It might have been a very early build, but when we saw DriveClub at last year's E3 videogames trade show, we have to admit we were underwhelmed. In another hall, Microsoft was lifting the lid off its launch driving game Forza Motorsport 5 for Xbox One and Sony itself was showing Gran Turismo 6 for PS3, both of which looked considerably better. Drove better too.
We're not sure if this sparked the decision to delay the PS4 driving game or whether it was network based - DriveClub's big shtick is the ability to be part of a massive online community at all times - but from our gameplay session at this year's show, the wait looks to have been well worth it.
We took part in some of the different game modes. A quick multiplayer session through some snow spattered mountains was a giggle, with DriveClub's in-game achievement points making for some interesting distractions during the race. However, it was when we swapped to single-player that we took the time to marvel at the now stunning graphics.
Like many games at E3 - it became somewhat of a theme - DriveClub features dynamic weather effects. That means rain, slow, bright sunshine and other weather patterns happen randomly yet fittingly, and the graphical changes they make on the stunning vistas are simply breathtaking.
They also affect the driving experience itself. Rain naturally lengthens stopping distances, snow and ice make car handling more slippy, and dirt or dust helps drifting around corners.
As well as weather, time makes a difference to the driving experience. One of our races started at night, went through dawn during the second lap and ended with early morning sunshine. The time lapse effect is perhaps a little extreme, but looks beautiful.
It will be interesting to explore the multiplayer aspects of the game more in the coming months. And look into the creation of clubs and the iOS and Android companion apps, which were not available at the show. But from this extended play of DriveClub it will be giving Forza Horizon 2 a run for its money.
DriveClub will be released for PS4 on 8 October.