Developer: Evolution Studios
Reviewed on: PS4
Also available on: N/A
If we had to give it a numerical score: 6.9/10
What I loved
- Proper next-gen gorgeous visuals
- Really gorgeous visuals
- Car sound and looks
- Race types
- The ‘club’ social aspect
- Very expansive game
Not so much
- Weather still coming
- No rear-view view when using mirror mode
- No replay. Really?
Let me get straight to the monumental issue I have with DriveClub – I just cannot drive properly. Well, I can ignore trying for clean driving and bash every other wall in every other corner. The developers don’t even tax you too much for doing so. You can just about forget everything you know about simulated driving – braking for corners appropriately, keeping to the apex and so forth. So arcade driving physics then?
Not quite, and that’s the problem I have with DriveClub. I’m pretty handy in sim driving games, and I too have played and come to terms with the over-the-top driving style needed to take to Need for Speed games. I prefer sim but don’t shy away from top-down arcade racers – they can also be a riot when well done.
I spent three nights just trying to understand what it is that Evolution Studios were going for with the DriveClub physics. I still haven’t really gotten it down to be honest. It just feels a little off, and being fast can be a little random because of this. I think the problem for me is the braking and hand-braking. The handling is fine for me, it is understandable and manageable. But everything goes pear-shaped when I have to slow down. Braking (foot brake) can send the car into drifting, strangely enough. I get that Evolution want us to drift, but forcing it down our throats doesn’t work. Cars are actually made nowadays to brake properly. So choosing braking points and how much brake pressure to apply really just turns everything into a hot mess for me.
At first I thought this was going to be similar to the GRID or Forza Horizon physics, but I got those down after a few hours – I get the physics in those. DriveClub is just such an oddball when it comes to physics, requiring minimal finesse, but not letting you go at it by letting it all hang out either. The physics are on the way to sim-like, but not quite there. Then it’s just too far away from the arcade side of things – sitting in an awkward place in between, not leaning enough into either side of the spectrum.
So I hate it then? Well, not really. I don’t love it, the driving physics are lost on me, but I am actually having fun with it as a ‘game’, oddly enough. The design is simply is so ‘of-our-times’ and therefore fulfilling when it comes to the multiplayer side of things. It’s so expansive and social when taken online. And while there isn’t really much variety in the career, there is a fair bit of racing. There’s plenty events and cars to unlock as you progress to higher XP levels. The racing is broken down into racing, time trials and drift challenges, and players score points in a few departments like clean laps or good cornering lines for example
It’s just the strange physics that stop Drive Club from being the jewel it should’ve been. I wasn’t expecting sim because Sony wouldn’t want to mess with Gran Turismo’s turf; they already face stiff competition from Forza. I was expecting this modern driving game hybrid that we’ve being seeing – the type that falls between sim and arcade – where anyone can go racing. Drive Club is trying to be just that, but it doesn’t achieve it in my opinion.
I wish that was all that I can complain about, but it’s not. There are a few other quirks that left me disappointed. So you give me gorgeous cars and some of the most stunning roads but no replay? The AI is unfortunately questionable in certain areas. I do like that the AI manages to keep the racing tight, but sometimes it felt like there was no rhyme or reason to how to either get away or catch up to the competition.
I can think of very few driving games where I felt so uncertain of myself behind the wheel. I can handle the Need for Speed’s and I excel in the Gran Turismo’s. DriveClub however – I just play and hope for the best. The driving physics are a miss for me, and this is a huge pity, because I love everything else about Drive Club. I understand that the developers wanted to cater for anyone to race, but honestly, I don’t think they got the formula down.
DriveClub is a fun game, especially on the multiplayer front – I look forward to my mates joining my Club, the racing and mayhem that will be had! Unfortunately though, Drive Club is just not that great a ‘driving’ game.
Read about our ratings here.