What do you get when you merge an arcade racer, a simulator with social features on an all-around accessible platform? If you said Evolution Studios’ “DriveClub”, you’d be right on. Despite the fact that game looks fantastic (it really does, that isn’t just hyperbole) and it does everything a modern driving game SHOULD do (while also maintaining the ability to appeal to veterans as well as casual gamers), some don’t seem to be all that impressed. Perhaps it’s the return to a somewhat simpler focus, rather than bathing everything in effects and inserting explosions? Whatever the reason, DriveClub is a game that’s meant to be savored, not gulped down like fast food.
One of the first things that a lot of auto buffs will probably take note of is the vehicle lineup, which boasts an impressive lineup of (mostly) European models. Not surprisingly, the entire tone and feel of this game takes on a somewhat Euro-centric vibe, which isn’t at all unpleasant. If you’re apt to jump behind the wheel and look for a more classic racing experience, you’ve come to the right place.
Don’t think for a second that the developers simply phoned in the design when it comes to setting though, because each track is truly something special. Seriously, there’s an uncanny level of detail present in every circuit found in DriveClub, each one with its own special points and refinements. The mark of any really dynamic and addictive racing game has to be enveloping and memorable environmental design, and this game is no exception. Whether it’s the rolling hills of Scotland or tight tracks of India, you’ll love the lush and realistic terrains this title is sporting. What’s incredible of course is the staggering depth and detail present. Upon ultra-close inspection everything looks amazing, which encapsulates the tiniest pebble to the grandest of mile-wide vistas. The bottom line is that DriveClub offers nothing to complain about in the visual department.
For starters, the handling is pretty tight and responsive, not really requiring the sort of typical maneuvers one might expect with contemporary vehicular games. A lot of people who consider themselves to be auto specialists within the video games domain often remark on a title’s specific points of handling – whether or not it’s fun to pull off drift moves and the like… Well, in short, DriveClub has a bit of that, but this isn’t really where the real fun lies. No, this game’s main focus is on good, solid, clean-cut racing without a lot of flashy frills polluting its clarity.
Having said that; DriveClub is definitely polished and glitzy in its own way, it just isn’t content to make a big deal out of it. In other words, whereas overwhelming majorities of racing games tend to force their way into your heart and mind, DriveClub plays it cool, essentially pulling into its world. All the while, it’s also more about (dare we say it) classic action, than any flashy gimmicks. All the while, you have a very multiplayer friendly title too, and one that makes it easy and fun for nearly anyone to jump behind the wheel and run a few laps.
Lastly, there’s the so-called “social” aspect of the game, which is mostly what Sony has been eager to tout. While it could use some more refinement (and what doesn’t, these days?), the basic setup is great, allowing you to easily connect to and challenge others via a relatively clean platform. Once you begin to explore the possibilities of creating a club, moving past the wonderful single player mode, the game seems to open up in a completely different way.