Jaw-dropping visuals in the open world of Need For Speed
The Need For Speed series has seen quite a few incarnations. At various points, it's been a police chase simulator, a track racer, and even a action-movie on wheels in the same vein as the Burt Reynolds comedy The Cannonball Run. Fans of the series will be pleased to know that Need For Speed's latest guise is highly reminiscent of the Underground titles - arguably the best games the arcade-style racing series ever produced.
The first thing you'll notice about the open world of Need For Speed is that it's absolutely gorgeous. The perpetually rain-soaked streets of Ventura Bay, beautifully rendered with the help of the Frostbite 3 engine, are drenched in neon ambience, and I often found myself getting distracted by the sheer beauty of the world around me.
The game is far from perfect, but it is, at points, truly exceptional. Its jaw-dropping visuals, adrenaline-pumping audio, and highly-customizable handling make screaming around the darkened streets of Ventura Bay an intense thrill. The sense of ownership that comes with tuning a single ride to perfection rather than simply grabbing the flashiest vehicle available proved tremendously rewarding. Even just the breathtaking speed of upgraded vehicles makes the driving in Need For Speed absolutely gripping. This foundation of gratifying gameplay anchors the experience, while the rest of Need For Speed's specifics run the gamut from equally outstanding to smash-your-controller frustrating.
This year's Need For Speed has delivered on the promise of bringing back some of people's fondest memories of the Underground years. Yes, you can spend hours painting your car, adding decals, logos, bumpers, and carbon fibre hoods. Yes, you can fine-tune a huge array of cars and drive them around a gorgeous city that exists in perpetual night. And yes, you can still master the art of drifting. The problem is, though, that because this is 2015 now and if we want to do something recreationally, then society dictates that it is always better to do it with a buddy, regardless of the situation. Because of this, Need For Speed is now always online, meaning that there's no pause menu. On top of that, there's no dedicated multiplayer mode, which means there is no way of stopping other players crashing into you as you cruise around your city.
Need For Speed has definitely recaptured the nostalgia of the Underground days, and can definitely be as exhilerating as the popular street racing games of years past. The trouble is, it isn't quite consistent enough and can often leave you wanting for more.
need for speed
PS4 / Xbox One