Hands-On Preview: Need for Speed (2015)

on June 19, 2015 12:45 PM

The mean streets of Ventura Bay are alive with the sounds of revving engines and police sirens. Need for Speed is back in the best way possible by sticking to what it does well.

Racing game fans have been spoiled with all ready amazing looking games like Forza Horizon and Driveclub. Some skeptics voiced concerns about how the Need for Speed E3 trailer couldn’t have possibly been in-game. I’m happy to report that the E3 demo was no joke.

The transitions from FMV video to actual gameplay was entirely seamless on the PS4. What was even more impressive was the weather and lighting effects, assuming you were driving slow enough to even notice.

Fans of Need for Speed Underground will love the level of customization options. Ghost Games worked closely with popular car blog Speedhunters to choose the cars and aftermarket parts that would best fit in EA’s new racer. There seems to a big push for authenticity when it came to finding cars that illegal street racers would actually be caught driving.

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After customizing my Porsche with a lovely blue matte finish I decided to throw on some real obnoxious race decals to really immerse myself into the underground street culture. They also streamlined the car tuning aspect in NFS with just a few simple sliders to whether you want to your whip to focus more on grip or drift driving.

The mode I got to checkout was 8 player Rep Attack. 8 racers are dropped into a section of the open world where each had around 9 minutes to amass as much rep as possible. You can gain rep by simply messing around in the open world. I was happy to hear that Autolog will be returning to Need for Speed where you can compete against your friend top scores and times.

There are a couple of event icons throughout the map. Racers can just meet up that the event marker and just compete or they can drive freely around to gather rep on there by either driving really fast or just driving like a madman.

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I did notice that my gameplay demo had less spastic camera angles than the trailer and thank the good lord for that. It seemed like that odd zoom-in effect every time you drifted seemed like it would given me motion sickness. Thankfully what you saw in the trailer was mostly for more cinematic effect and not in the build I was playing.

Drifting around felt great assuming you made liberal use of your e-brake. If you went with a drift spec then it becomes super easy to slide around hair pin turns but you lose acceleration and speed and vice versa if you went with a grip heavy car. What I enjoy about this Drift vs Grip design is that its accessible enough for non-car enthusiasts (like myself) to understand.

During my hands-on, I was leading in rep points for only a few minutes until a player in a hot pink Skyline wiped me out in a drift challenge. This mode is more about scoring style points than being in first. The longer and more dangerous drifts end getting big point multipliers. It also didn’t help I got sideswiped by a cop car chasing the other racers having a six-way sprint across town. What I love about this drift challenge mode is that it made the city feel like a big playground for you and friends.

Need for Speed definitely will definitely be the racer to keep an eye out for if your thing is bragging, an unhealthy number of customization options, and drifting into cop cars in style. There’s this insane attention to detail from the way the light bounces off the your car to putting a spoiler on top of another spoiler. And again, the demo you saw at EA’s press conference was the real deal; Need for Speed really is the beautiful.

Expect to hit the road when Need for Speed comes out November 3rd on PC,X box One and PS4.

 /  Staff Writer
Raised under the tutelage of Sonic the Hedgehog and the Gunstars. Jorge came from an age where protagonists never spoke and instruction manuals were over 50 pages long. When Jorge isn't writing about some obscure indie game, he spends his day talking about videogames regardless if anyone is listening or not. Jorge one day dreams of voicing a random npc your main character bumps into and punches in the face.
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