DriveClub Review

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Explore the world and form clubs with fellow gamers in Sony’s visually stimulating racer.

Release Date: 08/10/2014

DriveClub on PlayStation 4 at GAME.co.uk

License to drive


When people hear “PlayStation exclusive racing game,” they tend to automatically think of the Gran Turismo series. Sony’s iconic driving franchise has been tearing up virtual roads for over a decade, but this holiday season, a new racing game stepped behind the wheel.

DriveClub seems to take things a bit further than Gran Turismo as developer Evolution Studios focuses on two key aspects of car culture: immersion and socialization. Are these enough to get players into the driver’s seat of a new IP, or will they hold off until a new Gran Turismo debuts? We put the virtual pedal to the metal in our review of DriveClub.

Getting behind the wheel


One of the first things you’ll do in DriveClub is take part in a race to not only better acquaint yourself with the game, but also admire the sights and sounds of your vehicle. Evolution Studios doesn’t have music playing during races by default so the player can appreciate the sound of the engine, although he or she can certainly turn on music if they wish via settings. That said, every moment you’ll experience in DriveClub feels like a deep love letter to the automotive industry, as the title allows drivers to check out all of the nooks and crannies of their vehicles to a nearly obsessive degree.

Even though DriveClub shows this much attention to detail, it doesn’t overwhelm the player. The game allows you to take in as much of your vehicle as you’d like, though if you spend the time to appreciate your ride both inside and out, you’ll benefit from an extremely detailed experience. Each vehicle was painstakingly crafted within the game world, and we appreciate the hard work and dedication.

DriveClub only has a total of 50 cars you can acquire, which pales in comparison to its competition that showcases three or four times that number. Because of this, there’s a trade off in regard to sheer numbers and technical accuracy. Evolution is careful not to call DriveClub a driving simulator, and it used a combination of real-world physics and technical data provided by each vehicle’s manufacturer to assure authenticity. As a result, vehicles in DriveClub handle exceptionally well, offering an experience that feels like a cross between an arcade-style driving game and a full-on simulation.

One of the finest looking games on PlayStation 4


The DriveClub experience starts with the vehicles, each of which features a total of 260,000 polygons and took seven months to create. Over 1,000 photos of both the interior and exterior of every vehicle in the game were taken, along with some other amazing statistics that, quite simply, make the cars breathtaking to witness both inside and outside.

It doesn’t stop there. Evolution went through the painstaking process of making the world around these speed machines as beautiful as they are. The developer called on NASA for help with DriveClub’s environments to make them as accurate to the real-world locations, as well as authentic weather physics. Starting a race at dusk and witnessing the gradual change to night is absolutely breathtaking, and something that will surely impress most players.

A socially connected racing game


Players are highly encouraged to join clubs during their time with the game, but the way it’s carried out is strange. When taking part in a club, a total of six players will join a particular group, which means that if you’re part of a community, you’ll at most invite five other players.

Once you’ve created a small circle of DriveClub members, you’ll compete with other clubs through the game’s leaderboards. The better you drive, the more DriveClub will reward you with points. But if you drive off road or hit a barrier, the game will deduct points from your total, which results in requiring racers to be more cautious than usual.

If your particular group wants to take their DriveClub experience seriously, you’ll need to quickly earn accolades. Earning accolades is done through completing Face-offs and Challenges, which pop up from time to time during particular portions of your race and offer a nice variety of tasks to complete. These challenges could vary from simply following a specific route or drifting better than another racer.

The more accolades you and your club earn, the higher the amount of Fame points you’ll receive during races, which allow your club to unlock the ability to take part in more events as well as acquiring new items. Differentiating your club from others is done through a combination of custom team colors and logos, which can either hurt or help you in races depending on what kind of reputation your crew has in the world of DriveClub.

A gorgeous racer that barely misses greatness


Evolution’s philosophy of immersion and community was successfully realized in DriveClub. The game completely immerses the player in each of the 50 available vehicles, and the game’s tracks and the environments look phenomenal. That’s not, however, to say the driving experience is second rate.

Even though Evolution took a long time to recreate the cars in DriveClub, 50 vehicles don’t offer the same variety as competing racers. Considering most people find a handful of particular vehicles they want to continually race with, this may not affect most consumers, but a wider variety would allow the majority to find their ideal rides.

The club system is kind of a disappointment, along with racing as part of a six-man crew, which seems extremely small for a game as ambitious as DriveClub. In all, a beautiful but somewhat limited game that will hopefully improve with downloadable content.

GAME's Verdict: 7/10

The Good

  • Tons of detail in vehicles and environments
  • Accolades add another layer to the competitive driving
  • Vehicle handling offers a mix of arcade and simulation

The Bad

  • Vehicle selection pales in comparison to other racing titles
  • Clubs are too tiny to make good on community promise.
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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.

Genre

Racing

Customer Rating:

No rating yet

SKU:

Reviews-312772

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