Autoclub Revolution: Real Racing Meets Forza In Free-To-Play Browser Sim
Real Racing meets Forza. That’s Autoclub Revolution summed up in three easy words; but what about the other 797? Read on...
Published on Apr 4, 2013
Real Racing meets Forza. That’s Autoclub Revolution summed up in three easy words; but the reality is Eutechnyx’s free-to-play browser-based racing sim has an identity all of its own when you dig a little deeper.
The game packs a mixture of real world and imagined tracks, a la Gran Turismo, and a variety of vehicles from the perennial people’s wagon the VW Beetle to the Lancer Evolution and top end race cars like the Bugatti Veyron.
But what sets it apart from its console siblings is the focus on social. Much like its name suggests, one key focus of Autoclub is the ability to jump in and out of car clans at will.
Autoclub Clubbing Clubs.
You can start your own club, name it and give it a flag, then everyone who is part of it can contribute to a combined ‘pot’ of credits. Much like COD, working with a group of mates to boss it online can have benefits for the whole team. You can still play all on your lonesome, but in a club you’ll take home all the credits of your fellow club members when you hit each level’s requirement threshold. It’s a system that encourages teamwork, even if you’re all online at different times.
That’s good, because there’s not really a single-player campaign to speak of. You can do practice laps to get used to the way cars feel or test out upgrades, but in order to earn credits and XP you’ll need to head to a race against other, real players. Considering this is a browser-based game, though, getting online shouldn’t be an issue.
Outside of the in-game currency, there’s also e-bucks. As you’ve probably guessed, these are funded with Actual Moneys, and can be used for all sorts of purchasing, from cars to tuning parts and paint jobs.
But unlike, say, Real Racing, you still can’t money your way to the top of the racing tree. The level system inside Autoclub stops you from being able to buy cars or enter events if you haven’t sufficiently leveled up through winning races. And though you can spend your credits or your real pounds on all sorts of items, the game never feels like it’s forcing you to open your wallet.
One advantage Autoclub has over console racers is that it’s always changing. Though there are plenty of cars and tracks, the game is never really ‘finished’ and new vehicles are added regularly, while some less popular models are given the hook.
What it means is that, unlike GT or GRID, players will never see and do everything, then wait for the sequel, because it’s in a constant state of flux – without having to fork out for DLC (unless you want to buy cars to increase your collection, of course).
Facebook integration and a deep messaging/competitive challenge system similar to Criterion’s Autolog round out the superb social features.
Autoclub: A Racing Revolution?
But what about the, er, actual racing?
While cars have a decent sense of speed and assists and the like are deeply customisable, vehicles still feel a little ‘ropey’ compared to traditional racers and have a slightly odd sense of physics. There’s also no damage – though the devs promise this is an area they’re looking at.
The graphics, while perfectly serviceable, never truly pop or excite in the same way as GT5 or the upcoming Project CARS. But this is a browser-based title, and in that context it looks pretty good all things considered.
But Autoclub is still in (open) beta, so every aspect of the game is likely to see a tune-up in the coming months.
Autoclub Revolution packs a lot of promise; a well-constructed front-end which ticks all the ‘social gaming’ boxes, while being a free-to-play title that doesn’t nickel-and-dime to death. Under the hood, the racing itself could perhaps be better – but that’s why it’s still beta.
Autoclub is off to a decent start, but there’s still plenty of tuning before this can pull the leaders into its sights. Being a free browser game, perhaps it doesn’t need to. Because as a free browser game, it’s easy to recommend giving it a race or two.