Driveclub Review Round-Up

You really have to love the Autumn, as we get this wonderful deluge of games in time for the festive season. Next up in our review round-ups is Evolution Studio’s racer Driveclub, which is set for release on the 10th of October, nearly a full year after its original launch date. A cut-down version will be available to all Playstation Plus members so chances are the majority of PS4 owners will get to sample it, though clearly Sony will be hoping that it draws everyone into buying the full game.

Our very own Stefan gave it a great 8/10, praising its focussed gameplay and graphical fidelity; “As you finish the Tour and start to take on more and more on-the-fly Challenges, Driveclub starts to show its true colours. It may be difficult for some to adapt to in an age where racers sprawl across open worlds featuring hundreds of cars and tons of tracks, but this is a game with a very singular focus. The overarching goals soon start to peel away, and you’re left with the purity of competing against the times and records of friends and rivals, the stunning scenery and the joy of driving cars absolutely on the limit.”

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It seems like the community has reviewed it mostly positively, with many focussing on its beautiful next-gen graphics but many seeing a negative in its traditional framework.

IGN – 7.9/10

“Driveclub is the best-looking racing game I’ve ever seen on a console, but down deep it’s a more modest, conventional arcade racer than the sprawling, open-world types we commonly see today. While it successfully creates fast and fun races with a great sense of speed, the overly aggressive AI grates, the difficult drifting seems at odds with the accessible handling, and the single-player loses zest once the solo content runs dry.”

Gamespot – 5/10

“Driveclub is ordinary menus and ordinary races, standard time trials, and a few drift events. Driveclub is bland social competition. Driveclub is the fear of risks and the embrace of the ordinary. It’s basic racing in basic packaging, beautiful and inert and full of attractive cars. It is not, however, an argument for a new generation of driving, given how it fails to exceed the standards of the old one.”

Polygon – 7.5/10

“DriveClub doesn’t have any one element that makes it an incredible game or a huge leap forward for the racing genre, but it makes some smart choices underneath top-of-the-line presentation. And in embracing a social media-influenced setup to build enjoyable asynchronous multiplayer, it teaches a few important lessons other developers should learn from.”

Digital Spy – 4/5

“Driveclub isn’t necessarily the innovative or revolutionary game that we were expecting, but that doesn’t make it a bad racer. Far from it. It is a visually impressive game with a clean, straightforward progression system, interesting courses and enough user-friendly social features to keep clubs entertained for the foreseeable future.”

Videogamer – 8/10

“I stayed up until the early hours of the morning one night frantically trying to beat a challenge set by another games site. They won. I lost. But the desperate desire to win – and the urge to silently brag about the victory – made the race deeply exciting. And it’s intense rivalries like this that lie at the heart of DriveClub. It’s a game whose appeal lives and dies in its online time trials and sensational visuals, and whose sense of one-upmanship and competition is leaps above the rest of the pack.”

Destructoid – 7.5/10

“Driveclub is fast and easy to get into, nice to look at, and it has a lot going on in the background to keep you connected and competitive with your club members and other individuals. But that doesn’t change the issues in the foreground. Its approachable and enjoyable racing is marred by AI cars that love to unfairly bash and crash on the single-player side. And bugs with the interface and the networking kept me from fully enjoying the multiplayer side. Beyond all of this, it feels like Driveclub needs more race and event types.”

Joystiq – 3/5

“Driveclub is a well-made, sometimes irritating juxtaposition of the old and new. The career mode is old-fashioned and its AI is hopelessly ignorant, but the graphics and competitive jabs online feel perfectly fit for 2014. Embracing your fellow human is key to overcoming Driveclub’s faults, which ultimately make it a better staging ground for car-loving friends than an expression of automotive admiration itself.”

Games Radar – 4/5

“While too simplified to be a sim and too serious to be an arcade racer, Driveclub’s online integration, beautiful environments and accessible handling make for a great new-gen racing package.”

Eurogamer – 6/10

“What we’re left with is a flimsy framework – a sort of clothes horse for content – rather than a truly great racing game. DriveClub is patently intended to attract a global, interconnected audience of fiercely competitive racers but, to quote the increasingly obscure 1989 Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come. And, unfortunately, Evolution hasn’t quite built it.”

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29 Comments

  1. Ouch! For a game so publically known for it’s near year long delay it hasn’t exactly used that time to go good effect it seems. Project CARS… over to you!

    • Really looking forward to Project CARS, especially the real world tracks including plenty of British circuits.

      Only thing that makes me slightly reserved is Slightly Mad’s record with Shift/2 & their unplayable (IMO) handling.

      As far as Driveclub is concerned I’ll give the PS+ version a try but with only leaderboards rather than real career progression to keep me entertained I’m not sure it will have the longevity for me to make it a purchase.

      • I’ve always thought Project CARS was going to be the racing game of choice for me for similar reasons. I like the real world tracks, not a fan of point-to-point racing. Yes I’m worried that the driving model from Shift 2 will be anything to go by for the handling which I agree was unplayable.

        So yeah PS+ version for DriveClub and pray the handling of Project CARS is light years better than Shift 2.

      • Yep, I couldn’t do Shift 2 either! I assume you played with a controller? It seemed geared towards wheel users to me and if Project Cars is the same it will (unfortunately) pass me by as I cannot justify the expense, nor do I have the space, for a decent wheel set up.

      • Shift Unleashed 2 remains one of my favourite PC racing games. Despite a crappy menu system and some other niggly login bugs the personality conveyed in each car (with a decent force feedback wheel) surpassed most other racers I’ve tried. A Murcielago feels weightier but more powerful than a Gallardo, having driven both around a track I can confirm that SU2 nailed it. It meant picking a car for a track was like taking a tool out of a box to do a job.

        Engine sounds were decent too.

        I’m slightly disheartened by the mixed reviews but I guess the PS+ version will offer the best test for me.

        One thing I am noticing that is polarising reviews is the goals and rewards structure of not just Driveclub but a lot of current gen games. I don’t think the goals of Formula 1 have changed too much in the last 10 years and I’m sure racing those cars is still fun. Destiny also takes stick for questionable reward structure but the actual shooting mechanics are enjoyable enough for me, as they were in Quake 3.

        What it boils down to is if the driving is satisfying and the winning feels rewarding then it’s a good driving game!

        If Project Cars has the same driving but more choice then sadly that’s where the sweaty steering wheel will be getting abused. Poor Driveclub. The social element isn’t as important as we thought perhaps… :(

    • Excuse my ignorance, but I am failing to see the ouch that you refer to?

      The only ones that are perhaps a little low are Gamespot & Joystiq (& maybe eurogamer depending on how you view things) & they are still not ‘bad’ scores. Just mediocre ones.

      The cynic in me also says that these lower scores are likely clickbait, but can’t say for certain as I haven’t given the whole review an eye.

      As a general, it seems to be around a 7 or 8 out of 10, which I think is fine (good actually).

      • I prefer to switch that around and say none of them are over 8/10 (or equivalent). The average score (when all converted to out of 10) is 7.19. I’m saying “Ouch, after all that delay and we still don’t have an above 8 scoring game”. I was expecting to see mostly 8s, some 9s and a possible 10. For me 7.2 out of 10 seems a bit of a damp reception for what was going to be the PS4 flagship (racing) game.

      • Something which quite a few of the reviews have in common is the mention of ignorant AI and the simple rinse and repeat (my own way of putting it) formula of standard races and time trials.

        Project cars does look to be different, offering a race contract style career with other authentic frivolities.

        I just don’t get what’s special about Driveclub aside from the social element (which I reckon might be boring when it’s point to point racing half of the time).

      • One of the useful things on metacritic is that it tells you how a particular publication tends to rate things compared to the average.

        Looking at those 3 lower scores, Gamespot rates 5.4% lower, Joystiq 0.5% and Eurogamer 6.4% (presumably that’s even lower for Playstation games, since they love MS so much ;)

        Add those percentages on and you go from 71.9% to 84.2% (for those 10 reviews listed above)

        Neither of which is a bad score, really. Quite looking forward to the demo tomorrow now.

      • Can you really see many of those scores making it onto the DriveClub box as stickers to help drive sales?

      • @tonyyeb
        Aye, the #GreatnessAwaits is still ummm waiting

        And for the year delay – averageness does seem a tad disappointing

        @Avenger
        Not sure on the social element is that much a of a seller at the moment, after all Autolog, Racenet & similar have been around for years now.

      • @MrYd: Your maths is a bit off there too. 5/10 increased by 5.4% 5.25/10, 3/5 (6/10) increased by 0.5% is 6.03/10 and 6/10 increased by 6.4% is 6.4/10. That brings the overall average (rounded up) to 7.3/10 or 73%. Not sure where you got 84.2% from.

      • Yeah, not sure where 84 came from.

        But not sure how 5/10 (or 50%) increasing by 5.4% makes anything other than 55.4%, and certainly not 52.5%.

        Actually, I can see what you’ve done there. You’ve tried to avoid the common mistake with percentages and assumed it was 1.054 x 50% as the “real” score. Unfortunately, in this case, it really is 50 + 5.4 percent. (The 5.4 is the number of points lower than average they give it. Not a percentage lower)

        So we’re both wrong ;) But you’re closer to the real result of 73.13%. Round it down (not up ;) to 73%

        Where did 84% come from??? WTF is all that about??

        Either way, the scores aren’t exactly bad, are they?

      • Haha! I see, yes I was doing the correct way of increasing by a percentage, but in this case as you say it seems it means “score” offset rather than percentage difference. So yes it makes a slight difference.

        Yeah the scores aren’t bad but this is a much delayed game “To get it just right” remember and not a single review in that last has given it a 9. Not one. I (and probably a lot of people) are expecting an exceptional game which to me (personal opinion of course) think that those games score 9/10 or higher. Needless to say I’m disappointed but of course I’ll try to PS+ version and form my own opinion of the game; this is just my opinion of the review scores ;)

  2. Aspects that some reviews seem to hold against it are a huge plus for me, such as “old fashioned” career progress and simple choose a race gameplay. I’ve never liked open-world racing and much prefer the opportunity to perfect tracks and events.

    It’s been a while since I’ve been able to pick up a racer like this and I’m really looking forward to Friday.

    • Same here. I’ve never truly gelled with open world racers so I’m still hugely excited for the game’s release.

    • This, exactly!

      Much prefer the old fashioned way of doing things so I’m still interested :-)

    • Now that you mention it, good point.

      I’ve just finished Forza Horizon 2 and it was great, but I didn’t do any multiplayer.

  3. I was thinking this morning I’ll get this but not now. Not until a decent price drop, which will probably be 2 weeks knowing Sony’s recent sale real record. It’s not got really bad reviews just not good enough for me. I’ve got FH2 to keep me going for a bit. I do prefer open world racers anyway too.

    • Saying that, the Playstation Plus price of £34.99 is a good discount – depending of course on your view of downloadable titles.

      • Yes it is cheap for digital. It’s just that after 2 weeks recently Sony drop the prices in a sale. Which really upsets people. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were 6 months. I got to many games already so I can sit this one out ;)

  4. I almost preordered this but I’ll wait ’til Friday and see what I think of the Plus version.
    It’s got some decent reviews but at the same time it’s got quite a few low ones too, lower than I’d have imagined which make me a bit wary.
    Saying that, I’ve been waiting to play a new driving game for ages and I’m sometimes a sucker for good looking visuals so I’ll probably love it.

  5. Nice, generally positive, £35 is a catchy price that has my attention.

  6. Quite a large spread of scores. Some are pretty damning of the game design.

    All I want to know really is does it look as stunning as they say, with the real time global lighting and 5 different types of anti aliasing.

    Oh, and decent handling :)

  7. My favourite racing game of recent times was split second, so I’m hoping for more of that type of game than burnout paradise!

  8. The Eurogamer review was written by their guy from Outside XBox. Made me chuckle. I’m gonna play the PS+ version of this before I commit. I think it looks like a lot of fun.

  9. Reviews are always very subjective.I bought Dead Space 2, which i found to be a massive step back from the original Dead space, yet 10/10 from Gamestm.Never got into GTA:San And. Red Dead Redemption or GTA 5, yet games were drowning under vast amounts of praise.Alien Trilogy on PS1, i really never found to be ‘all that’ lacked the atmosphere of AVP on the Atari Jaguar (a game which it itself recived a wide range of scores, lowest being 4/10 from Edge.

    Burnout Paradise and Far Cry 2 were getting fantastic review scores, doing all manner of clever things from technical stand point, but i found to be simply not fun, frustrating experiences in places, so more money ‘wasted’.

    Think we’re fast approaching the time when we really DO need to move away from clinging to the security blanket of review scores, hell ditch scores completely.A well written review should convey what worked, what did’nt etc and help give people reading an idea if game is for them.

    Just because ‘Paul’ on Europeangeeks.com gave game X a 6/10 (and he prefered generic zombie racer 3:kart fighter edition more) and yet Peter on 7steps to a fitter figuregamer.co.uk gave it an 8 does’nt make either review the ‘correct’ one.

    Industry currently seems hung up on:

    Frame rates (OMG it’s not 60 FPS)

    Resolution (OMG it’s not 1080P)

    Review scores (OMG it’s only a 7/10)

    WTF happened to sheer fun of playing a game, either solo or with mates? and sheer escapism they offer?.

    Blur was a fantastic racer, good review scores, utter chaos online (in the best way) yet so few bought the damn thing we never saw a sequel….SIGH……

    I dunno….

  10. So, 24 hours later, and things have changed a bit?

    Looking at Metacritic, which lists 49 review scores, and rounding them off to nice whole numbers, we’ve got…

    1 review giving it 10/10
    6 giving it 9/10
    25 giving 8/10
    9 for 7/10
    4 6/10, 3 5/10 and a single 4/10

    Pretty good scores really. The overall average is 72% there. But since percentages are a bit stupid (what’s the difference between 74 and 75%??), if we take those nice whole numbers…

    We get an 8/10. Pretty good, and would probably have been a lot quicker to just ignore all the review scores and stick to the score whoever it was who reviewed it here gave it. Oddly enough, Metacritic says that TSA gives 0.7 points lower than average. Suggesting the reviews here are pretty much spot on. (That’s 0.7 percentage points. Not to be confused with 0.7% lower. An absolute 0.7 less, not a percentage. I know what I mean!)

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