The festive holiday period is almost upon us and in the run up to Christmas we see the usual AAA games released. Last year there was one noticeable absentee from the franchise war, Need for Speed. Taking a year out so developers Ghost Games had extra time to work on a reboot of the series which is the starting point for the current generation of powerful consoles. But enough of me spinning my wheels and going nowhere, let’s get some traction and take a look if the latest addition performs like a Ferrari or a Lada?
Developer: Ghost Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: 6 November 2015
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy
The Need for Speed series has always been popular and fun. I am going to show my age by saying that I remember the original title that was released back in the 90’s on PC’s and 3DO. There have been many games over the consoles from the PS2 all the way up to today current gen. The franchise did lose it way a little over the last few years, so taking a year’s break from the market was probably much needed to bring a new perspective back to the series.
Straight from the start you are thrown into the world of underground racing. During the opening you meet your crew, who gives you the low down on who’s who and what you need to compete in this racing world. The first thing that you will notice is that the videos that play out the story is not the 3D rendered graphics that you have come to know. Ghosts have gone back to the traditional Full Motion Video (FMV), which gives a new feel to the game and something I used to enjoy back in the 90’s. Your crew is a group of young, energy drinking petrol heads that will grow on you as the game progresses. Yes the story is cheesy and some of the acting is cringe worthy but this just adds to the character of the journey through the single player mode.
When you begin racing you get given a choice of three cars to choose from that include a Fox Body Ford Mustang, Subaru BR-Z or Honda Civic Type R. Pick wisely as this will be your ride that will help you rise through the ranks of the underground racing scene. There are five styles of racing that make up the core of Need for Speed and these are Speed, Style, Build, Outlaw and Crew. These are the foundation for the game and after you complete a set amount of objectives you then get to face off against real life legends. These include Magnus Walker, famous Porsche collector and Morohoshi-San. In order to get noticed by these great icons you must first build up your rep, which is done by performing various stunts, out running the police and various other ways that you find throughout the game.
Normally with Need for Speed titles you get a good selection of cars, this year the range is more limited. You are only allowed to have a maximum of five cars in your garage and this is where the tuning and customisation comes into effect. You can adjust various setting so that you can set your car up for either drifting or regular driving, whichever the event calls for at the time. Also by completing the tasks and leveling up, you unlock a range of performance parts like NOS in order to make your cars go faster. With an open-world map and being quite large in size there is plenty to explore on a free drive. As you spend time driving around you will learn where shortcuts and the best routes to take when racing.
When you have finished the story you are only left with side missions, which mean that replay value is limited. The multiplayer mode is not as good as it could have been. All modes are online only, even when you just want to play the story mode you are constantly online with other players on the map with you. An inclusion of a local multiplayer would have been good. The racers AI is the biggest issue I found with a rubber-band effect going on. No matter how much of a lead you pull over the racers, the cars behind you appear to just transport and end up overtaking you and you left wondering what type of cars they are running. Visually the game is stunning. You got lovely detail around the city with nice looking wet roads from the rain. The cars also look great and handle quite well.
Need for Speed this year is reboot for the series to gather traction for all future games. While there are other racing games out there with more cars, in depth options and more realistic racing, Need for Speed is just fun to play. The biggest issue I encountered was the rubber band AI but it was not that game breaking if I am honest. If you want an arcade-style racing game then this is the title for you.