Attempting to introduce a new title in to a genre forever associated with the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza, Evolution Studios have decided to take a different approach from the normal racing games.
I played DRIVECLUB 12 months prior at EuroGamer 2013 and while I didn’t dislike the short time I got with it, there seemed to be more than a few things off. Slightly-above-average visuals and less-than-average car-handling ability, there was undoubtedly something there… but there wasn’t a whole lot else. Therefore it came as no great surprise when it was announced a month later that the game would be delayed until early 2014. This wasn’t a bad thing, of course, as one could tell that there was something special there, something that was happy to take its time until it was right. So when the confirmation came of an October release date, I was keen to revisit it 12 months on at this year’s EGX.
Within moments it was clear that the extra year that Evolution have had to work on the game has helped. It was a startling change from last year’s offering, with it’s average visuals replaced by crisper and smoother graphics, and cars that handle so much better. Realism is a key in all racing games these days, but you will be hard pressed to find a game just as realistic as this. The attention to detail put into the environment is extraordinary, from the reflection in wet tarmac to single droplets of rain spotted in a headlight. Just magnificent.
The realism extended into the handling of the cars as well. On a wet road, control can become a little difficult, but as I am sure any driver – racecar or otherwise – will tell you, driving around a wet corner isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Especially at 80mph.
Considering it’s underwhelming debut 12 months ago, it has been a miraculous transformation. What started as a hopeful challenger to Forza and a game looking to join Gran Turismo in the annals of PlayStation greats, then turned into a disappointment and in need of major work, has somehow seemingly become the game that Evolution originally envisaged.
The say you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but if these pages look as good as it’s cover, PlayStation might finally have a new race game to sit alongside GT in history.