When a new piece of hardware launches, you typically get a racing game. It's sort of standard fare for a launch lineup and for the PlayStation 4, we'll get DriveClub, the socially-driven title from MotorStorm developer Evolution Studios. No, it isn't Gran Turismo 6 (which might be available for the PS4 next year), but it certainly has potential. The game exhibits a boatload of striking detail, many of the most impressive cars on the planet, and a social networking system that could redefine what it means to hit the track with your friends.
You will be more personally invested in DriveClub than in any other racer you've played to date. Or at least, that's the idea. You will compete against your buddies along with everyone else in the DriveClub universe; you will post your best times along with your own picture, and the challenges will continue to get stiffer. The game isn't necessarily a true-blue simulator; it may be best compared to some of the recent Need for Speed installments, or perhaps it's even closer to Grid. While there will be lots of drafting and ridiculous speeds, there will still be a significant amount of physical realism.
One of the similarities to NFS is the mechanic that is similar to the well-received Autolog. What we'll get is a more advanced version of that idea, as players can participate on a dynamic, global scale. And of course, it'll be all about the cars. You will appreciate the amount of effort Evolution put into the design of each vehicle. Not only do they look amazing, they should feel like their real-life counterparts (as if we could ever really know, right?). That mix of arcade-style challenges and ceaseless action mixed with semi-realistic racing could be highly entertaining and even addictive.
You'll also have the option of using the motion-sensing in the Dual Shock 4 but if history is any indication, I'd say that will be exceedingly difficult. Racing, even if it's not 100% simulated, is all about pinpoint precision and timing, and I seriously doubt you'll get that with motion technology. The bottom line is that you'll have to practice, just like in any racing game. You'll have to learn each track, you'll have to get a feel for each car, and you'll have to settle into a personal driving style. This game is all about letting you drive the way you want to drive, so take advantage of that freedom and do what comes naturally!
The challenges should be diverse, which will allow you to become increasingly comfortable with the control. This isn't about tediously upgrading your car, it's not about spending the majority of your time in garages and dealerships, and it's not about passing license tests. It's about hitting the asphalt with tires squealing, with the desire to trump anyone who dares to take you on. Get hooked up with your friends and the entire DriveClub community, tackle a wide variety of challenges, go one-on-one with both pals and strangers, and just try and stop playing. It helps that this game will be absolutely free out of the gate for PlayStation Plus members...
7/23/2013 Ben Dutka