DriveClub VR Might Be The Most Immersive VR Racing Game Yet
On the face of it, a racing game on PlayStation VR shouldn’t stand a chance against a high-powered PC coupled with Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but after playing DriveClub VR at Gamescom this week, our viewpoint has shifted. Simply put – this is the most immersive racing game we’ve played in VR to date. From Assetto Corsa to Dirt Rally all the way to Project Cars, it’s clear that the gorgeous visual design of the original DriveClub allows the game to stand above its more technically demanding peers. It’s a classic case of software design triumphing over hardware limitations.
Sitting down in front of a force feedback wheel, we quickly adjusted the very comfortable PSVR unit and was immediately thrust into the cockpit of a beautiful Ferrari FF grand tourer. The first thing that sticks out is the quality of the cockpit itself – the materials and modelling here remain as detailed and impressive as the original release, but now with a genuine sense of place. Technically speaking, a game like Project Cars is certainly capable of displaying more detailed, technically demanding visuals, but one look around the cockpit is enough to demonstrate the gulf in technical artistry – there is simply an element of refinement and realism on display in DriveClub VR that does credit to the sheer quality of Evolution’s original work.
Then we look out across the track – yes, the fidelity of the PSVR headset is certainly a step down from the Rift or Vive, but it quickly shoots to the back of your mind once you hit the accelerator. The weight of the car and the way this is communicated within the game gives it a feeling that genuinely took me by surprise. It feels supremely natural and really gives the impression that you’re sitting in a car. I’ve spent a lot of time with some of the best PC VR racers and the virtual cockpit always felt ‘off’, a driving ‘uncanny valley’ of sorts, in a way that DriveClub does not.
This is assisted by the dramatic lighting and vastness of the world on display. The way the sunlight plays realistically off the windscreen as you barrel headlong into the sun cresting behind a distant mountain – simply beautiful. Even details such as the rear view and wing mirror reflections, which are now fully functional, stand out – there is a subtle depth to the effect as opposed to a flat two-dimensional image pasted onto the mirror surface as we see in titles like Project Cars.