One title that until our trip to Eurogamer Expo had been under the radar for me was Need For Speed Rivals. I think this may have been due to the amount of announcements and games being released. Among all these are quite a few driving games. Gran Turismo 6, DriveClub, Forza 5, Need For Speed Rivals, The Crew etc so the genre is pretty packed.
Last year was the same for me. Need For Speed Most Wanted was there and although I had heard of it, I wasn’t overly eager for its release. That was until I played it. After playing for 10 minutes I was hooked and ended up buying it for both Playstation 3 and the Playstation Vita. It even became on of my few platinums so NFS Rivals has a lot to live up to.
Well, to put it simply, It did. Easily.
Firstly I’ll say that the queues were fairly short compared to other games there. We waited about 20 minutes to get a chance with it. During this time I chatted with one of the EA team who explained that the version they brought to the expo was the pc build (which could easily be seen by the Windows screen during the demo resets) as this was the smoother and more stable build at the time and that the PC’s that the game was running on were comparable to the PS4. They also had the PS4 DualShock 4 controller connected to let gamers get a feel for the new controller and how smoothly the game handles.
Sitting down with the game, I was given the chance to drive as either a civilian or a police interceptor. The choice between a Ferrari and a Koenigsegg is a choice we all hope one day to have in our lives! I opted for the Police interceptor for my first play through and upon returning the next day I got to see things from the other perspective and take the other option, After the initial loading screen the game began. Anyone familiar with Need For Speed will know how the controls work and in this iteration its the same. That said, the cars movement on the track is super slick and felt so intuitive. It’s not designed to be millimetre accurate like Gran Turismo. This is an arcade style racer not a sim and you can tell. The cars accelerate at blistering pace. Nitro boosts the speed up even further and the cars drift so well and can be held on the edge for so long you feel as though you are the drifting king (or queen).
Being open world gives you great freedom to drive the way that you want to and explore the huge map. During your travels you come across traffic, other online players and player controlled police. When coming across your online friends you can instigate challenge races which works really well and gives you the impression of real street racing. Police players roam the same roads and can start a pursuit at any time and your options are to either knock them out or to evade them with your skillful driving. Players have EMP, turbo and spike strips available in limited numbers to help evade or capture depending on your choice which adds to the fun. Escaping from a lock on of an EMP attack can be a tricky experience.
The cars look stunning. Ok, yes they may not be totally accurate to the level of what weave the carbon fibre has in each piece of the particular vehicle that some other games have or claim to have but they are damn good models and have a great, detailed feel to them. I sat down and within seconds I knew what to expect from the cars. Its like sitting in a familiar chair at home with everything just where you remember. Screen layout is spot on. It’s got all you want on screen but keeps everything out of the way from the main experience of seeing your car slide effortlessly around corners and taking death defying jumps that would make even the toughest 1980’s tv action show car wince!
This game was so good and had me addicted it was the only game that when I went back for my second day at Eurogamer, I played again just because I wanted to experience the sheer pleasure of driving around and having fun.
Will I be buying this at launch? Oh yes. There are a lot of driving games coming out and although some are aiming to show off a different style of driving, the end result is meant to be the same, to entertain me and Need For Speed Rivals does this. t does this very well.
The Need For Speed franchise is going into the next generation strong.