Tech News on G4
Driveclub races to victory with 'Bikes'
Jan 14, 2016
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
I won't claim for one moment to be an expert in the world of motorcycles, but I do know a fun game when I play one, and Driveclub Bikes is without a doubt one of the most thrilling racing games I've played in a long time.
What makes this title even more impressive is that it's an offshoot of the regular old Driveclub, which saw an absolutely disastrous launch back in late 2014 as it attempted to take on industry behemoth - and Xbox exclusive - Forza Motorsport.
It may have taken developer Evolution Studios a while to sort things out with Driveclub, but that clearly worked in the favour of Driveclub Bikes, which is available as an add-on to the original game, or as standalone product. It came roaring out of the gates at launch, and hasn't slowed down since.
There really isn't a lot of fat with Driveclub Bikes, but that's a good thing. The focus is on the racing (as it should be), and considering how good it feels as you deftly weave around S-turns and lean tightly into sharp curves, I wouldn't have it any other way.
The game is set up like most racing games these days - the main Tour mode offers numerous races, but to advance to events in different countries, you need to earn a certain amount of stars, or finish high enough in the championship race standings.
The majority of events are classic races, but things are broken up with time trials and skill runs. Don't be fooled by the latter mode - you won't be flying off huge jumps while air guitaring and flipping numerous times in skill runs. They consist of wheelies, stoppies, and speed challenges.
In other words, Driveclub Bikes may not be an ultra-realistic superbike game, but it's still more "sim" than it is "arcade." Purposely bumping into competitors and cutting corners during races, for instance, will net you a costly time penalty.
While Driveclub Bikes may not be massive in scope - there are only a few bikes to chose from, the aforementioned game modes are limited, and a lot of unlocks apply to Driveclub, which may be useless for you if you don't own that game - there are still plenty of different races to choose from beyond Tour.
Like its car-focused predecessor, Driveclub Bikes really pushes the social aspect of gaming. Players are encouraged to join a club, where they can compete against - and rack up points for - fellow members. They can also take on challenges, create their own challenges, forego the (already unforgiving) AI for real humans in online multiplayer, and view replays.
It all makes for a very addictive experience, so long as you are a fan of the core gameplay. I can't imagine racing fans not getting a lot out of Driveclub Bikes though - it's far from easy on the default setting, but it subtly encourages players to get better through practice, and based on my own experiences, I'm confident many people will do just that.
As an added bonus, this is easily one of the best-looking console games to come out this generation. I was frequently awed by the weather and lighting effects, which dazzled me constantly. Although I could fully appreciate the attention to detail and the beautiful environments on a clear and dry day in-game, adding a torrential downpour in the middle of a competition only added to white-knuckle experience (seriously - my hands would cramp during certain sessions because of how badly I was trying to shave a second or two off a particular race).
As a racing game fan, I was thorougly disappointed by Driveclub when it launched (and admittedly haven't gone back since). Driveclub Bikes, on the other hand, utterly blew away my expectations and then some. It may boast a modest amount of content compared to other games that take to the track, but everything it includes is of top-notch quality.
If you're looking for a new racing experience on the PS4, go with Driveclub Bikes and run with it.
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.