It’s been a while since fans have had a proper Need for Speed Game – not since ‘Most Wanted’. Everything else was basically roadkill. Finally, 2015’s Need for Speed is a game worthy of the franchise.
EA promised action-packed overlapping stories, rich with distraction based gameplay to ensure variety and personal preference. Have they delivered though? I would have to say yes.
From the get go you’re thrown into the POV story line as you meet Spike, the young speed demon, that introduces you to the rest of the crew. Each crew member has their own specialty and style that link directly with the 5 ways to play the game:
Build: Customize and upgrade, upgrade and upgrade.
Style: Expression through driving. Keeping those drifts long and smooth.
Crew: Ride together with your Crew.
Speed: Pedal to the metal, high speeds, maximum adrenaline rush.
Outlaw: Messing with and escaping from the cops, destroying property… you know, fun stuff.
Complete the individual missions and you get closer to the car culture icons who have inspired the narrative behind Need for Speed. Also, when you win races you get money to buy upgrades but what’s money without rep? Build your rep up by simply doing what you do best and get cool upgrades to spend that money on
Graphically this is one of the best looking racing games out there. The gloomy tones do little to take away the detail from the environment and how the cars look. Need for Speed has taken it one step further and has blurred the lines between live action film and in-game with their photo realistic graphics which enables them to insert rendered cars into video capture (below).
The car on the left and Amy, who’s telling me something about how I should use my tool, are real while the one on the right (yellow), is your car that has been rendered into the scene.
As it should be, there are now tons of customization options from the visual appearance to under the hood aftermarket upgrades and the ability to tune the car to your own driving style – more drift, or grippy for control. I’m a little more havoc and mayhem and the bane of trash cans, lamp posts and bus stops everywhere.
While Need for Speed is still generally ‘arcade’ driving, take the time to tune your vehicle and go for the upgrades. It really does make a difference to the way the car handles and moves. I’ve got a couple of set-ups for different tracks… even though I still cant quite get the hand of drifting but I’m getting there.
One of downfalls of the title though is that you need to be always connected to the internet. This is to allow other players to join your game and hit the streets with you in Ventura Bay. While there are lots of possibilities with the always on feature, I don’t think EA’s done enough with it yet and it also means that you won’t be able to play if servers are down.
I’m still skeptical on the capability of the servers to handle stress once the game goes public. As such, I’m not going to comment on the multiplayer capability just yet – at least not until I’ve had more time once the game goes live globally.
Need for Speed brings back what fans have been missing all these years and more with an very solid range of cars, skinning ability and aftermarket upgrade options. See you on the streets of Ventura Bay.