Version Played: Wii Current CEX Price: £1 I have a confession to make that may make me very unpopular indeed – I never really enjoyed the first three Driver games. […]
Version Played: Wii
Current CEX Price: £1
I have a confession to make that may make me very unpopular indeed – I never really enjoyed the first three Driver games. The first was hampered, in my opinion, by an opening tutorial section that was an ordeal – seeing as you were required to pull off a number of different manoeuvres before you even got out of your garage. I found the rest of the game a little underwhelming too, in honesty. When we got to step out of the vehicle, starting with the second game, it was so undercooked and badly implemented that it pretty much ruined the fun for me altogether. The same could be said of Driver 3, or Driv3r, which found itself at the centre of a controversy surrounding paid-for positive coverage.
So I was hesitant to try Parallel Lines, the fourth game in the series. Arriving on Wii a year later than on PS2 and Xbox, the game begins in the 1970s – with a time jump seeing the action move on from there to the then-contemporary year of 2006 (albeit 2007 being the year of release for the Wii version).
Having not played the other versions, I can’t compare – but unfortunately, there’s a bit of the motion control curse that afflicts Wii ports so often. Driving is fine and has a nicely solid, weighty feel – but tilting the nunchuck will cause your vehicle to turn, even though you also control the direction of your vehicle with the nunchuck’s joystick. It’s a very odd decision to have both of these control methods in place simultaneously and means that you’re forced to keep your nunchuck in an upright position, rather than just relax and use it comfortably. The IR-camera control is a bit of a pain too, in all honesty.
Finally in terms of negative points, there’s a very washed out and dull look to the game, at least in the 70s-set sections, but that seems to be a stylistic choice – from a technical standpoint it’s actually pretty respectable for a Wii game. The in-game city of New York is pretty sizable and though it lacks a great amount of finer detail, for an open world Wii game I genuinely think it holds up pretty well.
The soundtrack deserves highlighting – with period appropriate, licensed tracks appearing depending on whether or not you’re in the 1978 or 2006 periods; there’s an absolutely brilliant set of songs included and the 70s tracks in particular are fantastic to hear, given that it’s a pretty under-represented period in games of this nature.
Though it feels a lot like a game trying to ape GTA in many places, there are a number of additions that set it apart from the game that GTA was at the time – car customisation and the aforementioned time jump among them, which gives access to vehicles from both time periods. There’s more emphasis on driving than on-foot chaos – which is entirely appropriate for a game in a series named ‘Driver’ – and the story actually pretty good too. Perhaps this may be another controversial opinion, but I do think that Parallel Lines has a much better storyline than any GTA had up to that point.
Bargain bin verdict? Considering I’m not keen on the earlier games, I’m fairly surprised at this – but it’s definitely worth picking up. Even with the control issues and despite, or perhaps because of, some hilariously bad attempts at mature content (the strip club, with its PS2/Xbox era ‘mannequins’ is a particularly cringeworthy ‘highlight’) – and seeing as there’s no GTA on the Wii, Parallel Lines is a surprisingly solid and satisfying alternative. For the current price of a quid, it’d be criminal not to give Driver: Parallel Lines a try.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this – or any of my other content – it’d be much appreciated if you’re able to share this article via social media. I’d also be forever grateful if you’re able to support me via: Ko-Fi.com/geekmid – which would assist me in writing even more content just like this. Above all else though, thanks for reading – I truly appreciate it!