Sony had a PlayStation event yesterday to which we were kindly invited, some of the games available on the show were DriveClub & Knack for the PlayStation 4. These two titles are set to launch alongside the PlayStation 4 so I figured it was worth checking out considering it’s likely what many of you will pick up later this year.
As for the event itself, Sony were once again great hosts and it’s always a pleasure to attend these shows whenever possible. Did I mention that Sony make some KILLER orange juice?, seriously this thing was extremely tasty and perfectly blended. Mad props to the person responsible for the orange juice!
DriveClub is the latest title from Evolution Studios who are better known as “the Motorstorm guys” so a racing title from them for the PlayStation 4 sounds promising. Unfortunately DriveClub wasn’t all that interesting, especially coming off Motortsorm Apocalypse which when played in 3D was a pretty damn epic. Don’t worry, I’m fully aware some fans hated that game but I liked it.
Evolution studios has ditched the crazy over the top action and instead create something that feels like Sony’s version of Forza Horizon. The visuals may go for the photo realistic look but the handling does not, it’s not a full on arcade racer with massive power slides but you won’t be punished too harshly for being a bit reckless. It’s pretty easy to pick the controls too, by lap two I was already doing a good job of not smacking into the walls. The PlayStation 4 controller deserves a little bit of praise here, the analog sticks are now tighter and more precise whilst the triggers are no longer s**t so playing something like DriveClub actually feels really good on a Sony system for once.
One of the big features of DriveClub is the whole social aspect of the game, obviously it’s hard to demonstrate this at an event but Sony had a small glimpse of what to expect instead. There were a number of DriveClub pods connected together, Daytona USA style and whilst no one was racing in real time, I was seeing various ghosts and records to beat on my screen. The PlayStation eye even took a picture of us so I put on a stupid looking face to hopefully put off the other drivers but it’s all very reminiscent of the autolog feature seen in Criterion’s Need for Speed series.
What ultimately disappointed me about DriveClub was that there wasn’t anything particular striking about it, there’s some great racing games coming out of the UK and I don’t really know why I’d recommend this over something Codemasters would put out. I’m not suggesting what I played was bad but DriveClub places itself alongside other racing titles rather than above it. Visually the game was an early build so who knows what improvement the final game will see but as it currently stands, DriveClub didn’t look much different than what you’d find on a current generation system.
Actually that’s a lie, Sony had Gran Turismo 6 at the show too and that was running at 60FPS compared to DriveClub’s 30FPS. Again, WHAT I PLAYED WASN’T FINAL CODE. I’m giving Evolution Studios the benefit of the doubt until then.
Be honest, will it suck? I don’t think so but I certainly wouldn’t rush out to buy a PlayStation 4 to play this game, especially since the social features will be pretty barren at launch. How many of your friends are you expecting to buy a PlayStation 4 alongside a copy of DriveClub anyway?
Was it better than the orange juice? No
I know what you’re thinking and you want to attack this game , you want me to tell you all about how lacklustre it is but the reality is that it’s not bad at all. In fact the game was kind of fun for the ten minutes I spent playing it but if I never played Knack again for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t really really be too bothered either.
Knack plays surprisingly enough a bit like God of War if you can believe that, the X button allows you to jump/double jump whilst mashing square deals out the usual basic punch attacks. The right analog stick is used to dodge although you won’t be doing a Kratos roll here, it’s mainly a small dash and I mean small. It’s just about long enough to dodge attacks but I generally used it most to dash around the environments since the running speeds are painfully slow in Knack.
Speaking of environments, I think I’ve seen more freedom light gun shooters than I did here. Again drawing comparisons to God of War, the camera is static and there’s only one path to take in Knack as far as the demo goes. There’s nothing wrong with this type of game but I was hoping for some more open areas, a little more exploration rather than always be confined to a tight linear paths.
One of the main features in Knack is the ability to transform between big and small versions of yourself. The big version of yourself is obviously used for dish out the damage whilst the smaller version is used to employee some puzzle elements such as navigating air vents or walking past lasers undetected. Tapping the triangle buttons allows you to switch between the two at will and the transformation effect is pretty neat, it’s cool seeing all the little pieces fly off or come together although sadly that pretty much represents the graphical peak of this game.
Be honest, will it suck? Knack isn’t a bad game but it probably would be better off a PSN download title. The best way to describe Knack is that it’s God of War and Disney put together so if you have kids, it should be a fun title for them.
Was it better than the orange juice? No