Need for Speed: Rivals Review

Need for Speed: Rivals Review

Having a racing game at the launch of a new console always helps, it’s a genre that always appeals because of its hands on nature. The PS4 had this covered with DriveClub, but when that got delayed EA were rather quick to announce that Need for Speed: Rivals would be a launch title for the system. And that’s a good thing too, because Rivals does a lot right, especially compared to other launch titles for the system.

Need for Speed: Rivals was worked on primarily by Ghost Games, a new studio based in Sweden. However, it also had additional work done by Criterion Games and Ghost Games UK. Much like other recent Need for Speed games (excluding The Run), Rivals doesn’t focus too much on the story. Instead, it almost instantly puts you in the seat of a car you could only dream of owning. From here, you are given a large, open world full of challenges to compete in and can switch between a Racer or Cop campaign at any moment while playing the game.

Playing on both sides of the law can create some rather different experiences. When playing as a Racer you are able always on the lookout for any nearby Cops and vice versa when playing as a Cop. The game never allows you to pause as long as you are connected online and while it is possible to play offline, online completely transforms Rivals into something totally new for the series. When you are out driving, in chases, taking down other players and much more, you are constantly building up a multiplier. At the same time, the game is allowing you to build up SP, which can be spend on new cars. However, it’s worth noting that if you do get caught or wrecked, you lose all of your stored SP. In a way, it’s kind of like the racing equivalent of Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls.

The feeling of risk/reward keeps you going on and when you have been driving for over 2 hours straight, have a ridiculous multiplier and more SP than you could imagine, the race to bank your points can feel like a scene lifted right out of Face and Furious. Even in those soul crushing moments of losing it all, you continue to want to keep going at it because there’s always the lure of getting even more points back this time. Also if you get sick of getting caught by the Cops, then just switch over to their campaign and get some revenge on some unsuspecting Racers.

Rivals is still, first and foremost a racing game. This means it offers much more than just car chases. Racers can compete in many different races, time trials, hot pursuits, and more, while Cops can take part in interceptor and hot pursuit races. Along with the hundreds of challenges, each side has a speedwall they both need to complete in order to rank up and unlock new cars. These challenges range from getting a gold to taking out other players in ridiculous ways.

It’s worth noting that you are also timed on how long it takes for you to finish your list of challenges. Much like the past Need for Speed games, Autolog continues to be a great way to motivate you to beat your friends’ times. If you also don’t have any friends with a copy of Rivals, the game samples top times near yours to compete against and even recommends potential friends similar to you that you can ask to add.


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