Posted 3:00pm

Hands-on with DRIVECLUB: Behind the wheel on PS4

Plus, new video interview with Director Paul Rustchynsky

DRIVECLUB is a game PlayStation fans are likely already pretty familiar with. Originally slated as a PS4 launch title, the socially connected racer has shifted to an October 2014 release. But aspiring drivers needn’t fear: the developers at Evolution Studios are making good use of this extra time.

The team at Evolution have been busy ensuring the connected aspects of DRIVECLUB and its interface — dubbed the “dynamic menu” by game director Paul Rustchynsky — are seamlessly integrated into the game. These, in tandem with a companion app launching alongside the game in October, are what will allow DRIVECLUB to realise Evolution’s vision of a truly social racing title.

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Having played an earlier incarnation of DRIVECLUB as well as its newest build, I’m in a unique position to be able to see what other differences a few months can make firsthand.

The most immediately apparent upgrade I noticed is in the graphical department. DRIVECLUB has been a stunner since the day it was unveiled, but it’s hard to convey just how much love Evolution have poured into each of DRIVECLUB’s 50 car models and its environments.

“It’s hard to convey just how much love Evolution have poured into each of DRIVECLUB’s 50 car models”

Vehicles are immaculately crafted in full, native 1080p — right down to the screw heads on the chassis — and that level of detail permeates the rest of the game, too. At the start of each race, your driver enters his chariot (from either the left or right side, depending on the model) and the game drops you into an impressively accurate realisation of the car’s cockpit. Gauges light up and the engine roars, whines, or purrs appropriately before the race begins.

Quick audio aside: when recording sound for DRIVECLUB, Evolution used multiple microphones to capture various aural aspects of the interior and exterior of each ride. Headphones highly recommended.

While driving, vistas seem to stretch on into infinity — especially impressive on mountain courses, where distant peaks draw ever nearer as you zoom along the track. Leaves fall off trees during the race, then get kicked up by passing cars. The technical prowess of PS4 combined with the artistic details added by Evolution breathe life into this racer; more than once I had to resist the urge to stop driving and just admire the scenery.

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The time-of-day system in DRIVECLUB is a game-changer: Before a race begins, you’re able to choose not only the time of day, but the rate at which time passes. Speeding the passage of time to 15x, 30x, or even 60x means that you can start the race in the dark, watch the sun rise on lap two, and finish in broad daylight. One standout moment: whipping around a hairpin on a mountain track at dawn, watching the reflection of the rising sun in puddles left by melting snow. Gorgeous.

As a bit of a short attention span gamer, I’m pleased to report that DRIVECLUB finds various ways to foster a continuous sense of progression: not only will you be rewarded for winning races, but throughout the course of each event you’ll be faced with challenges: executing an extra-long drift, maintaining a high average speed, or reaching a specified velocity are a few examples. Each completed goal brings you one step closer to unlocking new cars, events, decals, and more.

“DRIVECLUB is a love letter to automobiles and the art of racing them”

DRIVECLUB’s controls are straightforward enough: R2 is your gas pedal and L2 hits the brakes, while the left stick steers and the right stick looks around. One thing I didn’t expect, though, was a motion control scheme that I ended up preferring over the more traditional approach.

A quick trip to the options menu lets you enable motion controls, driven by DualShock 4′s built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, and — again, I say this as a classically trained, button-based gamer — it ends up correlating perfectly with the game’s in-car cockpit view. Tilting DualShock 4 left or right and watching your hands on the steering wheel move instantaneously feels perfectly natural, and makes long, soft turns much more graceful (rather than trying to find just the right angle to hold the analogue stick at). Of course, traditional controls still feel great, but I think I might end up defaulting to motion controls for this one!

DRIVECLUB is a love letter to automobiles and the art of racing them, and it’s a letter the masterminds at Evolution are clearly pouring their hearts into. Players worldwide can read it for themselves this October when DRIVECLUB launches on PS4.

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Comments

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Kub-666 22 May, 2014 @ 3:18 pm   1

Let me know when they decide to give us a proper game in PS+, as was promised on last years E3, and not a demo.

     
    kivi95 22 May, 2014 @ 3:27 pm    

    Since when does a demo have online multiplayer and rankings etc? You have your free PS+ game feuture wise. Want more then get the full game. Or do people want a f2p game with full of microtransactions?

     
    Leylifer 22 May, 2014 @ 3:40 pm    

    Just stop moaning for a game that you didn’t pay for and getting free. You didn’t subscribe PS+ for Driveclub and if you don’t like it, just remove it.

    No one has to give free content to you. Be thankful.

     
    KomrathDE 22 May, 2014 @ 3:45 pm    

    Oh my gosh, every time another Pole gets this “I paid *something* so give me everything” I feel sick to my stomach :( Why can’t we (I’m from Poland too) just enjoy something that is given to us? I am super happy that there will be limited PS+ version for testing, as I would never buy this game without playing it first. This way, there’s a great chance I will buy it if I like it :-)

     
    threestepguide 22 May, 2014 @ 3:53 pm    

    They promised Driveclub PS+ Edition, so stop make up things and be respectful.

     
    DavoTheDiv 22 May, 2014 @ 3:58 pm    

    I’m getting really fed up and embarrassed by gamers sense of entitlement. Stop acting like big babies the lot of you. Do you honestly think your ps sub should grant you any more than we’re getting? really? for less than £5 a month?

     
    Chunker76 22 May, 2014 @ 4:13 pm    

    I have to agree with the replies to this comment, we get a fantastic deal for our money each year, ok so when PS+ first started out it wasn’t that great but it has grown and got better year after year, I for one am very happy with the free games for PS4, PS3 and Vita that we get each month, and yes sometimes the games aren’t what I like or generally look for, but they have to cater for every ones preference not just the individual. Also as an owner of both PS4 and Xbox One let me tell you that PS+ uses get a hell of a lot more bang for their buck than Xbox Gold uses. It comes down to the fact if your not happy don’t pay for the service. Well done PlayStation and keep up the good work

     
    Szamal 22 May, 2014 @ 7:11 pm    

    The content they will give us is alright but the game has almost one year slip. They said it’s gonna be out right after PS4 launch but it wasn’t. I play almost only racing games so my PS4 is covered in dust because there are no games play. Sony or the developer could say something so I (and other people interested) could buy console later this year not right after launch. I’m pretty sure I could sue them for false advertisement or something but I don’t really care that much. It’s just not cool Sony!

     
    Porcupeth00 23 May, 2014 @ 12:55 am    

    [deleted] how is this terrible comment upvoted like that? what we’re getting with the PS+ is good enough and exactly what I expected and what you should have expected.

     
    broyds 23 May, 2014 @ 2:57 pm    

    How you can call this a demo is beyond me. A demo only usually offers one or two tracks and no online with only two or so cars to ride. The PS Plus edition comes with 11 cars 11 tracks and a lot of the single player campaign as well as online multiplayer with every single game mode. Btw it was never stated that the PS Plus version was going to be a full game they never mentioned anything about it. I am buying the game but can see that the PS Plus edition is a very generous offer to customers, although there are a lot of cars and tracks missing it is far better than a demo and the developers would have been stupid to give a full AAA game for free on the day of release. Boy stupidity and ignorance really annoy me!

     
    maniac81 27 May, 2014 @ 1:26 pm    

    They did say that we get the ful game minus some car and tracks. Now it’s only 1/5 of the game.
    They should remove it from the PS+ lineup. This is the first time we get a fraction of a game in the instant game collection.
    I fear for PS+ lineup in the future, if this takes precedense.

 
flinniboy 22 May, 2014 @ 3:23 pm   2

This looks really good cant wait to play it

 
THE_FORCE 22 May, 2014 @ 3:23 pm   3

I’m still interested to know where it sits between arcade racing and simulation.

     

    They said it should appeal to both (like Grid 2) sure because of that Grid 2 wasn’t a success but that’s what they are going for. But as soon as you can get in for free on Plus you know for sure and then you only have to plunk down a little bit of money with an amount equal of that of a full priced game to get the whole experience.

 

Will this game get a custom audio profile for Pulse/Gold Wireless headset?

 
dark_angel69 22 May, 2014 @ 4:17 pm   5

I can’t wait for this game!!! I keep day dreaming too much of myself driving those cars when I’m driving to work. Just want to drift and race so bad. :(

 
dimiseva 22 May, 2014 @ 5:21 pm   6

dont argue with those who are “moaning”. There are just facts. We indeed get a good price for the money we gave for ps+, this is the one fact. The other fact is that we got a promise for a free driveclub in ps+. And be sure that many people grabbed the ps+ discount to join the ps+, having in mind a later ps4 purchase and of course the free driveclub. The worst thing is to forget and of course to not keep a promise. Sony seems not -as of today- to keep their promise. Some player do forget that. Some others dont -for theri unique reasons.
Saying that “ok we get much already” is a distraction. If you promise something and get money out of it, you should keep it. No matter what.

     
    broyds 23 May, 2014 @ 3:11 pm    

    From the day that Sony mentioned you would get driveclub in PS plus in E3 last year they stated that it would not be the full game. Hence why from the day this was announced it was call Driveclub PS Plus edition. No promises were broken they said it wasnt going to be a full game from the minute it was announced.

 
DGBALLA 22 May, 2014 @ 5:29 pm   7

What kind of punishment will be given to players who use there cares as battle tanks in races and just decide their only goal is to hit people and mess up their cars? Will the game be able to tell when someone is making contact on purpose or if it was accidental/unavoidable? I ask because play Grid 2 online and GTA online You run into people who don’t like to race fair when you get out side the pool of dev’s and early access reviewers. Like wise what is going to be done about damage fixing will it be automatic or will you have to pay with in game currency?

     
    DGBALLA 22 May, 2014 @ 5:34 pm    

    Sorry I meant cars not cares but people who drive recklessly usually don’t care and I feel should be accounted for before launch instead of after to avoid the angry e-mails and other anger to the dev’s because of butt-holes driving like butt-holes.

 
JonJJon 22 May, 2014 @ 6:36 pm   8

Hoping for a dedicated EQ/sound profile for the Sony Wireless Headset 2.0 :) looking forward to playing this game, in addition really hope I can use my racing wheel.

 
Martin-Paczinsky 22 May, 2014 @ 6:46 pm   9

I Can’t wait for games.

 
sibbor 22 May, 2014 @ 7:32 pm   10

Evolution, what about steering wheels? Will my Logitech G27 be supported? On Twitter you slide multiple months ago that you would get back to us regarding wheel support.

 
guylian 22 May, 2014 @ 7:59 pm   11

Looks stunning, nice work Evo :D

 
Paha-Vaatturi 22 May, 2014 @ 9:12 pm   12

“Headphones highly recommended.”

Headphones? Dualshock 4? Who.. why… ? I prefer T500 RS wheel and my 7.1 setup

 
Stonesthrow 22 May, 2014 @ 10:10 pm   13

I must say, that last gameplay trailer kind of blew me away.. Progress has clearly been made in those extra months. Especially the sense of speed is more tangible than say, in Gran Turismo. Almost got me to pre order the real deal and stop stressing over the PLUS lite version, but I wanna see how interesting it is without all the social competitive online stuff for which it was basically made.. Definitely one of the best looking racers I’ve ever seen on a technical and graphical level! Now bring us a new Motorstorm Apocalypse next please! :p

 
RD_Rabin 22 May, 2014 @ 10:32 pm   14

Hated Grid 2. Hate ‘simcade’ handling. Hate driving with controllers, or wii-motes.

Waiting for a real racing game on PS4 with wheel support, still, it seems…

     
    I-Am-Goat-Boy 23 May, 2014 @ 9:16 am    

    Project CARS comes out a month after Driveclub if that helps at all.

 

Logitech support ? or no money !!!!

 
bitbydeath 23 May, 2014 @ 1:48 am   16

Looks great, but please don’t forget us lunatics.
I want a new Motorstorm.

Godzprototype 23 May, 2014 @ 2:50 pm   17

I remember Motorstorm! Still play it too. Looking forward to Drive Club and all that detail. Evolution does it so right.

CassiveBrewster_ 23 May, 2014 @ 5:53 pm   18

The graphics are better than any other racer’s. This is why I mess with exclusive titles, the developer’s dedicate more blood, sweat and tears into a perfect project, most multi-platform games feel sloppy