Driver 3

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Driver 3
European cover art
Developer(s) Reflections Interactive (console and PC), Velez & Dubail (Game Boy Advance)
Publisher(s) Atari, Inc.
Sorrent (mobile version)
Designer(s) Martin Edmondson
Composer(s) Marc Canham
Series Driver
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, mobile,[1] Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance
Release PlayStation 2 & Xbox
  • NA: 21 June 2004
  • EU: 25 June 2004
  • NA: 23 June 2004
  • EU: 23 June 2004
Microsoft Windows
  • NA: 15 March 2005
  • EU: 18 March 2005
Game Boy Advance
  • EU: 14 October 2005
  • NA: 25 October 2005
Genre(s) Racing, shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Driver 3 (stylized as DRIV3R) is a 2004 open world action-adventure video game, and is the third installment in the Driver series. Developed by Reflections Interactive, published by Atari, Inc., and released on PlayStation 2 and Xbox on 21 June 2004. The game's story focuses on players assuming the role of John Tanner, an undercover FBI agent, as he investigates a car-smuggling ring across three countries, in order to identify and arrests its boss and learn who they are planning to sell a cache of stolen cars to. The game expanded upon its predecessors with on-foot sections, gun combat, and drive-by shooting, with virtual recreations of three major cities - Miami, Nice, and Istanbul - free-roam game mode, and an improvement to the series' film-making "director mode".

Additional versions for other platforms were also created and released in time - a handheld edition for mobile phones on 23 June 2004; a PC edition on 15 March 2005; and a second handheld edition for Game Boy Advance on 25 October 2005. Two further additions aimed for Nintendo GameCube and N-Gage were planned, but later cancelled.[2][3] The game received mixed reviews upon release, except for the PC edition which received negative feedback from critics. Following its release, the series spawned two further installments that featured different stories - Driver: Parallel Lines and Driver 76 - along with a sequel to the story of Driver 3 released in 2011, entitled Driver: San Francisco.


Driver 3 focuses on a mixture of open-world gameplay conducted through a third-person perspective, with it possible to change to different camera angles at any time. The game consists of primarily single-player modes of gameplay - "Undercover", the game's story mode; "Take A Ride", the game's free-roam mode, which allows players to explore one of the three cities at their own pace; and "Driving Games", a challenge mode consisting of three types of car-based games for players to try out, such as pursuing a fleeing criminal. As with previous installments, gameplay mostly focuses on driving around one of three settings, consisting of partial but faithful recreations of real-life cities, using a variety of vehicles based on real-life models models, ranging from sedans and sportcars, to vans, trucks. Vehicles can be damaged over time, though players may freely leave their vehicle and switch to another within the current game world setting they are in at any time; the exception is vehicles that are mission critical to the game's story mode, as losing these constitutes automatic failure. A notoriety system keeps track of the player's actions - any unlawful action will raise this bar, with police pursuing the player if spotted by any, and the response to stopping them changing depending on the level of notoriety they have.

Driver 3 introduces new gameplay mechanics to existing ones including motorbikes and speedboats, swimming, a health bar, and gun combat. Alongside being arrested by the cops or failing objectives in story mode, players can also fail if they run out of health without finding first aid kits to recover it. Combat focuses on the use of guns, based on real-life models and featuring a mixture of pistols, shotguns, assault rifles and sub-machine guns, and grenade launchers, to take down enemies; all weapons have a limit on ammo except for the lead character's personal weapon, but more can be found from dealing with enemies, or around the game world setting being played in during Take A Ride.

In Undercover Mode, players conduct a series of missions in which they must complete objectives, dealing with tasks such as escaping pursuers, reaching locations, and taking down culprits. At times, the player must complete objectives within a specific condition, such as a time-limit, with failure resulting in the player having to restart the mission. In Take A Ride, players can freely explore either Miami, Nice or Istanbul, searching for secrets, which consist of special cars and a group of hostile NPCs based upon the character of Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. If the player completes a mission of the story or leaves Take A Ride, they can freely choose to edit a replay footage from their game with different camera angles and film effects (i.e. slow-motion). The amount of footage they can edit is pre-determined and restricted in size.


FBI undercover agent John Tanner and his partner Tobias Jones are sent to Miami to liaison with the city's police, on orders to investigate the "South Beach" cartel - a smuggling gang headed by Calita Martinez, an efficient and cold criminal, and her associates Lomaz and Bad Hand. The agents focus on the investigation surrounds the cartel's recent acquisition of stolen cars, leading to suspicions they are working for someone else to fulfill a major order. To determine where the deal for the cars will take place, Tanner poses as a wheelman and infiltrates the cartel by recovering a car they lost to a rival gang. After impressing Calita and earning her trust with a series of tasks, Tanner finds himself assigned to retaliate against crime lord "The Gator", after he betrays Calita on a deal and makes subsequent attempts in revenge, eventually being ordered to assassinate him.

South Beach relocate to Nice, France, after Gator's presumed demise, to secure the remaining cars for their order. Tanner makes contact with Interpol agents Henri Vauban and Didier Dubois, who insist on arresting the cartel while in possession of the stolen cars. Tanner refuses to agree to this, leading to Vauban ordering Dubois to conduct surveillance on the cartel. Meanwhile, Tanner focuses on acquiring the cars Calita needs while fending off attacks by a rival syndicate, resulting in a confrontation that leads Tanner to protecting Calita and eliminating the gang's leader. Upon discover that Dubois was captured by the cartel during his own investigation, Tanner angrily berates Vauban for going behind his back, and finds himself forced to rescue him before he is executed. Needing to learn where the deal for the stolen cars is being held, Tanner and Dubois break into a boathouse being used by the cartel, and find that the sale is to happen in Istanbul, Turkey.

Moments upon learning of this, the men are captured by the cartel, and are introduced to their employer, Charles Jericho - former bodyguard of Solomon Caine, before murdering his boss and taking over his organization. Revealing Tanner's identity, Jericho proceeds to use his gun to murder Dubois, intending to frame him for the crime. Tanner manages to escape, and makes contact with Vauban about where the cars are being shipped to, but releases little detail on Dubois' death. The men travel to Istanbul, whereupon Tanner proceeds to tail Jericho to a meeting with the Bagman, a middleman arranging the sale of the cars to Russian criminals. Overhearing that Gator survived his assassination, Tanner sends word to Miami for Jones to collect him before he is killed by Jericho's people, leading to Gator to offer information on the deal in exchange for his safety.

Shortly after being reunited with Jones, Tanner finds himself wrongly accused of murdering Dubois by Vauban, after he receives word on the findings into his death. Despite the threat of an Internal Affairs investigation, Tanner and Jones go rogue to continue uncovering more about the deal, and focus on tracking down Lomaz for a lead. In exchange for protection, Lomaz reveals that Calita and Bagman are set to meet soon for an exchange of money for the stolen cars. Tanner and Jones monitor the meeting, until Calita gets spooked and calls it off. While Jones attempts to pursue after Bagman, only to be forced to call it off when he gets ambushed, Tanner chases after Calita and captures her. After bringing her to Vauban to regain his trust, Tanner convinces Calita that Jericho is too dangerous to trust. Despite revealing the cars have already been shipped to Russia, Calita reveals Jericho will not leave the city until he is paid.

With assistance from Istanbul's police, Tanner, Jones and Vauban stake out the arranged location of the money exchange between Jaricho and Bagman. When the meeting takes place, Jericho murders Bagman for providing him only half of the agreed money and fools police by using Bad Hand as a decoy, leaving him to be killed during his pursuit. Learning that Jericho will likely leave by train, Tanner pursues after him, forcing him to disembark and flee along city streets with both the police and Tanner's group on his tail. Cornered in an alleyway, Tanner critically wounds him, but chooses to leave him to be arrested, only for Jericho to gun him down when he turns his back on him. Both men are taken to hospital in critical conditions, leaving their fate uncertain.


The game was in development for around three and a half years. Special attention was paid in rendering the cities of Miami, Nice, and Istanbul. The in-game music was composed by Marc Canham, Rich Aitken, and Narco.

Atari also shot a short promotional video about Driver 3 called Run the Gauntlet.


Review scores
Publication Score
GBA mobile PC PS2 Xbox
Edge N/A N/A N/A 3/10[4] 3/10[4]
EGM N/A N/A N/A 7.5/10[5] 7.5/10[5]
Eurogamer N/A N/A N/A N/A 3/10[6]
Game Informer N/A N/A N/A 6/10[7] 6/10[7]
Game Revolution N/A N/A N/A D+[9] D+[9]
GamePro N/A N/A N/A 2.5/5 stars[8] 2.5/5 stars[8]
GameSpot N/A 7.5/10[1] 3.8/10[10] 5.4/10[11] 5.4/10[12]
GameSpy N/A 4/5 stars[13] N/A N/A 2/5 stars[14]
GameZone N/A N/A N/A 5.9/10[15] 5.7/10[16]
IGN N/A 8/10[17] 5.4/10[18] 5.4/10[19] 5.5/10[20]
Nintendo Power 5.5/10[21] N/A N/A N/A N/A
OPM (US) N/A N/A N/A 3.5/5 stars[22] N/A
OXM (US) N/A N/A N/A N/A 4.8/10[23]
PC Gamer (US) N/A N/A 51%[24] N/A N/A
The Cincinnati Enquirer N/A N/A N/A 3/5 stars[25] 3/5 stars[25]
The Times N/A N/A N/A 5/5 stars[26] 5/5 stars[26]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 50%[27] 79%[28] 41%[29] 58%[30] 60%[31]
Metacritic 55/100[32] N/A 40/100[33] 57/100[34] 56/100[35]

After an extensive and intensive promotional campaign, The game received mixed reviews.

Driver 3 received "mixed or average" reviews on all platforms except the PC version, which received "generally unfavorable reviews", according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[32][33][34][35]

The Times gave it all five stars, saying, "The graphics are divine, with vast urban locales and spectacular crashes. The cars handle well, and each vehicle has its own characteristics. Yet this is no easy driving game — one of the reasons why, subject matter aside, it carries a 16+ rating."[26] Playboy gave it an 88% and stated: "Your investigation jump-starts reckless car chases through more than 150 miles of highways and city streets in detailed re-creations of Miami, Nice, and Istanbul. Slam into any of the 30,000 buildings and your car crumbles realistically."[36] However, The Cincinnati Enquirer gave it three stars out of five and called its controls and animation "unresponsive and stiff".[25]


While Driver 3 received mostly mixed reviews, two outlets operated by Future plc, PSM2 and Xbox World, gave the game 9/10 scores.[34][35] This disparity led some gamers and journalists to claim that the early access Atari gave Future was contingent on receiving favorable ratings, but Atari and Future denied any wrongdoing.[37][38] The incident was dubbed "Driv3rgate".[38][39]

After the accusations of review fixing arose, the GamesRadar forums (also operated by Future) were filled with critical posts, many of which were deleted by moderators. Although the comments were said to be removed for being libelous, some users suspected a cover-up.[37][38][40] Some comments defending Driver 3 and Future were traced by forum moderators to Babel Media, a marketing company that made use of astroturfing.[40] The users admitted they worked for Babel, but said that they were posting on their own behalf, not for Babel.[40] The thread was eventually deleted in its entirety.[40]


The PlayStation 2 version of Driver 3 received a "Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[41] indicating sales of at least 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[42]


  1. ^ a b Palley, Stephen (22 June 2004). "DRIV3R Review (Mobile)". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Driv3r exclusive - creative director Martin Edmonson talks!". 16 February 2004. Archived from the original on 7 January 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Edge staff (August 2004). "DRIV3R (PS2, Xbox)". Edge (139): 94.
  5. ^ a b EGM staff (August 2004). "Driv3r (PS2, Xbox)". Electronic Gaming Monthly (181). Archived from the original on 24 June 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  6. ^ Reed, Kristan (23 June 2004). "DRIV3R (Xbox)". Eurogamer. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  7. ^ a b Helgeson, Matt (August 2004). "DRIV3R (PS2, Xbox)". Game Informer (136): 94. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  8. ^ a b Air Hendrix (September 2004). "Driver 3 (PS2, Xbox)". GamePro: 81. Archived from the original on 8 February 2005. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  9. ^ a b Silverman, Ben (2 July 2004). "DRIV3R Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  10. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (28 March 2005). "DRIV3R Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  11. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (23 June 2004). "DRIV3R Review (PS2)". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  12. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (21 June 2004). "DRIV3R Review (Xbox)". GameSpot. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  13. ^ Buchanan, Levi (28 June 2004). "GameSpy: DRIV3R (Cell)". GameSpy. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  14. ^ Guzman, Hector (23 June 2004). "GameSpy: DRIV3R (Xbox)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 25 December 2005. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  15. ^ Tha Wiz (5 July 2004). "DRIV3R - PS2 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  16. ^ Valentino, Nick (4 July 2004). "DRIV3R - XB - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 19 February 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  17. ^ Buchanan, Levi (24 June 2004). "DRIV3R (Cell)". IGN. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  18. ^ McNamara, Tom (22 March 2005). "DRIV3R (PC)". IGN. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  19. ^ Perry, Douglass C. (21 June 2004). "DRIV3R (PS2)". IGN. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  20. ^ Perry, Douglass C. (21 June 2004). "DRIV3R (Xbox)". IGN. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  21. ^ "DRIV3R". Nintendo Power. 198: 122. December 2005.
  22. ^ Davison, John (August 2004). "DRIV3R". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 June 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  23. ^ "DRIV3R". Official Xbox Magazine: 80. September 2004.
  24. ^ "DRIV3R". PC Gamer: 69. June 2005.
  25. ^ a b c Saltzman, Marc (8 July 2004). "Late-model Driv3r needs repair work". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  26. ^ a b c "Driver 3". The Times. 19 June 2004. Retrieved 3 September 2014. (subscription required)
  27. ^ "DRIV3R for Game Boy Advance". GameRankings. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  28. ^ "DRIV3R for Mobile". GameRankings. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  29. ^ "DRIV3R for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  30. ^ "DRIV3R for PlayStation 2". GameRankings. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  31. ^ "DRIV3R for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  32. ^ a b "DRIV3R for Game Boy Advance Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  33. ^ a b "DRIV3R for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  34. ^ a b c "DRIV3R for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  35. ^ a b c "DRIV3R for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  36. ^ "DRIV3R (PS2, Xbox)". Playboy: 38. April 2004.
  37. ^ a b Whitehead, Dan (3 May 2011). "Franchise Cheat Sheet: Driver". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  38. ^ a b c Lui, Spandas. "A history of gaming's biggest scandals". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  39. ^ Fahey, Rob. "A Question of Trust". Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  40. ^ a b c d Campbell, Stuart. "Driv3r and corruption, continued". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  41. ^ "ELSPA Sales Awards: Platinum". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009.
  42. ^ Caoili, Eric (26 November 2008). "ELSPA: Wii Fit, Mario Kart Reach Diamond Status In UK". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 18 September 2017.

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