Driveclub patch 1.10 went live on Monday and it brought five new tracks with it, along with a variety of other bug fixes and prep work for more event sets to be added later in the month. Although one of those event sets is the Sakura pack, which is likely where all the new tracks will be housed, not having any new event stars to earn didn’t stop me from checking out the new tracks in the time trial and single-race modes.
Before I get into the new tracks themselves, it’s worth noting that this is not the Driveclub you played or heard about back when it launched. All of the network troubles and other bugs that plagued the game so badly that it forced Evolution to give away free content to make up for it seem to be long gone. Everything runs smoothly and all the social features now feel fully realised. Although we still don’t know what’s going on with the PlayStation Plus version we heard about before launch, if you’ve been holding off buying the game due to all the launch wrinkles, considered them ironed and jump in with confidence.
There are five new tracks in all, and each of them are set in Japan. All are appropriately themed with things like Japanese Apple trees, and other such pieces of foliage and architecture that do make it feel like you’re racing through an area that’s completely new to Driveclub. A few of the tracks do this better than others but they’re all visually stunning and all were fun to drive. It’s also worth noting that the new weather effects (which can be seen on the third track in the video we made just below) are available in the new tracks, and it can really add a different and compelling atmosphere to race in.
The first two tracks I tried, Asigiri Hills Racetrack and Takahagi Hills, ended up being pretty average tracks but that’s not to say they don’t have their place in this pack. Asigiri is the big circuit track in the group which can be raced in three different sections. With nice wide pavement almost throughout and big, swooping corners that often lead into long straights, it’s definitely meant for the high-strung cars that can really move and can’t be bothered to slow down too much. Takahagi is a medium-sized circuit that has a point-to-point feel to it, with constantly changing landscapes and only a few challenging sections.
Lake Shoji is where the pack really starts to ramp up, and this is a track that looks fantastic covered in rain. It contains multiple tight s-curves and a couple of medium corners at the end of long straights. Perhaps the most challenging section of Lake Shoji is actually a short tunnel that has a sneaky, medium right in it, and it comes up fast enough that until you’ve been through it a few times, it’s tough to hit just right due to the light adjustment when you enter the tunnel.
Goshodaira came up next and ended up being one of my favorites. It’s a pretty quick point-to-point track but you’ll definitely want to bring a car that can really stick to the pavement as you won’t be traveling in a straight line for more than a few seconds at a time. I particularly enjoyed the medium left while coming out of a tunnel, followed by a couple of twitchy s-curves that proved difficult to master. This is also one of the better looking tracks of the new set, with tons of foliage and hilly vistas.
As good as the other four tracks are, none of them hold a hot tail pipe to Nakasendo, a long point-to-point course that has a little something for everyone and will take many runs to master. From long, fast straights to quick, sweeping corners, and a least a half-dozen hairpins, there’s no time to rest on this track as every turn is a new challenge. It’s layout is rivaled only by how gorgeous it is, with a couple of massive and very detailed bridges, rock walls, and a lengthy and claustrophobic tunnel about mid-way through. It’s also a long track, taking just over four minutes with a Ferrari California.
Overall, the new tracks are all a joy but some stand out more than others. If Driveclub was never your thing, this new content isn’t going to change your mind, but if you’re planning to play it in the future or have been looking to get back into it, all five of the new courses are absolutely worth your time, and I’m very anxious to see what events they pair with them later in the month.