When Electronic Arts or EA as they’re more affectionately known as announced that they were going to reboot the Need for Speed series, I was skeptical. This was a series that the company built from the ground up, with several great games in the series (NFS: Most Wanted, NFS: Hot Pursuit), with equally the amount of really bad entries (NFS: The Run, NFS: Undercover) and I wasn’t sure what to think. It seemed that EA had hit a rut when it came to their once beloved racing series and I wasn’t sure that the company had it in them to produce a new Need for Speed title that would capture the grace of their past hits.
Game Name: Need for Speed (Xbox One reviewed)
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 3, 2015 (PS4,Xbox One) 2016 (PC)
However at the same time I wanted to see what EA and Ghost could do, especially since this new title was going to be developed solely for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, which removed the older generation of consoles from the equation and would allow the developers to focus on the current generation of consoles and the PC.
The question is, did they succeed with this reboot?
Just like their previous Need for Speed title, Need for Speed: Rivals, the game is handled completely online. As soon as you start the game, you’re placed in a multiplayer lobby, and I wasn’t a fan of that. Especially since my life doesn’t revolve playing a racing game online, and what’s more, if I’m in the middle of a race I don’t have the option to pause the game. So that means that if something is happening and requires me to leave the game for a moment, then I just went from doing great to I lost the race due to the doorbell or my cat catching fire or something. This is definitely the game’s greatest flaw.
Don’t expect much from the story, in fact, you should never expect much story from any of EA’s Need for Speed titles. This time around, you play the part of a young street racer who at the start of the game, joins up with a local street racing crew. From there he works his way from the bottom to the top (like Drake) to prove his street cred and earning REP to level up.
Though the story does attempt to provide the game with some colorful characters and personality at you, they didn’t come across as something I’d recall after I turned off the game. It’s not that I didn’t dislike them, I just didn’t care for them and they were pretty forgettable. Oh and get this, the cut scenes are played out in FMV! Yes, EA has gone back to their roots and provided some full motion video.
I guess they missed doing it for some long. And unlike most cheesy FMV’s, it worked out pretty decent, which was surprised. Don’t get me wrong, though, it was still very much over the top bad and half the stuff they said seemed forced but it was hilarious, yet unbelievable. Just think about the first Fast and Furious, but remove all the personality and there you go. Though not to worry, as the story is over just as fast as it starts, leaving you to play the remainder of your game online in the multiplayer-enabled world.
Where this game does succeed at however is the shear amount of customization options. It’s a haven for car lovers and tinkers alike. Once you your car and provided you have enough money, you’re able to tweak just about any option on your ride; Rims, Tires, Spoilers, Hood, Engine, Brakes, Paint, ECU Upgrades, Superchargers, Nitro…. you get the idea. I know I spent a good while customizing my car, just to take it on the street and smash it into the wall or side of a curb a few times. And it’s not just the amount of customization that is plentiful, but also the cars that you’re able to collect. Like American muscle, exotic sports cars or of course the always trusty sports compacts? They’re all in the game and ready to be driven.
However there is a word of caution, as it seems some cars simply won’t let you customize them for some reason, I’m assuming due to licensing.
As far as looks are concerned, the game is definitely pretty, I’ll give it that. The car models look great and have a nice realistic look to them. The city is extremely larger than most other Need for Speed titles, yet the locales varied. Some sections seemed alive and colorful, where others were desolate and empty. Though the fixed 30 frame rate was mildly disappointing, which is a huge pet peeve when it comes to this generation of the console game (Where’s my 1080p@60fps). And there’s no option of playing with a friend via local co-op as there’s no split screen ability, so why is it locked at 30 fps again? I don’t know who was in charge of creating the soundtrack, but it’s really hit and miss, filled with way too many misses.
This is a racing game, give me tunes that get me pumped up and make me want to speed. I’ve never been so inclined to turn the volume down in a Need for Speed title, at least not as much as I did this time around. C’mon EA, get in touch with the racing scene like you used to be. This soundtrack is bad.
There’s plenty to do in-game as there are literally hundreds of events to partake as you progress through the story mode. On top of that, as mentioned before, the city is large and part of the fun is just driving around and causing issues, only to have the cops chase after you, which is IMHO a lot more fun than playing the story mode. Sadly, those same cop chases aren’t as memorable as the ones in Need for Speed: Most Wanted, where the cops would pretty much try to kill you instead of arresting you.
And if you don’t like cop chases, that’s fine as the game incorporates the same combo system that is found in EA’s Tony Hawk 5 and awards you REP when you do things like driving head on into traffic to earn near misses, reaching your top speed and other dangerous things that you should never do in real life.
But cop chases are always fun, just my two cents.
A fresh coat of paint but the body still needs work
- Graphics - 8/10 8/10
- Gameplay - 8/10 8/10
- Sound - 6/10 6/10
- Value - 6.5/10 6.5/10
All in all, EA's attempt to reboot the Need for Speed brand has succeeded in some areas, yet flawed in others. The tuner in you will enjoy the added customization options and the tweaking aspect, where the street racer in you will enjoy the racing. However I feel that many will be put off with the forced multiplayer, just as they were with Need for Speed: Rivals, especially since you can't pause the game. Still the game-play is solid, even though the story super cheesy and there's enough in the game to keep you entertained for quite some time. However I wish they didn't put so much effort with the FMV and instead, used that to flesh out the game a little more.
It's definitely not the worse NFS in the series, however if this is how EA is handing the reboot then I'm not sure where the series is headed at this point.
- Tons of customization options and cars
- Definitely one of the better looking NFS titles
- Enough content to keep you entertained for a good while
- Oh man, that soundtrack... ugh
- It's all online, hence no ability to pause the game when you need to.
- The story is really cheesy and short