I feel the need… the need for speed.

Right, I’m falling behind with this ‘at least one blog post a month’ stuff. We are rapidly heading into the end of May and I haven’t done a post. (Phew, just did it…this month – must do better in June)

So the last month or so I’ve had two games from my rental company. First up, the rebooted Need for Speed form 2016. I used to love me a good Need for Speed (NFS) game back in the day (and I’m an old enough gamer to remember the first NFS game as well as the various sequels). My favourites had always been the Underground series. Cashing in on the sweeping wave of car modding that followed the original Fast and Furious film. These games appealed to my inner boy racer (I do currently have some very fetching interior lighting added to my current vehicle) and were always good fun to play. Arcade racer meets car modification. Admittedly, it was always simple modifications but it was fun to take a typical (affordable) car and mod the hell out of it with skirts, and bodykits, ridiculous spoilers and downlighting.

So to the new NFS, and what appears to be an attempt to capture some of that old glory…

I’m getting used to having to grab big patches to bring the game up to date, so a 2.5gb patch wasn’t that much of a shock, but what was a shock was the logo proclaiming the game uses the Frostbite engine (the same engine that powered Mirror’s Edge 2) – and it looks pretty good for it, although car models have been good enough for a while now.

Need for Speed games have always been a bit over the top and this is no exception – This is a game that is completely over the top and it knows it. It doesn’t take itself seriously. At all. From the plethora (yes, that’s right, I used the plethora) of modifications to the “totes ridic” live action cut scenes, this is a game that revels in it’s over-the-toppedness.

Box art

To start with the FMV. I’ve posted a link to one of the cut scenes on my Youtube channel here (https://youtu.be/OW-mPqVpFwE). You don’t have to watch all of it, just get a feel for the stupidity of the interactions. The awfulness of the script. the tremendousness of EA’s scriptwriters trying desperately to be ‘down with the kids’. Go and watch it. I’ll wait…

They are all like that. At least, all the ones I watched. I gave up paying attention to the flimsy plot about 30 seconds in and just enjoyed the racing.

Well, I say “enjoyed” but suffered might be a better choice of words for the early stages of this game.

My main issue with this game is that EA, in their wisdom, made it an open world game (Fine, I like being able to drive around from place to place and discover new races, collectables etc). What is unforgivable however, is the fact that they made it an online world with other people populating the same world as me. Which means there is no ‘pause’ option. It also means that when the game ‘helpfully’ throws up hints and tips, it covers the screen (while you are driving) meaning you have to either a) read the hint, work out what button to press and crash your car, or b) glance to see what button to press, ignore the text and still most likely crash the car.

The races boil down to time trials, drift trials, and straight races. However, there are enough variations on this to make it feel like there are more choices in races. Each race unlocks points with the various members of the crew, which in turn allows you to ‘level up’ unlocking more extras and modifications for your car.

And this is unfortunately where EA have lost me. The options for actual cars is strange, there is no evidence early on that you can buy new cars (Although there is a single reference to having more than one car in your garage), and the cars you get to choose from are.. lets say ‘limited’.

One thing where they didn’t skimp is the modifications for you chosen mode of transport. Want to add skirts and ridiculous spoilers? Yup. Want to add a funky paint job and decals? Yup. Want to spend you hard earned points on new roll bars? Yup. There are what appears to be a mind boggling number of modifications, some cosmetic (easy to see what they do) and the internal or engine modifications (Less easy to see what they do). Some of the options that you can add to your car unlock extra options in the car handling menu and this is where my main beef with game appears. There are just so many tweak and modifications, that it isn’t just a matter of adding a new part and the car will go faster, or improve handling. Oh no, your new part means that you can head to the settings and tweak your handling. Adjust the break balance to make your car turn in more under breaking, adjust your roll cages to adjust something else.

You tweak a whole heap of things, and your car is set up to drift easily, making the drift challenges easier. Tweak your car for a race set up and the races will be more achievable. Which is my main problem with the game, there are just too many settings to play with. Unless you sit there with a pen and a pad and note every tweak you made and compare the car then it’s a bit hit or miss to set the car up. But then if you have done the drift challenges and want to go out and race, then you need to repeat the process. It’s just too… faffy.

In all these things just took the fun out of the game of me. So I decided that I’d send it back to the rental peeps and see what came next…

As a result of only spending a short amount of time with this game, there aren’t a huge number of screenshots to share, so I apologise for what is a very word heavy post.

Next time, we’ll be looking at the game I received to replace this one.

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