In the past I've admitted that Driver Parallel Lines is one of my favorite games of all time. I'm guessing Ubisoft is quite fond of their acquisition too as they've spread it out throughout at least three additional games. Driver 76, C.O.P. The Recruit and Driver Renegade 3D all have pretty much the same thing in common: Driver Parallel Lines is their father. I own C.O.P. The Recruit and it's actually fairly good. Ubisoft tried to scrub the Driver smell out, but it's still deeply ingrained in the DNA of that game and it shines through quite clearly. I've been debating buying Renegade 3D, but I'm not entirely sold on it. I might purchase it sometimes down the road, just not today.
So what about Driver 76? Well that opportunity came when I recently received an old beaten and battered PSP from a friend. After replacing the cracked screen I finally had the chance to sit down and give Driver 76 a try. Immediately I was blown away at just how good Driver 76 looks on the PSP. For some reason I wasn't expecting much, but it genuinely looks really good.
The game is a prequel to the events in Parallel Lines and shows how the city was setup just before TK shows up. It's also setup more like Mafia with comic book style cut scenes, by which I mean you go from mission to mission without the free roam ability unless you actually choose the free roam option instead of the mission. Personally I preferred how Parallel Lines showed me where missions were on the map and allowed me to pick when I wanted to do them.
Completing missions gives you rewards such as cars and weapons, which I found a bit odd but I guess is ok. Again, I much preferred the way Parallel Lines allowed me to connect with the city and carjack people to acquire these cars, letting me roam freely and feel the city, not just shoving me around from mission to mission and rewarding me with these things. Nonstory missions are rewarded throughout the game as well, allowing you to do them after you've beat the game or if you so choose to do them between story missions.
To be honest I was very impressed with how Driver 76 looked, controlled and reminded me of Parallel Lines. However, I am sorely disappointed in how it felt truncated and chopped up into little bits and pieces, instead of being a free roaming open world to explore.