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A Retrospective On Earlier Thoughts On DriveClub (And A Pleasant Surprise)

Posted 10-08-2014 at 07:23 PM by cjrizzo
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So, I said this on 3/10/14 after the second major delay of DriveClub PS4:

Originally Posted by cjrizzo View Post
I was looking really forward to this game. Historically, any time a company goes back to the drawing board a) it's not a good sign that what they had was not viable (even after delays) and b) the likelihood of a successful end product is, historically, not going to happen.

It's a shame - this had some unique promise and nothing else on the market was in the same type of space as this game. I would imagine that this is at least a year out now.
And so, I'd like to revisit my thoughts now that I have had some time to [try] and play the game. Unfortunately, the servers are torched, so any inkling of multiplayer is out of the question. However, I spent about an hour offline tonight and here are some quick impressions:
  • Graphically, the tracks look very nice and the overview of the track looks very detailed with nice graphical touches.
  • The gameplay skews very much to the arcade direction, but not to the Ridge Racer or (my favorite) Outrun extreme
  • The music feels like an afterthought - the soundtrack feels very light and generic to me.
  • Controls are good, but I find the graphics in-game to be on the generic side - definitely next-gen, but I would suggest not overwhelmingly screaming an evolution graphically.

Of course, where this game is revolutionary is supposed to be the multiplayer and the social aspects of gameplay, which I am sure Evolution will iron out. I would imagine that this game, since it was originally a launch window title and one of the very few racing selections, is going to be very popular for many that are pining for quality PS4 titles. All in all, I'm willing to eat my words and say that this game holds tremendous potential and I really want to dig into the social aspects once the server issues are resolved, but I am so far walking away with an impression that this game is probably around a 6 out of 10 at present with the potential to become about a 7.5 - 8 once I am able to really explore the intended scope of the game.

And so, I'm writing about this because I am, without a doubt, absolutely blown away by what I have played on the XBox One with Forza Horizon 2. I'll admit that while my PS4 was getting more use over the past 11 months, the XBox One was really looking like a disappointment over the same time period. Enter Forza Horizon 2 and I will say that this game, in comparison to DriveClub, is a far superior experience. Graphically, musically, gameplay-wise, challenge, it just feels like a complete experience. And, moreover, from the moment I started playing I was blown away and just kept wanting to play more. Had Forza Horizon 2 not shown up a week earlier, I might think differently of DriveClub, but I can say that I keep wanting to flip the XBone on to play more and more. It's probably the best game on the XBOne right now and, as an exclusive, a must-have for racing fans. The real beauty of depth in the game is that is allows for an arcade-oriented skew -or- a much more simulation-focused experience (or somewhere in-between). And it really does this well - lots of flexibility for all fans wrapped in a tight package.

That's really not what I wanted to get across in this post, but it is so obvious to me how well Forza was put together that it makes DriveClub feel dated and subpar right out of the gate. DriveClub's hype a year ago was overshadowed by delays that could not possibly live up to the expectations they set when had to go back and reengineer the product. The game presentation feels incomplete but just....generic. GameSpot alluded to this in their review, and while I tend to think they are usually very critical of many games, I think they got this review right. And I can see their salient points.

As with all games in this generation, the constant process of patching and DLC's give DriveClub a chance to really shine in the long run - I just need more time to see if the social aspects of the experience make the gameplay a longer-running, replayable experience. Time, as always, will tell - the best part of these two games is that it shows how multiple platforms (with good exclusives) can keep the industry fresh, exciting, and growing.
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