Skirting by on empty – Drive Club Review
By Chris Medrano
Developer: Evolution Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Rated:E for Everyone
Platform: Playstation 4
I’ll be honest: it’s weird writing this review since I’ve been playing both Forza Horizon 2 and Drive Club at the same time. Whereas with Forza Horizon 2 you can drive around in an open world, Drive Club forces you to stay on race tracks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it’s a racing game…but that’s it. The game does nothing to distinguish itself from the crowd. In the end, Drive Club does a great job reminding players that Grand Turismo is to Playstation as Forza is to Xbox.
Upon starting the game, players are immediately thrown into a race with little to no explanation, cool cut scene or anything. Drive Club doesn’t even give you tips while driving like Forza does. It’s as if the game assumes the player will know how racing games work and if not, best of luck. There is an intro video that you see after starting the game from the home menu. Unfortunately, it’s the type of video you see every time you start up the game.
The most important part of any racing game is driving, and Drive Club is pretty good at it. The game feels a little more arcade oriented and less realistic; you can drive a little crazy and not be penalized for it. This is contradictory to the leveling-up/accolades system the game uses. Players will receive points for either good driving, completing challenges on specific parts of a race course, or other little tricks while driving. However, players can lose points for hitting cars and walls which gets annoying with crazy drivers who’ll hit players to take the lead. It’s a minor problem since you’ll get a lot of points throughout the race. Then there are the moments where it felt like the course was trying to trap me, even though you only have three seconds to be off the track before the game puts you back on it. Overall, while the driving is fun it, could use a little tweaking to be even more enjoyable.
Where Drive Club may irritate players is the fact that in order to get all 52 cars, you have to unlock them through leveling up. The game also limits your selection of cars per each level. The only thing customizable? Your profile and the look of your driver. None of these ideas are bad; it’s actually refreshing not spending several minutes trying to pick the right car, or upgrade it just to be able to race. For racing game enthusiasts, though, this might be extremely limiting.
The areas where Drive Club shines is in both its selection of cars and the visuals. The race courses look stunning and do a great job showing off the Playstation 4’s graphical capability. All 52 of the cars look stunning and carefully detailed. Unfortunately, players are only able to customize the paint job of a car, and that’s it; everything else is predetermined and set for the player. Personally, I’m fine with not being able customize your car, but if it’s someone who loves to make the car handle exactly the way they want then they’ll be disappointed.
Besides racing, there isn’t much you can do; there are single events, time trials and drifting courses, but that’s it. The overall content of the game feels a little bare in comparison to other major racing titles currently out there. Also, at the time of this writing, the servers are down for Drive Club which takes out the “club” part. Why can’t developers have their servers ready on day one? Especially if they’re promising cool online features?
Overall, Drive Club is a racing game that could have been great but does the bare minimum to be considered a full video game product. It’s the type of game you wait for until it goes down in price, or end up borrowing from a friend to see if you’d like it. The club part could be amazing, but due to the servers being down I haven’t tried it yet. If I had to choose between this or Forza Horizon 2, the obvious choice is Mario Kart 8! Thanks for reading my review, hope you like it. OLIVE JUICE!!!!