Over two years after it was originally promised, DriveClub: PS Plus Edition is finally on the starting grid, waiting for you to give it a spin. The watered down racer comes with all of the features and functionality from the main game for free, but is limited to just 15 cars and 13 tracks from the Indian location. Of course, if you're new to the PlayStation 4 exclusive you may be wondering where to get started. Fortunately, we've got some tips.
Drive like a pro
DriveClub is not a simulation racer, but it's not an arcade game either. Much like Project Gotham Racing, this is a fusion between both genres, meaning that it's more forgiving than Gran Turismo – but not quite as accessible as Mario Kart. As such, you need to remember to brake around corners; feather the accelerator to control your car, and hit the gas when coming out of corners to maximise speed and straighten your vehicle out.
While you can play bumper cars with other drivers if you please, it's worth noting that Evolution Studios' scoring system rewards precision. A clean overtake will award you with Fame, while colliding with another vehicle, the scenery, or simply veering off-road will see points taken away. If you're particularly aggressive, you may be awarded a collision penalty, which will see your maximum speed limited for a set period of time.
Drafting is a great way of gaining road on pack leaders; simply position your car in the slip stream of an opponent to gain a speed and points boost. If you need to drift, the handbrake – which is mapped to the circle button by default – is your friend, as it will allow you to slide into corners fairly effort free. Remember to apply a little gas to maintain the slide, and try counter-steering to get the most out of the drift.
Pay attention to the flags
There are no racing lines in DriveClub, so it's down to you to learn the tracks. One thing that most people don't realise, however, is that the flags around the side of the road are actually corner indicators in disguise. If you see green flags, it means that the upcoming corner is fairly straight-forward; yellow represents a relatively tight turn, while you're going to want to start slowing down as soon as you see red. Try to pay attention to the track rather than the mini-map, as staring at the corner of the screen will take your attention away from the road.
Experiment with the settings
DriveClub's tour packs do a great job of introducing you to the sights and sounds of Evolution Studios' racer, but seeing as they're not included with the PlayStation Plus edition, you're going to have to experiment for yourself. If you jump into the Single Event section, you can craft all sorts of different race events. The meat of this comes from the Environment Settings section, which allows you to set the time of day, time lapse, weather conditions, and more. Experiment with different types for unique racing conditions, which you can then use to create challenges to send to your friends. It's also worth remembering that by tapping R1 you can change the game's camera position; racing in the rain in cockpit mode really is a totally unique experience.
Photo mode is fun
One feature that's been added since launch and consequently isn't well communicated is photo mode, which is really well implemented in this game. To initiate it, simply push the right-hand side of the touch pad when you're in a race. This will pause the action, enabling you to pan around your vehicle, framing the perfect shot in real-time. If you press the square button, you can even take advantage of various different photography features, such as depth of field, shutter speed, and more. And if you press the X button, the user interface will be removed, allowing you to save your picture with the share button.
Sign up to a multiplayer event
While the online aspects of DriveClub are being rolled out gradually, there are already PlayStation Plus Edition-specific events in the Events Browser. The way that the game's multiplayer works is that there are events every few minutes, and you need to 'sign up' for one in order to participate. Once the countdown has completed, you'll be matched with other racers, and will then be taken to the event. Look out for those events with a gold banner at the top to ensure that you have the right content to participate. Events range from straight races to team races and even time trials.
Customise your car
As you move through the ranks, you'll unlock custom livery patterns and stickers which you can use to customise your cars. You have five slots to create unique patterns, which can then be employed both online and offline. Get creative with colours, stickers, and more to really personalise your high-octane fleet – and remember that any Club patterns you create will be shared across everyone in your crew.
Take on a challenge or two
The best way to attain Fame is by creating or winning challenges. These can be played individually or in your crew, and are essentially mini-events with their own unique leaderboards. The more people that participate in an event, the more fame there'll be up for grabs. However, your cut will very much depend upon your position: finish first and you'll take a huge proportion of the spoils; finish last and you won't be banking much at all. The cool thing about this feature is that it basically adds unlimited replay value to the package, as there's always something new and interesting to do. Moreover, you can spend a few hours on an evening completing as many challenges as possible, and then when you return a few weeks later, all of your points will be tallied up as part of a progress report.
If you like the game, remember to upgrade
You can buy a copy of DriveClub off Amazon for about £26.99/$39.99 right now, but it's worth mentioning that there's still an upgrade option available for PlayStation Plus members. This allows you to upgrade your PS Plus Edition to the full retail release for £19.99/$24.99, which is the best deal that you're going to find unless you go used. While we don't always do this, we'd also recommend the Season Pass, which has been continuously excellent since release. This comprises new Tour Packs and cars, and has essentially quadrupled the amount of content in the game thus far – with more updates left to come.
Have you taken DriveClub: PS Plus Edition for a spin yet? Have these tips helped you to get up to speed? Put your foot down in the comments section below.