Need For Speed  Review

Need For Speed Review

You're the new Rad Dude on the block, you just totally evaded those narcs from the Ventura Bay PD and you're totally invited to this party where some hip-hop will be played and... yeah, this is what Need For Speed is like this year. If it could be summed up in a word, it would be 'dull'. If you needed another, then 'baditude' would suffice to explain the game's cutscenes and story.

Which is a shame, given that EA decided to abandon the yearly cycle to try and get the best out of Need For Speed: it's obvious the dev team over at Ghost wanted to create something fitting for a series that has been around longer than some of you reading this have. Sadly, it's not happened.

In order to try and better Rivals, Ghost has combined the open world of the past few NFS titles and thrown the veneer of the Need For Speed: Underground series on top of it. (In a definitely, totally unrelated point, the Underground series was the best-selling era of Need For Speed.) This amounts to racing around in a city where the sun, almost literally, never rises. It's also a city where your internet connection never drops, as if it does you're kicked back to the title screen: a huge irritation.

Almost as irritating: you're thrown head first into a story where you're some nameless dude who befriends some of the worst people who have ever existed, before risking life and limb racing for and with them. Engaging with Need For Speed's plot is like staring into the abyss, only the abyss doesn't stare back, it rings you three times, texts you then tweets endless inanities and hashtags your way.

(That said: one thing I do actually love about it is the leap back in time by EA to using real-world actors and FMV. While the reasoning isn't the strongest – your actual, customised car is in the background while the dudes and dudettes are doing their gnarly acting, although it looks rough – it warms my cockles that between this and Guitar Hero there's a place for this stuff in modern gaming. Hopefully next time around they'll go for more of a Red Alert 3 vibe than what Need For Speed shows off – more tongue-in-cheek, less design-by-committee 'rebels' and 'humour'. George Takei for NFS2? I'm down with that.)

Anyway, that story serves the purpose of giving you, yes, purpose, as well as a few cheap unintended laughs. Your five contacts almost always have tasks for you to be completing, be that races to win, drift challenges to drift-win, or smashing shit up and getting into a hot pursuit situation for a while. You're rarely lacking actual goals.

The way these characters are divvied up is well done – they're categorised into style (drifting), build (customisation), crew (doing things with others), outlaw (revving your engine at pelican crossings and going 31mph in built-up areas) and speed (speed) – and you either have to race in a manner suited to the person, or you receive rewards based on who you're racing for/with. This bleeds through into the rest of the action, with combo multipliers pushing you forwards throughout. Driving at your top speed will get you some points, drifting around a corner will add a multiplier, if you're doing this in a souped-up car you tinkered with yourself then it'll hit a 3x multiplier and so on. It's effortless and unintrusive, thus meaning it's good. It's the best thing about Need For Speed, in fact.

Sadly, the rest of the game isn't anywhere near as well-crafted. While it's competently put together and is solid from start to finish, that doesn't change the fact that Need For Speed is dull.

Need For Speed screenshot

You can be racing through slick, nighttime streets with police in hot pursuit, drifting corners at 130mph and smashing through road signs and all manner of pavement-based items, performing near-misses with oncoming traffic before boosting away to safety – but it's just not exciting. I know how this stuff should go – I've played Burnout 3, Trackmania, Felony 11-79, the classics. Need For Speed isn't like those games. It's second only to real life Formula One in the 'most boring high-speed thing in the world' stakes.

Many other games – your Forzas, Driveclubs, etc – have a tremendous sense of pace to them. It's rarely white-knuckle, particularly, but it is exciting. It gets the blood pumping. It feels like you're actually going fast. Need For Speed does not do that. The cars say they're going fast, but you always seem to have three days to react to any upcoming turn: you often don't even notice you're redlining, meaning this game needs more speed. Maybe it's because the roads are so wide, the buildings so far apart, that you're not picking up on as many reference points zipping past your field of view. Or maybe it's just a decidedly pedestrian pace to the game.

This comes down to a few crucial elements, apart from the obvious lack of speed. There's the fact there's so little activity in the city around you – I know it's at night, but there's hardly anyone on the roads and that's bloody boring. Handling is the wrong side of way too simple, even when you adjust your car to be more drift or grip (it makes little difference). Your opponents follow racing lines nigh-on perfectly, aren't aggressive and suffer from such heavy rubber banding that the Royal Mail depot down the road from me is getting in touch to see if they have any to spare.

It all combines to make a game that's easy, unfulfilling and so banal that it almost shocks. The underground world of criminal activity you play in is full of archetypes surely created in a 'safe but edgy' thought shower attended entirely by men wearing suits and Fitbits. When you first see Ken 'Rad Dude' Block, he is decked out entirely in Monster-branded clothing, drinking large cups/cans of Monster and surrounded by lackeys all doing the same. It's embarrassing.

Need For Speed knows what it wants to be, it just doesn't really know how to do it. Or maybe, more damningly, it knows exactly how – it just holds back for fear of alienating the millions (and millions) of NFS fans, the more casual players who just want something simple and easy to while away the 12 months until the next game comes out.

Would you actually play it for those 12 months? You probably can – as I said earlier, you're never without a mission or five to get involved in, and the general sense of progression will trigger some 'positive reward' bit of your lizard brain to push you into playing more. But while the actual scoring system is great fun, your progression feels nigh-on meaningless – you unlock more races, more parts for your cars, see more FMVs, but you never feel like you're getting anywhere. It just stalls.

So, in a roundabout (none of those in this game) way, Need For Speed is a success. It does exactly what it sets out to do. But what it sets out to do is boring, bland, unimaginative and thoroughly dull. It's sometimes fun, very pretty, and enables you to plaster stickers of dogs all over your newly-pink Mustang, and it's riddled with great ideas like the fine online challenges with friends and enemies alike, annoying connectivity issues aside. But it meanders, settling on a rhythm that can only be described as 'safe', not pushing the player to be anything other than adequate. I adored NFS: Hot Pursuit, I got a lot of fun from Most Wanted, I even didn't totally hate Rivals – so it saddens me to say that, at the end of the day (which is always the time in Ventura Bay) Need For Speed just isn't that good.

Version Tested: PS4

5 / 10

  • Looks gorgeous at times
  • Has a good multiplier system
  • Feels slow
  • Meandering, with little sense of progress

Click above for enlarged Need For Speed Screenshots


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User Comments

nathaniel22's Avatar


Mandatory permanent connection for this game. /! \ Thank you, goodbye.

________________________________________ ______
achat galaxy s5 galaxy note 3 acheter
Posted 19:03 on 19 November 2015
Stcholun's Avatar

Stcholun@ liamb2001

perfect reply for such article..=|
Posted 13:07 on 05 November 2015
liamb2001's Avatar

liamb2001@ Andrewthomas

my thoughts exactly, should be fired or banned from writing a review, clearly doesnt have a clue what hes talking about !
Posted 12:02 on 05 November 2015
liamb2001's Avatar


Worst Review EVER !!

I can only assume they are biased, clueless or writing such drivel to try and attract attention and get traffic to the website...well it worked.

I Couldnt disagree with this review more, boring and dull ?? its the best NFS game for years !
Ive played need for speeds back since the original and they were always known for there graphics more than anything and it wasnt until the underground 1 and 2 games came out that i really started to get into them. NFS are the most inconsistant franchise going with terrible games like the remake of most wanted, nfs shift, nfs run and the last appauling attempt need for speed rivals to then come out with a rather shocking suprise of a great game especially in MP the Need for speed Hot Pursuit game. Since that i had almost given up on them again but when i tested this new 2015 game and me and my mates are absolutley loving it.

Graphics are amazing, you can tweak the cars performance and look to perfection and all in all its a great game.

Ill be honest ive never even heard over but im one of those people that when i hear utter BS speaking i have to slap the moron doing it round the face !

The reviewer is clearly cluless comparing this to driveclub and forza (which i find huglely dull) it is in no way trying to compare or compete with those types of boring, realstic driving simulators types. I can only assume this has been written by a young gamer or lad in his 20's who has only played and for some reason enjoyed the newer poorer NFS games and set his standard by those as well as Forza or Driveclub (which i turn off after 2 goes) because all in the new NFS is a very good attempt at what will possibly be the best and closest game we will see to the Underground games. Its due to clueless reviewers like this that NFS have never since and will probably never comission a game like underground again.
Posted 11:45 on 05 November 2015
Stcholun's Avatar


What?? I don`t think so as the NFS is one of my favourite games.!!
Posted 09:54 on 04 November 2015
phoenixknight88's Avatar

phoenixknight88@ TimmishMcgraw

Yeah they do but they are working on their own stuff. They released a tech demo of their stuff at E3 a year past. Their twitter has some stuff from time to time
Posted 08:43 on 04 November 2015
TimmishMcgraw's Avatar


Good review.

Does criterion still exist? Can't remember if it was ever made clear whether those bastards at EA killed them or not.

If so, can we please just get them back on this series or ditch it? Tired of being disappointed by these amateurs having a try (ghost, black box etc)

Hot pursuit is the best NFS by far and one of the best online games ever made.
Posted 15:22 on 03 November 2015
Decimus's Avatar


>I got a lot of fun from Most Wanted, I even didn't totally hate Rivals
That's all we have to know about this review.
Posted 12:31 on 03 November 2015
EverTheOptimist's Avatar


I think I'd like this based on the review rather than the score. If a driving game is relatively competent and entertaining I don't mind grinding through it. I'll probably get it when it's cheaper though.
Posted 11:43 on 03 November 2015
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist@ Andrewthomas

Reviewers have opinions and I agree that Formula One is dull.
Posted 11:40 on 03 November 2015
mralexhead's Avatar


The video shows off the rubbish handling model, basically someone careering into every wall on earth. I couldn't believe the lack of control - you steer left, 2 seconds of nothing and then you're at a right angle to the track.
Posted 11:05 on 03 November 2015
Andrewthomas's Avatar


" It's second only to real life Formula One in the 'most boring high-speed thing in the world' stakes"

How is this numpty qualified to write a review of a racing game?
Posted 09:23 on 03 November 2015
middle_finger's Avatar


Back to PC then.
Posted 08:55 on 03 November 2015

Game Stats

Need For Speed
Out of 10
Need For Speed
  • Looks gorgeous at times
  • Has a good multiplier system
  • Feels slow
  • Meandering, with little sense of progress
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 05/11/2015
Platforms: PS4 , Xbox One , PC
Developer: Ghost Games
Publisher: EA
Genre: Racing
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 110 1
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