Cars in video games have been around for a few decades to cater to those gamer’s who are fans of the racing genre and want to drive their dream cars in real life locales or fantastical settings, virtually of course. Many video game companies strive to achieve an enjoyable racing game to appease gamer’s around the world, but a few stand out in the history of racing in video games.
In reality a minority of these games provide an authentic, moderately close to their real life counterparts experience. Some franchises place gamers in high speed chases which have a more arcadey feel to it, such as the hugely popular Need for Speed franchise. Others try to replicate actual tracks and cars faithfully from the sound of the car’s engine to the corners found at Nurburgring’s track. Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are well known established franchises that accomplish this. But there is a new competitor from Sony’s Playstation brand that is attempting to undermine these established games.
The latest entry to join the massive assortment of racing games is Driveclub, a social and competitive game that tries to find that sweet spot between simulation and arcade. Driveclub is an exclusive game for Sony PS4 fans that brings together stunning real world locations and dream cars in a tidy package.
The developer behind this ambitious venture is Evolution Studios, a UK based company that has conceived other franchises such as World Rally Championship and MotorStorm. With the power of the current generation of consoles they claim to have achieved a whole new level of photo-realism. The environments and the cars have been painstakingly modeled and generated with high detail. There are a vast range of cars extending over classes such as hot hatches, sports, performance, super and hyper. Each class obviously differs in terms of performance and design.
The hot hatches consists of popular cars such as the Audi A1 Quattro, Mini Cooper, Renault Clio RS, Volkswagen Golf GTi and the Volkswagen Beetle. The sports class has the Audi RS5, TT RS PLUS, Bentley Continental GT, Lotus Evora, Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG to name a few. The performance, super and hyper cars have a huge array of machines you can get your hands on such as the Alfa Romeo 4C, Aston Martin’s Vanquish and V12 Zagato, Ferarri’s California, 458 Italia, 430 Scuderia. Other car makers have also agreed to license their cars for the game and these vary from the Marussia B2, Savage Rivale GTR-S, Spania GTA Spano, Hennessey Venom GT, Gumpert Apollo Enraged and the RUF CTR3 Clubsport. The cars listed above are just a tiny part of the list of cars that are included in the full game.
Artists in other racing games seek to model the best looking cars they can possibly achieve with the game engine while maintaining solid performance. In Driveclub the artists and modelers have hit their mark with depicting the cars in-game to their real life counterparts. A car in the game consists of about 2,60,00 polygons which is extremely dense compared to racing games in the previous generation. Each car takes an average of 7 months to create from the licensing to the actual car in-game. The features that mimic real life is absolutely mind-boggling. From the dirt and dust that gradually builds up during the race on the cars to the animation and rigging of the aero flaps found in the Pagani Huayra are exactly like in real life. Another interesting point to note is that Pagani employ seamstresses that are on the body of their cars and even have their name etched onto the screw heads, even these nuances are added into the game. The sense of speed that is shown in the game gives it the edge over the racers too.
The locations that are available to race in are Canada, Chile, Norway, Scotland and very surprisingly India. Each country has 11 tracks to test your skills and each offer stunning views. Norway and Scotland have the beautiful vistas you can race by and India has pristine lakes on the side with a flock of flamingos feeding that move naturally. Skies are generated uniquely everytime a race starts so that you never see the same sky twice and clouds react dynamically to wind speeds. Finally if you're racing around tracks in Norway or Scotland expect to see the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights in the sky.[caption id="attachment_3477" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Showcasing Driveclub's dynamic weather system[/caption]Audio and Car HandlingThe audio in a game is another important aspect of racing games that are usually overlooked. In this game each car was fitted with 16 different microphones to capture the sound 360 degrees from inside and outside the car and even a few mics in the exhaust. When the camera is panned around the car, the engine reacts to your perspective and the sound shifts accordingly. Also each view of the car provides a different sound when inside the cockpit and outside the car. The recordings that Evolution Studios had were so accurate that BMW and Mercedez-Benz AMG requested copies to replace their existing libraries.Although not a simulator, Driveclub's handling model is based on real world cars and data provided directly by the manufacturers. Taking this into account a gamer with any amount of experience can easily get started without too much of a hassle. Evolution Studios worked with Thrustmaster, a company that specializes in steering wheels for games, closely to achieve a 1:1 movement between your hands and the steering wheel in-game.[caption id="attachment_3478" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Highly detailed cockpit views[/caption]Final ThoughtsIf you're a casual or hardcore gamer and if you're a car enthusiast, Driveclub will offer an unique and amazing experience for everyone that has a go at it. The game boasts of an enviable line-up of cars at launch, stunning visuals and a friendly online community that will most definitely get players addicted. More cars will be added at later dates as free downloadable content along with a dynamic weather system and a photo mode so you can admire your dream cars cruising along in stunning locales.The game is exclusive to Sony's PlayStation 4 and retails at Rs. 3,999 at most stores for physical and digital copies.