Need For Speed is the title of the latest iteration of Need For Speed games in a long running series of countless games since the 1990’s, strangely this one does not have a subtitled name like many of the previous games and is simply entitled “Need For Speed“. But is it a game you should be going out to buy and is it worth your hard earned cash?
In many ways I would like to say that it is worth going out to buy because I do love the Need for Speed series and with the exception of Need For Speed Rivals, I’ve played and finished virtually every game there is that EA has released. This Need For Speed appears to draw much of inspiration from the PS2 era of gaming, back when we were all playing Need For Speed Underground, it also featured night time driving, street racing and car customisations and is all in all quite similar to this new game, except this new one doesn’t have drag racing and isn’t nearly as good.
The most disappointing thing I found with the game was how little car customisation there was. Now I could give this a pass if this was an original title and concept but we have countless games in the series to compare with. When looking back at Need For Speed Underground, there were hundreds of customisations you could make. You could change your hood, add decals, change rims, change window tint and even add some bright lights under your car and it was awesome. This Need For Speed doesn’t have any of that, well it has some of that. On most of the cars you can change the rims and pick a few different hoods, add some decals and choose the colour of your car as well as change your number plate. But these upgrades are not available on every car you can buy, many cars will not even have the options to customise certain parts which is really quite disappointing. I mean looking back, it’s hard to believe that something I had on the PS2 years ago was able to do so much more than what I have on the PS4 many years later. This Need For Speed is only really half the game you would have expected content wise just a few years a ago.
But it gets worse. This game requires you to be online at all times. Now I usually never have issues or really ever complain about such a thing but having played this game through from the beginning until the end, I experienced many a time where I could not play because I couldn’t connect to the EA servers. Considering that a large part of the game consists of you completing various campaign based single player missions and as a player I would only go on for say an hour, have a couple of races with the AI racers and log off, I saw no need for me to be online as I wasn’t interested in the multiplayer all the time. But yet I had to be and occasionally I would turn on my PS4 eager to have a few races only to not be allowed to because I couldn’t get a connection. Worse yet, it can also happen during a race! How bad is that?
Another really poor aspect of the game is the police. Occasionally as a street racer you will encounter some police who try to stop you and give you a fine. I’m not sure what happened over there at EA with the programming of this part of the game, but they were insanely easy to lose. To be honest the hardest part of the game was during one of the campaign missions were you are asked to escape what I recall was a 5 minute pursuit. Gosh this was so hard, I found myself having to purposely slow down to let the police catch up so I wouldn’t lose them too quickly. There was just no challenge with this aspect of the game and police were really more of an annoyance than anything else.
Storytelling wise, the game has you as the player fill the role of a silent protagonist. You will encounter various characters throughout your journey who will talk to you about street racing, upcoming races and other racing personalities. It’s told through live action cutscenes which are super cheesy but not bad to be honest, if you like bad acting and lame dialogue you’ll love every bit of it. The final ending scene is one that made me laugh out loud so I had no problem with it by the end.
The gameplay is based on two driving styles, drift and grip. Both styles are able to be adjusted based on the players preference and racing style. The grip style is much better for the faster cars and for high speed races where you may be on the highway and will need to be able to maneuver at high speeds around corners without spinning out or crashing. The drift style is better suited to the many drift races you will complete throughout the game and will see you car slide more easily around corners. You can also choose a balanced racing style which is something between the two, this is good for the first couple of races but towards the mid section of the game you may be wanting to look into adjusting your racing style if you want to keep winning.
The game isn’t overly long at all with just under 80 races to complete, which took me some weeks to do, although I’ve been busy lately. But if you have a lot of gaming time available, you’ll probably finish this one quite quickly. There is some replay value in that you can race online against other people or you can go in and race in any of the completed races a second time for the extra cash. There is a downside to this in that if you happen to be imagining that you would like to keep racing so you can buy all the cars and upgrade them, you’re out of luck there as your garage is limited to holding the same amount of cars as you have fingers on one of your hands. Having reached the end of the game, my garage was full and not wanting to sell any of my cars I’m now stuck. It would have been nice to at least be able to buy 10 cars to keep, but for some reason it must have been decided that a player would be mad to want such a thing in the game.
Looking back on 2015 at the games I was excited for and then went out to purchase when they released, Need For Speed was one of those in that list. Sadly though it is at the top of my list of most disappointing games of 2015. While the races are fun I must admit, there are far too many issues here for me to recommend this game confidently to a reader as something of high value. There are only a small amount of cars you can buy and play before your garage is full, the police are literally stupid and can’t keep up with you even if you slow down for them to catch up, the storytelling is super lame (although funny at times), the customisation options are minimal and the constant online connection truly ruins what might have been a fun time by making the game restricted when it didn’t need to be. To be honest with you all, you would be better off using your money to go out and buy a used PS2 and a used copy of either of the Need For Speed Underground games or even Need For Speed Most Wanted than you would if you purchased this Need For Speed Game.