When Sony announced the PlayStation 4 in February, one of the games highlighted during its showcase was DriveClub, a new racing game built around an interesting social gaming premise.
Now that E3 has arrived, a playable version is available for hands-on so it's natural that it was one of the first titles we at Pocket-lint made a bee-line for. We love a good driving game, we do.
It must be pointed out that the playable build of DriveClub appearing at E3 is just 35 per cent complete. That may seem odd considering that it is one of the PS4 launch titles, and will have to be finished and polished in time for a prospective November release, but clearly Evolution Studios is busy beavering away behind the scenes to hit its deadlines.
Hopefully, one of the things to improve will be the overall aesthetic. It's probably unfair that it is sharing the show floor with stablemate Gran Turismo 6, but that current-generation title looks better than this next-generation one. They play remarkably different, however. And polished or not, DriveClub's core is as interesting as they come.
The brief two laps playable at E3 feature many of the elements that we expect to set this particular racer apart. It is a social game in that it is best experienced with others, although, as the demo proves, not necessarily at the same time.
Players in the demo actually race solo, even though eight machines are linked. There are set challenges along the track, such as a drifting zone or average speed test, and the best each of your rivals perform becomes your head-to-head goal, even if they completed them considerably before you.
Another social aspect is that, should a next-gen PlayStation Eye be attached, each player's actual mug shot is pasted on to the back of their car - even when just in ghost mode. That way you can really see who you're trying to beat.
Truth be told, the gameplay is more Ridge Racer than GT or Forza, even though there will be plenty of cars to unlock and drive. Drifting is slippy, and the game takes a while to get used to, but we can't wait to find out how many more social gaming tricks are up Evolution's sleeve for the final release.
If this is just 35 per cent complete, there's 65 per cent's worth of reasons to keep a keen eye on DriveClub.