REVIEW – Have you been missing that old Underground feeling? Did you want to touch the car on the screen because it was so life-like? Did you want cops to chase you at high speed in the night? Well, you’ll get all of these with the latest reboot for Need for Speed. The question is what the quality of all these features is, but I mean at least it’s still in the game. Right?
So this is how I could sum up the newest Need for Speed. Yes, Ghost Games did listen to the fans and their wishes. They were able to give the players mostly what they wanted, but it is still not good enough as the Underground-Most Wanted- Carbon holy trinity. Okay, we finally have the tuning system back, and also the cops, plus a bit of drifting in every turn. It seems the new (reboot) Need for Speed is on the right track, but it will not save the series on its own.
A new era
After playing the game for two days, I am still not able to decide if this game is good or bad. One thing is for sure that this game has nothing to do with the previous era’s games, which mostly tried to copy the Burnout series, so the road taken by the franchise will not lead its death. There are still problems, and a lot of them makes me want to go back to the original holy trinity of NFS games. Let’s see what Ghost Games has got for us in this reboot.
F for acting
The story is once again done via FMV cut-scenes, just like in Most Wanted or Carbon. That was never the point of the series, but it was clichéd enough to live through it. Here however everybody is so cool, and loose that I was afraid that they would walk out of the TV, get it brah? The conversations are in a slang that made me turn on the subtitles so I can understand what the hell they are talking about (even that did not help too much). Of course as usual we do not get a speaking role in this story and are forced to mute throughout the game, even when someone is explaining us something.
The story is more interesting than the actors in Need for Speed. Ventura Bay is filled with legends from the racing world such as the car build Nakai-San, Drift king Ken Block, and the star of illegal races Morosi San, plus Magnus Walker, and the Risky Devil group. As we wish to be on their level, we will have to do everything to be noticed by them. All of our friends steers us to one of the stars, and if we do good in the races, we will be able to get closer to the big league.
The good side
We truly got back the tuning feature in this game, and in its way the system is pretty profound. Over fifty-two vehicle’s body can be modified, and changed even to the tiniest screw. However you won’t get to build a Mad Max style slaughter truck, but you can add a bunch of spoilers, exhausts. We can modify twenty-one points on our vehicle, the rear bumper, the front bumper, the lights, skirts, and the rims count as double on this list. The color of the car can also be modified on different sliders (color, contrast, brightness, how metallic, or matte should it be). Stickers can also be added, of which there are twelve categories. The stickers can be simple lines, to logos, etc.
It’s the inside that matters
Once we are done with making our car look pleasant, we can begin upgrading and making our engine developed in any way we want it. Twenty-one points can be upgraded within the vehicle, from air filters, clutch, and even the hand brakes can be tuned to our liking. Once we are done with these, we can modify the tires’ depth, the sensitivity of the steering wheel, and the strength of the handbrake. All in all fifteen points can be changed with sliders. If someone does not want to go so in depth with the tuning system, they can just use the basic sliders.
Let’s take it to the streets
After the hours of tuning, we can finally take our baby to the streets, and such a feast for eyes is shown to us thanks to the Frostbite 3 engine. The game is almost like a full blown movie regarding visuals, and the audio is just the icing on the cake. The engine sounds are authentic, and the music list is also impressive this time around. So the visuals and the sound is on par with what we expect, and the game does not gain any shape or form, plus there are no bugs in this game as of yet. Which is impeccable because most new big releases need a huge Day One Patch. Vital functions, however, are missing.
Screams for an update
The new NFS is not bad, but it is not a masterpiece either. The most annoying cut feature is the lack of manual shifting. We are hoping that they forgot this because this is a goddamn CAR GAME. Who is the idiot that shifts around 3000-4000 in a race? The other feature that is missing for me is that the stickers cannot be mirrored, so this means we have to put the same sticker on both sides of the car manually. Hopefully, Ghost will update these missing features with a patch later.
There’s still more
The list of problems does not end there, as there are a few other problems. As much as everything can be changed around, I have still not found the perfect setting that allows me to avoid traffic, or take a turn without any issues. Either it jumps off the road, or sticks to it like glue, and at high speeds we can take a few turns. The cops are pretty much there for the show, as even after causing 12.000 dollars’ worth of property damage, I was able to get away just by pressing on the gas pedal.
No backup, no closed roads, no private agent vehicles, they just go after you with a Dodge Charger or a Ford Crown. A total joke to be quite frank at this point.
Also, it is annoying that not every car can be modified regarding the body. Out of five cars I was always able only to amend the fifth one. Last but not least, I noticed that even the weaker car leaves me behind, then slows down, and then leaves us behind again. I get it that they want to heighten the tension, but it is a cheap trick.
It is also annoying that our friends will keep calling us all the time, whether we are racing, or in the garage. Furthermore, Ghost assigned a button to pick up the phone, which is annoying as nobody wanted it, plus R1 could have been the manual shift button. Both actions could have been placed on the D-pad as that is where we can activate our map, nothing else is added to the D-pad and, of course, the button layout cannot be modified.
This new Need for Speed requires a constant online connection, which is entirely pointless regarding gameplay. It would be worth it if we were playing with other players in a session, but this is not the case here as all other „users” are just free roaming bots. The always online feature is needed just to upload pictures instantly to the closed multiplayer servers. Due to this it can happen that because of an internet connection issue the game kicks the user out.
One thing I am convinced of about this new Need For Speed, it’s that it is a mixed bag. The changes are good, and might get the franchise back on its feet. The mistakes, and cut features such as manual shifting, and restriction on customization is quite annoying and drops some of the overall points. It has the potential to be a great game, but it has many issues to be up there with the holy trinity. It is, however, a huge step forward that the game no longer reminds us of Burnout. Maybe Ghosts is heading towards a real Underground 3?
– Dazo911 –
+ Beautiful graphics
+ Detailed options to modify and tune your car
+ Cool audio
– No Manual Shift
– Problematic handling
– Online playable online
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Ghost Games
Genre: Car racing