For the first few minutes, Driver: Parallel Lines really seems like the game fans of the series hoped it would be. The opening movie looks terrific, the story seems exciting, and the driving missions look fun. Then the first mission ends, and the magic fades quickly.
Don’t get us wrong, there are still quite a few things to like about Parallel Lines. The game’s rendition of 1978 New York, while not completely accurate, still has many familiar monuments and buildings, and is more than large enough for exploring. Halfway through the story, the plot jumps from 1978 to 2006, and the new version of the city feels totally different. The vehicles, licensed music and buildings are entirely new, but you still remember the streets, and the familiarity of it all makes the sudden shift one of the best parts of the game. There are lots of different cars and motorcycles in each time period, each with various top speeds and handling stats, but some are definitely better than others. You can even store your favorites in a garage, upgrade them and then access them at any time, even if you wreck or abandon them somewhere.
However, the game has flaws. While the missions themselves are fun (you get to do everything from getaway driving to assassinations to taking on a tank with only a motorcycle and a rocket launcher), just wandering around the city is boring. You'll need to do a lot of it, though, because the people who give you missions tend to be spaced very far apart.