Driver: San Francisco is the fifth game in the Driver franchise. It is a game about chases with a crime thriller plot.
Plotwise, Driver: San Francisco serves as a sequel to Driver 3 rather than the previous installment, Driver: Parallel Lines. As with the rest of the Driver series, the main character is John Tanner, a police detective, and a talented driver. Tanner is chasing the mobster Charles Jericho who survived the events of Driver 3.
While awaiting trial in San Francisco, Jericho escapes the custody and wrecks chaos in the city. Tanner is injured and falls into a coma. While unconscious, the protagonist discovers he has a supernatural power to inhabit other people's bodies. It allows him to continue the chase.
The game is set in a thoroughly modeled San Francisco complete with its famous landmarks. Unlike in the three previous games, Tanner cannot leave the car and walk around. Instead, Driver: San Francisco introduces a new option called Shift, using which the protagonist instantly changes vehicles. This is explained as a supernatural ability to switch bodies.
The game also reintroduces the popular Film Director mode. It allows the player to replay his or her adventures using various cameras so that the walkthrough video looks almost like a movie.
The game is the first in the series to introduce both local and online multiplayer. There are several modes that include a vehicular tag game and other variations of a competitive chase game.