Need For Speed 2015 Review

EA’s latest arcade racer, Need for Speed, has hit the road, and I dove in to answer every question you would have about how it performs and plays this time around. From my talks with my crew members wanting to go down in Ventura Bay racing history, to the time I spent making sure my car purred and pounced like the ride I’ve always wanted, I have you covered! Get seated in your racing bucket seats and slam your foot on the gas petal; I’m going to show you the curves and straightaways in this Need for Speed 2015 Review.

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The story this year has you starting out as a no-name racer trying to make him/herself the number one racer in all of Ventura Bay, all while assembling a crew of friends to call your own. Each one of the five friends you make in your crew all have something specific that they find most important, and each friend has a hero in the game that you and you crew members are out to impress. Your crewmates all have very different tastes and aspirations, and when all combined, they end up making your group one crazy and quirky racing family. Each member of your group adheres to one of five distinct disciplines or aspects of street racing. These five disciplines you’re out to master are speed, build, crew style, solo style, and outlaw. As you’re out driving in the world, you will gain reputation in the game in each of those disciplines. The flashier you drive, the more reputation you will gain, and the faster you will level up to unlock more car customizations.

Every cut scene was shot in live action, so each of your crew members are real people that the game wants you to like and feel an attachment toward. It’s all designed to inspire or motivate you to complete their respective missions. While I feel the idea behind having all of your crew members portrayed by live actors was great to make you feel like you’re really there, the dialogue and acting by each of them felt very one dimensional and overly accentuated compared to how real people would react to everyday life situations.

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Bad acting aside, Need for Speed sounds and looks breathtaking this year, at least when we look at the cars, the road, and your immediate surroundings. Every single car I took out of my garage brought a smile to my face each time I revved my engine and pulled away from the curb. From the cheapest Volvo to the most expensive Ferrari, each car has been crafted in the game with the utmost care in making you see and hear it as if they were sitting right there in your garage at home. Using the Frostbite engine this year made watching the rain fall on my car’s hood a moment that made the game feel very real. Unfortunately, I had multiple instances in the game when I would notice that parts of the world were quite low resolution, very blurry, or even down right glitched out. Whether I was parked at a curb, checking where my next race-to-master would be, or driving through an intersection, I noticed multiple bushes and shrubs that were actually all of the above, a low-res, blurry mess of glitched shrubbery. While every car looks amazing in the game, your playground leaves much to be desired in terms of graphical fidelity.

I’m happy to report that Need for Speed has made leaps and bounds in the department of customization, although with the insane customization that players have come to love and demand because of games like the entries in the Forza series, this felt like a mandatory leap forward rather than a progressive design decision. That said, I was nevertheless pleasantly surprised once I was given access to my garage and able to tune my ride to my liking, which came fairly early in the game. Need for Speed overhauled the customization for everything under the hood, even distinguishing between two different sections for handling the control and capability of your ride. The customization menu that lets you pick and apply new parts to your car is built like a mirror image to Forza’s system. Every area can be continuously upgraded, from engine intake to tire compound to even your differential. Some upgrades are unlocked by finding collectables in the world, some are unlocked by completing races with your crew members, and the rest are unlocked by leveling up through the rep system in the game. Once you’ve finished upgrading your car’s performance, you also have the option to tweak and fine tune the actual drive of your car. Whether you want to make your car have a tight set up when taking your turns, or the ability to make every turn at drift, it’s your decision. You have the power here.

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Lastly, before you burn the rubber on your tires, you need to look at the customization of how your car looks on the outside. You have more control, compared to recent Need for Speed titles, to customize the body style and curves you desire as you level up in game. Parts are unlocked as you continue leveling up your reputation, and while some parts are immediately accessible (paint, spoilers and so on) some of the other parts, like your side mirrors and side skirts, are unlocked bit by bit in the game.

Everyone has a preference when playing racing games, whether they want something to feel like the most realistic simulation possible, or they want to enjoy a fun, reality-bending arcade game. This year, the game is not for those wanting to feel the crunch of every win-jeopardizing hit, or the shudder of every control-influencing crash. There were races in which I would have a head on collision with a semi-truck and respawn a few seconds later with only small fragments of damage. The steering controls are very forgiving for a seasoned racer, especially if one is used to less forgiving racing games. Learning the controls and the pull of the car when turning is easy to pick up, and enjoyable for anyone looking just to have some fun and waste some time racing here. When I originally started dabbling in the game, there was an issue with the A.I. having an aggressive rubber band mechanic that would give your opponents the ability to magically catch up to you. In a patch that was recently released for the game, the problem was corrected and the A.I. performs naturally now. While I do commend the developers for listening to the community and addressing the problem, I think it’s something that should have been corrected before the release of the game. Need for Speed does require an online connection at all times this year, so keep that in mind as you decide whether or not to pick this one up.

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If you compare the city size to games with an immense scale like Grand Theft Auto V or Batman: Arkham Knight, the scope is going to seem lack luster at best, but when compared to racing games that have only a few dozen racetracks, you’ll find yourself enjoying the twists and turns of the city streets as you adapt to the landscape of the world around you.

For those gearheads hoping that all their favorite cars are in the game, they will be thoroughly disappointed. The game has a decent number of cars compared to Need for Speed: Rivals, edging it out 51 to 47, but in a time where Project Cars has 74, and Forza 6 has an absolutely staggering count in excess of 450 choices, the game falls well short in presenting as many iconic or dream cars as its competition. I was able to find a small set of cars that I hoped for, and saved my in-game money just to get my hands on them, but it left me pining for more personal favorites that just weren’t available.

So how long will Need for Speed entertain you? Well, that depends on how you play it. If you’re out to just beat every race once and not go for fastest times or highest scores on the scoreboard, you’ll lose interest as quickly as you run through the missions. The replay value of this year’s game falls a little short of what most have come to expect from racing games after other studios’ rather impressive entries in the genre. With no downloadable content on the horizon, once you complete all the races in the game, you’ll have a hard time driving this game into the sunset for months to come.

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Need for Speed tried to make a compelling racer to appease the hardcore simulation players and the simplistic arcade players at the same time this year. The franchise decided to hit the reset button after the last two titles were bogged down with mixed receptions. In a generation of gamers that craze for all their favorite bits and pieces of every game they know and love to be bundled into one package, Need for Speed did an excellent job of making series veterans come back and feel at home. Unfortunately, it also leaves newer players only seeing missing parts, making the game feel half as good as what they’re expecting.

While I did enjoy what time I did put into the game, I spent more time wishing for things that weren’t implemented than discovering features that made me feel satisfied. Need for Speed made great strides this year in trying to make itself a better, more fulfilling speed-injected experience, but it ultimately falls short in keeping up with its market competition.

Score 7/10

Review code supplied by Microsoft Xbox

Written by: News Bot

General dogsbody posting regular news and media content.

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