Stefano’s E3 2014 Report Part 4: PlayStation TV – Driveclub, and Driveclub Racing Wheel

I’m actually not a big fan of racing games, but I love looking at the shiny cars. I was given the opportunity to check out Evolution Studios upcoming social racer, Driveclub, in two different ways; through Sony’s nifty microconsole, the PlayStation TV, and then again using a steering wheel peripheral at the booth. Below are my thoughts on both PS TV, and Driveclub.

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PlayStation TV is a small, flat, rectangular black box smaller than a Dual Shock 4 controller. It connects to your HDTV through HDMI, and allows players to play PS Vita games, digital PSP and PS1 titles, and of course, PlayStation Now titles, including Driveclub. In the case of PlayStation Now, PlayStation TV will stream the game from a PS4, and allow the player to play it using PS TV.

As I sat down at on the couch in front of my TV, I noticed that the image was very clean, in HD, but, understandably, not as sharp and crisp as you’d get running the title natively on your console, and displaying it directly from the console to the TV. Sometimes, there was a bit of jagged pixelation in the video feed every once in a while. In either case, Driveclub is a very impressive looking game. I picked up my Dual Shock 4 controller, popped on the headphones, and proceeded to enter a random race on one of available tracks.

When I finally entered the race, I was surprised at how responsive and fluid the controls were. For data being streamed to a little black box who knows how far away from the actual PS4 running the game, I didn’t notice much, if any, input lag while navigating the stunningly detailed track. After a few laps, the race ended, and I came in at an impressive, and not at all pathetic 9th place out of 12. I’m curious to see how PlayStation Now will function when not in a carefully controlled showroom such as E3.

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Later on, I got a chance to play Driveclub “properly,” running on an actual PlayStation 4 system, and using a fancy wheel and pedal setups. This proved more disastrous for my lackluster driving skills than using the Dual Shock 4, and I was reminded why I catch the bus, and don’t drive anymore. With that said, I had a great time attempting to drive my car around the lush track. The details of the game were even more impressive natively rendered on the screen at a crisp 1080p. I can’t be too sure about the framerate, but it felt smooth as butter.

The view was from in the cockpit of the car, and the interior of the Ferrari I was driving had an wonderful attention to detail. The steering wheel felt tight, as did the pedals, but I admit I would often oversteer, which forced the wheel to snap back to its default position, resulting in a few wipeouts that were probably my fault to begin with. I came in 12th place, but I had a lot of fun. Driveclub has a great sense of speed and realism, beautiful graphics, and tight controls. The AI of the other drivers didn’t seem particularly bright, however. They mostly drove perfectly around the track in a line, and didn’t seem to try and battle or overtake the other AI drivers. A few drivers bumped into me when I’d pass them and squeeze into place, but I imagine AI tweaking is on the list of things to polish before the game launches later this year. Evolution is known for making quality racing games (ie, The Motorstorm series), and it’s looking like Driveclub will be another feather in their cap.

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