DriveClub Preview

Take control of cars, including the likes of the Pagani Zonda R, Audi R8 Coupe and Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, and go for the ride of your lifetime in DriveClub coming exclusively to PlayStation 4!

Release Date: 28/08/2014

Driveclub Preview

Hardcore PlayStation fans have heard of Evolution Studios. The talented development team supported Sony with its beautifully-crafted and fun MotorStorm games on both PS3 and PSP. Where those games take players off-road and through the mud, Driveclub for PS4 sets their wheels firmly on asphalt. Originally revealed in February 2013, the highly anticipated title saw unfortunate delays that pushed it into the fall of 2014. Now with a little over a month to go before it hits shelves, PlayStation 4 owners will finally get behind the steering wheel of this next-generation effort, where they’ll take cars like the Pagani Zonda R, Audi R8 Coupe and Ferrari F12 Berlinetta for a spin.

Meet new racing friends and conquer the online world

Both Sony and Evolution Studios describe the game as a socially connected online racer, a description that seems like a perfect fit. While players can race solo throughout the world, enter weekly tournaments, beat adversaries and earn prizes on their own, one of the biggest draws is the option to form Clubs with up other players, almost like guilds in popular MMORPGs, even going as far as creating logos for their rides and selecting team colours. Joining up with others unlocks additional events and challenges to master, in addition to creating opportunities to earn more virtual currency. Everything your mates do helps you in the long run, even when you’re away from the game; there will also be a Driveclub companion app for mobile devices.

Regardless of whether you race alone or with friends, the game’s artificial intelligence puts up a fight. AI drivers look for every chance to overtake their adversaries depending on the type of track, current po-sition and their opponents’ driving styles. Don’t expect to breeze through challenges against the computer offline. These bots put up a fight.

It pays to join Sony’s PlayStation Plus community

One of Driveclub’s more interesting features is the free PlayStation Plus version, set to release alongside the retail edition. PS Plus members will immediately gain access to 10 cars and 11 tracks set within India; they’ll need to remain members to enjoy this content. If they want more, they’ll be able to upgrade to the full Driveclub experience, with 50 vehicles and 55 tracks spread throughout five locations, as well as 50 tour events. Overall, it’s a smart idea that will give new-comers a feel for the game.

A graphically stunning showpiece for PlayStation 4

Of course, everyone wants a gorgeous game that shows off the PS4’s horsepower, and thus far, Driveclub delivers. Yes, the cars look amazing, painstakingly crafted and sporting realistic damage; the average car is comprised of 260,000 polygons and multiple layers of paint that get stripped away individually. Far more impressive are the other details, starting with the day/night cycle. Evolution Studios used data from NASA to create the night sky, with constellations in their proper locations; look for the Northern Lights while competing in Scotland, Norway and Canada. In fact, the developers claim you will never see the same night sky twice.

On top of that, the team modelled all of the clouds in 3D, allowing various formations to cast different shadows from the sun. Clouds also react to a plethora of wind speeds, and the breeze plays a factor with water, particularly with the way it ripples.

Regarding the tracks, Evolution modeled the roads by hand instead of using repeat tiles. There are over 100 different types of flowers, bushes and trees, while the animals you see depend on the time of day; butterflies during the day and bats in the evening. On a side note, one of the India tracks (Chungara Lake) features 19,000 pink flamingos that behave independently. Granted, you’ll need to keep your eyes on the road, but with each track having a draw distance of 200 kilometres, we can’t blame you for taking a peek.

That said, don’t expect ramps and big jumps. Unlike the MotorStorm series, Evolution took a more realistic angle with Driveclub, putting it in a similar category as GRID 2. From what we’ve seen, however, these tracks were inspired by actual locations, and not pulled from the real world similar to what we see in Gran Turismo.

When it comes to audio, Driveclub shines. You’ll hear separate engine noises while viewing the game in each of the six cameras. There are no stock sample tracks, thanks to Evolution outfitting each car with roughly 16 microphones to capture an untold number of effects.

Buy a PS4 and join the Club

Factor in 15 second load times between tracks, up to 12 cars racing at once and 1080p support, and there’s plenty to get excited about. It took longer than expected, but it appears the wait for Driveclub will be worth it. Whether you’re already a happy PS4 owner or someone thinking about buying the console, Driveclub should make a fine addition to your growing video game library.

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