Driver: San Francisco

Common Sense Media says

Open world racer with mild adult themes and a novel twist.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game glorifies high speed urban driving. The majority of the game takes place inside a coma patient’s dream and is clearly fantasy (your avatar’s spirit can shift from the body of one driver to another), but it makes street races and chases look fun and depicts little in the way of the significant consequences often involved in car crashes.

Positive role models

Your hero is a police officer chasing down a criminal maniac. However, he shows little regard for the pedestrians in his way while driving (even though he never actually strikes any of them), nor does he show remorse over the trouble he may cause for the hosts whose bodies he takes over when shifting from one car to another.

Ease of play

Driving mechanics are standard, and the game’s novel "shift" ability, which allows players to instantly move from one car to another, is easy to understand and use. Some activities are more challenging than others, but players typically have a wide array of missions to choose from, which should keep frustration from setting in.     

Violence

Players frequently cause car crashes that result in wrecked vehicles and explosions. An accident near the beginning of the story places the game’s protagonist in a coma, with cuts and bruises apparent on his face. While the city’s streets are packed with civilians, they always manage to leap out of the way of oncoming cars. 

Sex

Infrequent references to sex and sexuality. Examples include: "fine looking woman," "strippers," and "she likes it rough."

Language

Light profanity peppers the game’s dialogue. The worst words heard are "s--t" and "a--hole."

Consumerism

Real-world cars and car manufacturer brands appear in the game, with players able to purchase specific models from their garage.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A couple of characters briefly reference illicit substances, using phrases such as "drug-trafficking."

Privacy & safety

Creates privacy concerns: The game supports online play with open voice communication so players may hear coarse language and be asked questions that are inappropriate.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Driver: San Francisco is an open world action racing game that puts players in the shoes of a police officer hunting down an escaped criminal maniac. While the majority of the game is presented as fantasy -- the action occurs inside a coma patient’s dream -- car accidents happen frequently and rarely show the sort of consequences typically involved in high speed chases. Adult narrative content, including profanity and references to sexuality and drugs, is mild and infrequent. Parents should note that this game supports online play with open voice communication, a feature that Common Sense Media does not recommend for pre-teens.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

The latest entry in Ubisoft’s long-running action racing series, DRIVER: SAN FRANCISCO’s story heads in an original direction right off the bat by placing the majority of the game inside a coma patient’s dream. The franchise’s hero, undercover cop John Tanner, gets into a major accident while chasing an escaped criminal maniac and suddenly finds himself in a realistic dream in which he’s still chasing after his suspect. But there’s a twist: He can instantly \"shift\" to the bodies of other drivers on the road, taking control of their vehicles at will. This new ability comes in handy not just in story missions, but also in side challenges that allow players to do everything from moving between police cars involved in high speed chases to taking control of criminals' cars. The action extends beyond the single-player story to 11 online multiplayer modes that accommodate up to eight players each.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It’s hard to stand out in the crowded genre of open world driving games, but Driver: San Francisco does just that with its undeniably original "shift" ability, which promotes fast-paced play and creates some very unusual play scenarios, such as using multiple cars in a single chase. It also keeps players from wasting time finding new missions by allowing them to hover above the city to easily find cars with icons denoting a new activity. Gorgeous graphics -- particularly during in-game cinematic sequences -- are just the icing on top.

However, hardcore racing fans might find the action and driving physics to be a little too arcade-like, or unrealistic. Cars quickly recover from devastating crashes and can take turns at wildly high speeds. Plus, most of the city roads are a lot wider than they would be in reality, likely to help keep rookie players on the road rather than smashing into the buildings that line the streets. Still, anyone looking for some easily digestible racing action with a fun, novel twist probably won’t be disappointed.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about online safety. What precautions do you take when playing games with strangers over the Internet? How can you tell if they mean you harm? Have you considered playing online with voice communication disabled?

  • Parents who have teens learning to drive may want to consider a study that suggests playing some racing games can lead to taking more driving risks in real life and share it with their children.

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:UbiSoft
Release date:September 6, 2011
Genre:Racing
ESRB rating:T for Drug Reference, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Driver: San Francisco was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Written byAnonymous March 18, 2015
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Good game but language

It's a great game but it has a lot of language and violence, their are a few things that would fall in the sexual category though. For example, theirs a billboard with a girl wearing somewhat revealing clothing. The language is somewhat bad, words like d*mn and sh*t, b*tch is used a few times to.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byThedude57447434 September 1, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

My thoughts

This plot is a riveting thrill ride about a cop trying to take down a dangerous criminal and it's great the cars are awesome a guys dream if they like action and very fast cars
Parent of a 12 year old Written byJackson2013 April 6, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Okay for most 12 year olds and up.

This game is okay for kids 12 and up. There is a very very small amount of drug usage (Smoking) and the Sexual content is because sometimes the main characters in solo play talk about some sexual stuff. A lot of it is very light but some is a little stronger. It's all being talked about. There are NO scenes or anything. The language was surprising. I myself heard da**, Bit**, as*, he**, bastar** sh** and thats really it for real language. There are some words like "fricking" but I don't think that should hold any parent back from letting their child have the game. For violence it is really just crashing, crashing, crashing. All the time your child is crashing into innocent cars, taking down criminals, or wrecking cop cars. All the violence takes place in cars. There is no guns, fist fights, or anything else.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byMoldyCommonSense February 12, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

No No

I would not buy not buy this ever again. I took it back the first week my sons played it. First of all the cussing is kind of annoying and unnaccaptable! I do not reccomend any of this to any body under the age of 13.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns

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