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Driveclub Review

  • First Released Oct 7, 2014
  • Reviewed Oct 7, 2014
  • PS4
Robert Handlery on Google+

Yawning at the wheel.

It exists, it's pretty, and you race cars in it. Such an analysis might be terribly reductive, but it's difficult to work up excitement over Driveclub, a simple racing game in which frustration is common and thrills are in short supply. This is racing in its most straightforward and driest form, free of frills, free of celebration, and free of pressing reasons to invest your time in it for the long term.

No, in spite of its attempts to drive competition by way of automated and player-issued challenges, Driveclub is a short-term game, one that gets you onto the track with minimal fuss and tests your command of the vehicle whose wheel you grasp. Select your race, select your vehicle, and take to the track, unlocking new vehicles as you progress. There is no under-the-hood tinkering, and thus less sense of ownership than you would feel in a game like Forza. Of course, driving a shiny red Ferrari is its own intrinsic reward, and Driveclub introduces you to a variety of slick-looking vehicles and puts them to the test on a generous supply of intricate tracks. The single-player tour includes a race aptly called "Punching Above Your Weight," pitting you and your 5000-plus-pound Bentley Continental against considerably lighter Audis and Aston Martins. It's a demanding race, funneling you and your hulking boat through tight turns that require intense focus and a light touch.

Your initial races won't demand so much of you, but if there's one thing Driveclub's tour has a handle on, it's how to smartly and steadily increase the level of challenge, moving from hot hatches to sports vehicles to performances cars and beyond, all while opening access to serpentine circuits that won't forgive your silly cornering mistakes. (There is no rewind mechanic here; a particularly grave error will have you reaching for the restart option.) When your primary conflict is with the track and its complexities, Driveclub can induce the right kind of tension, the kind you feel when you're about to leave a straightaway and ease into a corner, carefully choosing a sensible driving line and applying just the right amount of brake pressure. It's the anxiety of the approach, followed by the relief of uninterrupted acceleration--that is, if not followed by another grand blunder--that makes for satisfying racing. Eventually, however, your primary struggle is to balance the bizarre contradiction between the weight of your car and the excess amount of grip it demonstrates; whether you're more accustomed to modern simulations or arcade-style racers, it takes time to come to know Driveclub's uber-grippy supercars.

AI racers can and do offer their own kind of challenge, but computer-controlled drivers often behave in irritating ways, causing the game to punish you for its own mistakes. Your opponents are concerned above all else with the prescribed racing line, regardless of which car they drive, favoring the most aggressive possible speeds down the clearest, most obvious route. This lack of adaptability isn't much of a concern early in your tour, but when the cars get faster and the courses get more labyrinthine, AI racers tend to clump up around certain curves and ignore the presence of other vehicles, including your own. AI vehicles prefer collisions to deviations from the line, often smashing into you from behind and sending you careening into the vehicle in front of you, or sliding onto the shoulder, simply because you took the path most appropriate for your car.

I made that club paint job. Don't judge!
I made that club paint job. Don't judge!

A collision or an overturned corner is damaging on its own in any racing game, but in Driveclub, it is even more so. Should you veer too far from the asphalt, or should a collision be too violent, the game penalizes you by temporarily capping your top speed, slowing you down for several crucial seconds. In Driveclub, there is nothing more frustrating than a collision that is clearly not your fault, and the abatement of acceleration that follows. One way to diminish this predicament is to race with others in online events. As of this writing, multiplayer is functional but invites little enthusiasm, particular when competitive drivers edge you off the track to take advantage of the resulting acceleration penalty, or undershoot corners as they grow accustomed to the game's--er--unique handling.

This is the Driveclub experience, by and large, though there are embellishments worth nothing. There are the clubs themselves, for example, which allow a half-dozen friends to come together, design a badge, create a personalized paint job, and invite other clubs to beat their race times--in essence, an elite friends' list with its own leveling system. There's no comparing these clubs with those in Forza Horizon 2, however, a superior game that does a creditable job of making your friends a tangible part of your racing experience rather than just race times with names attached to them. (That Driveclub arrives so soon after Horizon 2's release is not a coincidence that works to Driveclub's advantage.) There are the mini-challenges, too, bite-sized trials that spur you to drift a corner for longer than a clubmate (or a member of another club), or to more accurately follow the official race line for a period of time.

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These are nice, basic features, but Driveclub fails to present them with much energy or excitement, and Electronic Arts' Autolog, the community service that ties its driving games together, is more interesting, more prominent from moment to moment, and richer in features. The dull menu music signals Driveclub's dull overall presentation; it's for the best that the soundtrack is turned off by default, allowing you instead to bask in the beautiful roar of your Lotus Exige. The cars and environments are inarguably gorgeous: Norway's snow-capped mountains bring to mind melodramatic sagas and triumphant symphonies, and the lochs and castles featured within Scotland's many pastoral tracks might inspire you to call your travel agent and book a European vacation. They're beautiful places, but in Driveclub, they are as lifeless as postcards; if there any sagas left to tell in those mountains, this game isn't telling them. An occasional small crowd might politely applaud as you rush by, waving flags, or maybe even holding balloons, but a requisite audience or even the occasional fireworks display do not alone a celebration of car culture make.

In fact, it's hard to find any true celebration here. 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.

Back To Top
The Good
Tour does a great job of ramping up the challenge
You race beautiful cars on beautiful tracks
The Bad
Bland atmosphere, bland presentation, bland everything
Stubborn AI and weird handling lead to frustration
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Kevin completed Driveclub's single-player tour, led his club to level 17, and participated in all sorts of challenges and races.
2709 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for grbolivar

2017. Still playing it and still the best racing game I've ever played on any system.

Avatar image for i_p_daily

@grbolivar: WOW, you need to raise your standards then lol.

Avatar image for Ezioprez9709

Seriously underrated.

Avatar image for pedram007

KVO, luv, miss...

Avatar image for chriswolves1

Funny. His remarks about the AI driving into you or cutting you off. So in other words, as realistic as you can get. Cause most online races have human opponents driving like this. If the AI actually slowed down and avoided you instead of running you over, that wouldn't actually be realistic to a human counterpart.

Avatar image for dani_i89

@chriswolves1: Driving mindlessly into people causes death in real life....nothing realistic about it.

Avatar image for basilabas

I have no idea why ppl are hating this game, I bought this game and I play it everyday, its so fun and has a fast sense of speed. cars and tracks and graphics are gorgeous !

Avatar image for riccithedude

Im happy that it got all that hate, i bought it on amazon for 23 bugs, and its such a fun game, really love it, i learned something from gamspot, i like the staff members , but i dont trust any of there scorings, as they all misleading as for my personal taste !

Avatar image for TTDog

About right... the game features horrific AI, rubber band racing so you can drive a near perfect race and make one tiny error on the last corner and 5 or 6 cars will pass you in a second because of the archaic game mechanics... and then the 7th car along will slam into the back of you and you'll lose "Fame Points" (which are a blatant rip off of Kudos from the Dreamcast game Metropolis Street Racer) for the collision when there was nothing you could do.

Sure it looks good but the bare bones racing is just appalling.

So why can't I stop playing the damn thing even though it's frustrating to the Nth degree?

Avatar image for homerlvsbeer

whats with the pathetic score. only from gamespot. omg

Avatar image for RuthlessRich

Got this coming to me with a PS4 for Christmas. I think I'll really enjoy it despite the fact I don't tend to play racing games. One thing that turns me off of them is how complicated they can get with upgrades and customizations for individual cars. Keeping each one as a showroom model is enough for me. So long as there are plenty to choose from, a few race types and some sort of career mode then I think I'll be happy. A racing game for people who aren't racing nuts?

Avatar image for jaswri

Also I would like to add that if The Crew, after playing the latest beta, they don't improve the driving mechanics then thats another miss. Just saying

Avatar image for jaswri

the game was doomed when compared to forza horizon 2. BTW not an xbox fanboy got ps4 aswell but no games to play on it til AC unity. Back to forza h 2. Once u realise good racing will earn points and winning isnt everything u will enjoy. plus customisation. ok u say i dont care about painting my car. but some do and its there and there is an amazing community that share. So what u got DC to compare?

Avatar image for jilia2005

I dont know what the reviews are saying, I cant stop playing this game... Yeah, when multi will be stable it would be nice, but I really enjoy racing this game

Avatar image for jaswri

@jilia2005 u wanna try fh2 on xbox1 if u like how it feels 2 race. feel sry 4 u bruv got ps4 too.

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

you know whats hilarious about this review?

the games been out less time than forza horizon 2 and sold more lol. it also works out cheaper than forza assuming you have ps plus and want a digital copy.

and are you ready for the most hilarious part?

forza horizon 2 got an 8 by the same reviewer.

thats right, a 5/10 game sells more than an 8/10 game. sound familiar? remember destiny got a 6, well thats probz gonna be the number 1 selling game this year.

what have we learned from all this?

don't trust gamespot, check metacritic and borrow a game from someone or try it in a shop before you buy :).

i agree with most of kevins reviews but i know destiny deserved more than a 6. the only bad part about destiny was the lack of story and repetitive missions. at least it had a story and missions, titanfall had hardly anything to it except lame mp and it got a 9......

based on that, i am confident that driveclubs score is bs.

what i find funny though is everything he says in the full review is right, but his scores don't seem to reflect what he says in the review.

Avatar image for no_one

@Aaronp2k Driveclub is pretty boring. If I had an X1 I would personally play Forza over this any day. Wouldn't mind seeing the return of Project Gotham Racing.

Avatar image for dani_i89

@Aaronp2k Ohh look who we have here!

"A 5/10 game sells more than an 8/10 game" - just shows that quality doesn't really sell. Destiny is a good example.

"Cheaper than Forza H2" - for the $10 or so you save buying this, you are settling for far less in terms of quality. This game just looks better, but it doesn't matter because Forza looks great. Driveclub is all round cheaper in every aspect, especially in gameplay. DON'T STRAY OFF THE ROAD FOR MORE THAN 3 SECONDS NOW. What a joke....

What have you said before? GS is a trusted site that doesn't hate on PS4? Keep eating your words bud.

Forza is just plain better and is leading the way in innovation in the racing genre. This is just pretty colours. I'm glad you justify the quality by sales though. Keep holding your breath for that greatness now ya hear.

Avatar image for jaswri

@Aaronp2k Forza has its own community that will make it worthwhile whatever. I played FH on xb360 for 2 years solid online how many games can you say that about? Let me add I've got a PS4 and XB1 and at the moment all that I play is FH2, Fifa 15 and Sunset Overdrive because I have no games for my PS4 until next Friday when I get AC unity. I got it for PS4 just so it can be more than an iPlayer.

Avatar image for stoney28z

@Aaronp2k You realize most people that were waiting for Driveclub were expecting as many cars and tracks as there is in Forza 5. But instead they give us 50 cars and 55 tracks! With no customization or American and Japanese cars?

I agree the 5/10 may be a bit low. But i would not say it should be more than a 6/10 just for the extreme lack of content.

The game looks great and the driving is pretty good. Very arcade feel with the breaking being so quick. But fun.

Avatar image for good_evil

@Aaronp2k Welcome to real world, where over-hyped crap sells better than unadvertised quality product - this is universal truth about everything. I think Alien Colonial Marines recouped its developments cost too, you saying it is a good game?

Avatar image for erwingameon

@good_evil Not to mention the fact that the PS4 sold twice as much consoles as the Xbox One so it's also more likely to sell more copies of a game. Also there is a severe lack of games on the PS4 so the'll buy anything they can get their hands on even if it's a crap game.

Avatar image for Snakepond1

Hate the review all you want, but this game has got some real problems. Now, the server can't even support the paying customer. Let's not even start with the free version. God knows when that will be out.

Avatar image for rabc2102

I commented a few days back on this review cause I thought it was unfair and that was before I even played the game. Well after playing the game I can confirm this review is a joke!!! I love it and can't put it down and have barely had a race online yet, any i've had have been brilliant so far.... Graphics, sound, gameplay, handling and a whole lot of fun!! And anybody I know that has played this game says the same... I think Kevin might have got a wee backhander from Microsoft here!!! All I know is that I won't be going by GAMESPOT reviews in the future to decide what games i'm gonna buy... Disgusting!

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@rabc2102 i decided that a long time ago man, i just come here to laugh at their scores. i am waiting for the free version, i am not a big racing game fan so the free version will do me just fine. i am most likely gonna get the crew coz its one of those fun car games rather than a full on racer, but if i was gonna buy a racing sim then project cars would be it.

Avatar image for stoney28z

@Aaronp2k @rabc2102 If you can't take honest reviews then just go to one of the many sites that gave it high scores that it didn't deserve and praise them for lying then.

Avatar image for rabc2102

@Aaronp2k @rabc2102 I think the game is excellent, reminds me of PGR 2 on the original xbox which I played nights on end, no tuning just online racing, time trials are well set up too. They have 12 months of content planned so for me it's a game for the future so you won't see Driveclub 2 next year, they will just upgrade this 1.... Yea them 2 games look good, not to mention all the other great titles planned before Christmas... Might need to get a loan lol

Avatar image for reddsouljah

Haters gonna hate -- but this game is pretty solid -- just don't expect too much from it and I'm sure you can enjoy it for what it's worth

Avatar image for bonyspaceman

I give this review 5/10. Having played it last two days i predict a lot of folks uncertainties are going to melt away once they've had a chance to experience the plus version.

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@bonyspaceman i haven't played it and even i know this review is bs. everything he said seems to be correct but the score doesn't seem to reflect what he actually says in the review. you might as well say shawshank redemption is the best film of all time and give it an 8/10 even though its easily at least a 9.

Avatar image for ajayemm

Having played it for the last couple of days, it is a good game, but it can be very frustrating at times. It is billed as a mix between sim and arcade, but you do have to drive pretty well to achieve good things and that AI, my god they are a bunch of bullies. It sometimes feels more like a stock car rally with them bashing into me all the time and I am penalised for things that aren't my fault.

It does look great, not amazing, just great, but I do feel a little cheated as it doesn't look as good as the videos I've seen. It's obvious that a lot of time has been taken on the lighting/shadows, but I feel there has been a little compromise on everything else. Also, I wish there was a sunglasses button as the sun in your eyes can cause some real problems!!

I also have Forza Horizon 2, which I feel is a much more enjoyable experience, but they are different games at the end of the day, each with their own merits, but I do head back to playing FH2 more at the moment.

I wish there was a free roam option to actually fully appreciate the surroundings and why, WHY is there no replay option??

All in all, I'm enjoying playing it, but something, I'm not sure is just not bringing me back enough times to play it with the enjoyment I'd like to experience.

Avatar image for ajayemm

PS - If you haven't already, play it using the tilt to steer option, much more fun than using the sticks! Change within options and controller config, change left stick to motion.

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@ajayemm im gonna do that when i get my free ps plus version :).

Avatar image for salamihawk

This is why you shouldn't pre order games or buy on launch day without first reading a review.

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@salamihawk this is why i used my head and wait for free version. try before you buy, if you like it then upgrade to full for cheaper :).

Avatar image for stoney28z

Sony tried using pics from Forza 5 to market Driveclub lol. Old news but i never heard about it till now.

Avatar image for Mr-Mindcrime

@stoney28z They got caught doing the same thing back when Project Gotham 3 was released to sell Gran Turismo 5. This is a just sad way to do business.

Avatar image for Dantat

@stoney28z "Sony"

You mean some intern in Playstation Middle East

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@Dantat @stoney28z ms threatened to have the us bomb them if they didn't do it. we all know the us are the bullies of the earth.

Avatar image for xikrazyk

Ah was really hoping this would be good but a lot of ppl bashing it from what I've seen

Oh well probably would still try it out

Will be trying out horizon 2 as well even though they are the same genre heard they play completely different

Avatar image for Yoji33

This game should've said 'for playstation 3'

Avatar image for hxce

Now when I've played the game a couple of hours, I must say that I agree with this review. It has nothing else to offer than graphics. The A.I is indeed stupid, the handling sucks, it isn't fun to play really. Even the graphics isn't what they showed us on E3. I just didn't want to believe it was this bad.

Avatar image for ecurl143

@lonesamurai1 @dante9006 Indeed - if you want an honest, accurate review of Driveclub - look no further than Kevins review. Pretty much sums up this game.

Avatar image for dante9006

Is he like the only person who does reviews? Lol

Avatar image for cuprashoe

I'm so, so disappointed. I bought FH2 on release and got DC today because I wanted a good racing game for my PS4 and admittedly I've only had 2 hour-ish on this. Driveclub does look better, It's great to look at in fact but it's just not that much fun the handling isn't realistic to be honest the cars I've used so far all handle the same...

Driveclub More Info

  • First Released Oct 7, 2014
    • PlayStation 4
    Driveclub is a racing sim for the PlayStation 4 focused on highly detailed cars and social racing teams.
    Average Rating201 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Driveclub
    Developed by:
    Evolution Studios
    Published by:
    SCE Australia, SCEA, SCEE, SCEI, Sony Interactive Entertainment
    Simulation, Driving/Racing
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    No Descriptors