Driv3r: Vice City-beater or bug-ridden glitch-fest?

The game begins in Miami which, says Edmondson, was an obvious location to include. "Driver 1 was set in Miami, it's Tanner's home and we wanted to redo Miami. And so what we did was we went back there and did the whole thing again using new technology. Miami's a great city anyway - one of the best cities in the US to do because it has a mixture of rundown slums, amazingly glamorous areas, white-on-white concrete, palm trees, beaches, water... it's got everything you would want from a US city. Also a lot of people have been to Miami because it's a tourist destination, so they'd be familiar with it." So nothing to do with wanting to 'reclaim' it from Vice City, then.

The first level is the antithesis to that of the original Driver, which kicked off with the infamous underground car park level. Instead, this gently eases you into proceedings. You start in Tanner's house (replete with pool and a Cigarette power boat tethered out the back), from where you have to drive to the nearby police headquarters and blast your way through a firing range-based training mode. A later Miami-based level we also played was constructed around a car chase although, when you quickly had to leap in your car to begin the chase, the game frequently didn't recognise that you were actually standing next to your vehicle, rendering the level virtually unplayable. Erk.

"Nice we chose because we wanted a completely different change - beautiful rustic buildings, mountain drives up into the hills, a totally different experience to Miami," says Edmondson. In the Nice level we played, called Rescue Dubois, you have to retrieve a colleague from a restaurant packed with criminals although, again, this was fairly buggy. As for Istanbul, this was "the wild card one" according to Edmondson. "We were looking for somewhere that most people hadn't been to and it's an incredible place. It has a mixture of beautiful mosques and temples sat next to the most horrible slums. The roads are completely different - lots of very narrow, tight little rat-runs." In fact, the best mission we played - and the one closest to the feel of the original games - was the Istanbul-set Bomb Truck: chase after a lorry through the city centre while having bombs flung at you. Simple.

There's no denying that, at present, the game is very glitchy and you do feel like it's fighting against you at times. And while Reflections admit that the game's out-of-car aspects aren't properly tweaked yet, there's still clearly lots more left to do than just that. But there is scope for this to be a cracking chase-based speed-fest, replete with realistic locations, a huge array of vehicles and - fingers crossed - some finely crafted missions. Let's just hope that, come Driv3r's summer release, it'll be a case of realised potential as opposed to what-could-have-been.

Driv3r is due to be released on PS2 and Xbox in June, with a PC version to follow around three months later

Oliver Hurley