Project Spark: Drive Club

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First Posted: 11/11/2014

Playstation 4 hasn’t really had any exclusive driving games until now. Announced at last years E3 “Driveclub” is the simulation racing game developed by a first party Sony Studio Evolution, makers of the “Motorstorm” series. I am not the biggest fan of racing games, I don’t know much about cars, but I do enjoy them once in a while. I heard an announcement that there was going to be a free trial of “Driveclub” for a limited time for Playstation Plus members so I decided to check it out.

There isn’t much to say about the reason for playing a driving game, there isn’t usually any story. The thrill comes from how fast you can go, the ability to customize your vehicle and, most of all, winning tough races. A sense of speed and completing races isn’t the only thing a racer needs to get right, it also has to give a reason to keep playing by giving upgrades and things to unlock for your performance. “Driveclub” keeps players racing by utilizing its online features and creates an online community or club of drivers. Every race you win online will benefit your car club’s reputation so it does add more meaning to your races because it isn’t just for you. Even the single player gameplay does tie into the online community so if you don’t have an online connection don’t bother with this game.

A feature of “Driveclub” that permeates every race is the “face-off”, the game pits your race statistics against other people online and creates rivals for you based on your performance. You compete against other people’s top speeds, lap times, driving lines, and some other stats. Face-offs are “Driveclub’s” way of differentiation itself from other racers because it makes the races more involved. The face-off stats are calculated all the time and will change from lap to lap in each race changing who you are facing off against, and winning the face-off will increase your ranking. Joining clubs doesn’t really change the way you play nor does it interfere with your single player experience, but it does create a bit of a sense of pride when your club is doing well. A weird thing is though you don’t get the option to race with the people in the club cooperatively and you don’t get any recognition if you do well it’s only if the whole club does well so that’s a something that could be improved on.

The things most people care about when playing a driving game are done pretty well. The driving is fun and it looks gorgeous. The graphics, lighting, and weather effects are simply incredible and you can really see all of the details. The driving doesn’t feel as real or as tight as some of the others on the market but it does perform pretty well. The sense of speed and raw power of some of these cars is very realistic and, the feeling of immersion makes you feel like you are really in the race and that’s thanks to all the little details like engine sounds and even the textures of the interior of each car. All of the races are straight forward and by the book which can get dull but if you are car nut you will love this game. The car customization is not as good as other games on the market but there is a lot you can do to fine tune your car, if you a motorhead there is a ton of things in there you can tweak if you know what your doing but if not it is fun to just do the races. Another feature if you can create and customize your driver which is not a huge selling point but it is kinda interesting.

Overall I liked “Driveclub.” The visuals are incredible and the attention to detail is astounding. It doesn’t have a ton of extra game modes or other bells and whistles but the driving is excellent. If you love cars and car culture you will fall in love with this game, it is a good mix of great graphics, car selection, and community. If you have a next generation console and are looking for a good racing game you should definitely check out this game. This is a good game to hold you over until the new Gran Turismo comes out.