This was a game that I was extremely exited for. I remember watching the trailer for the first time, thinking "Wow, this looks like it could be going back to the Underground concept!". Nighttime street Racing, detailed modifications and an enormous city for me to have innumerable crashes in. "This could be the game that I've been waiting 10 years for", I thought. Oh, how I wish that were true.
Let me start this off by saying that this is one of the most beautiful racing games I have ever played. The textures are rich and the lighting highlights everything perfectly especially on the cars. Environments look great as well. Everything is very well detailed which makes driving through the city an absolute joy. The game get's even prettier when it rains, leaving little droplets of water on your car which look so real it makes you want to get a towel and give it a good wipe.
Even the damage on the cars after a major crash look realistic, with the scratches and dents being picked out by the lighting in the most beautiful way possible. I admit that I have spent an incredible amount of time in the game's photo mode taking pretty pictures of my pretty cars in pretty locations. The cars sound fantastic too which greatly contributes to the driving experience
This game has a single player story mode which is decent at best. The story isn't very exciting and doesn't really build up to anything great. The characters are well acted but the script is very poorly written. I never found myself caring about any of these characters who are supposed to be my comrades in this street racing crew. I wanted to care for the characters, to feel a connection with them and I don't. The constant calls from them every 30 seconds don't help either. The story is helped by slightly by the appearances of famous racers and car builders but it lacks length and substance. Even the soundtrack isn't nearly as memorable as previous titles in the franchise.
Now, the game has a decent amount of cars available for the player to purchase and modify. Even more have been added by updates released after the initial launch of the game. The thing I was really looking forward to in this new Need For Speed game was the modifications. It's somewhat disappointing. I was expecting it to be close to NFS: Underground 2 levels of modifications with the large variation of parts for every vehicle in the game. Instead, all we get is a handful of options for each part. I want to be able to choose between 20 different body-kits and 40 different types of spoilers. I want to be able to have underglow neon and change the colour of my engine accents. I want to be able to do ridiculous things with my car like install hydraulic suspension and spinners. I can't do any of that.
The races themselves are, in a word, fun, despite some of them making no sense at all. Why would a group of street races ever have a drift race in the middle of town in an area with heavy traffic? Anyway, the game allows you to set-up your car for either drift or grip. This changes the way your car reacts to corners. Obviously you wouldn't want to enter a drift race with a car set-up for grip. Since it's release, new race types have been added on top of the initial few, the most interesting being drag races which should have been included in the first place.
I'm not sure how I feel about this game. The story is shallow, yes, the modifications are limited, yes, but I really thoroughly enjoyed driving and racing around the city. I love the way the driving mechanics feel in this game. I could spend hours driving around for no reason in my R35, crashing into unsuspecting pedestrians and then being chased by cops. It's fun, and at the end of the day, that's what counts.
You're probably expecting me to conclude this review saying "This is a game that I've grown to love despite it's flaws". Well, no. I'm not going to do that because Need For Speed has one very big flaw that drives me up the wall. This game is ALWAYS ONLINE. This means that in order to play the game, you must have good internet connection at all times otherwise it kicks you back to the title menu screen. Maybe the developers aren't aware of the fact that good internet connection isn't something everybody has or maybe they just don't care. This also means that there are always other players on your map. These other players might decide to join a race which just so happens to run in the opposite direction of the race you're currently in which just results in a big crash. Happened a few times during my 30+ hour playthrough. The faults don't end there. Always online implies that once the company shuts down the servers, the game is then rendered useless. You wouldn't even be able to play it anymore. Call me old-fashioned but I want to be able to still play a game 20 years after it's initial release. The thing that annoys me the most about this is that a racing game has no reason whatsoever to be always online in the first place. At least give us the option of playing offline. I can't imagine that would be very hard to do.
So, all things considered, this is a slightly above average game you can play if you have a good internet connection. It's like a delicious bowl of ice cream that you can only enjoy if you have a golden spoon. Driving feels great as it should in a racing game but everything else just leaves too much to be desired.
Final Rating : 6/10
Need For Speed is one of the most disappointing games I've played in a long time.
- Danial Aziz
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Instagram : @beyond_just_games