When Evolution Studios finally released Driveclub last year, it was pretty underwhelming. The often delayed PS4 exclusive had a bevy of issues and was lacking promised features such as weather effects. Now, one year later, most of these kinks have been worked out of the main game, and Driveclub has been patched to the point where it’s a pretty solid racing experience.
Even with the patches, Driveclub still is in a bit of an identity crisis. It’s too much of a simulation to appeal to arcade racing fans, but lacks the preciseness of a proper sim like Gran Turismo. Thankfully, Evolution Studios has finally found its niche with the new expansion, Driveclub Bikes. Not only have they nailed how it feels to ride a motorcycle, but Driveclub Bikes is more fun than the core game.
One factor that definitely helps here is that there just aren’t many racing games that focus on driving two-wheeled vehicles. While gamers have plenty of options when it comes to cars, Driveclub is the only first-party offering when it comes to motorcycle racing. Evolution Studios has successfully noticed the hole in the driving scene, and filled it with an excellent game.
Your initial moments with Driveclub Bikes will probably be frustrated ones. There’s a new challenge in mastering these high powered machines, and gamers will be hitting literal walls after speeding into corners. Since Driveclub doesn’t offer up a racing line, players will have to learn by themselves when they should be braking. The learning process is fun, though, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment after you win an event in the game’s Tour Mode.
Tour Mode is where the meat of the content in Driveclub Bikes is found, and it’s broken into dozens of events just like the base game. Players will be tasked with winning races, setting fast laps in time trials, and even showing off their skills in special events. There is enough variety here so that you won’t be racing opponents over and over again, and Driveclub Bikes actually makes each race feel like a big deal.
Once a player has selected an event in Tour Mode, they’ll be presented with three separate tasks to fulfill. These can range from taking perfect corners, hitting a high speed on a straightaway, or just winning a race. These additional goals will give both regular players and completionists many reasons to keep retrying events.
Players will want to complete as many of these goals as possible, since they are vital to Tour Mode’s progression system. Unless you have the prerequisite number of tasks completed, you won’t be able to play any additional tour events. While it can be frustrating to know there is content you can’t play right away, the progression serves as a difficulty mode. The game knows that if you can’t complete the easier events, then it would be a waste of time to try even more difficult ones.
While the Tour Mode in Driveclub Bikes isn’t nearly as lengthy as the full game, owners will know that Evolution Studios has been producing plenty of affordable, and free, DLC. The trend continues into the expansion, as the game’s menus are already teasing more tours in the future. So even if you manage to master what is on offer, there will be even more to play down the road.
All of the other core modes that were offered up as a part of Driveclub return in Driveclub Bikes. Players will be able to take on single events, play multiplayer with their friends, and create their own club of racers. Despite being the game’s biggest selling point, the actual club aspect is still just as non-interesting as ever. You can try to create their own club (and fill it with their friends), but nobody is bragging about their club rank online.
Even if the club aspect falls flat, players have an excellent game racing game at their fingertips. To put it simply, driving a bike just feels fantastic. Taking a curve at just the right angle to overtake a rival driver is rewarding, and there is no shortage of these moments in Driveclub Bikes. This is the first racing game that I’ve played in a long time where I felt like I was constantly improving, and felt great about my accomplishments.
Driveclub Bikes is a sensational expansion to Driveclub, and one that manages to outdo the base game on every level. Riding a bike feels even better than racing a car, and Evolution Studios has completely nailed the feel of learning how to tame a two-wheeled beast. Whether you buy it as DLC to the base game, or as a standalone expansion, Driveclub Bikes is a must-own racing title.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 exclusive, which we were provided with for review.
Driveclub Bikes is the rare expansion that manages to eclipse the base game. Not only is the Evolution Studios developed racer the best motorcycle racing game today, but it's one of the best racers, period.