Need for speed has always been a series known for having amazing cars and great locations. However in the latest iteration of the long running series, both are on steroids here.
The NFS games have always provided you the option to dive some of the world’s most exotic cars, which for most of us, will probably never happen in the real world. What sets this version of NFS apart from previous games is that, whilst labeled Need for Speed, this game is clearly Burnout. And there is nothing wrong with that.
We have been enjoying open world racers for years now, and whilst most of them contain some great racing tracks, providing some truly great experiences, the city’s themselves have been pretty bland. Fairhaven does not suffer from that; this city was built with verticality in mind. Developer Criterion games have built a great city, with some great driving spaces, but filling the world with billboards, gates and speed cameras adds a level of immersion most open world games don’t get.
Of course, all of this would be pointless if the driving physics was not there. Thankfully, and as is expected of the developer, driving any of the cars in NFS is amazingly simple. Drifting a supercar around the highway bends at 280 km/h provides an amazing sense of speed and satisfaction. Each car handles differently, and whilst some of the base level cars, your Ford Focus for an example, handle around the same. Once you start getting used to your new ride, drifting, handbrake turns and boosting feel second nature.
Let’s get this out of the way now, this version of Need for Speed looks amazing. At any time, blazing around Fairhaven at any speed, the city looks awesome. Smashing through billboards sends pieces flying all over the place. Take out a fire hydrant and see water shoot up into the air. The way the world is lit up, more so at night, shows that Criterion know how to make a great looking game.
There is one fault with the graphics, they are meant to be shown at speed. Pull over under any tree or light pole and you will see some blocky shadows. But the chances of you actually taking your foot of the gas pedal are small, so you may not even notice it.
Each of the cars has been modeled with amazing detail, but nothing like your true racing sim’s. And let’s face it, that’s not what NFS is about. Bouncing around in your supercar while you avoiding cops, bashing into guard rails and even the police shows some an amazing level of detail of damage to the car. Crashing can even take out windows, but that’s about as far as it goes. If you’re looking for Burnout level of crashes here, then you’re going to sad as they don’t exist.
This is one area where I am really divided. Each car sounds amazing, having a good sound setup is crucial for any game, but car games even more so. The bass of your car engine is great, hearing your car scrape against a rail at 200 km/h is a treat for your ears. And thankfully the Cops, which have been a sore point in lots of other games, sound human in this one.
The cops will use a range of tactics, based on how you’re driving, so hearing them call out for back up, spike strips and road blocks will be different each time. Even the robotic dispatch officer’s voice is very cool, though she has less variety in what she says. The downside for me is the music.
Hearing classic songs like The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” whilst drifting around is awesome. But some the techno remixes are a pain to hear. Whilst music is subjective and it is hard to balance for everyone, it’s a shame that the music options are really limited. I have found myself turning the music down and the engine noise up, just so I don’t have to listen to DJ Fresh.
Need for Speed is a great game, whilst I am reviewing the Wii U version, I won’t list specifics about what makes this game different the other releases. This is just how good the game is. From start to finish, the world is amazingly polished, with loads of things to do, plenty of cars to unlock and fantastic moments to be had.
If you’re looking for something to play, no matter what format you’re playing on, you can’t pass up Need for Speed Most Wanted.
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