I Have a Need… A Need for a Decent Racing Game.
I lean more towards Racing Sim than Arcade Racing, but given that I first got a taste for high octane, rubber shredding racing back on the PSX with Need For Speed, I like to check in on the franchise from time to time. Last time I had a look at Need For Speed was last year with NFS: Payback—which I wasn’t too pleased with.
Need For Speed was released in 2015 and almost immediately I heard awful things about the game from multiple sources online. Based on that, I was more than okay with giving this title a miss and was ready to call the whole franchise a loss. Until recently when TheDblTap decided to pick up a copy to test out his new and exciting 4k TV. We both sat down, eagerly anticipating slick black roads and blinding neon lights and to the games credit, it was fairly pretty.
Need For Speed Review
Forgetful Live Action Story
I vaguely remember live action FMVs in video games, but I had always been of the opinion that they were better left out of my games. That’s not to say they’re always bad. There have been some recent games that have included live action FMVs in tasteful ways, such as Control—which we really liked here at PlatGet.
For reasons beyond me, EA decided that ALL the story should be delivered exclusively through live action FMVs and in-game “phone calls”. This wouldn’t really be a problem, except that they made the protagonist silent. So everyone in the scene awkwardly stares at the camera and acts out their part like an alien wearing human skin. The phone calls are just as awkward. You’ll be driving along, trying to get to the next race, when suddenly 1 or 2 of them will pop up in a group phone call, talk amongst themselves and then leave.
I don’t think it was the fault of the actors. They did a good job with the materials provided. The fault lies entirely with EA who seems to have gone with the lazy option at every turn. I just wish they weren’t instructed to stare into the camera and act at me the whole goddamned time. I’ll introduce the characters below.
From the left we have a generic racer boy, progressive mechanic chick, cool drifter guy and the attractive blonde one who doesn’t have a niche. I don’t know their names or their involvement in the story because I don’t remember a single beat of said story. It seems like the protagonist shows up, Racer Boy invites him to a race, and then suddenly you’re part of a racer gang who races for… nothing and nobody? It’s weak and lazy. Much like the rest of the game.
The driving fairs a little better but not too much. Just like in Payback, buying new cars is pointless because you can keep upgrading the first car you buy and it will carry you all the way to the end. At least the upgrades aren’t tied to loot mechanics in this one though. Instead they’re tied to progression so once you reach a certain Rep rank or a point in someones story races then upgrades will become available to you. Most of the upgrades are standard “make car go fast” affair but some actually allow you access to deeper tuning for your car. This is a mechanic I actually really liked, but quickly felt let down by it. You can tune your car to drift, race or drag settings. The problem is that every car wants to drift and will do so at every chance it gets. Unless you’ve set all the sliders to the drag position, then any corner you take above 50mph will have the backend of your car swing out.
Something else that had me scratching my head was the inclusion of visual damage and gas stations. There is no penalty for turning up to a race with a mangled wreck of a vehicle. Nobody will make a comment about your ugly pile of twisted fibreglass and metal on wheels and there’s no reduction in your performance. However, driving through a gas station will instantly return your clapped out banger to fresh off the shop floor quality. Some races even route you through a gas station as if it was important. This is likely just a nitpick of mine but I couldn’t help see a missed opportunity here.
So aside from drifting and racing, what other activities are there? Well… nothing, really. There are some drag races you can partake in, but they’re not part of the story and there are no trophies related to them. There are various “collectibles” that would likely have been fun to track down, but just like the drag races, there are no trophies tied to finding them. Really all there is to do in this game is race and drift. Maybe that’s all some people need, but I became painfully bored about 5 hours in. Luckily it only takes around 15-20 hours to get the platinum, so I just loaded up spotify and went through the motions.
This game is “always online”, but actually you can play it offline by yourself. The only problem is that you have to load the game in online mode first, navigate to game settings, and select to play offline. The game will then panic and ask you if you’re sure that you want to play alone and you didn’t accidentally select it like some friendless, anti-social loser. Selecting yes will then kick you back out to the main menu to reload the game in offline mode, which has about a 50% chance of working. Either way, you have to load the game twice and it’s not a quick loading screen by any stretch of the imagination.
The other, more obvious problem with NFS being always online is that other racers will purposefully smash into you while you’re doing a story race. The game does not put you in an instance of your own so you can race unimpeded by people online just looking to grief other players. It also seemed like a lot of players just went AFK in the middle of roads. Out of all the races I had to complete for the platinum, I’d say about 60% were plagued with other racers crashing into me causing me to restart.
Sadly, you can’t really escape this issue by entering offline mode because AI drivers will also roam the streets and slam into you mid-race.
My Need For Speed Trophy Experience
Once I got over the pretty visuals—and they are superb—the rest of the game became utterly dull and often frustrating. The only thing the game asks of you is to play all available story missions and to reach max Rep rank. That’s it. It’s like the developers knew that there wasn’t any worthwhile content in this game and people would need rewarding even for just finishing the story content.
It’s sad really because I was brought up on NFS games as a kid and I hate to see it in this uninspired mess. I haven’t tried NFS Heat yet, but judging from the footage I’ve seen; it looks like it plays too much like NFS 2015 and NFS Payback for me to even care. Just look at the UI elements and you’ll see what I mean.
Overall, this platinum took me about 20 hours and if it wasn’t for Spotify, I probably would have given up at hour 5.
That concludes my NFS platinum trophy review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!
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