Need For Speed
A high octane return to the import and tuner scene, Need for Speed comes back with a fiery vengeance for its claim in the racing game community. Ghost Games paid close attention to detail, creating a realistic approach to the graphics which picks at your appetite as you roar through the various intersections of Ventura Bay and its surround areas. The beauty of seeing your car drift around corners and swerving in and out of traffic is memorizing followed by the feeling of slamming through the gears (although every car is automatic sadly) is complete nirvana for any hooligan.
Our story takes place in your classic Los Angeles scenery, in a city that seemingly never actually seems to sleep since all the races feel like they happen only from dusk till dawn; a concept that draws you into the game itself, focusing on your claim to fame among 5 different racers, all representing different disciplines in racing. It’s no surprise that these 5 styles are the categories of the type of races you’ll endeavor across, during a somewhat short story mode: Speed, Style, Crew, Build and Outlaw. Which was a bit of a disappointment, we see everything from the protagonist’s point of view and in several cutscenes you’ll see your current car in the background adding that in depth personal touch that actually helps make the story work better. The 5 styles of racing is an engaging concept that spices up the races, but ultimately being an online game, the replay value of the story is sacrificed being as short it as it is. It is interesting to see the drama unfold and how it ties together is well put, but that damn cellphone overwhelms you as soon as you start winning races. Being the staple to receiving your hints to progress through the levels, it’s hard to get around but there is literally nothing worse than nailing some drifts and having the cellphone throw you off as you’re running around the corner. The reputation system isn’t bad either, anything you do in the game that gives you rep builds your reputation which in turn unlocks customization you can purchase within the garage. All races do usually net you some decent cash so after a while the game becomes a breeze as long as you can plan your car builds accordingly and get that extra advantage on the track.
With such an intense approach to attention, it’s no wonder the environment and weather severely affects the traction and playability of some of the tracks, in your advantage in many cases if you know how to control your car. Drifting becomes as easy as just turning, all while maintaining a crystal clear clarity such as water droplets reflecting off the outline of my sticker on my back window as it rains. The way you set your car up is everything, starting from the traction all the way to how it drives is in your hands. Knock that accelerator up to handle a track with a lot of turns and vice versa with top speed for straight away, it gives you that feeling of satisfaction knowing the changes you make actually affect how you do in the game and it is a feat done well with this title. I’m happy to say that customizing cars is fun once again with a Need for Speed title. Although we aren’t given a whole lot to play with, the templates we are given can be stack and distorted to perfection and that is fine by me. Anything that isn’t preset and you can fully design yourself has always been a fun aspect of racing games.
During my play period I played several daily challenges which basically gives you a challenge to complete for extra cash and reputation, but what really stuck out for me was time period after Thanksgiving where the game actually gave you real time discounts (15%) on all the parts which I really appreciated because not many games capitalize on something that gives back to the gamer. Being online really draws the line with the future, online as you know is only as good as the servers and who’s to say how long that could be. With a rise of incomplete online only games filtering into the market, it’s hard to say how many people will support it to give the servers a reason to stay operational. It is unique being able to drive and randomly challenge a player by a click of a button but sometimes it becomes a nuisance trying to avoid them driving towards you while you compete in a race. I’ve play several matches where they would strike my opponents in the race and I would experience the rubber band” glitch where I would get a considerable lead on a racer and within seconds they are catching up. Crashing can be very consequential in racing, and often against skilled racers it’s game over but with this “rubber band” glitch the computer racer would catch up and cause several rage quits out of pure frustration. It really sucks that it’s automatic only, the manual clutch is very crucial in “providing that extra detail for me, but with this game the way it sucks you in and how it plays off your experience basically balances it out. The driving to begin with is a acquire taste but once you get used to it , it becomes second nature and soon you’re destroying timed challenges left and right. To spice up the routine feeling that eventually may start to happen, police are sprinkled here and there to help with the Outlaw part of the game and to give you an even further addition into the realm of realism. Cops pull you over for speeding, destruction and much more and try their best to take you down. Although with my 12+ hours I have crashed many times while in pursuit and have yet to be “taken down” I did find it quite annoying that crashing actually did nothing besides give you an excuse to go to your garage to get a fresh paint job for those finish line photos.
Final thoughts and grade:
GAMERS PANTHEON SCORE 85%
My biggest issues are as follows: the online only, the lack of a manual option and the “rubber band” glitch. “Rubber Banding” is a hidden feature where the AI will continue catch up to you without consequence to crashing. It is meant to keep the player interested and challenged in races where normally the player would be winning by a landslide. When properly executed, it maintains a consistent challenge for the player to experience from start to end, but when done improper it creates an issue. The issue stands where the game seemingly bends its own rules to allow for the A.I. to constantly be at an advantage, so no matter how fast your car is, you’re almost always a crash away from losing the race. That type of mindset sucks for racing and in a way jeopardizes the fun factor later in the game where you begin racing cars with high top speeds and on harder difficulties. There are many rumors floating around and it is noted that a update is coming to patch this issue, so by the time this article releases it may have already been fixed, I hope it’s sooner than later.
I can take the clunky jumps or bugs that occasionally pop up, but the lack of a true single player campaign takes away a touch of home, especially knowing that eventually down the road it will be a useless disc if the servers are no longer running. Any racer that uses the manual with clutch knows exactly why it’s important to have, with this game and how it plays it’s hard to go against it in a negative manner because it’s a really fun driver as you would expect from a Need for Speed game but in my books it’s a mark against it in that area. PLEASE let the rumors be true about a patch coming up because the anger from winning the entire race but barely because the opponent is unstoppable is one of the most annoying feelings in the world. Second to losing to a NPC because you can’t pass them for longer than a few seconds even after you get dirty and run them into a wall. There is a lot of fun in customizing the game to your liking and allowing yourself to just be sucked in and involved in the story. It’s easy to want to get swept up in the racing but you might as well savor what little of a story there is to get the most bang for your buck.
Cody J Dull
XBL- xI am Omega