Driver 2, where John Tanner free from the restraints of being a cop, finds work cleaning up New York’s crime bosses at the request of one Senator Ballard; who he meets after saving his life.  The game is played entirely within your car and it is one of the most mature titles available on the 3DS to date.

The game’s story is presented through motion comics between missions. Driver: Renegade has some quality voice acting to go along with the cut scenes, but also some very bad voice acting at the same time.  The script also appears to have been written by a 15 year old, or someone of a similar age, who still thinks swearing just to swear is pretty cool.  I was actually somewhat taken back by how often my 3DS screamed obscenities at me while playing Renegade.  Not that I’m sensitive to such things, it just seemed excessive for the sake of being excessive.  Overall though the story is interesting and you are eager to get to the big reveal which you know is coming in some form or another.

Driver: Renegade’s gameplay consist of several different forms of car-based combat.  Basically most levels require you to smash up a certain car, or a certain number of cars without becoming a flaming wreck yourself. A few levels change it up and having you smashing certain buildings (newspaper stands for example) or attempting to chase down a fleeing criminal, but more or less the same three mission types just keep repeating with varying degrees of difficulty.  Every level takes place on a fairly large-scale version of New York, though in most levels you will stick to pretty much just one part of the city.  Located throughout the city are repair shops that are essential to keeping your car from going boom as you make others do the same.

The game also incorporates a “rage bar” into the combat.  Every time you cause damage, whether to another car, street lamp or newsstand you gain rage in your meter. Rage allows you to use a boost on your car, and in turn cause more damage to items that you hit (a few levels even require you to use boost when attacking an enemy vehicle).  There really isn’t much to the rage bar, and in some ways making you damage your car in order to better damage others causes issues, but it does add a little extra depth to the gameplay.

The game steers pretty well, though the combination of the 3DS’ small screen and basic controls can make navigating difficult at times.  The most common issue you’ll have is that the mini-map isn’t always the best at getting you where you want to go.  I often found myself making a turn thinking I’d be able to make a right turn immediately after only to find out that this particular street went under another, etc.,  It would be more avoidable at a slower pace, but when you are racing to keep up with a vehicle and avoid several cars slamming into you it is very easy to misread the map.

Ultimately Driver: Renegade is a fun (though short) experience for the 3DS that is far more mature than most other currently available titles.  The missions get repetitive though, more or less offering the same experience over and over, and the size of the city in the game is largely unused potential.  The voice acting is incredibly mixed, with a few characters bordering on annoying, but it does offer a descent vigilante story with well done cut scenes overall.  If you are looking for some car based combat on your 3DS that doesn’t involve an Italian plumber, Driver: Renegade is a solid option.

Tomorrow I visit bat country, I mean Rango.

Final Rating: 7/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: Nintendo 3DS
Time to completion: 2 hours and 42 minutes
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: $10
Current Price: $17.27 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: I would say $10 or under but the game is quickly becoming hard to find in stores.
Why you should buy it: The funny looks people give you when your 3DS starts cursing up a storm on the bus.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Repetitive mission structure and short length.

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