Welcome to my review of Driveclub exclusively for the Playstation 4. For this review I used the Thrustmaster T300 RS wheel with a T500 modified set of pedals and was hoping to use the TH8A shifter, but it wasn’t supported as a stand alone shifter. I was also asked many times if the Thrustmaster T500 RS was compatible and it is, but the PS button doesn’t work and you need to use the Dual Shock to boot the game up. Once you do, the T500 RS works great and you no longer need the dual shock.
Driveclub was released on October 7th and retails for $59.95. It’s published by Sony Computer Entertainment and developed by Evolution Studios and they are the team behind the Motorstorm franchise.
If you’re not familiar with Driveclub, this is some info from the box cover and while I go over it I’ll add some of my opinion.
It’s about teamwork; it’s about everyone fighting for one another and earning rewards together – and most importantly it’s about sharing in the sheer thrill of every race.
Enjoy the excitement of high-speed solo racing, or join a racing club to discover what DRIVECLUB is all about. Created specifically with the next-generation gamer in mind, DRIVECLUB leverages the networking power and social capabilities of the PS4 system to seamlessly connect you and your friends, always allowing you to share your experiences, send and receive challenges, and keep up to speed with your team’s performance.
Let’s stop right there.. The game has been plagued with connectivity issues to the Sony servers since launch. Finally a few weeks after launch some of the club functionality came back to life, but as of my review, it’s not still fully functioning which is very disappointing. Mainly the challenge feature is disabled. You can still do multiplayer races though and sometimes the challenges that pop up per race appear.. Most often they are not there though.
Back to the box cover..
Join A Club – Get more by playing within a Club and gain access to more races and special challenges. You can join an existing club or create your own and team up with up to five other drivers.
Everything they do helps you, and everything you do helps the Club achieve more. Unite together and represent your Club with customized team colors and logos for your cars.
Take on Faceoffs & Challenges (when you’re lucky enough to connect to the server, or it’s actually working.) – Constant and varied challenges are supposed to keep the game feeling fresh and unique. Every section of every track offers a new opportunity to Faceoff with another racer in the DRIVECLUB community to earn Fame for you and your Club. Customize your experience by creating your own challenges, and share them with the world. Again, not accessible currently
Earn Accolades & Fame – Completing objectives and challenges, winning races, driving in every location or beating Faceoffs will all contribute to you and your Club earning Accolades. Which I have yet to do again due to the connectivity issues. Accolades give you and your Club a multiplier to the Fame earned in every race, allowing you and your Club to unlock new content and take part in more races.
I’ve noticed that some of the cars in game can’t be unlocked unless you complete some of these challenges and level up your club. You need to have at least two people in the club to achieve the level ups.
The World’s Coolest Cars which equates to total of fifty and the majority are European cars. They have BMW, Audi, Ferrari, Pagani, Mercedes, Lotus and some others . All the cars in game look great inside and out. Wish I could watch replays though to see them performing on track. None from American or Japanese companies like Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, though which is a disappointment. There will also be free and pay per DLC available as well.
You can obtain the cars as you progress and level up. For instance the top car is only obtainable when you get to level 40. You can’t tune the cars or upgrade them and your ability to paint and or customize them is very limited to styles and logos that you can obtain once you level up.
Stunning Real-World Locations – Inspired by real-world roads from diverse regions across the globe. I heard that there would be real world tracks, but that’s not the case. Some are point to point and some are circuits. Here’s what they say about them.
Practice technical maneuvers on the open, fast-paced freeways of Canada, check your reflexes on the unpredictable UK roadways, or sharpen your high-speed steering skills on the mountain and dust-filled roads in India.
The locations are pretty cool and it’s fun to run at locations and or tracks I’ve never run at. In this type of game, I was hoping for some actual tracks mixed in with the fantasy locations. There’s 5 different locations that all offer a variety of point to point and circuits. Most are pretty challenging too. You can turn the driving line on as an assist, but you can tell the type of corner you are approaching based on these flags. Green meaning fast corner, Yellow medium and red is a slower corner where you really need to get on the brakes.
The gameplay modes include the DRIVECLUB Tour that’s a full single player campaign where you’ll tour the world taking on events, Faceoffs and challenges to earn Fame for you and your Club.
I’ve found the tour to be very linear and a little on the boring side. By the way if you want to earn more points and level up, run the events more than once. The events don’t offer much variation and you score stars from following through on a variety of objectives in every race from finishing a lap under a certain time, finishing in the top three or nailing a drift. As you obtain those stars, you can advance through the Tour.
Offline is of course one player and Online you can race 2-12. Besides the tour you can run individual races or time trials or custom multiplayer races.
Now that I have the main gameplay features out of the way, how about I talk about the hardcore stuff.. Physics, graphics, Sounds, AI, Damage, etc
Now on to the heart of my review and the first topic is Sim, Simcade or Arcade.
This is definitely not a sim and not a pure arcade racer either. I’d say it leans a lot more towards arcade with the different types of objectives within the races, lack of real tracks and even the physics are leaning towards arcade and it’s definitely easy to drive. So it’s definitely simcade leaning pretty heavily towards the “Cade”. The cars are fun to drive and it’s not like driving a car in Grand Theft Auto or a recent Need for Speed title.
I mentioned during one of my first three hours of gameplay that I would give it about a 7 out of 10 in the physics. I would probably lower that to a 6 due to how easy it is and due to the lack of being able to tune your car in any way.
It’s also really easy to catch a slide and drive too deep into a corner and then slam on the brakes. There’s also no adjustability in regards to assists. You can’t add them and or turn them off so you’re driving whatever they built in.
Force Feedback / Wheel settings:
Driveclub is the first game compatible with the Thrustmaster T300 RS Racing wheel and eco system peripherals including the T3PA pedal sets. You can use the TH8A shifter sequentially when plugged directly into the wheel, but you can’t use a gated shifter and that’s only with the T300. You won’t be able to use the shifter with the T500. Considering there’s only street cars in this title, that was a real let down. I wanted to use the TH8A in gated shift mode.
The setup screen very basic where you can adjust the Force Feedback in ten increments from 0 to 100. You can also change the type of steering as well as adjust the Vibration from low, to medium and then high. In regards to controller or button configuration you can tailor it to how you like.
The force feedback feels pretty good and it’s intuitive and you can feel how the car’s reacting. The addition of some good vibration also adds to the overall feel. I would have liked a little stronger FFB though in general, but overall not bad. With the T500, the Force feedback is heavier though than with the T300.
It’s running at 30 frames per second and overall it seems fluid, but I did notice some slight frame rate hiccups on occasion. Nothing to where I couldn’t drive, but I did notice some. Supposedly they focused on input lag and I’m not feeling much, if any at all.
Visually the colors look good and some of the sun and lighting effects are really cool. The vista images are a little cartoony, but that doesn’t seem to translate over to the racing.
There’s no rain effects but there is day to night transitions and driving at night is definitely tougher and very well done. Supposedly rain and snow was supposed to be included at launch and rumor has it they will be coming in a future patch.
You can drive from 6 different views and the in car cockpit view is nicely done. There’s also a view from the dash as though you are looking though windshield. There’s also some adjustability to the views, but I wasn’t sure how it made a difference.
Its visual only and doesn’t have any effect on your cars performance which I was disappointed with. I like damage because it adds another level of consequence. You would think that the developers of Motorstorm would have implemented their cool damage model in Driveclub.
Something that add’s consequence is if you cut the course or have heavy contact with another car, it slows your car down for a few seconds.
Are pretty cool.. The engine notes are all well done and sound like the actual cars. The engine note changes depending on your view too. I also like the tire squeal and balance between your car and the others near you.
I like the crash sounds. A few people during my 1/2 hour of live driving said they were too loud, but I disagree. When you wreck in a car in real life, it’s loud and the sound of metal crunching and glass breaking can be very scary and I like how they’ve captured it.
On the lower levels are a push over. I even experienced some major rubber band effect when I wrecked during one of my races. The field all blew past me and got a few seconds ahead and I shouldn’t have caught them.. But I did and won the race.
You can’t adjust the AI’s ability and the general options are pretty basic. You can in the Single Race events up to Legend and those races offer some pretty good competition.
Some said that I should wait until I reach the higher levels and I did and won the Pro title my first try. Maybe Legend will be more of a challenge.
Limited to 12 players which is disappointing. I remember some titles on the PS3 and Xbox 360 allowing up to 20 or so. 12 is barely a race. Was hoping that these next gen titles would be more like 24.
There’s a bunch of events you can join via the lobby. You join the lobby and wait for people to connect. Would be nice to see which races are populated. You can NOT create your own private custom race. You are limited to what is offered in the lobbies.
The netcode seemed pretty good but as usual in an open server, the racing left a lot to be desired. I bet with 11 friends it could be a lot of fun. I did encounter a few decent races though
You can also set up challenges with people that you send it to randomly, on your friends list or in your club. You see the ghost of the top person which is cool and similar to rivals mode in Forza. But also limited due to the network connectivity issues.
After a year delay, I was hoping for a lot more when it came to this title. It also a big let down that a lot of the club functionality isn’t there due to server issues. You would think a year after the PS4 came out, they would have that stuff running in tip top shape due to the first person shooter games that are more reliant on multiplayer.
Besides that, this title just doesn’t make me want to keep coming back for more like some other recent console titles I’ve reviewed. If I were to compare it to another game, I guess it would be in the same category as Forza Motorsport 5 and Forza kicks Drive Clubs ass.
There were some things I did enjoy about the title but if you were to ask me is it worth it to buy a wheel for and a PS4, no way. Great thing is that there will be some quality titles available for the PS4 in the future so it wouldn’t be a total waste, and you could use a wheel on the PC and PS3 as well. On a scale from one to ten, I give it about a 5 and a sideways thumb versus a thumbs up or down. Maybe with some patches and fixing the network issues, this could become a quality racing title.
I hope you enjoyed my take on DriveClub. Let me know in the comments below what you think of it. Also, if you’d like a shot at winning a copy of Driveclub, tell me in the comments as well.