It is with great joy that we welcome MrJohnSherry (follow him on twitter) on to our team here at LuvvaLuvva Towers (that’s a team of two now)! He’s been spending some time with ‘DriveClub’ on PS4.
‘DriveClub’ is Sony’s “big” Christmas exclusive; billed before launch as a ‘Forza killer’ (not by Sony you understand, but fanboys desperate to lay a boot into Xbox owners). Unfortunately a; shall we say, troubled launch has marginalised the game. Amongst the problems are (the now standard) server issues that are still keeping players from enjoying the “club” aspect a month after release, a non-existent Playstation plus version and the MIA dynamic weather system have led to players demanding money back and refusing to play the game.
My question is: Are these players missing out and is ‘DriveClub’ worthy of patience?
The menus in ‘DriveClub’ are brilliant, normally these days racing game menus are just a cluttered mess, leaving you to fight through pointless dross just to get to a quick race. Thankfully, this is not the case with ‘Driveclub’ – everything you need is right there staring at you from the moment you boot up the game. Drive is going to be your most used tile, leading you to quick races, career and multiplayer races. The other tiles are all you need to create and keep in touch with your club members, as well as setting challenges (or conquering those set by others) for your friends list – after all, who want’s to play a racing game with no bragging rights?
Can we all just agree right now that ‘Driveclub’ is the most beautiful racing game ever created on a home console? Let’s start with the lighting engine, it is brilliant. I have never noticed it in any racing game before, but in ‘Driveclub’ it not only looks amazing but also factors into the gameplay. There are moments, when you are in second place, chasing that elusive victory, only to start climbing a mountain and have the sun glimmering off the windscreen, making a part of the road a bit more difficult to read. I have read arguments that visuals shouldn’t be affecting the way you play a game; I disagree, especially when it makes it more immersive.
Also adding to that immersion is the interior car modelling. I have no idea where the guys over Evolution Studios got the time to get into a detailed analysis in every single car, but they have really put the effort in – and they have done a stellar job.
Sadly when it comes to the gameplay it all starts to crumble a wee bit. Don’t get me wrong; ‘Driveclub’ is in no way a bad game – far from it actually, but it has a few glaring flaws. The biggest being the unforgivably poor AI. There is nothing worse than having the race of your life, only to be going into the last turn of a race, you have perfected your line – but unluckily for you that is also the AI programmed race line, and they will ram into you. You see, there is no dynamic racing AI, all the AI racers follow a set path around every track, and they will never stray from it, making it immensely frustrating when every corner descends into a conga line.
The track designs are good, but I find it a bit difficult to enjoy, when I seem to be learning the AI paths rather than my own racing paths. So far in ‘Driveclub’, I have only really been able to play the single player portions of the game, as the servers still do not work for me, over a month after release.
On the bright side, I have been playing this game with the Sony approved Thrustmaster T80 (™) steering wheel, and it has been a brilliant experience, making the game that much more immersive than using just your regular Dualshock 4 (™).
While I have had a good time with ‘Driveclub’, I primarily bought it for the online portion of the game, being able to race with friends earning points for my club and ranking it up. Sadly, I have not been able to do so as of yet for any meaningful portion of time and as a result I can not recommend buying this game if you are in the same mindset. Wait for the PS+ edition, which we are still ensured will come…eventually.
Have you played ‘DriveClub’?
Are you still playing?
Will you give Sony and Evolution Studios the opportunity to fix the issues or are you (have you) jumped ship?
Tell us in the comments below!