I still remember the days, way back in 2004, when I would spend hours and hours playing Need For Speed: Underground 2. I loved everything about the game, especially the ability to customise my car an endless amount. But, to my dismay, there hasn’t been a racing game able to quite fill the shoes of this noughties legend. Until now.
Fast forward nine years and we find ourselves at the beginning of the next gen era, with a brand new Need For Speed game on our door steps. Admittedly I was a little sceptical at first, as I played the previous game “Most Wanted” and found it extremely similar to your standard Burnout game. Maybe it was because the same company hed developed it (or maybe I was just imagining things) either way I was a bit alienated.
Rivals, on the other hand, is spectacular. The map is a good size with plenty to keep you occupied including various locations, each with their own climates; from snowy peaked mountains to flat dusty desert terrains, each area will have its own threats towards your automobile. Obviously snow on the road will cause you to slide around more than usual, whereas the more ‘rocky’ parts will make your car turn into scrap metal in no time. As a side note, I have the PS4 version, which treats my retinas to beautifully crisp and clear graphics, offering an extraordinarily high attention to detail.
Reach the heart of Rivals and it’s the cars that shine the most. The first car you receive is a Porsche Cayman S. Now this car is amazing in real life, but once you eye up the roster of cars to be unlocked later you’ll be drooling in anticipation. Each car can be upgraded through durability, strength, control, acceleration and speed, each with a total of five alterations allowed. There are visual customisations available too, including the colour of the car and its rims, as well as stripes, decals and full chassis wraps. A new addition featured in Rivals is ‘Pursuit Tech’ which gives your car a technical upper hand against other drivers. In short, it gives your car ‘James Bond-style’ gadgetry, helping you to either take down other drivers or aid in escaping the police.
The story can be played as either the Racers or Cops, each with their own storyline. For example, take a ride in the Racer career and you step into the driving shoes of an individual known only as ‘Zephyr’. Your task is to essentially overthrow the Police using any means necessary. In order to unlock your desired vehicle you must complete a series of ‘Speedlists’ which progressively get harder as you work your way to the top. There are 3 categories of Speedlist; Race, Pursuit or Drive. Each one will tailor the Speedlist slightly; ‘Race’ will include tasks such as getting gold medals in races and time trials, whilst Pursuit mainly involves the Police, and Drive will push you to the limit with jump times and top speeds.
Need For Speed: Rivals is entirely online focused, which means as soon as you start playing the game you’ll be thrown in with other racers around the globe. Alternatively you can change your settings so that you only get placed with friends. Either way it’s great fun playing with others rather than the AI, and with the addition of party chat on the PS4 it’s just hilarious! It’s worth noting however that this game can be played offline too. But it goes without saying that if you do play online, especially with friends, it will make your experience with the game even greater.
- + Customisation back to good again
- + Choice of cars is awesome
- + Graphics and detail is incredible
- - Sometimes very easy to complete even the hardest Speedlists
- - Police chases can be quite varied in quality