Sunday 27 December 2015

Need for Speed

Sup bro *fist bump* so I’m guessing you’re here *fist bump* to find out if the new Need for Speed *fist bump* is any good? Yo check it! After taking a year out to spend extra time to develop the game, you’d expect it to come out and be a full-fledged satisfying street racing game. Well, dial your expectations back a bit. While it is a fun racing game, it still lacks in places and feels very much like a game that features a foundation on which the series can start releasing yearly again. 

Out now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and developed by Ghost Games, Need for Speed boasts five ways to play. They are: speed, style, crew, build, and outlaw. While this sounds like the game will be expansive, asking you to play in completely different ways, the truth is much less interesting. Each way is headed by a character which gives you these events on the map. It’s all just too similar though with some of the events crossing over into one another making the different ways to play feel nothing more than a different colour on your map. 

The story attached to these events are delivered with FMV sequences. These start by feeling like a novelty, a different way to tell a story that may keep people interested, especially pre-pubescent teens who sees there are real people living and acting like these. Very quickly though it grates, then it gets a bit embarrassing, and eventually you cringe at every word mashing the skip button. Oh, and they really like to fist bump you and your crew – like in every cut scene. 

Gameplay feels like a mash-up of all the best elements of previous Need for Speed games. The open world of Ventura Bay looks stunning while a persistent night to early dawn constantly gracing the landscape. The wet roads also add to the visual flair and it’d be really hard to not be impressed by what you see. The customisation is deep and crazy and becomes so close to feeling like Need for Speed Underground except one thing: There are no options to add neon lights to the underside of the car which honestly made me kinda sad. They were so close of giving fans exactly what they wanted but just hold enough of it back to disappoint. 

While execution is fun for the most part, the design of some of the game is perplexing. First off, you have to be online and there’s pretty much no reason as to why this is needed. I hated it. Why? A couple of times I was in a race, one of which was the longest one in the game and as I finally took the lead with just a couple turns to go, a player in the game was coming the other way being chased by the cops and intentionally smashed into me head-on. What happened next could only be described as fury tears. I’d also be randomly dropped from the server after completing events and even just randomly driving around the city.

The game is surprisingly thin and lacks legs, like a man who lifts weights at the gym and nothing else (you just shouldn’t skip leg day). Everything worth doping can be done in less than a dozen or so hours. Once the events are done, there’s very little incentive to keep going. I saw the 100% in one of the ways to play and even though there were plenty of side events still to do, I just didn’t care about it anymore. While it’s good to have Need for Speed back but it very much feels like the beginning of another wave of wash, rinse, and repeat yearly sequels that will eventually need a reboot again. It’s can be quite fun but the best thing I can say about it is that next year’s Need for Speed will probably be great and that’s quite depressing. 

I’ve got the need . . . the need for something better 3/5.


Jason Redmond

Need for Speed at CeX

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