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DriveClub Review

Along with most racing fans who own a PlayStation 4, I've been waiting on DriveClub for over a year. It's been a long wait, but one I was willing to put up with in order to have what we were promised would be a much better game.

Luckily, I've had a smaller wait that most to get a taste of the game, since I'd already tried out the online mode extensively thanks to a Beta and played on a few other occasions at one trade show or another. Now here we are, at launch and at last I can play along with others (or so I thought*), which is were the true heart of Evolution's social racing experience lies, but is it all that we were promised?

Before I go into the multiplayer aspect of the game, I'd like to focus on the the single player campaign, which sees you take part in various events, with the aim of winning a tour and working your way up from Rookie to the top of your trade. Events are spread out amongst various locations and offer different ways of earning your points, be that through finishing in the top three of a race, gaining the best drift or by beating a set time. Each event varies, so you'll have different objectives to meet in each in order to gain the points you need to unlock the Tour. In all there are five tour trophies to win, ranging from Rookie to Legend.

DriveClub is a beautiful game, in fact it's probably fair to say that it's the most graphically impressive PS4 game so far. The cars are faultless and there has been so much detail placed into the background that you can't fail to be impressed and that's before the race even begins. As soon as your car is in motion that's where the true magic really happens. The tracks feel perfectly balanced, with some being wide open and others being tight and harder to navigate. Some tracks will take you up mountains, while in others you'll be racing through beautiful landscapes, such as those found in Scotland and Norway. Often as you race the sun will catch your eyes, making it hard to see where you are going, while at other times the sun fades away, making cornering a gamble. As day turns to night, your headlamps come on and environments feel different to before and much more hazardous. Something that I was really impressed with about nighttime driving was when the cats eyes light up the road, they where so bright and realistic that I just wanted to brake and take it all in. It goes without saying that graphics are DriveClub's biggest asset and make this game almost worth a purchase on their own.

As for the driving itself, I can have no complaints. I've noticed other people complain about the penalties given for crashing into other cars or for cutting corners, so I'd like to mention these. You see, should you perform any illegal moves your score will be docked, which will cripple your chances of levelling up for that particular race. Each time you level up you are rewarded with new cars or other bonuses such as new skins or designs, so it's quite a bonus to get as many points as possible. Anyway, the point is, should you drive without a care for the other cars on the road or the rules for that matter, then you'll be punished by gaining a lower score and should you cause a rather large collision,your car will be made to slow down for a matter of seconds as way of a penalty. Being a fairly rookie driver when it comes to racing games, I suffered from these penalties on a few occasions, however I'm of the opinion that if you wouldn't be allowed to do these things in a real life race without penalty, then why should you be allowed to do them in DriveClub - plus it might turn me into a better virtual drive, which I'm all for.

With this aside, everything else about DriveClub's action is pretty much perfect. The A.I is tough and none forgiving, while the handling of the cars feels excellent. As I say, I'm not a star racing driver, but from the moment I picked the game up I was able to take corners fairly easily, drift around bends and steer in a straight line, which for me at least, is all that I need. I've had reports from other staff who have also offered the same opinion, that even for non-racing fans, DriveClub is a game which is easy to pick up and play.

As I previously mentioned, at the heart of DriveClub is its Social Multiplayer. This is an aspect of the game which Evolution would like to emphasis more than most. The idea is that multiplayer is made up of club's of six players. You either create your own (yes there is a ShopTo club) or you join another. When you take part in races online or offline your club with gain points, with the aim of being the top group of players always in your sight. Evolution hopes that each player will bring their own strengths to the club, so while someone may be good at winning races, someone else may bring points by being the top drifter or the fastest player around the track.

The competitive nature of DriveClub really is it's biggest selling point as far as the developer is concerned. Every track allows for face-off challenges, giving you to chance to beat a friends average speed, drift score, best time and more, being successful at which rewards you with XP. You can also take part in asynchronous multiplayer challenge events and be rewarded with XP based on your position when the time take part in the challenge expires. If you are a more careful driver than I am, then you'll gain XP for your skills too, which is a bonus for those in the lower car insurance bracket. 

The challenges mentioned above compliment the standard multiplayer racing, which I recommend you take part in once you've unlocked some of the cars rewarded in the single player mode.

As mentioned earlier, one of the main features of DriveClub is the ability to create or join a club. As you gain rewards in this club they'll be shared among your team, and since five of Driveclub’s cars (including the mental BAC Mono) can only be unlocked by levelling up your club, it's a feature well worth making use of. One other bonus to being in a club is that you can use its colours on your cars when taking part in a race, be that in multiplayer or single player. If you are the one to create the club then you can design your own emblem and the skin for the cars. The more you play the game, the more design options you will unlock.

DriveClub is a stunning looking game. It has a few issues in that the single player campaign could be longer, but when you consider the changing challenges online and the upcoming updates which will add a photo mode and dynamic weather, it's apparent that things will only get even better. Evolution has also promised around a year's worth of updates so we can expect new cars, new tracks and plenty of improvements to refine the experience. It may not be perfect at the moment, but then DriveClub's engine is only just getting warmed up.

Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4)

+ Looks stunning
+ Handling is great
+ Social aspect works well


- Single Player campaign could be longer

*Editor's Note - While I tested the multiplayer extensively in a previous beta and was able to get online a few times during the week, even managing to create and level up our club four times, I'd like to point out for those who don't know that the game has been having difficulties with the online servers at this time. This means that I couldn't test the online mode as thoroughly as I normally would with the public servers live. However I'm still confident that this review reflects the quality of the of the game and its online experience when running normally. Should any of the above change when the servers are online, I'll update this review. 

If you have any concerns please comment below.

Edited On 11 Oct, 2014

( 14 )
jam201984's avatar
jam201984 2 years ago
Handling is crap m8 who u trying to convince plays like NFS:Pro street only thing good about it its the graphics..
Anonymous user's avatar
Ashley 2 years ago
Spot on review! On the contrary to jam201984's comment, i quite like the handling, but i think thats just down to opinion as im sure none of us have driven a Pagani huaauyrauyrauyau round Chile at near 200mph to know if its "perfect" or not. However the "hyper" cars really are punishing if you give too much throttle. A nitpick of mine is theres no replay option :/. A few times ive finished a race thinking "oh yes id love to see myself going through that corner again drifting past 3 opponents" but i cant. LOVE the game though. I just dont have friends that like racing games so i have no club! sorry for the rant!
inspector 74's avatar
inspector 74 2 years ago
I think itsa complete joke that Sony and evolution have struggled to get the whole thing off the ground with regards to the whole server issue thing this game has been delayed and delayed and theres still not even a date for when its gonna be available for ps plus?? I wasnt gonna buy it anyway as I have forza horizon 2 which is near perfect a racer ive ever played and The crew on the way too, but I wanted to check it out as a PS plus game but now I think a lot of people are gonna b put off by this joke of a launch
DynamiteWhyte's avatar
DynamiteWhyte 2 years ago
No one who is just going to get the PS+ edition will be put off with this at all. I'm annoyed that the online servers are a bit of a disaster during launch week, but considering I wouldn't be playing it that much this weekend, I'll be able to get on it during the week.
Old Timer's avatar
Old Timer 2 years ago
Having had a week or so on it now I have to say I'm disappointed. With the long delay surely they had time to foresee all these issues? Whilst the racing isn't bad the penalty system is a joke, how can I be having a clean race, a car gets close to me drafting ( not colliding ) and I get a penalty? The more you get into a game the more the rubbing banding comes into play, a real hate for me in any racing game. The server issues, again why is it the same for alot of Sony/PS titles, servers can't handle the strain, same old story and I see a few petitions over the last few days where people are asking when is Sony ( which they said they would do when the PS4 was released ) that a big % of money from PS+ subscribers would go back into making their online infustructure better/more stable, obviously not. Again a decent racer but too many issues at the moment to possibly shine, oh well Project Cars not too far off which in my opinion looks stunning. Horizon 2 to keep me going for now but I hope the next racing title I buy on Playstation which will no doubt be a new Grand Turismo will be running smoothly from the start.
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 2 years ago
Great review Joe. Much better than the garbage some of the media has been passing off as reviews filled with invented criticisms and nebulous bullshit that they came up with just to have an excuse to mark the game down as much as possible. This seems much more in line with the vast majority of user experiences with the game and most other reviews.
inspector 74's avatar
inspector 74 2 years ago
So PS+ subscribers won't be put off because of ahem!! a server issue which means that we can't play a game on the day promised that ultimately has been delayed because Sony are penalising the very subscribers they 'core' audience if you like its not exactly a billboard advert saying come play one of the very few exclusives this year and guess what??? It doesent actually work properly yet??? Here ya go Sony have my 45 quid?? Actualy I want this momentous release immortalised in tin screw it ile spoil myself ile have the steelbook instead cheers!!! ; )
Fear Sinséir1612's avatar
Fear Sinséir1612 2 years ago
Was a tad disappointed that the DriveClub Core edition wasn't available from the get-go for PS+ users as Sony had expressly been promoting it would be, as I especially went out and purchased a PS+ subscription for exactly that reason i.e. to try-it-before-one-buys-it! What I find creepy in all of this though, is that Sony did seem to manage to have the 'full game upgrade' for internet users available & yet didn't have the Core try-before-you-buy version up-and-running; it's as though they wanted to make some cash out of those eager enough to give the game a bit of a looking as to what the console is capable of and thereby reneged on the whole 'free with one's PS+ subscription' version for-the-time-being! That aside, I like the game a lot although I would be rather biased on that score though, as I liked both of Evolution Studios' 'Motostorm: Pacific Rift' & 'Motostorm: Apocalypse', so I had a fair idea of what I would be letting myself in for :}! If this racer is anything to go by then, Motostorm for PS4, when it comes out, should be phenomenal!! I for one am glad I got the racer on a whim and will certainly be getting the season pass for it to expand on my initial purchase! What's not to like about the racer, the racing destinations are singular to-say-the-least, from 'SCOTLAND' representing the British Isles all-the-way to 'Chile' and ''Tamil Nadu?!' and the weather system is great, it's like having an added living-breathing feature to the racing event!! The SCOTLAND tracks are PHENOMENAL and worth the purchase price alone, as-far-as I'm concerned :)!!
Dead's avatar
Dead 2 years ago
The punishment system sounds really shit TBH, by all means add penalties at the end of a race, but don't interfere with the driving of the race as it happens.
Fear Sinséir1612's avatar
Fear Sinséir1612 2 years ago
Actually, I quite like this racing title's penalty system; it leaves the racing action more fluid and doesn't really hamper the whole virtual vehicular handling system. In fact, how they've put the racing game action together, has given me a whole new appreciation of racing games, no lies! I know, Gloria, that you're a fan of all things Nintendo Wii U (hell, I have a Wii U too + I've got Bayonetta first print edition already pre-ordered!) but maybe you should think of getting a PS4 as well. Or does the hubby already own one? I mean PS4 IS getting a Senran Kagura game this Spring 2015 and WHO could seriously pass up on that?! I got the PS4 as I know for sure that I'll be getting the PS5 when it eventually sees the light of day as I can quite appreciate Sony in the video game market place and don't mind to stimulate keeping them there. Except the system (PS5) build quality will have to be much better over the PS4, mind! + I knew I wanted a PS4 as soon as I heard they were launching a Senran Kagura title on it.
JUNGLISTJ's avatar
JUNGLISTJ 2 years ago
*sips coffee*...and, back to gt6... Stop kidding yourself guys- it looks amazing, plays like sh**e! Dull, boring and extremely limited. I'd even go as far as to say get any nfs over this! Lol, I reckon they blew their entire budget on fancy cars and had none left for actuall content. This year is turning out to be rubbish if you ask me (ahem, destiny). at least mk8 is wicked and bring on 'the order'. Transmission- End.
Jezus78's avatar
Jezus78 2 years ago
Not a bad game, though just another next gen game promising what it has no intention of delivering. Same old story, server issues - and they say that full online is the way to go? really? nearly as good as fifa 15 and its new " intelligent keepers" that have clearly forgotton what catching a ball is. 6/10 at most.
selfdestruct's avatar
selfdestruct 2 years ago
I've been testing "cupcake" for months now don't find it anything special but the only racing games I've been into was burnout and need for speed I like open world racers rather than going around the same track millions of times, so I didn't think much of this but can I ask everyone that's into driving games was it everything you expected and worth the wait? After all the hype the graphics are good, but you can't even fine tune your car, not got forza yet but with that being open world it is more appealing to me
Fear Sinséir1612's avatar
Fear Sinséir1612 2 years ago
Well, yeah. If you like Evolution Studios 'Motostorm' series then I would say that you will enjoy this :)! Personally, I'm glad you can't fine tune your hot rods in this one as I just tend to get sucked into wasting too much time into just that one area of the racing game when in my opinion, a racer IS about racing either open world or 'going around the same track millions of times' :)! Was it worth the wait? Meh, but visuals and ingame atmospheric fluctuations are pretty cool. I just know these guys from 'Motostorm' so I was willing to give this title a go :)! As for Forza Horizon 2, I played the demo & to be brutally honest, it was more of the same. Where's the thrill factor? At least Forza Horizon 1 had an edition where you'd get a season pass to unlock future content. That edition is now locked away on the Xbox Live Store and last time I checked, was about £80!! Daylight robbery, if you ask me. Barn Finds are back, woohoo, so WHAT?! There are less of them to boot + I already started doing that in Forza Horizon 1! They've added a bucket list; yeah, some urban slang. I don't really like the sequel's setting either. NICE?! Where is that? I believe the game straddles the South of France and WOP country. So what?!! I also believe I've seen from footage of the game that you'll be racing against a locomotive. A locomotive?! Since when is it Mario Kart 0_o :)??!! Also, I believe they are using the same female voice over from FH1 except I think she sounds more fagged out and rather peeved for some odd reason this time in comparison to last time around! With all that being stated, I suppose you should go for Forza Horizon 2 though. If I were you though, just do like me, and attend the Game of the Year edition with all the DLC + ironing out of any glitches! Intro in places at least, is pretty awesome!

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