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E3 2013: Need for Speed Rivals preview

Coming hot off the tail of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, a reboot of one of the most famous Need for Speed titles to date, Rivals feels like a step in the right direction, one that didn’t come from the well-executed, but safe, Most Wanted. Sure, there’s still alot of mechanics that are being pulled from Hot Pursuit, but the evolution of the idea between cops and racers as rivals wraps the series’ pursuits in an interesting context that breathes new life into the series.

This tense nature between cops and racers is only elevated in Rivals as the lines between single-player and multiplayer continue to become blurred. It isn’t about selecting which one you want to play, but, rather, as you play in single-player, it can turn into a multiplayer event at any time.

If you’re playing as a cop, you might be driving around, attempting to stop a pursuit, while another player drives by in a race, giving you the option to join in on their race as a cop in pursuit. It’s an interesting mechanic that continues to switch on and off as races form around you.

It isn’t as if you stick with one group the entire time, at some point, they’ll either lose you or you’ll stop them, so you’ll need a new group. Luckily, there’s so many different groups of players driving around that theoretically, they’d be everywhere. It isn’t clear if you can turn this off either for a purely single-player experience, though I’m not sure there’s a real reason to do so. 

With this drastic shift comes the prevalence of two campaigns, either the racer or the cop. In the trailer, we saw hints of some not-so-witty banter going back and forth between the racer and the police, and while I was hoping that this wasn’t something that would make it into the final game, it totally is and, from what we’ve heard so far, is just as bad in the game as it was in that trailer.

Thankfully, it’s Need for Speed, so the actual racing is on-point and still exceptional as always. It still feels extremely fast, something that other racing games, like Forza and The Crew, still haven’t been able to compete against. Despite how heavy racing games were at this year’s show, Need for Speed is still unparalleled in that regard.

Controls are similarly tight, with everything feeling right at home if you’ve played an other racing games in recent memory. It’s all right there and easy to use.

Unfortunately, the rest of the system is still somewhat confusing. It’s an open-world racer, or at least that’s what we’re led to believe through what we’ve been shown, but it’s still really clunky trying to actually get into a race. There’s no simple way to do it. You have to pull up, stop, and press a button to load up the race.

That might sound simple, but, in Rivals, it’s extremely easy to get slipped away from a race and not know it. I ended up driving around for an entire minute looking for a race to join before realizing that I was still technically in a previous one, despite being miles off course, as a police pursuit had sidetracked it as we crossed the finish line.

Despite this weirdness, Need for Speed: Rivals is still an exceptionally strong racer, so don’t let a clunky system deter you from the fastest and tightest racing series. Besides, the cars are pretty, it’s hard to turn your back on cars this pretty.

Words by Alex Rubens. 

Edited On 22 Jun, 2013

( 7 )
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
Looks as shit as the last 5 poor excuse of the series remake underground or do 1
iMerle iDixon's avatar
iMerle iDixon 4 years ago
Been a hell of a long time since I played a racing game, and with that Drive club been free on PS4, I just don't think I'll even consider this.
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 4 years ago
Usually I would be interested in this, but with The Crew coming out and Forza 5 I'm not even going to waste my money. May rent it though :D
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
Meh, open world racing sucks, and this sounds like it sucks even more than usual.
Whitey's avatar
Whitey 4 years ago
Open world racing is awesome, but like Bywater said, with The Crew and Forza 5 coming out, this just isn't as good but I might still play it.
DynamiteWhyte's avatar
DynamiteWhyte 4 years ago
Same place as Whitey/Bywater. The Crew and Drive Club will take care of my driving needs.
Beazi's avatar
Beazi 4 years ago
I thought Shift 2 was fantastic to be fair. However it has gone off the boil, the one before Most Wanted (crikey what was it called) was supposably dog poo. Seeing as there has been no Shift 3, not that interested in them tbh

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