Evolution Studios has finally managed to release Driveclub after needing to delay the game for nearly a full year. Now that Driveclub is now out, does this racing game deserve to be in the collection of every PS4 console owner?
In recent years, sim-based driving games have been the most popular among video gamers. For PlayStation fans, there’s no other racing series that is bigger and more popular than with Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo. Last year’s Gran Turismo 6 was only released for the PS3, so there was a gap for Driveclub to come in and satisfy petrol heads on the PS4. However, will diehard racing fans like a game such as Driveclub?
Driveclub is better described as a game that has a goal of trying its best to satisfy too many fans at one time. Part of the game wants to be a serious sim-based racer, while another part tries to cater the casual audience. As a result of this, Driveclub slightly becomes conflicted and this where some of the flaws of the game come to light. Aside from that, there are still a lot fun features that the game has to offer.
Firstly, let’s talk about the graphics that Driveclub has to offer. Visually, there is no other racing game out there that looks quite like Driveclub. This is mainly because Evolution Studios opted to set the game in locations that are hardly animated in video games before. The countries you get to visit include: India, Chile, Norway, Scotland and Canada. It’s also cool how they created their own unique tracks for the game as it’s a bit boring seeing the real-life tracks all of the time in other games.
Norway is by far my favourite location as there is a track that is set near the icy waters. Chile is a close second as the track set by an Observatory is breathtaking to look at especially at night-time. That being said, India and Canada somehow don’t look as good as the other locations especially during the day-time. Thankfully, all of the cars in the game look decent and very shiny. There are no inconsistencies in the graphics when it comes to the cars.
The actual racing physics and gameplay mechanics in Driveclub are where things get sketchy in terms of what Evolution Studios is trying to aim for. They wanted to make a game that any player could “pick up and play”, although there are so many rules and restrictions during races that it can actually become too hard for casual gamers to play.
The biggest issue I had with the game is the handling. Some cars handle okay, while others can be a nightmare to drive. There are so many times cars will swerve off the road for no reason that you will spin-out a lot. Not to mention the game punishes you severely if you crash into other cars or walls, and even if you cut corners slightly. If you do that, the game will penalize you and your car will be slow for a few seconds.
Penalizing you when you crash or cut corners is a good thing during multiplayer, but was frustrating while playing against the A.I. The A.I. in Driveclub is the most aggressive I have ever experienced in a racing game before, and it doesn’t help that the A.I. never gets punished for crashing into you or cutting corners. The system would have been fairer if the A.I. faced the same penalties as you, but they don’t which makes the races in the single player tour very unfair.
That’s not to say there isn’t any fun to be had playing Driveclub, it’s just that the learning curve is a bit steep. I disagree with Evolution Studios claiming the game is playable by anyone, as I felt the game was actually harder to play than the Gran Turismo and Forza games. It will take you a few hours to actually get to grips with the physics in Driveclub as it is very unorthodox.
The many things I do like about Driveclub however is that there are many challenges for you to do and the progression is fast and rewarding. Drifting has always been a favourite of mine and it’s pretty cool how there are many drifting challenges that you can do in this game. There are also many other goals for you to achieve in racing such as getting to a specific speed and more. It makes the game more fun adding different challenges other than just getting third place or better.
As for progression, I do like the levelling up system added to this game. When you race, you earn points called “Fame”. The more Fame you get, the faster you will level up. Levelling up allows you to unlock better cars. This system was pretty cool as you are able to get a good collection of cars at a nice pace. It’s unlike in the Gran Turismo or Forza games where it might take you ages to save up for that expensive Ferrari you wanted...
I didn't have a chance to try multiplayer yet as there were hardly any races for me to try when I reviewed the game, although there were many "Challenges" that other racers set for players. Challenges are pretty cool as they prolong the action if you've finished the main tour campaign. You can also join a club and team up with mates to challenge other racers online.
For those asking, Driveclub is still a game in development even though the game is officially out now. Don't be alarmed if you notice there is no replay system, dynamic weather or photo mode yet. Evolution Studios plans to implement these in a free future update before the end of the year.
Overall, I felt Driveclub is a decent game but with some flaws that prevented it from becoming a "must-have" title. It fails to reach the heights of the Gran Turismo and Forza series, but it does have some good things going for it. It's a game that you will need to practice a lot though as the physics are hard to learn. Other than that, you will find enjoyment to this game if you are a huge racing fan.