Beautiful women, fast cars, exotic locations, big guns, witty one-liners and of course lots of lovely lucre... Ah, the glamorous life of a career criminal. If the likes of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino are to be believed we law-abiding folk are the real mugs and our lives would be so much more interesting (albeit possibly shorter) if only we'd pick up the odd shootah or steel some hot wheels.
Well thanks to Driv3r you now have a chance to sample the good life as a villain, albeit all in a good cause. Playing an undercover cop posing as a getaway driver, you get to tear up the tarmac in a variety of sporty four- and two-wheeled numbers before spending the evening socialising in the more fashionable parts of Miami, Istanbul and Nice. Well that's the theory, at least, because Glu Mobile's adaptation of the similarly named console game doesn't actually manage to convey too much of this.
Driv3r does try hard to make you feel like you're playing a part in some dark cop thriller, with a sinuous storyline that nicely stitches together the short episodes of action. But in action, there's little difference between any of the missions that you're tasked with. Falling into three broad categories (driving somewhere against the clock, driving someone else off the road, escorting a colleague's car), it's not a game that stands up to extended periods of play. Better suited to brief five-minute bursts, it's mildly entertaining at best.
Perhaps the most fun is to be had with the car-jacking option, something that's straight out of another famous video game Grand Theft Auto. Damage your car too much and you can simply hop out and commandeer anything else you see on the road, ranging from police cruisers and trucks to motorcycles and high-performance V8s. Each vehicle has its own particular handling characteristics and although a slightly clumsy steering system does its best to make them feel the same, you can detect some variation.
Considering that driving is the core element of Driv3r, though this isn't quite good enough and the handling is certainly not accomplished enough to compete with the more serious racing game pack. Hence, if you can do without the action-flick storyline, pick up Colin McRae 2004 instead, a game that features the same top-down view but offers a more enjyoable ride. Then again, if you're less bothered about heavy-handling and would rather play at being light-fingered there's probably just about enough here to make it worth your while.