Need For Speed

EA’s Need For Speed reboot places you in a perpetual rainy night, the kind of setting you’d expect from a b-grade horror film. A cliched setting that lends itself to slippery driving and, yes, drifting. But worry not, Need For Speed promises five different ways to pay, and that, much like the promise of a great game, isn’t quite true. Five ways to play means five different racing styles, which puts it far below most other racing games.

But the perpetual night and near empty city streets are not the most bemusing feature for this so called re-boot, it’s EA’s insistence on an always connected online experience that only throws you a handful of players into a given game, spreading them so far across the maps as not to really give you any choice for a impromptu race.

Now I’m starting to sound like a hater. I’m not. I’m a long time fan of the series, from way back on the original Playstation, where it was THE racing game. The big issue for Need For Speed is that whilst other racing games have evolved, it hasn’t. More an more racing games have gone for a more realistic feel whilst still keeping things fun, Forza even adopted a more arcady spin-off Forza Horizon that embraced street culture, but this still had cars that handled like you expected cars to handle. On a dark and rainy night in Need For Speed land, you can speed into a corner, taking too much speed and slam on the brakes, giving you more turning power (so much that I often crashed into the apex) rather than having you loose control on the slick rain drenched corner.

It just doesn’t feel right. Being able to negotiate tight corners with no real driving physics gives the game little depth. But then depth probably isn’t what EA was looking for, especially as they’ve pretty much stolen the whole original Fast And Furious storyine, minus the undercover cop bit. The fully acted out cut scenes are so cliched and dreary as to make you want to claw your eyes out, and barely ever relate to whats going on in the game, which like many other open world games involves traveling to your chosen destination and triggering that mission.

The cars, whilst handling like twitchy jelly, do look nice, though visual stuttering which could be a side effect of EA’s always online instance do break the visual pleasure form time to time. The city itself is slick, though monotonous after a while, and the police who have played big parts in other Need For Speed games are as rare as the rest of the nocturnal population of this sleepy city. When they finally do put on the blue and reds, the chase is hardly that, as these small town rookie cops can be lost just by making a couple of sharp turns.

When it comes down to it, there will be a market for this game, some people will love the way the cars handle and the customisation options, but in a marketplace where there are plenty of options, this would be the last game I would recommend to people who fell the need, the need for speed.

Reviewed on: XBox One

Rating: M Mature themes and coarse language.

Reviewed by: Jonathan



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