Driveclub: There was a problem connecting to the Driveclub servers…

Every time I boot up Driveclub ,I feel a strong sense of déjà vu , as if I’ve played this game before. That’s probably because I did play a game that was largely similar it was called Need for Speed: ProStreet . Though Driveclub seems to have no secret ambition to be a realistic driving simulator, it matches my experiences with ProStreet on almost every level.

In Driveclub, players are challenged to win races, complete objectives and beat the challenges that other players have put up for specific tracks. These challenges can require you to beat an average speed, rack up drift points, or hold toa racing line as close as possible. Beating these challenges in single player gives you more XP to rank up your character, while doing the same for online races increases your club’s XP score and pushes it up the leaderboard.

At the start,  Driveclub  puts you into the driver’s seat in the first race of the game and does no hand-holding. There’s no testing your skills, there are no racing lines to follow, no weak storyline, no grind for new cars to add to your garage. All you have to do is complete races and fulfil the objectives to gain stars to move to the next level of races. You don’t even have to come in first place to progress through the game.

Driveclub is beautiful and alive with colour, even though it melts away the faster you drive. It shows off the PS4’s power very well and I didn’t notice any performance hiccups. Sound reproduction is very well done and all the cars have their own distinctive engine note. Evolution is so proud of their work that the in-game soundtrack is disabled by default.

Online multiplayer is also a different experience. Instead of hunting for online lobbies, a queue of races currently being started by the Driveclub servers is offered to players. You can jump in to any session you like and wait for the race to start, or you can grab the first thing that appears on the list, pick a car and wait for the race to start. If you’re part of a crew, you can join in to their lobby and stick together as a group.

Unfortunately, for now the online services are problematic and the offline AI is steadfastly dumb. Bugs such as 13,000km/h average speed challenges and regular session drops are all on the list of things for Evolution to fix, but they have been publicly transparent about them, along with making up for things by giving away free content. When things work, they work well and despite everything the game still manages to give me goosebumps.

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