Some people like to race cars. Others like to make them go sideways. If you’re in the latter category, DRIFTCE, available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, is the game for you. Even more so if you also like to get your hands dirty. Well, virtually at least. You see, this is a game that not only allows you to drift in a variety of real world cars, but it also allows you to tinker with their components and more.
What’s really neat about DRIFTCE is that it you can approach it however you like. If you just want to jump straight into a car and get sideways, you can jump into Quick Race. There you can run wild on any of the included tracks in free ride, or select a challenge to complete. Multiplayer is available too if you want to test your drifting skills against others.
The primary mode here, though, is career. Jump into a career, and you’ll find that you need to be both a mechanic and a driver. Starting with a MX-5, you’ll need to tune it for drifting, starting with the basics such as buying and installing a stock engine then steadily upgrading it as funds allow. And how do you get those funds? By taking part in events, of course.
Head out to one of the numerous included tracks, many set within the legendary EBISU complex, and you can test your abilities across a range of challenges. Sometimes you might have to simply race through checkpoints, but there are other events that truly test your drifting skills, tasking you with clipping certain areas of the track or chaining multiple drifts together and score big. With Bronze, Silver and Gold targets to smash, you’ll earn credits according to your performance.
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Those credits can then be used to either buy new cars or improve the ones you already have. And there are so many options. A huge number of parts are available, both cosmetic and performance, but it’s a shame that you need to know your way around an engine to get the most out of them. While DRIFTCE offers some help when it comes to stripping things down and then reassembling them, it doesn’t hold your hand. Some, then, are likely to get frustrated when they want to switch out a part but don’t know where it’s located or what they need to remove first to access it.
Those who do know, however, or are prepared to put in the effort to learn, are likely to become engrossed with DRIFTCE’s career mode. While there aren’t a massive number of cars to buy and upgrade, there are hell of a lot of challenges, covering both your exploits as a drifter and a mechanic, as well as the opportunity to go online and compete against others. There’s another mode, too: Sandbox. This is essentially the same as career but makes money something you don’t have to worry about. So, you have access to all cars, all upgrades and more, right off the bat, allowing you to run wild.
DRIFTCE doesn’t have mass appeal – that’s a given. For those that it’s aimed at though, it should prove to be quite the delight. The physics are solid, making pulling off impressive drifts all the more rewarding. And the fact that you have to assemble and maintain your vehicles gives everything more of a personal touch. It’s just a shame that there isn’t a little more assistance for those who aren’t fully aware where an intercooler should be fitted, for example. Still, there’s always the opportunity to learn.