Driveclub is By Far the Best Racing Game for PS4
There are a lot of awesome racing games out there for the PS4. From the high-action drifts of Need for Speed to the stylistic driving of Assetto Corsa, there's something out there for every type of racer.
But in spite of there being so many options, one racing game reigns supreme over all the others: Driveclub.
Developed by the sadly defunct Evolution Studios, Driveclub was originally released in 2014. It was praised for its striking, photorealistic visuals that were just as good (if not better) than Xbox rival Forza Horizon 2. The game utilizes the DualShock 4’s controls to give you the option to turn corners via tilting the control instead of moving the analogue stick -- which created a far more tactile and satisfying experience for most players. The game was really only criticized for its lack of couch co-op and reliance on internet connectivity, as well as its DLC structure for extra cars and extra challenges.
Arguably, during the past three years, other driving games have caught up in terms of amazing graphics and easy, arcade-style gameplay -- which is perhaps why the franchise upped its game with the recent release of Driveclub VR. This latest installment has been critically acclaimed for its immersive experience.
Even with the fancy VR component aside, the picture-perfect visuals and addictive gameplay of the original Driveclub still holds up when compared to similar non-VR PS4 titles in 2017 -- and it's currently the best racing game among a plethora of titles available for Sony’s fourth-generation console.
Driveclub is easier to pick up and more addictive than Assetto Corsa
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Assetto Corsa is not the most well-known realistic racing game out there when compared to Gran Turismo or Forza, but it’s certainly one of the most stylish, and receives regular free updates similar to Driveclub.
Developed by Kunos Simulazioni, driving very low down (in a similar vein to Formula 1 games) on tracks like Brand’s Hatch can be exhilarating. But Assetto Corsa lacks Driveclub’s pick-up-and-play capability and the addictive progression with your club.
Assetto is also a lot less forgiving when you crash. Driveclub will dock you points that you earn throughout the race for collisions -- and although your car will get bashed, the mechanics of your car (like handling and steering) generally won’t be affected. And any damage done will not be carried over into a subsequent race. On the other end of the spectrum, Assetto cars will take mechanical damage -- meaning that you may have to restart the race so you don’t trail behind. While that might be more immersive for hardcore players, it's not a very kind mechanic for those who are just trying to pick up the game (or the genre in general).
Driveclub also feels like being in an actual car, as you have a clear view out of your rear-view mirror that you don’t get in Assetto Corsa. And as a bonus, it gives you the option to customize drivers’ faces and even add decal stickers to your car. Casual racing gamers will definitely enjoy Driveclub much more, as it doesn’t take itself too seriously like Assetto tends to do.
Driveclub has more forgiving AI than Wipeout Omega Collection
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The recently released Wipeout Omega Collection perhaps resembles a Driveclub game in the not-too-distant future, when we all drive flying cars. Like Driveclub, the game is easy to pick up, fast-paced, and has savvy AI competitors doing their best to put you out of the race. Apart from its futuristic setting, another thing Wipeout does have over Driveclub is the ability to use weapons such as mines and rockets against your opponents, a bit like a grown-up version of Crash Team Racing.
Nonetheless, Wipeout’s AI can be notoriously unforgiving -- bordering on unfair. And coupled with the fact that this is not a new PS4 title, but rather a collection of titles previously released on other PlayStation systems, Driveclub is arguably the better game. It’s a fresh idea rather than a follow up to an existing franchise.
Driveclub is more customizable than Project CARS
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Project CARS, developed by Slightly Mad Games and published by Bandai Namco, is definitely a game for people who are real petrol-heads. This game takes everything back to basics and lets you start a Career in pretty much any type of motorsport you enjoy -- from fast-paced karting to the endurance marathons of Formula races.
When you start Career mode, you sign a contract, which can make it feel a bit more serious than Driveclub. But where Project CARS lags most behind its PS4 driving rival is in customization. In Driveclub, you can customize the paintwork of your cars, unlock new models, and switch between cars from race to race. But Project CARS is all about the racing -- and as such, you don’t have the option to customize your vehicle on the fly.
That said, the micromanaging that Project CARS lets you do in lieu of customization (such as minutely adjusting tire pressure), could quite easily put the more casual gamer off, as it's very complex and not explained very well in-game. Any driving game where I have to look stuff up on the internet before I play it isn’t something I would enjoy, as I am looking for an experience that lets me unwind after a busy day at work.
Driveclub has an offline mode option that Need for Speed lacks
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With its fast-paced action, incredible visuals and vast array of events, EA’s Need for Speed is a great rival to Driveclub. Need for Speed also has a story mode and urban driving, which does make it a very different game.
However, Need for Speed suffers from EA’s obsession with online play. Unlike Driveclub, which you can play in one-player mode offline, Need for Speed requires you to be constantly online. This is frustrating to gamers who want a racing experience away from competitors, especially due to Need for Speed’s lack of a couch multiplayer mode.
EA’s game also features collectibles that the completionist can pursue alongside the main story, which can feel a bit outdated on modern consoles. Meanwhile, Driveclub follows the trophy system that has become standard fare for games on current-gen consoles.
Driveclub is awesome, but it does lack traditional two player offline mode and locks away an awful lot of cars (and motorbikes) as optional DLC. However, its striking visuals, extensive customization, easy-to-navigate menus and levelling system makes it stand out in the crowded PS4 racer market.
Although the AI can catch you out, it isn’t as unforgiving as other racing games like WipEout, and your collisions won't affect your subsequent performance as in Assetto. It also has a degree of automation for the more casual gamer which professional simulators like Project CARS lack, such as steering and braking assistance.
The fact that I can pick up this game time and time again three years after its launch shows how fun and playable it is -- and in my view, the DLC is optional rather than a necessity (as you are already sort of spoiled with 50 cars to choose from in the base game).
All that combined makes Driveclub the best racer on the PS4 right now. Maybe one day we'll see a worthy competitor. But until then, this racing game outpaces all the rest.
Do you like Driveclub best, or do you prefer one of the other games mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!