Need for Speed Rivals: Feel the Difference!

In 2012 Need for Speed fans were treated with two game titles from this franchise. Both games went under the same name – Need for Speed: Most Wanted, but while the first (the bigger one) was created for PC and console users, the other one was directed to surprise and please the needs of those who happen to have Android and iOS gadgets. Well, I can’t say for sure that I was satisfied with both games on 100%, because while the big Need for Speed used to be OK, the smaller one disappointed me with a few things. Though, in general EA sports did a great job and managed to satisfy my racing needs. In the year of 2013 EA has made a decision that one big title from Need for Speed campaign is enough for people and that they will be pretty much satisfied playing Real Racing 3 on their mobile platforms. So, what we have now is a new title that came exclusively on PC and console platforms only and surprised gamers’ community with a few things. The name of this fellow is Need for Speed Rivals.

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Serious publishers like Ubisoft, Activision and EA have formed a good tradition to release at least one game of the franchise every single year. It kind of reminds us the good old tradition of releasing Football or NBA simulators year after year. For some reason, the very same game principles (after all – soccer or basketball rules do not change much) remain entertaining no matter what and every next sport simulator is dedicatedly expected by the fans. Pretty much the same happens in EAs system and every year they convince us that their product is the best. Well, back in the days they used to be the only game developing company in the world who did that much for the racing industry. But things change and not always their efforts become as good as their promises.

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Need for Speed: Shift was a good start back in 2009 and people even started thinking that maybe, just maybe things will go the good way. But after that we got the Need for Speed World (pretty unsuccessful title), sports-based Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and underestimated Need for Speed: The Run. But one of the strangest and unpredicted games of all was the latest Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Sure, it found some people who supported the strange vision of racing games but still – a greater part of the game community was not satisfied with the solution. Well, the Need for Speed Rivals was said to change it all and become a savior. Did it manage to do so? Let’s find out.

Need for Speed Rivals and Its Graphics

At the very same moment when the game was announced, we already knew that Need for Speed Rivals will look amazing. After all, the Frostbite 3 engine from DICE is a good choice for anything you want to do. By the way – EA promises to start using this engine in all their future games (at least – until the new one becomes available). But the good graphics also meant that we should not expect some major changes in the game process and as it actually appeared – the game just happened to become another version of the chasing games between street racers and police. Someone will say “who cares – I love street racing,” but others will claim, that this was supposed to be something different. Well, it ain’t one. After all, if you know what to expect from the game and you are more than sure that nothing in the new release will surprise you, it kind of kills the fun.

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If you take a closer look at Need for Speed Rivals, you will realize that it feels a lot like the Need for Speed: The Run. Again – is it bad or good – it depends on you to decide, but: even though the NFS Run uses the previous versions of Frostbite engine, the difference between those two is not as fatal as you would expect. I can live with that and, probably, you as well, but, there are gamers out there striking for something bigger.

No, I do not want you to think that I am not satisfied with the graphics. By all means – in Need for Speed Rivals it looks more than just great. Dynamic colors and shades, bright lights, lots of HDR effects and dramatizing moments. At a certain point you do get a feeling that someone enjoys using a certain number of filters that Instagram offers and, for unknown reasons, those filters were used in Need for Speed Rivals. It may sound ridiculous – but I like it, I really do. It looks especially astonishing when you play it on a big screen, where every detail can be examined properly. However, what I don’t like is the feeling of déjà vu. It seems that some of the roads were taken from the previous version of Need for Speed and if you play the game for a few hours, you will know almost every road. Again, for me it’s a fun killer, but some people will enjoy it. For instance, some tracks from Asphalt 8 look a lot more challenging than a greater part of Need for Speed Rivals roads.

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In everything else – the new NFS is a graphical surprise. Breathtaking night and day changes, sunlight falling from above, dramatic water drops because of rain or because of the sea washing the sand shores nearby. And even if I can’t allow myself to call this game the best racing game in the world, I certainly can call it the most beautiful racing game so far. Driving in a virtual car has never been so great.

Cars in Need for Speed Rivals

When you get acquainted with the whole list of cars offered in Need for Speed Rivals, you will definitely make this list a list of your own. Modern NFS garage holds no place for Volkswagen Golf, Ford Fiesta or Alfa Romeo Mito, and instead gives you an opportunity to stock it with the greatest cars of the present. It is pretty hard to name them all because the variety of fast and furious stallions is very and very decent. To start with you will be given Porsche Cayman S (who does not like Porsche?) but then you will be able to put your hands on red an only Ferrari cars. Yes, they are finally back with both the old and new collection of fast red rockets. Here you will find the classical Ferrari 458 Italia, Ferrari 599 GTO and, of course, Enzo Ferrari.

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I know that there is nothing better than a Ferrari but here you will also find pretty standard but also – very much loved and appreciated BMW M3 и M6, Marussia B2, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG, Ford Shelby GT500, Ford GT, Audi R8, Aston Martin Vanquish, Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan GT-R, Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Huayra, Bentley Continental, Koenigsegg Agera R and lots of others. As I’ve said – the list is just crazy! As for the newest and most expensive in Need for Speed Rivals I can recall Lexus LFA, Lamborghini Veneno, McLaren P1 and the crazy Hennessey Venom GT. The last one can boast with the craziest possible maximum speed on a car that is manufactured on regular bases for pretty regular people. The fastest you can go is 427,6 km/h!

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But while the variety of cars surprises with the number, at a certain point you do get a feeling that the difference between them is rather visual than actual. Whenever you drive them on the road – it feels pretty much the same. Also, you should not forget that Need for Speed cars have very little in common with the real life racing and they easily bounce from the borders and slide on the road no matter what. Though, this is what we love Need for Speed for and it would be a matter of a bad tone to change this peculiarity in the game.

However, whenever you press the hydraulic breaks button, you will have to be very and very careful, because it almost makes your car to explode. It almost feels like you can press the button and make an U turn easily. I do not mind making some things easier but not this much! So, be careful with it and remember that if you hold the breaks for a second longer – you may lose control and forget for a second in what dimension your car is. Well, that’s a new face of Need for Speed Rivals.

Competition in Need for Speed Rivals

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If you expect some heavy resistance – you won’t find one. Maybe, this is how computer games work in general and nothing can be changed, but maybe it’s just EA’s principles not to change a thing and keep the AI acting the way they do for years. Traditionally, easy races will be won easily and no matter how you drive – you will win the race. Though, at the same time, when races get harder – it always gets harder to play and your AI enemies will start the race like they have a turbo jet engine instead of a regular one. Well, I do understand that I may sound ridiculous and obvious but if you play racing games a lot – you will get what I mean.

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Police is also no different. No matter how fast you drive, they will still be able to, at least, even their cars with you. And if you expect to see some logic in their appearance – do not try to do so because your expectations won’t meet the cruelty of the real world. It is also important to mention that very often police cars appear from nowhere and at those moments you start losing the whole idea and feeling of challenge. What is the point of doing something bad is you still can’t get away with it? I hope, you get the point.

Need for Speed Rivals Gameplay

As it appears – the game has two different careers. You can start playing as a street rebel and always keep running from police, or you can start your career as a police officer and keep catching the bad fellows. But the truth is that playing either sides is no different: both act violently and both lose their heads when things escalate quickly. But it is important to mention that Need for Speed Rivals has no straight separation between single player and multiplayer. You can switch between them almost in a blink of an eye thanks to the AllDrive technology. It’s kind of a great feature because from playing a boring single player mission you can challenge yourself and others and start chasing the bad guys or running from the good ones all together. And the moment when someone joins the police team is almost priceless.

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The best thing about playing for the good or the bad side is an opportunity to use all kinds of gadgets and devices. Usually, they either speed you up or help you to disable your enemy for a certain period of time. There are both – digital and mechanical tools which include spikes, rams and exclusive police elements like helicopters and road blocks. As for the digital presents – I will leave this one for you as a pleasant surprise. I bet you will enjoy them a lot.

In order to earn experience and money, you should complete all kinds of tasks. Some will force you to ram 10 racers, others will make you to be caught on 5 different cameras across the city while you’re violating the speed limit. This allows you to open new cars and new gadgets. Usually, police cars are given for free, especially in those tasks where you are supposed to complete a certain challenge. But still – all the gadgets and mechanical surprises you have for your opponents need to be upgraded manually.

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What I do not like is the way the racing-chasing system works. You see, if you play as a street racer and you lose to the cops – you will also lose all your credits earned during the race. However, if you lose as a cop – you still get something at the end, a sort of compensation. I do not want you to think that I have something against police or else, but fair means fair and giving money for one and getting it away from others is just a little bit off justice.

Need for Speed Rivals: Last Thought

By all means – Need for Speed Rivals is the best racing game so far. The graphics is astonishing and so is the play. But while the first one stays with you forever, the other one keeps you interested for a few hours, maybe – a week of play. After that things start getting boring and your fingers and eyes seek for something more entertaining. Sometimes the multiplayer mode saves the situation, but sometimes – it doesn’t. So, if you are a dedicated Need for Speed fan – Need for Speed Rivals should definitely be in your collection. But if you have some alternatives on your mind – it might be a good idea to spend your money on something else.

Author: Oleg Repetskiy

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