'Driveclub' Revs Its Engine On The PlayStation 4
October 9, 2014
Racing games have been a cornerstone of video game libraries since the days of the Atari 2600. While things have come a very long way from Night Driver and Pole Position, the fundamentals have always remained the same. If you want to make a good driving game, the cars have to handle well, it needs to feel competitive, and, most importantly, you need to be rewarded with a true sense of satisfaction when you cross the finish line. It's been almost a year since the PlayStation 4 was released, and there has yet to be true racing game released for the system. Aside from Need For Speed: Rivals, which is more of a driving game than a racing game, it's been next to impossible to get behind the wheel in a game on Sony's newest console. Fortunately for race fans, Evolution Studios and SCEA are about to change all of that, and unleash Driveclub, the first full on racing game for the PlayStation 4.
Developer: Evolution Studios
Evolution Studios have been making racing games since 2001, when they launched the World Rally Championship franchise on the PlayStation 2. The WRC series went on to releases five games before Evolution launched their next big racing title, MotorStorm, which was one of Sony's stable of core PlayStation 3 franchises. Over the lifecycle of the PS3, Evolution had a hand in four of the five MotorStorm games. While Driveclub is a bit of a departure from the over-the-top gameplay of MotorStorm, Evolution clearly know the basics of how to make a fun racing game.
Saying that Driveclub is your standard racing experience doesn’t really underscore some of the finer features that the game has to offer. Sure, right out of the gate, you have flashy cars speeding around beautiful locations all over the world. As you complete races and challenges, you accumulate experience that nets you more high-octane vehicles and venues for you to test your skills; all of which is pretty standard for modern day racers. Driveclub tries to make a break from the pack through its online and social features, where Evolution attempted to make it feel less like a single-player game, and more like a team effort. As the name implies, players can join Clubs with their friends and other players within the game. As you race through both the solo campaign, and in the online competitive races, players will level up, and be rewarded with their unlocks, however, if they go one step further, and join a Club, the entire team benefits. New rewards, like Club-exclusive cars, are shared out, making Driveclub feel like a more social, team-based endeavor. It keeps players engaged both on and off the track, as you watch, and hope that your Club becomes one of the top in the world.
Driveclub is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, so you can only get these gorgeous races on Sony's newest console. However, if you already have the console, and a PlayStation Plus account, you can download Driveclub PS+ Edition, a fairly robust version of the game, featuring 11 tracks and 10 cars. Once you have the game, you can also pick up the Driveclub companion app on both Android and iOS devices, which allows you to do things like keep up with your Clubs, watch live races, and set up challenges.
Aside from being the first true racing game on the PlayStation 4, Driveclub is just plain fun. The racing experience alone, with its vast assortment of cars and tracks, is worth the price of admission, but with the multiplayer elements layered on top, Driveclub is the full package. As expected, some cars and tracks may take more time and effort to master, which is okay, because it takes a while for replaying tracks to feel old and repetitive. When you mix in the barrage of Club challenges, and other online activities, it breathes new life into tracks that you've already beaten as you go through them again. The hallmark of a good racing game is one that doesn’t get boring when you have to keep doing laps on the same track to shave off a few hundredths of a second, and Driveclub seems to keep things fresh every time the rubber hits the road.