On Yer Bike appears to be the message from Evolution Studios with the addition of motorbikes to the Driveclub vehicle roster.
Driveclub Bikes is a standalone game for those that don’t own Driveclub or an integrated expansion for those of us who do. As a big fan of Driveclub I found myself downloading it right after reading the announcement and spotting the words, “available now”.
From what I can remember, Project Gotham Racing 4 caused quite a stir when it included motorbikes. It seems that many people prefer to keep the two forms of motorsport completely separate and Driveclub does this to an extent in as much as you can’t race cars against bikes.
The selection of bikes isn’t as wide as that of the cars and there is only one class of bike in the form of superbikes. 12 of the world’s best superbikes are available for rocketing you round the tracks. There are offerings from manufacturers such as Kawasaki, Yamaha Ducati and Honda plus some others which I am not familiar with. You can customise the looks of the bikes in the same way as you can with the cars and you can also choose the leathers and helmet your rider wears.
The handling sticks with the same model used for the cars. There is a nice balance of realism and fun so everyone should be able to play but you will need an element of skill to compete with the best. The car handling in Driveclub is perfectly suited to my tastes and I’m finding the same with the bikes. The control setup is the same as the cars so there is only one brake although you can use the ‘handbrake’ button as you can with the cars.
The bikes control well and need a different approach to the cars. The bikes also need a little bit more finesse with the control pad inputs. I tend to be one that slaps that analogue stick from side to side completely negating the point of it being analogue. Doing the same with the bikes can lead to a bit of a bumpy ride for the rider and some rather unclean cornering.
Many initial comments to the announcement of Driveclub Bikes seemed to centre on wondering if the rider could fall off the bike. I can’t say it even crossed my mind but I can confirm that crashes that would separate rider from bike are handled by a flash of the Driveclub logo followed by a quick respawn onto the track. It lacks the visual appeal of seeing your rider fly towards imminent death or at least, many broken bones but it does at least get you back in the event quicker although you do start from a zero speed naturally.
I always liked the sense of speed in the game and this is just increased by the bikes, especially in the 1st person view. I really wish I could get used to these view points as they are incredibly immersive but they just aren’t for me; I’m more comfortable seeing the whole vehicle.
The game modes are the same as in the main game. There is a tour mode where you work your way up through the different tiers but need to earn the right to unlock the next tier. The races are still a mix of point to point and lap based. As before, there are some time trial events as well as challenges to complete in each event. The only difference in the events is the equivalent of the car drift events. Rather than drifting, these events have you pulling wheelies and stoppies and finishing off by passing the marker at the end at a specific speed or more. The Challenges mode has been expanded to include bikes but there are no offerings from Evolution just yet.
There are no new tracks so everything will be familiar to those that have played Driveclub. This will probably disappoint some and whilst it would be nice to hit a new locations, it isn’t something that bothers me; knowing the track means I have one less thing to worry about as I’m bouncing about on the bike. Evolution want to keep Driveclub going so I imagine new tracks will appear at some point.
As with the main game, the events don’t all take place on nice sunny days. We still have rain, sleet and a day/night cycle to contend with and as impressive as these are, I’d still prefer a nice dry day with clear visibility. To be fair, I have handled the wet weather better than I expected so far.
Trophies hunters will be pleased to see that the Bikes expansion has a platinum trophy and along with the season pass for the main game, it appears that Driveclub now has more trophies than any other PS4 game.
Bikes is a worthy addition to Driveclub. It is a bit more of the same with bikes rather than cars but it isn’t trying to be anything else. The lack of new tracks will disappoint some but the different handling of bikes adds some freshness and it is always better to wheelie across the finish line in 1st place.