Driveclub, made by Evolution Studios exclusively for PS4, first came out back in 2014. Since then, it has seen numerous updates, DLC, and even an expansion with Driveclub Bikes. It’s gotten this support for good reason. Driveclub is a game that perfectly captures the adrenaline-inducing sense of speed that is craved in racing games. It’s gorgeously immersive and an absolute joy to play.
Driveclub is beautiful not just because it has gorgeous lighting, high-poly cars, god rays, or stupid-impressive rain effects. It’s beautiful because of its attention to detail. Everything feels real; like it should be there. And these details are plentiful. For example, the rain itself looks good alongside great storm-like lighting. But what makes it look far, far more impressive is how the raindrops hit the windshield and slowly trickle down or how the puddles gradually form on the racetrack as you race. These details are what make Driveclub so beautiful.
It’s worth mentioning that the game does run in 1080p, but at 30 FPS. While usually I can tell when I game runs at a lower frame-rate, I had no idea before looking it up. The game feels so smooth to play that you’ll never realize. Meanwhile, the resolution looks terrific. It was a trade-off that was well worth it.
But don’t get me wrong, the game isn’t just pretty to look at. The real feet here is that it’s pretty to play. I’ve never played a racing game so immersive and genuinely entertaining. Everything from the steering to the rumble feels spot on, and this is on a typical controller (I hear it’s even better on a wheel). The game feels like a perfect fit for the PS4 controller. With the analog triggers, accelerating and braking feel smooth and responsive. I never once felt a detachment between what I thought I was doing on the controller and what the game actually did, which is a problem I come across quite a lot in racing games (looking at you, Need for Speed). Even better, the rumble gives fantastic feedback while playing, especially on max settings. It was immensely helpful for “feeling” out the road while playing, and played a big part in making me often forget I was just playing a game.
All of these moving parts work together to create a wonderful sense of speed. It’s addicting to play because it just feels that good. I never thought something as simple as Time Trials could feel so fun and engaging. But here, I found myself playing them for hours on end. The game would suck me in so much, that I may have even been caught attempting to physically lean my head to look around in-game corners and hills without even realizing it. It’s just that immersive of an experience.
The structure of the game is exactly how every racing game should be. Unlike some games that introduce RPG-like progression systems that reward players who continue playing with better cars, Driveclub’s Tours teach you how to play and reward you for learning. Instead of grinding for better cars to continue to win races, you are taught how to win with the limited tools given to you. This learning is immensely satisfying. It’s something I personally crave in racing games, but something so few seem to really grasp. Evolution Studios absolutely exceeded my expectations with flying colors. They nailed it.
If you are worried about the amount of content in the game, don’t be. There are over 400 stars to earn in the main tour alone, which is usually split 3 per event. These events can be Time Trials, Hot Laps, Races, Tournaments, or Drift Events. The variety here, alongside the unique requirements for many of the stars that you earn, keeps the game feeling fresh long after you finish the Tour that comes with the game. This tour also is perfect for teaching you the ropes of the game. The difficulty steadily increases but never makes large jumps, making it always feel rewarding without ever feeling overwhelming. The content doesn’t end there, though. You can then play single events, online events, play the demo tours and download the multiple free DLC tours that are on the Playstation Store. Each of these comes with 40+ additional stars to earn. And don’t worry, they aren’t just recycled content. They take place in entirely new areas and often feature new cars to play with. Many of them ramp up the difficulty compared to the main tours too, which make them a particularly fun challenge.
Overall, Driveclub is a must-have for any PS4 racing fan. It’s ideal for anyone who enjoys a good arcade racer. It’s challenging, but teaches you how to overcome every single one. Because of this, Driveclub is far more rewarding than its peers. This coupled with fantastic graphical fidelity, impressive sound design, and adrenaline-inducing sense of speed makes Driveclub one of the best racing games available on current-gen systems.
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