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OS Scores Explained DriveClub Overview (PS4)
Pros
Beautiful graphics and lighting; Varied and interesting tracks; Sectional challenges are interesting
Cons
Very limited content; Ongoing online problems; Unsatisfying driving.
Bottom Line
A beautiful driving game, but one that just doesn't have much to do, online or off.
5
out of 10
DriveClub REVIEW

DriveClub Review (PS4)

My first online gaming experience was playing a remote user in NFL 2K1 on my Dreamcast. In the years since, I’ve watched online gameplay go from a novelty, to alternate play modes, to the core feature of both games and consoles. Usually, it works by creating immersive, innovative and unique experiences.

But other times it doesn’t. When a game puts all of its eggs into the online basket, there’s room for a huge debacle, leaving gamers with nothing but a shell of a $60 game (see SimCity, 2013).

Driveclub isn’t quite as bad as EA’s City Builder, but inconsistent online functionality have plagued the first “serious” racing game on PS4 and left some users feeling cheated. Unfortunately, looking at just the single player options won’t inspire additional confidence.

Gameplay

Driveclub's devotion to driving is clear from the opening, and, like Forza and Gran Tourismo, touts the beauty and majesty of the automobile. Unlike its peers, though, Driveclub seems stuck in a previous era where driving is the sole focus (or feature) of the game.

I was disappointed by the lack of options. There is no tuning, tire changes, or customization beyond simple paint jobs. Worse, there’s no choice when it comes to unlocking cars -- it’s all a linear progression: the next car will be given to you when you level up. Granted, this progression focuses your driving on an increasingly difficult set of events; but it also strips any kind of personal preference from the proceedings.

With the focus on driving, and not building any kind of narrative or career, one might expect the actual driving to be a bit better. I found it to be strangely stiff, regardless of the vehicle. If you go hard into a curved rail, you are better just to ride it out than fight the game’s steering to get back on the road. Jamming on the brakes doesn’t usually result in any kind of loss of control, but feathering them does.

Driving at speed feels decent enough, and Driveclub does a great job at communicating visually just how fast you are going. But inch off the track at all, and you are given 3 seconds to get back -- which seriously hampers the ability to become proficient by learning from your mistakes.

Overall, the driving isn’t terrible, but it will take you time to get used to it. And I definitely wouldn’t put it above any other sim-style games out there.

In an effort to help you get better, and seemingly reward good driving, Driveclub uses a performance-point system. We’ve seen this in racing games before, so it’s not exactly innovative. Driveclub does shake things up, though, through sectional challenges based on speed, accuracy, drifting, etc. These are handled rather nicely and do give you something to strive for in addition to first place. These are only in place for specific sections though, so it’s not like you are constantly getting points for following the driving line for the whole race, for instance.

Some penalties are ever-present, though, such as collisions with other cars. Unfortunately, I found the AI to have a lack of tact, often barrelling into you as they mechanically follow the optimal path.

Again, temporarily ignoring the problems with online, the single-player career is pretty shallow. Initially, you’ll be given a car and a series of eligible events. Each event has three secondary goals to achieve. Doing well earns you points; points earn you levels. Each level gets you a new car, which may unlock a new event or series of events.

And...that’s about it. There is no choice of what car to unlock or other customization options. You aren’t amassing virtual currency or a personalized stable of cars. That said, there is an addictive quality to the path that does encourage long racing sessions. In a lot of ways, the career reminds me of the arcade racers found on the previous two generations of consoles.

Presentation

Certainly, graphics are the strength of the game; it’s fair to say that this is one of the most beautiful driving games available.

The car models look great, including the default cockpit view. Damage is well rendered, but doesn’t seem to have any real performance effect.

The real standouts, visually, are the tracks. They are wildly varied, both in shape and environment. There’s a photorealism to the overall look of the landscapes, even if it doesn’t quite hold up when looking an individual textures or during the intro flyovers.

The biggest draw is the day/night cycle, which can be adjusted to more quickly represent the passage of time. Watching the light levels pass from midday to dusk to night is glorious. Cars at night also look great, with nice contrast levels between lights and the surrounding night.

Strangely, there’s no replay mode, which denies you the chance to show off the game’s outstanding visuals.

Online

So online play is the big issue here, which, as I said, is a grievous error for a game focused on social interaction. At this point, online continues to be an issue for some players. I was able to get on roughly have of the time. Sometimes I thought I was in an event, but it quickly kicked me out prior to the race started.

What’s here -- when working -- is interesting, if unfortunately limited. The Club system allows players to join up to share experience and challenges, as well as work together to challenge other teams. But The Club system, at this point, isn’t quite as infused as you would hope. It’s sort of like an FPS clan, with less interaction and shared rewards. Unless you are able to make a Club with people you know, it will just feel like another meter to watch.

There is a live event system that is neat, with a “playlist” type structure that links multiple races and car types. Unfortunately, they cycle and fill pretty quickly, so if you see one that you are interested in, jump in. On top of that, the menus are sort of cumbersome, and I haven’t found a way to create your own online customized event -- that is, pick the exact track, cars, etc. The live events are quite varied though, so there should always be something that's of interest.

The worst part of the online play so far isn’t the fault of the developer: poor driving overall limits the fun you’ll have racing others. The few races I’ve got in tend to be full of bumping and cramped driving. Whether intentionally or due to low skill, it’s frustrating to be knocked out of a race thanks to some stranger who can’t steer. This isn't exclusive to Driveclub, put so far, it does seem to be more prominent.

Again, without a fully functional online package, this game is lacking the reason most will want to play.

Final Thoughts

Driveclub is a great looking game with a mediocre driving engine wrapped in a very limited content package. It’s missing some relatively standard features (replay, tuning, customization), and the selection of cars is pretty minimal. Worse, the career mode strips away any kind of decision making, leaving you with something that almost resembles a free-to-play game (think War Thunder , etc).

But like those free-to-play games, Driveclub can be addicting, especially when the online features are working correctly. The Clubs offer a clan-like experience to a driving game, and the challenges make sure you aren’t a one-skill type of driver. I didn’t find the driving engine to be spectacular, but it’s not going to be a huge hinderance for someone fully invested in the game.

For now, investing is the only way to get this game -- until the free PS+ edition is released. At $50-60, I would definitely wait until the online problems are fixed.

Score: 5 (Average)

Learning Curve: Your standard pseudo-sim arcade racer, so learning curve isn’t steep--outside of the game’s strange driving feel/engine.

Control Scheme: The PS4 controller feels nice for a driving game; nothing unusual here.

Visuals: This game is a gem to look at. Tracks and environments are outstanding. It’s too bad there isn’t a replay or photo mode.

Audio: Sound is good, and focused on the engines themselves. I love that the cockpit view muffles the sound appropriately.

Career: Very shallow and limited. Few choices to make, though see your level rise can be addicting.

Onlne: The Club system feels a little underused at this point. Online racing is poor, though the events are varied. Connectivity remains an issue.


DriveClub Videos
Member Comments
# 1 ps3veron @ 10/26/14 04:28 PM
Such a disappointment especially after all the delays and hype!
 
# 2 JMD @ 10/26/14 07:18 PM
I disagree with this review, here's a different take on the game. I am a big fan of racing games and I am really enjoying Driveclub. I'm enjoying it without even venturing into the online part of the game. The thing I like about this game is the single event mode. This mode allows me to customize the game to my liking. I can pick my car, track, choose how many A.I. I want to race against, set the laps , difficulty , and time of day. I am having some very enjoyable races.

The courses are well done and each car handles differnt from the next. The driving model (handling) I feel is very well done. Come barreling into a turn and you will hit the rail or wall, as you should. I really like how this game does not have a racing line. This forces you to learn the tracks and know your breaking points.

I've done some of the Tour mode. I currently have 132 of the possible 225 stars. I'm at level 37, club level 11 , and most if that was accomplished in the single event mode.

Also what some think are faults with the game I think are pluses. I like that I don't have to spend time tuning, changing parts, painting and so on, it's all about the driving.

The Devs have said that a replay and photo mode are on the way, and the weather effects will also be added to the game.

You will get no argument from me that the launch of this game has been nothing short of a disaster, (as far as online racing is concerned) but if you love racing games as much as I do you will see the greatness this game has to offer. I'm hoping the Devs will patch the game to allow custom private races online, if that ever happens this game would be near perfect.

Driveclub reminds me of a game I wore out on my Xbox 360, that being PGR 3. Set up a race, pick a car, and have some fun. For me it was $50.00 well spent , and I'll event be getting the season pass as well.
 
# 3 TheCloser @ 10/26/14 07:47 PM
Honestly, this is a poor review written by someone who doesnt understand the point of the game. One can argue that the launch of the game was poor, the servers were unstable, but to call the gameplay average shows a serious lack of understanding.

A quote from the review "Overall, the driving isn’t terrible, but it will take you time to get used to it. And I definitely wouldn’t put it above any other sim-style games out there". Please forgive me if I'm confused but this website is Operation Sports not Operation Sim. It's not meant to be a sim at all. It's meant to emulate PGR which it does perfectly. It's a racing game and the core of the game is excellent. The racing is good, the visuals are good, the tracks are varied, the sound is on point and the controls are tuned to perfection. Some of your concerns are valid but a game that is meant to evolve is one that is never stagnant. The only issues with online at this point pertains to the leader boards and challenges. This review has some blatantly false critiques, misses the point, and is average at best.
 
# 4 TheCloser @ 10/26/14 07:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCloser
Honestly, this is a poor review written by someone who doesnt understand the point of the game. One can argue that the launch of the game was poor, the servers were unstable, but to call the gameplay average shows a serious lack of understanding.

A quote from the review "Overall, the driving isn’t terrible, but it will take you time to get used to it. And I definitely wouldn’t put it above any other sim-style games out there". Please forgive me if I'm confused but this website is Operation Sports not Operation Sim. It's not meant to be a sim at all. It's meant to emulate PGR which it does perfectly. It's a racing game and the core of the game is excellent. The racing is good, the visuals are good, the tracks are varied, the sound is on point and the controls are tuned to perfection. Some of your concerns are valid but a game that is meant to evolve is one that is never stagnant. The only issues with online at this point pertains to the leader boards and challenges. This review has some blatantly false critiques, misses the point, and is average at best.
This review is a 5/10, would not read again.
 
# 5 wimp14 @ 10/26/14 10:56 PM
Looks like I will pass on this game.
 
# 6 BaylorBearBryant @ 10/26/14 10:59 PM
Rented this. Played it for about an hour. Just couldn't get into the career mode. Kind of boring to be honest. Probably the best racing game for PS4, but as a moderate fan of the genre, I'll go with other sports games for now. Let me know if Project Cars is all it's hyped to be. I hope it is.
 
# 7 DKHardee @ 10/27/14 09:28 AM
I bought it. Liked it, though it wasn't anything special. 3 of my friends who I had intended to have a club with bought it and all 3 traded it back in. So.... after two days, i did too.
 
# 8 JKSportsGamer1984 @ 10/27/14 12:52 PM
If this game had realistic damage that affected your performance then it would be so much better. I get that they weren't going for an all out simulation, but I don't like the fact that I can crash into a wall head on going 100 miles an hour and not have any affect at all on my cars handling smh. I hope this game gets a lot of post release support & partches because it does have potential.
 
# 9 Blublub @ 10/27/14 06:15 PM
Good review and i think 5/10 is even a bit generous. Pre-ordered and three weeks later are the online servers only occasionally available. First game ever on the PS4 I contemplated asking for a refund. Single player is amazingly shallow - can't believe that there's not even a replay mode. I have no desire to ever launch this again.
 
# 10 JMD @ 10/27/14 06:35 PM
Sometime I have to wonder if some of you people even read the other posts or do any research on a game at all. REPLAY MODE IS COMING SOON.
 
# 11 OnlookerDelay @ 10/27/14 11:02 PM
Reading this review has just reaffirmed my decision to hold off on this game until I get a chance to try out the PS+ Extended trial version. What's weird is I was planning on buying a PS4 when the DriveClub released because there really wasn't any other title for the PS4 that I just had to have. When The Golf Club proved to be so much better on the PS4 than the XB1, I broke down and bought a PS4 for it. Now that DriveClub has released and I've read all the negative reaction to it, I have no desire to even try it until they get is plethora of issues worked out. Hell, it might be at least another six weeks before they can't risk bringing the servers to their knees againg with the release of the "free" PS+ version.

I appreciate the candor in the review.
 
# 12 CrackinBacks @ 10/28/14 01:50 AM
I played it for about 30 mins on my son's PS4, and well, that was about all I could stand. The game was truely overhyped, which I think is why it was such a let down. Game looks great, but graphics can only take a game so far. Glad my kid was able to try a used copy out first and was able to get his money back. For those other gamers who were greatly disappointed, don't worry, the Crew will be here in December, and you still have Project Cars to look forward to. I'm just glad I have good racing game in Horizon 2 to go back to playing.
 
# 13 CH4SEau @ 11/03/14 06:00 PM
This game is A LOT of fun to me.

It takes me back to the PS1 Need For Speed days. Just about the racing and cars. The CPU AI is a lot of fun to race. I think it's a solid start and foundation even without MP right now.



I haven't even used many of the higher end cars. I won't move on from a race/event until I get every achievement either.

I'm glad I don't make my purchases based on reviews.
 

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