DriveClub’s launch has been far from vintage. Evolution Studios spent a year priming the release for podium position following the PlayStation 4 exclusive racer’s delay last year, but server issues have thrown a literal spanner in the works. Fortunately, things are slowly but steadily improving, with behind-the-scenes fixes allowing more and more petrol heads to actually play the game as it was intended. And while there’s no word on the hotly anticipated PlayStation Plus version at the time of typing, we thought that we’d tap out some tips to prepare you for the complimentary copy’s eventual arrival.
While many racers can easily be separated into two distinct brackets – arcade or simulation – DriveClub belongs in neither category. This title perhaps best resembles Project Gotham Racing, the vaunted Xbox exclusive by Bizarre Creations, which attempted to fuse both of the above handling models into something brand new. As such, you’ll find that all of the vehicles here have similar characteristics to their real-life counterparts, but are much more accessible than they would be in a game such as, say, Gran Turismo.
The trick to setting the best laps is to, first and foremost, learn your car. Each vehicle in the game is tuned slightly differently, and these tweaks vary more heavily as you work your way through the campaign and unlock faster vehicles. Getting a feel for your chosen automobile’s top speed and traction is imperative, but should come naturally the more time that you spend in a particular cockpit. If you’re struggling to take corners, remember that it’s important to brake just as you reach the apex, and then accelerate out in order to ensure that you don’t lose too much speed.
Much like Kudos in Project Gotham Racing – or Metropolis Street Racer for those of you a little older – Fame is one of the key components in DriveClub. You’ll earn this for practically everything that you do in the game, such as completing races, earning stars in the Tour mode, and triumphing in Face Off challenges that dynamically appear around the track. However, you can also accrue a decent amount of the virtual currency by simply driving well in each race. Overtakes, for example, will net you a points boost, as will clean sectors.
And it’s this latter point that is especially important. Unlike other non-simulation racers, Evolution Studios still wants you to abide by the rules of real racing, so you’ll be penalised for playing bumper cars. Indeed, intentionally ramming an opponent, or even straying from the boundaries of the track, will occasionally see your points docked, while cutting corners will cap your top speed for a few seconds, giving competitors a chance to overtake. The real key to success is to drive competitively, without ever being reckless; wait for overtaking opportunities if you have to, and pick your moments.
As with any racing game worth its salt, drifting in DriveClub is incredibly important. This is not only a great way to rack up Fame, but it will also ensure that you hit corners at a decent speed, allowing you to maintain acceleration as you exit the corner, resulting in faster times. The trick here is to tap your handbrake just as you turn into a corner, and you’ll feel the wheels start to give way. If the corner’s particularly tight, you may want to use your traditional brake to help push you around, but this is going to depend on the bend.
Once you’ve beaten the bulk of the corner, try counter-steering a little to straighten back out, and hit the gas hard to push you out of the drift. In events designed around this technique, you’ll need to corner with as much speed as possible, as not only will you earn points for the drift itself, but also your agility on the straight that follows. As with any racing game, you’ll definitely need to practice this to get the skill down, but once you’ve get a feel for the technique, you’ll be slipping around hairpins like Lewis Hamilton on an ice rink.
DriveClub isn’t a particularly complex game, as it follows a tried-and-tested progression blueprint that almost all of you will be familiar with by now. However, it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. The game’s headline feature is its titular Club format, which allows you to team up with friends in order to achieve group goals. Once you’re a member of a high-octane faction – you can browse the available options from the main menu, or simply create your own and invite your PlayStation Network pals – all of your Fame will contribute directly to that group, unlocking extra cars for you to use in the game.
It’s also important to pay attention to your Accolades, which basically track everything that you do in the title. Whether it’s sticking with a certain manufacturer, or drifting for a set distance, completing these will give you massive Fame injections, as well as some nifty stickers to slap on your car. Speaking of which, don’t forget that you can create your own custom liveries by heading into the Garage section of the main menu, and you can even change the look of your driver in the My Profile area as well.
Explore the options
The game may be relatively straight forward, but Evolution Studios has not skimped on ways for you to tailor the experience to your tastes. It’s important to spend a little bit of time in the Options area at some point, so that you can personalise the heads-up display exactly as you want it. Also, if you’re a little bummed out by the lack of music during races, you can turn up the Race Music Volume to ensure that you have some pumping tunes to accompany your time on the track.
Do you have any other DriveClub tips to share? Have you mastered the title’s Tour yet, or have you been honing your drifting techniques in individual events? Burn some rubber in the comments section below.