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DriveClub E3 Preview: Gran Turis-who? (PS4)

June 11, 2014 Written by Anthony Severino

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Disclaimer: Portions of this preview are re-published from a previous Pre-E3 Judges Tour preview.

Although DriveClub was announced right alongside the PlayStation 4 back over a year ago in February of 2013, it’s among the only titles shown that day that have yet to be released. The game saw an extensive delay, pushing the release date all the way out to October 7th here in the States. But was the delay for good reason? The answer is a resounding yes.

DriveClub has come an incredibly long way since I first went hands-on with it at E3 2013 leaving my short time with it feeling underwhelmed and confused as to why Sony would lead with it on the PS4 rather than an existing franchise like Gran Turismo. I was so wrong. This new DriveClub was souped-up, supercharged example of racing brilliance fully imagined.

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As someone who adores both racing sims and arcade-style racers equally, DriveClub rides like a dream — it feels like a delicate balance of the two, leaning ever so slight toward arcade racer. But that may be due to the social aspects being so prominent throughout the gameplay and the game’s snazzy dashboard that looks like more of an extension of the PS4’s OS.

DriveClub lets you invite players, send and compete in challenges set by others, has worldwide leaderboards among so many other social features. And that’s just the bumper on this pimped out ride.

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Under the hood, the game is stutter-free framerate smoothness, graphically impressive in every aspect. Seeing DriveClub’s weather or its day-to-night cycles are almost as breaktaking as the environments and stunning vistas that are so gorgeous, it’s tough to not be distracted from the race at hand. The lighting, shading, and reflections are the best seen yet on the PS4, and that’s no easy accomplishment. Car damage and other subtle touches like fireworks in the distance make DriveClub’s races feel electric and exhilarating.

Adding to this ten-fold, is the realistic audio. Nothing makes you feel more in the driver’s seat than hearing the purr and roar of an engine. A quick audio demonstration panned the camera from inside the vehicle, slightly muffling the sound, and the all around the vehicle, boasting how much detail goes into capturing all aspects of the engine’s angry growl. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for them to throw it into gear and let the tires scream.

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I only got to try my hands with a couple different vehicles, and only peeked at the game’s seemingly extensive DLC, race modes, and user-generated challenges, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I found my new outlet for my love of speed and aggression: DriveClub. It was just a demo, yet it’ll still keep my engines revving until October 7th when it releases on the PS4.