Gaming on a next-gen console early in the production span as the game developers adjust and improve their programming methods. Early in the process, there’s just not going to be the same number and quality of video games for the platform of your choosing. Playstation 4 console owners have been feeling this pain if they were looking for a next-gen racing game. Gran Turismo 7 isn’t due to hit the video game shelves for at least another year, but we got a chance to sit down with Driveclub from Evolution Studios.
Next gen console or not this game delivers graphically in many different ways visually. Cars look sleek and realistic and the presentation level is very high and the high level of graphical polish definitely shows. Frame rate is excellent and the game moves smoothly and without hiccup. As good as the cars look outside and around the track in replays, they look even more incredible in cabin. High levels of detail and even the most finite of characteristics jump off the screen.
They say the devil is in the details and in that Driveclub is jam packed with the small details that even the most jaded of gamer can appreciate. Imperfections on the glass can be seen as the sun glare reflects off them as you race around the track, tires lose material and interacts with the tarmac remarkably. For a console it’s certainly some of the most amazing graphics we’ve seen to date and at a terrific speed.
The cars sound terrific and coupled with the right sound system convey the right kind of atmosphere needed for a racing game. Engine revs and backfires echo off of pavement that isn’t there, tires screech and make you feel as though you are really there.
There’s an interesting mix of cars available with a heavy bias towards the Euro marketed vehicles, in fact there’s hardly any American muscle cars and no Japanese cars at all. There’s quite a few rarer supercars that perform and race beautifully that we’ve longed to play, however the lack of variety brings down the experience quite a bit. It’s one thing to virtually jump behind the wheel of a supercar, and quite another to do it for a car you actually enjoy and love.
In this there’s no denying the mistake the studio made given the demographic they are after. Car enthusiasts and racers are a tribal bunch and this lineup of cars at launch offers little for the US market to enjoy in all honesty.
Tuning your vehicle is not an option outside of cosmetic changes here and there, another puzzling decision by the makers of this game. Livery is available through pre-cut wrap or designs that often look garish and not appealing in any way. Flaming pool balls are not my personal cup of tea, so to say I was expecting something a little different is painfully obvious. While I’m fine with racing games that don’t have a modification or upgrade option for the gamer, it’s no way to encourage replay value.
Social networking is a big part of this game’s appeal and to this it succeeds in what it’s trying to do. Jumping into a multiplayer race is quick and easy, which is a good thing because it won’t take much time to complete the rather brief single player campaign. Joining a “crew” allows you to split the experience, a lot like PGR does with their EXP system. All the tracks have different challenges that can be completed and time challenges that can vary gameplay.
The handling and the feel of the cars feels primitive though which belies the awesome production value otherwise. Some drifting events seem near impossible because of the handling characteristics of the cars. Inertia and oversteer are two things that aren’t properly conveyed in this game at all. The way the cars slow down as a penalty for collisions reminds me of the original Burnout, and while this arcade feel isn’t all bad, it’s not a simulation type feel at all.
Sadly there’s not much more to the gameplay outside of the graphics and smooth frame rate, and for that this game suffers. Graphically it’s far superior to anything we’ve seen, but that’s for a console. For computer gamers with a decent PC this game isn’t breaking any new ground. It may be the best racing game I’ve ever seen graphically but the gameplay fails to live up it’s end of the bargain. If you aren’t a huge online racer, you aren’t going to enjoy this game more than a few weeks before you are ready to turn it in.
If you are looking for an online racing game that lets you do away with the time soaking processes of customization, Driveclub is it. It delivers a superior arcade style racer that’s more straight ahead than taking the scenic tour.
Thanks for reading our Playstation 4 Driveclub Review. Did you like Driveclub? What did you think about it? Leave us a comment and let us know!