Driveclub! Driiiiiiveclub. Drive club. Drive has five letters. A club deals 20x damage in sneak mode and kills you in two shots. 5-2 = 3. Half Life 3 confirmed! Well… not really. But I did get to play Driveclub for five minutes and I’m here to tell you what it was like, and gloat over the fact that YOU DIDN’T! Just kidding. You’ll get to play it if you come to the Coca-Cola dome this weekend.
Driveclub is a Playstation 4 exclusive and it will debut with the console this December. Its designed by Evolution Studios and they’ve been welcomed into the bosom of Sony Computer Entertainment. It aims to give players a true driving experience similar to Gran Turismo, although the game is focused on the social aspect of playing games and isn’t as expansive as GT. That is not a bad thing.
The demo that I played was based on the same build that was seen at Gamescom, where you have two laps to complete and multiple challenges inside the race circuit to improve your score over and above your actual placing in the race. This can be anything from speed challenges, cornering, braking and drifting as well as overtaking.
The game itself was beautiful and running at a fluid framerate. Whether this was 30 or 60fps is up in the air but Evolution has said before that they have a 60fps version running inside their studios and that the gameplay currently shown on the internet is rendered at 30fps. Driveclub also runs in full HD resolution so there’s no upscaling trickery going on.
The cars themselves have a good weight to them and handle well. The interiors are beautifully rendered and the cars themselves look stunning, if a little aliased. The version I was playing on was the same as seen at Gamescom, so any of Evolution’s tweaks to the game since then have not filtered down into the demo.
There is very little motion blur in-game and this aids to the feeling of realism because no details are lost even when you’re zipping by at breakneck speeds. Object pop-in is very reduced from the E3 demos and the draw distance in the game is incredible. Even the mountains in the distance have detail and look very real. The lack of motion blur also is welcome because I find that it ruins my accuracy in games that do rely on it.
The surprise was that the game also worked with the Sixaxis motion control. You can steer the car using the controller itself and its very responsive. Previous games that have tried it never got the sensitivity or the dead zone right and made for a lacklustre experience. This feels just right.
As for the controller’s response in the game, it was good but not spectacular. The Dualshock 4 has been designed with FPS gaming in mind and the triggers were sensitive but didn’t offer a lot of feedback for racing titles. The lack of resistance is a little off-putting but I got used to it quickly and could certainly be as a result of the controller being a demo unit and subject to much more abuse than regular home-owned controllers.
All in all, Driveclub looks as good and drives as well as the trailers have suggested and it certainly offers up a lot more eye candy than Gran Turismo. The social aspect was interesting to watch as various visitors to the expo tried to one-up each other on the challenges and it will definitely create a more MMO-type of feeling when playing with an internet connection. Evolution Studios has said before that they want challenges to go viral and allow players from all over the world to seamlessly compete for the best time on a track, or the longest drift in a specific corner.
Driveclub is playable on the Ster-Kinekor Playstation 4m which is stand #36 opposite the NAG LAN on the bottom floor. The game launches with the Playstation 4 on 13 December and a slightly trimmed down version will be offered for free to Playstation Plus subscribers.
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