We started playing Driver: Renegade shortly after 11am on a Friday afternoon. By 1.45pm, including a half-hour lunch break, we'd finished the main story mode.
It's a shame because, while it lasts, Driver: Renegade is fun. It looks superb in motion, with detailed graphics (save for the odd building pop-up) and no slowdown. The handling is first-rate and it's a real joy zooming through the game's virtual New York.
There are 20 missions in the Story mode, but by the fourth mission, Driver: Renegade is already struggling for ideas. Ultimately the game descends into a constant repetition of one of four stage types - follow a car until it reaches a certain destination, wreck the car, wreck other cars, or get somewhere before they wreck your car.
These samey missions are interspersed with cut-scenes that, while well-illustrated, drop F-bombs and MF-nukes all over the place to try and reassure you that it's edgy and cool.
There's also Career mode, a series of challenges that see you winning gold medals and new cars. It offers the most generic challenges you can think of. Point-to-point races, checkpoint races, the ever-annoying Elimination races where the person in last place gets knocked out. We've seen it all umpteen times before.
Driver: Renegade isn't without its other good points, but each come with their own flaws. Take the repair stations - if your car's looking worse for wear, you can drive through one of these and it'll be miraculously restored. Yet it's a little too helpful in the missions where you have to wreck a certain number of cars. Since they home in on you, all you need to do is hang around near a repair station.
OMG, WTF GPS
Then there's the GPS on the bottom screen, which is great for the most part but eventually you'll need to reach a destination that lies off-screen and then all you've got to work with is a vague arrow, giving you no way to plan your route.
This is annoying in the point-to-point races in Career mode as you don't really know if you're taking the best possible route while your opponents all do.
Driver: Renegade is a game that has clearly had a lot of time put into it. The handling, the graphics and the general feel of the game are fine. Problem is, the actual game content feels like an afterthought, as if the development studio suddenly thought, "Oooh, we haven't actually got anything for the player to do. Quick, stick a short story in there, put loads of swearing in it and pad it with street races."
Want to see the game in action? Here's a Driver: Renegade trailer.
This is an edited version of a review which appears in the October issue of Official Nintendo Magazine which is out now. For the full review with more in-depth analysis, screenshots and boxouts, you can buy the magazine here. Or, if you want to receive a future issue before it reaches the shops, subscribe and get a Wii speaker system.