It’s that time of year again, when we get the year franchise update. We’ve already seen what the new Call of Duty & Assassins Creed had to offer but now it’s time to see what the new Need for Speed title, Need for Speed: Rivals, is packing under the hood.
Unfortunately there isn’t one, you’re simply thrown into the world of Redview & forced to pick sides between the racers & the cops.
Rivals plays a lot like the 2010 Hot Pursuit, all the modes from that game return here. As a racer you get to play normal races, time trials, interceptors (outrun the cops) & hot pursuits (normal races with cops). While the Cops get interceptors (shut down the racer), hot pursuits (shuts down the racers) & rapid responses (time trials with penalties). When you have some free time there’s a lot of speed cameras, speed zones & jumps to be found throughout Redview. As good as the gameplay is, it feels blase. Yes you can starts these events & head to heads nearly instantly but the system feels like a straight copy & paste of 2010s NFS:Hot Pursuit with a ever so slight improvement.
However my biggest gripe is the car unlocking system. Both sides are given a set of objectives which are required to progress to the next level. You unlock a new car when you “level up” but the problem is that each car has their own set of unlocks even though that every car (on each side) has the same unlocks. So you may need to spend some time grinding just to purchase the same unlocks your previous car had. This type of unlock system is unnecessary & artificially extends playtime.
Sound & Graphics
Not to be outdone by other racers, EA has once again chosen to use DICE’s ever popular Frostbite engine & boy does it shine. As you’d expect the cars look beautiful, at least on the outside and they even react to the dynamics weather system. However there’s no deformation at all, the cars are even scratch resistant. Maybe this has something to do with how Ferrari have returned to Need for Speed.
Similarly to Battlefield 4, which also runs on the Frostbite 3 engine, all the sound effects have an slightly exaggerated, impactful feel to them. The roaring engines sing their beautiful tunes perfectly but unfortunately they seem to choke whenever you enter tunnel. EA games (SSX, NFS) usually have a strong soundtrack but this time the soundtrack is a mixed bag. None of the 34 tracks really stuck in mind apart from the one used in the trailer.
After Game & Summary
When you’ve finished collecting all the cops and racer cars, you can hop onto multiplayer which is basically the singleplayer without the random bots. Now this is one of the things which Rivals does right, the line between singleplayer & multiplayer is virtually non-existent, you could even argue that the singleplayer is an offline version or even tutorial of multiplayer. You can create custom playlists with friends, free roam, cause havoc with the local police or even practice your version of marshall law. There’s separate AllDrive companion app which you can use on your tablet or smartphone to turn it into a sat-nav system. You can even join your friends game with it & either hinder or help them whenever you’re away from the game.
Although Need for Speed: Rivals is a technical marvel with its seamless singleplayer & multiplayer integration and its beautiful looks, it seems to suffer from what I like to call ‘next-gen-itis’. This when game a is more style than substance & it only purpose is to show of the power of the next-gen systems.
Need for Speed: Rivals is available now on PC. PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One