Many people were a bit disappointed when DriveClub was delayed on PS4, saying that it left no serious racer on the system for launch. But wait? What about Need for Speed: Rivals? Sure it’s more arcade than simulation, but if you want a racer which will speed you into the next generation of consoles then you should look no further.
Rivals seems to take its inspiration from other games in the Need for Speed series, such as Most Wanted and Hot Pursuit, melding the best bits together into a sort of Greatest Hits racer. The outcome is one of the best games in the series so far and certainly one of the best looking games to arrive at the launch of both Xbox One and PS4. If you want a racer then you certainly won’t go wrong here.
Need for Speed: Rivals sees you take on the role of either Cop or Racer, although before you make the choice the game will ease you into both roles with a tutorial of sorts. Once this introduction to the game is done, you can then choose your path, although you can switch between Cop or Racer at any time. Personally I opted for Cop as there is nothing quite like chasing down the racers and taking them down. As per Hot Pursuit you are able to use all manner of equipment to take the racers down, be it through dropping spikes, an electro magnetic pulse or just by using your nitro to ram into them at high speed.
Perhaps the greatest feature of Need for Speed: Rivals is that it’s always online, so even though you are constantly given challenges via the game’s single player mode, there is always a challenge that awaits from other online players. This can be simple things such as the constant pull of the online leaderboards, which pop up every time you pass through a challenge or are flashed by a speed camera. There is always the temptation to take on one of these challenges, even though you are more than likely in pursuit of a Racer. What’s interesting is that even when you are in pursuit of a racer you’ll often see other online friends doing the same, which is great as you can simple spin around and help them out, before shooting off and continuing on your own path once more. Single Player and Multiplayer all just blends in so seamlessly, it’s excellent and quite frankly, brilliant fun.
Even if you choose to play offline (the option is hidden away in the menus), the single player challenges are still a lot of fun. For example, you could be asked to earn a bronze/silver medal in an event, drive a certain distance or achieve a certain number of rear rams. Once you complete the set challenge you then unlock the next challenge, along with a new car and all manner of extras. If you choose to play as a cop like i did, then you can even specialise by selecting enforcer, undercover or patrol missions which offer a different mix of objectives for you to get your teeth into, there are even different types of cars which you can use for these missions. Like I say, you can switch roles at any time, so there are effectively two campaigns to play.
The only reason I opted to turn off multiplayer myself was because I was having issues with the game freezing during my play time and this seemed to fix the issue, however once the connection issue I was having was sorted, I turn online back on again and it’s been problem free ever since. I’m glad that I was able to sort connect, because the game really comes to life once you are online. There is nothing quite like being able to see friends scores and times and go up against them. It’s also great to be able to team up with friends or race against them for glory. Just like the PS4 seems to be a seamless and constant social experience, so does Need for Speed: Rivals.
As with other games in the series, Need for Speed certainly knows how to shower you with an unlimited choice of cars. Whether your love of cars is for Bugatti, Bentley, Ferrari or Mercedes you’ll not be disappointed with what’s on offer. What’s also great is that there are no overpowered cars, so even if you come up against someone with a wicked collection, you’ll still be able to compete. You can even customise you’re cars with your own number plate and the previously mentioned pursuit tech, just to make them that much more special.
I’ve never been a huge racing fan, so this is probably why games such as Need for Speed: Rivals appeal to me. The handling of the cars is very easy to get to grips with since vehicles never punish you for simple mistakes. Cars stick to the road much better than they would in more serious racers such as Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, but that suits me just fine. The fact is that these cars are just as finely detailed as in those games, although they do tend to get slightly more bashed up in Need for Speed: Rivals.
What’s most impressive about Need for Speed: Rivals is that it looks fantastic. You’ll be blinded as the flashing of your police lights glare when driving through a tunnel or as the screen goes hazy when you’re speeding through a wet and dark dimly lit road. Everything just has so much detail, be it the cars themselves or the surrounding areas. This is one good looking game and it’s complimented perfectly by all other aspects of its presentation, be it the music, sound effects or the menus.
Need for Speed: Rivals is a wonderful title and one that I’m going to be spending a whole lot more time with. If you’re after another next generation title to add to your collection before Xmas, then this is the only one I’d personally recommend without even thinking about it and If you have a Need for Speed, then Rivals is most certainly for you.
Words by Joe Anderson.
@_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta
(Version Tested: PS4)
+ Looks fantastic
+ Always online
+ Arcade Action is easy to get to grips with
+ Single and Multiplayer are integrated perfectly
- Had some connection issues (although since resolved)