Buying games used to be so simple: remember when you only had one definitive edition choose from with a new release? Do you stick with the standard edition or succumb to the special edition with its enticing exclusive artwork and gratuitous goodies? Or perhaps some retailers are offering retail-speicific exclusive pre-order DLC incentives? More often than not, it's a mindfield.
DriveClub is no exception: there's the standard retail edition, the Special Edition, the PS Plus Edition and a steelbook edition. Let's start with the steelbook edition.
First revealed on Twitter, the DriveClub steelbook is only available if you preorder from specific retailers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Details confirming which retailers would be stocking it was never officially announced, but some snooping around reveals that ShopTo is the exclusive holder in the UK, where you can pre-order it for £52.85. It may sound pricey, but bare in mind the standard edition is only marginally cheaper on ShopTo at £49.99, which seems to be a ubiquitous asking price online. Welcome to inflated next-gen pricing, everyone.
With this in mind, ShopTo's steelbook certainly seems like a worthwhile purchase for collectors. If you ask me, it's a stylish-looking steel that's classy and minimalist, with artwork that's far more appealing than the generic Photoshop job slapped on the standard game. It's just a shame it doesn't include any worthwhile physical perks, such as the art book bundled with the Project CARS limited edition.
As for retail pre-order bonuses, ShopTo are offering the RUF RT12 R Pack to those who preorder, while Amazon are offering both the RUF and the Amazon-exclusive Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Black Series Pack. Gamestop, on the other hand, are offering the McLaren MP4 pack as a pre-order bonus. They also seem to be the cheapest place to pre-order the standard DriveClub disc game, at £42.97.
Meanwhile, GAME is carrying the DriveClub Special Edition, which grants you a "foil treated, unique artwork housed in a high-quality card sleeve," plus instant access to five cars with exclusive liveries: the McLaren P1, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe Black Series, Ferrari 458 Italia, Aston Martin v12 Vantage S and the Alfa Romeo 4C. You'll also get 2 exclusive in-game livery packs and 2 DriveClub emblem vinyl stickers.
This is where it gets interesting, however. There's also the free-to-play DriveClub Plus Edition, available to everyone subscribed to PlayStation Plus. Which is probably the majority of PS4 players, since subscription is mandatory in order to play online. It's essentially an extended playable demo, with access to all modes meaning you'll be able to compete in clubs online as in the final game, ten cars and one location containing 11 tracks. It's a pretty generous helping of content, frankly, that should give you a good grasp of the game.
However, the biggest perk of DriveClub PS Plus Edition is that upgrading to the full version is significantly cheaper than buying the retail disc version – it's currently available to preorder for £34.99, which is by far the cheapest edition of DriveClub currently available. What we have here, then, is a rare example where the digital version on PS4 is cheaper, so those who don't mind clogging up their hard drive with digital downloads would be wise to pre-order – particularly as you now won't lose access when your PS Plus subscription runs out. Question is, how important is it to proudly display your physical collection on a shelf to you? After all, nothing beats that factory-fresh disc smell.
Which edition of DriveClub will you be lapping up?