I managed to get my hands on a copy of Drive Club from Evolution Studios and here is my review. Drive Club was originally planned to be released as a launch game for the PlayStation 4 and is exclusive to the PS4, almost a year after the launch of the PS4 we finally have the game. There was a lot of hype around this game and how it would change the social interaction of the modern racing game, lets see how its done.
At first I found it hard to figure out what this game was, it was not a simulator nor did it aim to be, as you can go around right angle corners at 160kph with a quick pull on the handbrake then keep on the power to slide through and just gracefully drift around the corner. It is also not an arcade kind of racer, as it does not give a sense of ludicrous speeds with boosts and weapons, it tries to lie somewhere in between the two, confused as to what it is. The only thing I can definitely say about this is game is that it is nice to look at, all the shiny cars with sunlight bouncing off them and great sceneries.
So, what does this game aim to be?
DRIVECLUB™ is all about you and your friends. It’s about teamwork; it’s about everyone fighting for one another and earning rewards together – and most importantly it’s about sharing in the sheer thrill of every race. It permanently connects you and your friends, always allowing you to share your experiences, send and receive challenges, and keep up to speed with your team’s performance.
Drive Club has always been about the social side of racing, being able to challenge your friends to beat your laptime, out-drift you or get a higher top speed on a certain track. Here is where we get to the club part of Drive Club, you’re able to set up your own club and invite your friends to be a part of that club. In your club you are able to challenge other club members and challenge other clubs – when you race you are not just racing for yourself, you are racing for your club too. When I first heard this I thought this would be awesome, we could make an Auto Clique NZ club and get everyone to join it and we could all race for bragging rights, even hold competitions for prizes. Then I heard later on that the clubs were limited to only 6 people, this is where my disappointment began. They had also mentioned previously that you could make your own club badge so that when people were in the club they would have the club logo on their car and be able to make there own unique car color and graphic decals, but once again I was let down. It turns out you can only make your club logo out of a set of pre-made designs with very little editing capability, not even simple things like move left or right or rotate. To make it slightly worse about 90% of the designs are locked at the start and need to be unlocked by the club thus limiting the starting logo of your club making it more likely you will come across other people with the same logo.
I feel that Drive Club has missed one of the major points of the social side of the car/racing communities, Individuality. People like to put their own stamp on things and stand out from the crowd, even changing the base color of the car you cannot do, you have a choice of factory (which is one color). You have then 5 other choices, your club style and 4 other save slots for your own use of the pre-made graphics. There are no upgrades for cars, either performance or aesthetic, one of the first things that most people do to make a car their own is change the wheels, no such luck here. The social side of drive club is all about the sending and receiving of challenges, that’s pretty much it.
Now that I have gotten past the menu, setup and had my rant, what is it like to play?
The driving style is very easy to pick up with most of the 80 available cars being similar in handling style. As you hurtle along the fictitious tracks that are scattered around the world, you will get to notice that they are all tarmac tracks, no snow, dirt or gravel here. Its always dry too, apparently the weather is to come later one, I was surprised to hear this seeing as the game is over a year later and the weather is still not done? All the cars stick like glue to the road making it fairly easy to get used to just throwing the car into a corner and come flying out the far side without the back stepping out. When it came to an actual drift event though the handling did change a bit, it became easier to get the car to drift at lower speeds but you would not be able to continue the drift around a wide corner, quickly running out of momentum and stopping in the middle of the corner, go too fast into the drift and you would just spin 180 and head of the track backwards. When it comes to the challenges there are 3 types, lap time, drifting, and cornering. Cornering being a lit up racing line through a set of corners and if you stayed on it you gained points and the goal to have the most amount of points by the end of the section or corners. Drifting is points based where you get points for sustaining a drift between two points around a corner and sustaining a high speed through the straights. Laptime is simply the fastest lap time or fastest point to point time.
When it came to the online play it took me a while to get to experience it, almost 4 days. There servers were hit hard and were not ready for the number of people that would want to play online and even know they are still experiencing issues but it is getting less and less. Online was not a huge difference to the campaign game, same challenges on the same tracks but this time it was up to 12 real people racing rather than 11 AI drivers and me in the campaign.
Drive Club is a very nice game to look at but lacks a lot of features that I feel would aid in the social interaction that is the developers main goal, especially with the fact we had to wait an extra year to get the game and at that it is still not finished and feels it. I am struggling to see why there was a delay of so long, they must have known they were never going to make the PS4 launch date well before the announced it. Overall game play is alright and its an easy game to pick up and play without having to be completely focused on it.
I give it a 2.5 out 5 chevrons. Alright, much to improve on.
|Price||$ 118 NZD|
|Release Date||8th of October|