Need For Speed: Rivals Xbox One Review
Developed by Ghost Games, Need for Speed Rivals is the next racer in the long running Need For Speed series. I’m a huge fan of the NFS franchise and I’ve enjoyed almost every game in the series but this installment is definitely a refresher to the Hot Pursuit game from a few years back. Rivals reintroduces weaponry and adds a lot of refinement. It’s time to strap in and find out what this speed demon offers.
The main idea of NFS: Rivals is to capture the competition between racers and the police to make for two distinct ways to play. I feel like Ghost Games have accomplished their mission. The concept works because of the balancing of the two distinct sides along with the pursuit tech. Also with the addition of persistent multiplayer, having players compete against each other in a drop in/out fashion is a nice way to keep competition consistent without it becoming too intrusive.
The gameplay in NFS: Rivals is good because of the variety it offers. In combination with the large amount of content on-hand makes the game enjoyable. Also, the introduction of pursuit tech provides very distinct ways to play the two sides in the game. The racers have more defensive weapons such as jammers, stun mines, and turbo while the cops have a little more offensive and aggressive weapons such as the shock ram and spike strips. Either way the two sides felt mostly balanced in terms of how each weapon was used in combat. Another interesting detail about this game is the risk reward mechanic attached to the racers. That being the speed points you earn while completing events and speed lists are used to buy new cars, upgrades, pursuit tech and more, but there’s a twist to it. The points you earn can also be lost if you get busted by the cops. This creates a sense of tension as players contemplate staying out in the world to rack up more points or fleeing to bank them. In my experience I’ve had to make that decision a few times even while I’m still in pursuit by cops after finishing an event dangerously low on health. It’s incredibly stressful trying to get to a repair station so I can flee to my hideout to bank the points I’ve earned. With this mechanic comes a couple small issues. One of which being the completely random spawn points the police tend to use. The mechanic causes undue frustration because cops literally appear out of nowhere and initiate pursuit. This causes a lot of frustration as the cops just get in the way if you’re trying to complete specific objectives that don’t involve you being in a pursuit. Another problem arises during hot pursuit races as cops will literally spawn out of thin air and will block the road if you’re driving at a fast speed. This is a very minor problem but it can be an annoyance to some players. Issues aside the game is open world and is very fun to drive and drift in as the cars handle pretty well, similar to the burnout games in the past. After finishing the two sides of the story the world starts to get a little stale as there is really no reason to explore the world since there are no real collectibles to obtain. The multiplayer is dynamic as you play the game and players just hop in randomly and do their own thing. The incentive to play multiplayer is that you get more points playing events with other people instead of against NPCs. While I was playing everyone was focused doing their own thing while occasionally people would meet up to an event to start a race but that was a rare occurence.
The graphics in the game are gorgeous to look to at it. Since I played the game on Xbox One it’s amazing to see the fine details on the cars. The look of a fresh new car to a battle worn speed machine is very distinct. Overall the graphics are very good. Even while cruising around Redview county day or night in the various environments drifting at high speeds it’s a refreshing palette for the eyes.
NFS: Rivals has a nice sound to it as you hear the thundering engine of a Ford mustang to the whiney engine of a Ferrari or Lamborghini; it’s music to your ears. The game also boasts a nice soundtrack as well, it’s upbeat and fun to drive to. Even when players are in a pursuit the music intensifies in the thrill of the chase which grants the feeling that you’re in an action movie.
The main plot in the game is split between the two sides as one racer wants to prove that they are the best out there while the cop is trying to stop the most notorious racer out there and bring justice to those who break the law. The two stories are very forgettable as the objectives themselves have no reflection as to what’s happening in the story. This only happens at one point for both sides but it’s not a story that’s meant to blow people away it’s not the focal point of the game.
Ultimately NFS: Rivals is a good game to pick up if you’re a fan of the series and like a nice open world to drive and drift in. Aside from a few minor issues the game is very stable and I’ve had no other problems with the game. The graphics are amazing on next-gen and I strongly advise that if you buy this game get it on Xbox One, PS4 or PC as it looks absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know what it looks like on the Xbox 360 and PS3 for comparison, but if you don’t have next-gen consoles yet; I’d recommend picking it up on your platform of choice and playing it. The sights and sounds are very well done courtesy of the Frostbite 3 engine that is being used to power the game. The musical score is also nice to drive to. Finally the plot isn’t great but it’s not the point of the game and that is completely fine as it’s just your typical cop versus racer story line for both sides. If you have the need for speed definitely consider taking this game for a spin and see if you enjoy the ride it takes you on!