Driver 2 expands on Driver's 3-D, free-roam structure, as well as adding the ability of the character, Tanner, to step out of his car to explore on foot and commandeer other vehicles in the game's open world environments. The story missions are played separately from the take-a-ride mode where the player can explore the cities on his own time.
Missions in the game are generally vehicle-oriented, and involve trailing witnesses, ramming cars and escaping from gangsters or cops. A cutscene is shown prior to almost every mission to help advance the storyline, and thus the game plays rather like a Hollywood-style car chase movie. Although Tanner can leave his car and interact with certain elements of the environment, all violence takes place during pre-rendered scenes.
The game begins with an introduction showing a man named Pink Lenny and a tatooed brazilion talking in a bar. Suddenly, two men burst in with guns and kill everyone in the room, except for Lenny, who slips out the back. Later, Undercover police officer Tanner and his partner Tobias Jones examine the body of the brazilion at the morgue. The couriner informs Tanner and Jones of Lenny's disapearence and of the only witness of the attack. Tanner and Jones apprehend the witness, who tells them that the gunmen weren't after the brazilion but were after Lenny, who is actually a money launderer working for Solomon Caine, one of the high ranking mobsters of Chicago whose empire goes from Chicago to Las Vegas.
However, Jones suspects that the brazilion was working for Alfero Vazquez, another high ranking mobster who is one of Caine's rivals. If Lenny was talking with the brazilion, he may have switched sides. Tanner and Jones investigate a warehouse owned by Vazquez, but it turns out that the police were raiding the warehouse and Tanner and Jones split up to escape the cops. When Tanner returns to his apartment, he is hit in the face by an assailant( one of the shooters from the bar), who escapes down the fire escape. Tanner gives chase, but it turns out it was a trap set by Caine, who believes Tanner is a hired thug trying to take over his buesness with information from Lenny. While Caine's bodyguard, Jericho, drags Tanner away for execution, Tanner hits him in the face and escapes Caine's compound. Caine puts a bounty on Tanner's name, forcing him and Jones to escape to Havana.
Tanner and Jones learn that Vazquez is using Havana as the frontier for his arms operations, and plans to use Lenny's contacts to flood Chicago with guns and take over Caine's buesness. Tanner and Jones ruin Vazquez's arms operations in Havana, and also discover that Lenny is going to be leaving the city in a ship called Rosatta Soto. Despite Tanner's great attmepts to arrest Lenny before the ship leaves, Lenny escapes.
Tanner learns from Jones that Jericho has arrived in Havana, having learnt of Lenny's betrayal, and plans to kill all of Lenny's men at a hotel in Central Havana. Tanner and Jones follow Jericho to the hotel, where Tanner is unable to prevent Jericho from killing the men, but nonetheless rams Jericho off the road in a chase. Tanner and Jericho then form a truce and head to Vegas to meet Caine.
When Lenny arrives in Vegas, he is greeted by Vazquez, who is overseeing the arms shipments and is taking over Lenny's contacts after Lenny's failure in Havana. Tanner, Jones and Jericho arrive in Vegas and meet Caine. Tanner infiltrates Caine's gang by telling Caine that Jones and him once worked for Lenny but were betrayed and want revenge.
Driver 2 includes four cities which are notably larger than the original game. The cities are Chicago and Havana, which are both immediately open for 'TAKE A RIDE' mode, Las Vegas, which can only be accessed once missions are complete for the first two cities, and Rio de Janeiro, only accessible after completing the Las Vegas missions. The cities all have secret cars hidden within them, which become available once the player finds the buttons to unlock the entries to where the cars are located and then approaches the cars to unlock them. The cities include many of their respective landmarks, such as the Navy Pier and Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Havana's Plaza de la Revolución and El Capitolio, recreations of the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, and the Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer and some other known landmarks of Rio.
In a move similar to the first game, Driver 2 featured a soundtrack reminiscent of typical 1970s car movies, containing instrumental funk andboogie tracks as well as more popular songs by artists and composers, to further emphasize the retro feel of the game.
Background music for each city seems to match both with the car-chasing movie music and the predominant music styles of each city, for example, Havana BGM seems to be influenced by the Son cubano, Vegas BGM sounds with influences of North America's Western musicand Rio BGM is influenced by samba and bossanova.
Cars in the levels themselves have approximately 5 or 6 seconds of looped music, in Chicago it is Rock/Electro Beat style and in Rio it is Drum & Bass.
The licensed songs featured in the game (as listed in the credits) are given below:
- "Fever" by Dust Junkies- The first cutscene in Las Vegas with the trucks pulling into the gas station.
- "In the Basement" by Etta James- in a bar in Las Vegas where Tanner and Jones shoot pool.
- "Help Me" by Sonny Boy Williamson- Tanner arrives back at his apartment and confronts Jericho.
- "Sitting Here Alone" by Hound Dog Taylor- The opening scene of the game at the Red River bar.
- "Just Dropped In" by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition- Plays over the end credits of the game.
- "Lacrimosa" by Mozart- The climactic scene in Rio at the base of the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
The game was first released on the PlayStation video game console and was later ported to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. Because the game was so long, and cutscene graphics were somewhat advanced for that of the PlayStation era, the game was released on two discs. The first disc contained data for the first two cities, and the second disc contained data for the last two cities.
|GameSpot||8.2 / 10||Driver 2 is a great sequel|
|IGN||5.0 / 10||Go get the first one, it's a better game|
|PSX Extreme||5.2 / 10||Driver 2 is just a plain disgrace|
Reception of the game was mixed. Some felt it expanded on the original Driver and contained enough fresh content to be a worthy sequel, withGameSpot concluding "Driver 2 is an extraordinary game". IGN described it as "one of the most disappointing games, if not the most disappointing game, of 2000." Others felt this was not enough of an upgrade, or lambasted the graphics (particularly the framerate) and almost constant slowdown whenever the action on the screen got too busy. However Official Playstation Magazine gave the game 10/10 and stated it was better than the original and proved to be just as, if not more popular with fans than its predecessor.