Release Date: November 19, 2013
Developer: Ghost Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: [Reviewed: PlayStation 4], PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Rated: E10 for Everyone 10+
Do you know exactly what warrants a rivalry? It’s a consistent challenge between others for superiority. On the streets it’s the racers looking to become the most recognized driver. But to the police it’s all about catching the most wanted drivers and showing them who’s the most dominant. Welcome back to the basics in Need For Speed Rivals.
Red View County is where developers, Ghost Games has created the setting. Before truly diving into this open world city you will undergo training as both a cop to understand how to rank up and pursuit, and as a racer to not only learn how to evade the police but also challenge competitors on the street.
While I’d be more than happy to highlight it all as a unique feature, it isn’t. The introduction feels too much of a repeat from NFS: Hot Pursuit by Criterion Games. At least the cops role; the racer defines the seamless gameplay that Ghost Games have mentioned all along. It’s called AllDrive.
As a racer the only way to get off the street is by entering hideouts found on your GPS. Now that other players and online friends can jump into your sessions without an invite, even pausing your game no longer does any good. You can use the easydrive (right d-pad) button to find events and hideouts while simply driving can pit you head to head against random racers driving throughout Red View County.
Specific vehicles are the 2nd most important thing nowadays when most gamer partake in Need For Speed. If you’re asking yourself why; it’s simple. The biggest and most memorable feature in Need For Speed was the yesteryears allowing full customization. As time moved on, we’ve only been allowed to upgrade skills, not parts. Rivals offers the same limited customization features: Durability, control, acceleration and top speed. You can switch the plates, vehicle and rim colors, but it ends there.
Skill points are once again the method used allowing you to unlock vehicles in Rivals. There’s no choosing what car you prefer to unlock, it’s a progressive method. Speedwall is back as well to help keep you seconds above your friends on the online leaderboards. Similar to previous installments when your score has been beaten, you receive notifications.
Pursuit tech upgrades giving you spike strips, EMP’s and such can be earned as you rack up points. OverWatch is also a noteworthy feature allowing you or a friend to help you in your game via mobile or online by sending you special abilities and advantages over the competition.
Utilizing Frostbite Engine 3, burning rubber in Need For Speed has looks amazing. There are many of plenty of moments where you can grasp the scenery and some that also looks pretty average. One key takeaway was the dynamic weather system. There were certain area where I was driving and immediately lost my handle in the weather change attempting to make tight turns. In a new world where the race never ends and the competition never sleeps, it was an amazing changeup to the atmosphere from time to time.
AllDrive hands down is a critical change to the Need For Speed series that works quite effectively. Whether you jump in as a racer or a cop, you genuinely find players online (outside of your own friends list) and have a blast. Surprisingly, Need For Speed: Rivals is a game changer to the series that will keep you in the fast lane!
Overall Rating: 4.25/5