Need for Speed Review
Need for Speed (2015) is an Open-World Racing Game developed by Ghost Games and published by EA. Need for Speed (NfS) is one of the longest running game franchises with over 20 games reaching back to 1994. Need for Speed (2015) is a modern take on the style of one of the most beloved games in the series, which is Need for Speed: Underground.
About the game
So what is it that made Need for Speed: Underground so great? Among other things, the car progression and customization played a huge role in that. While in most of the newer NfS games you replaced your car very frequently, you stick with your car for a very long time in some of the earlier NfS games. This allowed players to upgrade and customize their cars much more and allowed them to build a connection with their car. This is one of the features beloved to many and we can happily say that these make a return in Need for Speed (2015). What is also quite impressive in this title is how your customized cars are blended in with the Live-Action cutscenes of the game, making the game feel much more real than ever before.
We can say right off the bat, that the game focuses a lot more on the storytelling and atmosphere instead of the story itself. The game’s way of telling the story is through two ways, Live-Action cutscenes that you experience in a first person view and phone calls that you can listen to while you are racing around the city. As stated earlier the cutscenes are great and the way they blend your customized cars in with the game is fantastic.
Unfortunately, the story itself can be summarized with “I wanna be the very best, like noone ever was”, which can of course be accomplished by winning all the races in the city. The story is the weakest part of the game and considering that some of the previous games had a plot with a beginning, a middle and an end, this is very disappointing.
On the contrary, the atmosphere of the game is great. The game looks very pretty and is designed to look good in motion, which allows it to have a very good technical performance. The cutscenes and the phone calls, which include interactions between the characters in the game, add to the atmosphere and makes the player feel more immersed in the game. There is one blemish on an otherwise good presentation, which is its incomplete Day & Night cycle. The setting of the game mainly takes place at night but iterates towards dawn. At this point though, the time of the day skips the daytime and moves straight to dusk and then towards the night again. This felt a bit disappointing and broke the immersion of the game a little. In this case we would have preferred it, if the game stayed at nighttime without moving to dawn or dusk at all.
When it comes to gameplay, the game does a couple of things well but could do others better. For example, the return to the formula of NfS:Underground is great. The driving mechanics are very well executed and the feeling of driving a car is great and a lot of fun.
Unfortunately some other aspects of the game require much more polish. Looking at the missions for example, while offering some variation, all of them can be boiled down to either drift stylish for score or get to the goal the fastest.
Another very weak point of the game is the police department, since they seem to be atrociously underfunded. Cops are about as dangerous as a kitten and never call for backup either. Considering a single cop couldn’t catch us driving one of the weakest cars in the game up and down a road “Benny Hill”-style for over 5 minutes, the police department proved no challenge whatsoever. This would actually be ok, but the game asks you to actually fulfill objectives concerning the police. Somehow we had a hard time fulfilling those objectives, because the cops seemed to be someplace else all the time. We even struggled to find some cops at the marked police stations on the map. We greatly hope that the police department gets better funding in the next game, both ingame and in game development resources.
An aspect of the game worth mentioning is its always online nature. While you can play the campaign in single player mode also, the game makes you first enter the multiplayer mode and then allows you to switch to single-player mode in the settings, making you go through two loading screens if you desire to play in single player mode. The online functionality though works a bit like an MMO, where you see other drivers hanging out in the city allowing you to challenge them to a race with a simple press of a button. A unique part of the game is that other drivers can still interact and possibly abstract you while you are on a mission. While this could make the game feel more exciting and more immersive by putting you in a city alive with street races, this can potentially annoy many players.
Overall, completing the main game took us around 15 hours. The game seems to be quite optimized and performs well, but seemed to have a minor memory leak on PC causing the game to crash 3 times over the course of the 15 hours of play.
While the game does some of its elements really well, most notably the graphics and the driving itself, other elements are greatly lacking and have been executed much better in games like the “Forza Horizon” Series or “The Crew”. The game can still be quite enjoyable as a casual racing game but for anyone looking for the ultimate racing experience have better options elsewhere. Your best bet to play the game would be via the subscription services Origin/EA Access on PC or Xbox One since you could just effectively rent the game for a very low price.
(out of 100)
Need for Speed is a great option for someone looking for a casual racing game. If you want to have the ultimate racing experience though, you are better off looking elsewhere.
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