The gaming world is abuzz with early love for the Playstation 4, if the water-cooler talk around the 2013 E3 conference are anything to go by. Much of this has to do with the vast potential of the new Sony hardware, though the announced price of $399 caught a lot of folks off guard in a nice way, and lots of potential Xbox One customers have been turned off by that system's always-on Internet connection and its lack of support for used games. If we look simply at the here and now of driving games, however, with no Gran Turismo 6 announced yet for PS4, the new system will rely heavily on DriveClub as it's opening salvo for racing gamers.
We sat down for a few quick laps of DriveClub, and came away mildly entertained, but without feeling as though we had a real grasp of what the title will deliver at launch.
As with all of the new-system games, DriveClub is lovely to look at, with flowing and detailed environments surrounding accurately architectured vehicles. After watching the initial teaser trailers for the game, we expected something closer to real-life fidelity in terms of style, however – our demo included games that were stickered up and wearing game-branded liveries. Questionable digital paint jobs aren't a deal-breaker, to be sure, but they did speak to a game that was slightly more arcade-racery than we'd expected.
The physics behind the Audi R8 that we selected to drive were convincing, even if they didn't live up to those we tasted in both GT6 and the newest Forza. Instead, DriveClub seems poised to make its way with expanded options for social and networked racing. Huge numbers of racers will be supported simultaneously, and the Playstation 4 camera will allow you to upload your own pictures with which to tag your cars. (In our demo, this meant a sort of digital Polaroid hanging off the rear bumper of competitor cars, but we're hoping for more advanced options, as well.)
All in, the gameplay was entertaining, but didn't blow our minds for a completely new title. We'll reserve our judgment for playing the full version, however, as DriveClub does seem poised to do it's best work in a sort of massively multi-player environment.