Need For Speed Review - on PlayStation 4
‘Need For Constant Internet’
Let’s get this out the way, the Need For Speed series has always done well to produce graphically great titles. This is EA’s second NFS title on the next gen console era, and I was highly anticipated to see how EA and Ghost had come.
EA has always struggled to live up to the mark of recreating the magic that was Need For Speed Underground 2 (2004), the gamer was spoilt for choice. The roster of cars, parts, paint jobs and much more. It put the franchise on the map and become an alternative choice for the Gran Turismo and Forza crowd of old. Fast forward 11 years later and the EA team are still trying to recapture the magic they once had, titles like Most Wanted and Carbon were modest efforts, unfortunately we have been treated with odd titles like: The Run, Shift and Rivals. So how exactly did this new revamped title get on?
The major thing that got me when booting up the single player campaign was the instant need to access the servers. If you want to play this game, you need a constant access to the servers. I didn’t really see the need, it’s only necessary for ranking online, but for the small time gamer like myself I found it unnecessary. I was constantly seeing a number of players joining and leaving my game, some would even be in the way when I was racing a campaign mission, which I found frustrating. It only becomes more frustrating as the multiplayer access isn’t a polished mode as it should be, I was left feeling that EA could have put more time and effort into the multiplayer as gamers get their money’s worth from these modes.
In playing the short lived campaign, the cut scenes are certainly a different way of approaching the games, with real life cinematics in place. The cinematics were well written and thought out, this would of been a welcoming addition to the game if not for the sub par acting. I was left feeling more removed from the game as I didn’t connect with the characters; they all represented a different aspect of driving, which did work, and following a particular character mission finessed certain ways of driving. Another issue I found right away was when I lost my first race, the cutscene acted like I had just smoked them all away, when actually I did no such thing.
There are flaws, but there are also parts of this game that make you want to carry on and continue. There are glimpses of Need for Speed Underground 2 in here and these parts are golden. The customisation of the cars in this game are almost second to none, allowing you to customise everything about It. Unfortunately though, saving all that money for the classic Ferrari only to find there isn’t much you can do to it was a little frustrating. The Subaru BRZ was my choice of weapon in this game and it’s one of the first cars you get to play with. It was certainly a good choice, especially once you dug deeper into the performance capability of this game.
What Ghost have done here, is given Need For Speed direction. The performance customisation of this game is something special; how you can instantly feel the drive of the car when letting the tyres down slightly to help you drift around the corners on those drift challenges is amazing. I found myself tweaking the performance of the car so it felt just right for me, every driver will be different on this game and Ghost have certainly taken this into consideration when making this game. You may come across your own car in a race, but you don’t know how the performance has been tweaked to give them the advantage, this instantly raises the bar on this game. Feeling and hearing the sudden impact performance customisation has made to your car is instant music to your ears and gamers will absolutely thrive off this.
When playing this game I found myself immersed into the action from the off, when racing on the streets. Once the cinematics were over and the rubber was on the floor I was ready to go. The visuals in this game are amazing, it’s one of the best looking car games on the next generation. The map loosely based on Los Angeles is enough to keep the gamer entertained throughout; I did find myself racing in familiar places at times, but it was good to know where I could take some shortcuts when escaping the cops. Another flaw I did find, was the weather effects in-game when riding into the city. You could see a great sunrise coming through the skyline, then once you turned the car to get onto a freeway it had gone dark again and rained. Certainly a major flaw I hope is resolved.
The creative director Craig Sullivan has said “All of the content that we're going to give you--a pretty substantial amount in the future, starting pretty soon--is going to be free. That's what players deserve”. A big statement from Sullivan, this game is one where Ghost Games want to keep giving to the customer. Saying they don’t even have the ability to charge you for anything in game. If kept to his word, this game will be a success if they update their flaws...a pause button would be gratefully received.
In conclusion, Need For Speed has been a game I’ve left on the shelf for years - after some terrible titles were released. Ghost have come in and give the series a breath of fresh air and some clear direction for the series to move forward. The flaws in the game are something that hopefully an update can tweak in the near future and help make this game a solid title. The need for internet isn’t a necessity and I hope they learn that. But for now Need For Speed isn’t a game to laugh at anymore, it’s a game that’s making some noise down underground.