Driveclub VR: The Most Impressive VR Racer Yet

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Driveclub VR: The Most Impressive VR Racer Yet
September 16, 2016
There are two types of people in the world: those who play racing games in cockpit view, and those who prefer a behind-the-car chase camera. I've always been firmly in the latter camp, since I tend to play arcade-style games like Outrun and Ridge Racer where judging the arc of a drift is important. But I do admire those who play racers from the first-person perspective, and sometimes wish I were able to enjoy the more immersive experience it affords.

Virtual reality might be what makes this happen for me. It's not like I want a chase cam when driving an actual car — spatial awareness and depth perception makes it easy to judge corners and surroundings in real life. And in VR, you get stereoscopic vision and the ability to look around yourself without even thinking about it. I've played a fair few driving games on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive at home, but my experience with Driveclub VR at Tokyo Game Show has been the best yet.
 
It's impressive that Driveclub runs in VR at all. It's one of the best-looking games on the regular PlayStation 4, but can only manage 30 frames per second, far beyond the minimum you need for VR. On PS VR, it runs at 60 frames a second reprojected to 120, which does feel smooth enough — there's an obvious graphical hit, with several of the game's effects being dialed back or removed, but it still looks like Driveclub.

 

The game's excellent lighting in particular appears to have been largely preserved, giving it a more appealing look to me than the often-sterile likes of Project Cars. The rendering of each car's cockpit is similarly stunning, which goes some way to making me actually want to use that camera view. And while competing VR racing games on PC do have an edge in terms of absolute resolution and detail, PS VR's RGB-stripe display means Driveclub VR has an overall cleaner appearance than racing games I've played on the Vive and Rift.
 
I should mention that Driveclub for PS4 had one of the most catastrophic launches in recent video game history, with most of its much-vaunted network functionality completely broken upon release, so I shouldn't be too effusive in praise based on a trade show demo. But what I can say is this: I played it for quite a bit, switching back between the chase and cockpit cams, and you know what? I ended up preferring the cockpit. When you're me, that counts for something.

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