The long-awaited return of the tuner car-inspired video game series Need for Speed has led to some serious internet buzz across the globe. Released on November 3, the game caters to young automobile enthusiasts with high-speed gameplay, deep customization options and a ridiculous amount of real life automotive icons. Although the game is a great successor to older Need for Speed releases, how does it stand up to big-name titles like Forza and Project Cars?
Visuals: The game is fantastic, visually speaking. Graphics are crisp and detailed, shadowing is impressive and the city streets are always perfectly glossed with rainwater. My only complaint is the game’s darkness. I know the whole point of the game is to give you that nighttime street racer feel, but it would be nice to see the sun once in a while.
Gameplay: If you’re looking for a racing simulation, turn around and walk away. In traditional Need for Speed fashion, the driving physics are incredibly arcade-like. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re open minded. Just don’t plan on playing this game and getting a Forza or Project cars-like experience out of it. Drifting is fairly easy in the game, making it enjoyable, but far less rewarding than successfully sliding through a series of turns on Forza. The cut-scene inclusion of industry icons like Ken Block, Akira Nakai-san, Fredris Aasbo and Magnus Walker is a nice touch as well.
Customization: If customization is what you want, then you’ve come to the right place. This game offers, hands down, the most extensive customization possibilities in any game I’ve played. Want Rocket Bunny fender flares for your Scion FR-S? Got it. A Liberty Walk body kit for your Nissan GT-R? Got it. A RAUH-Welt Begriff Porsche 911? Got it. The wheel selection puts Forza to shame. Project Cars isn’t even worthy of being mentioned, in regards to customization.
Although the gameplay is solid and the storyline is decent, something about the Need for Speed just seems to fall short of my expectations. If you don’t have an online connection at all times, you’ll be kicked out of the game. There’s no in-car view and no option to manually shift through the gears. Although I’m still awestruck by the customization and visual appeal of the game, there are a few major issues that keep me from ranking Need for Speed higher than it’s more simulation-based competitors.