Does a year off for this fan favorite franchise pay off? Not quite.
Missing out on 2014, Need For Speed is back. However, cooking in the over an entire year still has this title a little half baked. Being an enormous fan favorite franchise, Need for Speed had a lot to live up to in 2015. With an extra year of development under its hood and an anticipating crowd yearning for another lap, EA and Ghost Games’ arcade racer feels a bit incomplete.
When diving into single player, there’s an over abundance of live action cut scenes. Young adults over acting and saying phrases I’m not even sure what many of them mean. I must not be that “racing underground” hip to get it. Over acting and pitiful dialog is only outdone with what seems like an endless fist bumping train. Especially when playing in first person perspective, when the characters are talking right into the screen, fist bumping right through the TV, it gets even harder to ignore the irrelevance of what relevance these characters try to add to a racing game story.
I suppose using real actors for the scenes and plot is one way of getting out of some graphical expenses– which is fine to do if done with good acting. What entertainment can be found within the single player story is quickly swept over. It’s short. A little too short. When single player begins, it runs over 79 events that can be quickly wrapped up in less than a few days of play.
Characters within the story account for separate paths within the campaign. Each story path will eventually lead to a real life racing icon that was actually very interesting and brought better value to what little the single player truly had.
"What entertainment can be found within the single player story is quickly swept over. It’s short. A little too short."
Within the actual single player races AI characters felt under performing and don’t do much to keep the player from winning like they would in Forza titles with their Drivatars. Driving is smooth and handles well especially with the customization options. More on that soon.
Outlaw is a great game mode that mixes up all the racer’s game types and places a cop in the race to stir things up. Police AI works well within Outlaw, and it felt very typical of what could possibly happen in real life rather GTA where the cops become almost unstoppable and don’t abide by in game physics. I know it’s not fair to compare the two, but the point is that physics work incredibly well in Need for Speed.
The garage can only hold up to five cars and the amount of cars to choose from is no where near Gran Turismo or Forza. Collecting cars was not the main focus EA and Ghost Games had in mind. Customization is the key in Need for Speed. And almost everything is customizable. But there are still many cars that cannot be touched in some very basic areas. Changing the hood, rims or wheels of some vehicles is completely locked.
Customization for cars has a nice depth that can be almost completely controlled. It’s likely that most players will finish the entire single player with the same car as I did. As continually putting new upgrades into that car will ultimately lead to it becoming faster than the competition and gaining wins becomes much easier. Exterior car customization is a pretty cool feature. Swapping parts, paint jobs, adding wraps, and surprisingly a lot more to offer is a nice additive.
"Customization is the key in Need for Speed. And almost everything is customizable. But there are still many cars that cannot be touched in some very basic areas."
Driving styles in Need for Speed are also up for customization. Allowing the player to adjust handling, drift, grip, etc., through specific areas of the car means it’s a car with each player’s specific handprint on the wheel.
Need for Speed’s online lacks in so many ways. Racing other players within each server can only be done if they first found within the server and then they accept the race. Crews are also available to drive around the map with friends. But little else besides those. Completely under developed.
Most annoyingly, Need for Speed requires an always online connection. This equates to everyone playing in a massive server and taking away the pause functionality. With always online and no pause, players crashing into my car was an unwelcome experience. What about single player? Yep. It’s also always online as well.
Need for Speed is a gorgeous racer. It looks amazing and sometimes almost too real, and that’s spectacular to experience. Rain effects, lighting and road reflections are definitely on par with current gen standards and possibly a bit further because it all looks so slick. Car performance sounds, like the engine and drifting are also top notch and give off the impression of real vehicles captured and placed right into the game.
"Most annoyingly, Need for Speed requires an always online connection. This equates to everyone playing in a massive server and taking away the pause functionality."
Going through the city at night with the backdrop of a magnificent skyline shining through the blackened sky was like a shimmering jewel; an eye popping pleasure to behold. Day time had no shortcomings either as far off as could be seen lied a work of art of graphical expertise.
I wish Need for Speed was more than what EA and Ghost Games delivered. With stunningly beautiful cars, sounds, and backgrounds, awesome customization for controls, paint, and parts it seemed like Ghost Games had a winning hand. However, lackluster AI, an all too short single player with bad actors, an ‘always online’ (even in single player) mentality, not many cars to choose from, and horribly under developed multiplayer modes, giving Need for Speed any recognition for a game that had an extra year of development and out performed by other racers is very hard to do. Oh, and also no pause button.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Beautiful current-gen standard graphics. Amazing audio really makes the vehicles sound authentic.
Always online forced over the entire experience -- even single player. Bad acting in single player, and terribly under developed online modes leave a very bad after taste.
Need For Speed is an okay racer. But with the likes of Forza 6, Project Cars and others that completely out performed this one, it's very hard to recommend.