by BAM! Entertainment
Driven was never going to be the same experience as it was on the Playstation 2. In place of the 3D environment that the PS2 has, Crawfish saw fit to transform the game into an up close, isometric racer. This was a decision that in my opinion transformed a fast and furious arcade racer into a racer that initially feels very awkward to control.
The GBA version of Driven comes bursting with features. There is a story mode, in which you complete a set of objectives that follow Joe Tanto and Jimmy Bly through their career. One disappointment here though is the fact that you can't save your progress in story mode. Although it won't take you too long to do the 12 objectives, a save option should have been included. There is an arcade mode in which you have to finish in the top three in order to progress. You can even have a testing session where you practice a track by yourself, which is something you can't do on the PS2 or GameCube. There is a championship mode which lasts for eight races and you can save in between races. Success in the championship mode and story mode will unlock bonus modes. Bonus modes involve crazy activities such as driving over manhole covers and passing under truck trailers.
Even on the multiplayer side of things, Driven looks good. If you and your friends only have the one game pak between you, you can race on a special French track. If you all have a copy of Driven then you'll have full access to all the eight tracks.
Just like in the other versions of the game the idea is to race as skillfully as possible and to stop in the 'zone'. It would be an impossibility for the screen edges to blur in the GBA version when you are in the 'zone' so your car is depicted as a speeding fireball. A meter on the right side of the screen fills up as you avoid collisions etc. and once filled you will enter the 'zone' and gain momentary speed and handling improvements.
One of the inevitable events in the GBA Driven are crashes. Because of the awkward nature of the car handling and the tendency not to see corners until you are upon them, even though there are signs on the roads as to which direction you will be turning, you will find yourself bumping off things quite a lot when you first tackle a new track. After a few knocks your car will be replaced and you will lose valuable race time. It would have helped matters if there had been a damage meter. This would have let you know if you could afford to barge your way through the cars in front without fear of blowing the car up.
Textually and visually the standards are good. All objectives and information are given in text, as they usually are on a GBA, and the game is fine for deaf gamers. Graphically the game looks good. I wish the developers had gone for a behind the car view though. This would have made the game far more enjoyable and eliminated the steering problems as well as boosting the appearance of the game. There is only so much graphical detail that you can show with an up close, isometric view and it ain't going to push the GBA to it's limits.
Overall Game Rating: 6.8/10 The game is only let down by the decision to use an up close, isometric view point and the subsequent difficulty that this has on steering the car. Once you are past this difficulty, things begin to improve. The sheer amount of gameplay options for the single player as well as the ability to play multiplayer with only one game pak adds to the value.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems at all. Static text is used and is clearly legible.