Driveclub

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Driveclub
Driveclub box art.jpg
Developer(s) Evolution Studios
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) Paul Rustchynsky
Col Rodgers
Producer(s) Nadia Ankrah
Designer(s) Simon Barlow
Programmer(s) Kieran D'Archambaud
Scott Kirkland
Artist(s) Alex Perkins
Composer(s) Hybrid
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Release date(s)

‹See Tfd›

Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Driveclub (stylised as DRIVECLUB and sometimes stylised as #DRIVECLUB) is a 2014 racing video game for the PlayStation 4, developed by Evolution Studios and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Driveclub was announced during the PlayStation 4 press conference on 20 February 2013, and, after several delays, was released in October 2014.[2][3][4][5]

Driveclub is a racing game in which players compete in racing events around the world in a variety of different fashions. Players can compete in clubs with other players, earning a reputation as one of the best clubs, and leveling up to unlock better items. Another game mode is tour, essentially a campaign mode. Players can compete in standard races, as well as time trials, drifting events, and championship tournaments, which may take place in Norway, Canada, Scotland, India, Japan, and Chile. Players may customize their car, their club, or their driver, and may complete optional challenges during events. A weather system and day-night cycle is also in place.

Driveclub was released to a fairly mixed critical reception. Critics praised the visuals, sound design, and the controls, but criticized the online playability, the inconsistent AI and a lack of gameplay variety. As of July 2015, the game has reached 2 million copies sold, becoming one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 video games.

A VR version of Driveclub was announced by Sony Interactive Entertainment and was released on 13 October 2016 as one of launch titles of PlayStation VR for Japan.[6]

Gameplay[edit]

Driveclub is a road racing game in which players compete in races around the world in several different game modes. A major focus of the game is the club aspect. Players may join a club or create their own and will compete against other clubs to ultimately see whose club is the best. Clubs consist of up to six players. Players complete challenges together representing their club and earn fame and XP. The player earns fame by driving well and completing challenges. Fame determines the player's level as well as the club level. As the player levels up, they automatically unlock items, such as new vehicles, accolades, or colour schemes.[7] Every team member's action contributes to the club's overall success.[8]

The game's tracks and environments are inspired by real places in diverse regions across the globe, such as Norway and India.[9] Driveclub features dynamic weather such as rain and snow, and a day-night cycle. Each rain drop has realistic behaviour.[10][11]

There are three main game modes in Driveclub; tour, single event and multiplayer. Tour is a campaign mode where single-player events set in various locations can be played using the allocated cars.[12] A set of objectives are present and can be tackled during the events. In the single event game mode, players choose what event they would like to play (drift, sprint, race or time-trial) and have the freedom to select the location, weather and other options.[13] The multiplayer game mode revolves around competition and co-operation with real life players. Players can complete challenges with social leaderboards, play with clubs, and play online races.[14] There are a total of 50 cars available initially, as well as over 60 more cars that can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store for free or with a charge.[15] The cars are split into five categories based on their in-game stats: hot hatch, sports, performance, super and hyper. Each car can be customized with paintjobs and stickers.[16]

Development[edit]

Durante Gamescom (2014)

On 18 October 2013, Sony announced that Driveclub would be delayed until early 2014. In a statement posted on the PlayStation Blog, the company states that, "SCE Worldwide Studios and the team at Evolution Studios have made the difficult decision to delay the release of Driveclub and Driveclub PlayStation Plus Edition until early 2014," Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida explained. "Driveclub will be a truly innovative, socially connected racing game, but the team requires more time in order to deliver on their vision – and I'm fully confident the game will surpass your expectations."[17]

On 10 March 2014, PlayStation Software Product Development Head Scott Rohde mentioned in an interview with IGN that the title has met further delays with the following statement: "What I will say is that it all comes back to that fundamental principle, and that’s that we want to build great games, and we really don't want to release a game before it's ready." Rohde or any other Sony representative could not at the time give a more specific release date but hinted that it might take a while referring to that the game has "gone back to the drawing board".[18]

Although Evolution Studios did experiment with Sony's Project Morpheus, the final game does not support virtual reality.[19]

On 30 April 2014, game director Paul Rustchynsky stated that the delay was caused by the game's "dynamic menu". This menu allows players to quickly navigate from menu to menu, join clubs, race, and perform many other activities within the game.[20]

In early September 2014, Evolution Studios announced a downloadable content (DLC) Season Pass. The pass introduces 11 new courses, 23 new events, and a new car every month until June 2015 (later extended to July 2015). The DLC is both paid, and free.[1][21]

Cars in the game contain an average of 260,000 polygons.[22] Before release, Evolution Studios had confirmed that Driveclub runs at resolution of 1080p and would be capped at 30 frames per second.[23]

Post-release updates[edit]

Driveclub launched in North America on 7 October 2014, Europe on 8 October 2014, and the United Kingdom on 10 October 2014. However, the game suffered from severe online issues at launch.[24] Evolution Studios had released the first premium DLC, which was originally to be pay-to-download, for free to affected players in November.[25] PlayStation UK executive Fergal Gara apologized following the marred launch of the game.[26]

On 8 December 2014, Sony released a weather patch which added dynamic weather to the game. The feature was delayed up to two months after launch to include all improvements to the weather that the developers wanted.[21][27]

In January 2015, Evolution Studios released a new patch that brought several new features to the game, with the most significant one being the introduction of Japan. A total of 5 tracks were added, including Lake Shoji and Nakasendo.[28]

On 1 April 2015, as a tribute to the MotorStorm racing game series, Evolution Studios released a free special DLC pack containing the Wombat Typhoon from the very game series.[29]

On 22 March 2016, Evolution released their final DLC pack for the game, "Finish Line", which includes events named "Clocking Off" and "The Long Goodbye". On the same day, Sony announced that Evolution will be shut down.[30] Future updates for the game will be created by other Sony studios.[31]

PlayStation Plus Edition[edit]

Driveclub: PlayStation Plus Edition was a version of the game that was available for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers. It came with all the game modes and online capabilities of the paid version, but had a limited number of cars and locations available to the player. The PlayStation Plus Edition was originally set to be released on the same date as the full version of Driveclub, but was delayed to ease the load and traffic to the servers.[32][33] On 31 October 2014, Sony announced that the PlayStation Plus Edition would be postponed until further notice.[34] The Edition was released on 25 June 2015,[35] but has since been removed as of 6 October 2015.[36]

Driveclub Bikes[edit]

Driveclub Bikes is a standalone expansion for Driveclub and was released on 27 October 2015.[37] The expansion focuses on "superbike racing", and features a new Tour, a new gameplay mode, new challenges and new events. Similar to the main game, the motorbike and the rider can be customized, and the player's result in each race changes the reputation of their club.[38] The expansion initially contains 12 bikes, including the KTM 1190 RC8R, and Superbike World Championship winning bikes such as the Yamaha YZF-R1 and Honda CBR1000RR. There are also 8 bikes available through free update or expansion packs.

Driveclub VR[edit]

Driveclub VR is a new release of the original PS4 exclusive, Driveclub. However this edition features Virtual Reality, as it is only compatible with the PlayStation 4's Virtual Reality headset.

Soundtrack[edit]

Driveclub Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Hybrid
Released 7 October 2014
Genre Electronica, trip hop, breakbeat, progressive trance, drum and bass, big beat
Length 2:03:14

The official soundtrack for the game was produced by Hybrid. The soundtrack was released on iTunes on 7 October 2014, and includes remixes by Noisia, Fred V & Grafix and DJ Shadow.[39]

The in-game music is turned off by default. This is done to place emphasis on the sound design of the cars.[40]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 71%[41]
Metacritic 71/100[42]
Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 8/10[43]
Destructoid 7.5/10[44]
Edge 7/10[45]
Eurogamer 6/10[46]
Game Informer 7.75/10[47]
Game Revolution 3/5 stars[48]
GameSpot 5/10[50]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[49]
GameTrailers 8.6/10[51]
Giant Bomb 2/5 stars[52]
IGN 7.9/10[53]
Joystiq 3/5 stars[54]
Play 77%[55]
Polygon 7.5/10[12]
VideoGamer.com 8/10[56]

Driveclub received mixed reviews. It received an aggregated score of 71% on GameRankings based on 54 reviews[41] and 71/100 on Metacritic based on 84 reviews.[42] Justin Towell from GamesRadar gave the game an 8/10, praising its challenge system, accessible handling and beginner-friendly gameplay, saying "it's a big deal for a modern racing game to have enough faith in its core handling to eschew driving assists." He criticized the weak damage and characterized crashes as unsatisfying. He also discouraged playing unconnected, adding "Never have I seen such a dull, lifeless and formulaic single-player mode transformed so spectacularly by online connectivity."[49] Dale North from Destructoid gave the game a 7.5/10, praising its responsive, satisfying control and impressive sounds, as well as highly detailed environments, while criticizing the lack of replay value, constant AI car bashing and crashing in single-player and infrequent weird visual bugs in the in-car views, but still summarized the game as "has enough to offer over other new and upcoming racing alternatives out there."[44]

Ludwig Kietzmann of Joystiq also praised the stunning environments and excellent sound design. However, he also criticized the abusive AI cars and considered them ruin the whole single-player experience because players often get bumped, smashed and shoved off the road repeatedly. He also criticized the lack of difficulty options.[54] Luke Reilly of IGN gave the game a 7.9/10. He praised its great sense of speed and graphics, which is described as "the best-looking racing game ever seen on a console", but criticized the overly aggressive and frustrating AI grates and the difficult drifting when compared to the accessible handling, but still summarized the game as "a modest, conventional arcade racer rather than the sprawling, open-world types we commonly see today".[53] John Robertson from Computer and Video Games gave the game a 8/10, also praising its graphics and the Clubs system, but criticizing the lack of variety in race types and challenges, as well as the arcade-handling, as he described it "sits at odds with the purity of available events".[43]

However, GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd gave the game a 5/10. He praised the attractive cars and race tracks featured, but criticized the soundtrack and the overall presentation of the game. He also praised the graphics of the game, but stated that the environment and the surroundings are "as lifeless as postcards".[50] Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann gave the game a 2/5, praising its leaderboards, lighting and graphics, but criticizing the confusing menu, overly mechanical AI drivers, weirdly grippy car handling and lack of fun element. He summarized the game as "a weird throwback to the old, dark days of console driving games".[52]

Post launch, Evolution Studios continued to support their game with 18 months of free content updates and an extensive DLC Season Pass and as a result GamesRadar re-reviewed the game and changed their review score to 4.5/5. After the sudden closure of developer Evolution Studios on 22 March 2016, GamesRadar also published an article stating their confusion as to why this occurred,[57] sating that the studio was failed by 'public perception' after its rocky launch. It continued to expand by praising the game and it's development turn around: "Evolution Studios delivered arguably the finest collection of post-release content gaming has ever seen. Certainly any driving game.", "a photo mode worthy of release as a standalone tech demo." and "The best damn wet weather effects in all of gaming" were some of the praises given. On 31 October 2016, Driveclub received what was presumably it's last update adding 15 new tracks and reverse variants of them from the recently released Driveclub VR.[58] At the release of this Eurogamer and VideoGamer.com published articles saying farewell to the game. Eurogamer called it "the PS4 launch disaster that became a racing great"[59] whilst VideoGamer called it "an exhilarating, gorgeous, feature rich, and addictive racer that will likely be looked back on as one of this generation's finest games",[60] both articles acting with the basis of how the game was a complete turnaround from its initial launch on 7 October 2014.

Sales[edit]

Despite mixed reviews, Driveclub has sold over 2 million copies as of 31 July 2015.[61]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]