I fell in love with Driveclub almost immediately upon playing it at PAX Prime way back in 2013. The track that I demoed was fun to navigate and had plenty of atmosphere surrounding it with the beautiful colors and mountainous scenery from the Canadian-based location. It also helped that apparently no one in Seattle knew how to drive with great speed and precision which allowed me to finish with the best time on the leaderboard at the event. That felt really good actually, which helped me all the more fall in love with the brief demo of the game.
The other thing I liked about the demo is that the two cars featured in it felt uniquely different from each other and had a balance that needed to be perfected before racing aggressively. I really enjoyed that and looked forward to getting my hands on more vehicles when the game released.
Fast forward not one year later to its official release, but almost three years later – well after its release. It wasn’t until this Spring when Uncharted 4 released that I finally picked up a PlayStation 4. Prior to that I let my colleagues focus on PlayStation while I covered Xbox and PC. However, I had to play Uncharted 4 and so I finally got a PS4.
At the same time of getting a PS4 I immediately snagged Driveclub for the reasons listed above. I needed this racing game in my life. I figured I was going to really enjoy it, but I never expected to call it my all-time favorite racing game – which is exactly what it became.
I’ve played my share of racers, from the super arcade-style to the most realistic of sims. However, I seem to find more of an appreciation for the games that hit right in the middle of those two styles. It’s why I love games like Project Gotham Racing, Forza Horizon, and GRID so much. They hit perfectly right in the middle to where I get a sense of realism while still having an actual racing ‘game’ to play and not a racing sim.
Driveclub hit the sweet spot of being the right mix of the two styles of racing games and it immediately challenged GRID 2 as my all-time favorite racing game.
Driveclub’s best feature is its wonderful track locations. These tracks are fun to navigate and usually beautiful to look at, as long as it’s not late at night where it becomes nearly impossible to see anything. I always enjoy the scenery and often stop to snap a photo when racing because I enjoy its visuals that much.
But most importantly for Driveclub is that the vehicles handle these tracks well, even with some of the more high-performance cars that I often hate driving because they take a lot longer to tame. However, once a driver has full control and familiarity with a vehicle they are mighty fun to drive at high speeds. The wide selection of available cars are all unique and challenging in their own way, and once the driver perfects their favorite speedster they’ll love how both car and track complement each other perfectly.
The career is also enjoyable as players collect stars based on needing to accomplish challenges during each race. This includes hitting a top speed, navigating turns correctly by following a line, beating a specific driver, and more. Career mode is also more than just racing as there are also drift challenges to complete which is something I immediately thought I would hate.
As it turns out I absolutely loved doing the drift events in Driveclub because I enjoy the way the cars are handled, and once players learn the feel of a particular vehicle it’s fun to have the right amount of speed going into each turn and performing the perfect drift. Drifting feels good and isn’t anything more than putting a little more power and brake into each turn on a regular track. I can’t stand games that put players on a closed course and require them to drift around cones.
Drifting is done right in Driveclub, and I also had fun with the scoring system as I was able to collect a number of top scores including multiple top 100 scores in the world.
Speaking of rankings, being a member of a racing club in the game is also a lot of fun as clubs get to challenge each other to a number of different events. I love being able to help my club get a high ranking position on a challenge, or even win a challenge or two. I had one race I just couldn’t give up on after having placed in second. I stuck with it again and again in a attempt to hit first place overall and eventually beat the other club by less than .010 seconds. It was very satisfying and made the club experience that much better.
Driveclub pretty much drifted into the top spot in my heart for favorite racing game even though I sometimes wonder if I’m still racing in Seattle at PAX with as much as it rains in the game. Can I get more of a break from all the slippery tracks, please?
If anyone enjoys racing games and hasn’t checked out Driveclub yet, then I absolutely recommend grabbing the keys and taking it for a spin. It took me almost 3 years to play it again, but I’m absolutely glad that I did. Plus, I got my Platinum trophy from the game which also makes me happy.
Driveclub is also set to be a PlayStation VR launch title this fall which will add even more reason to own this racer.
Check out these screenshots I took from my adventures on the road.
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