VROOOOOOOOOOOM! The sound that every man loves to hear in the morning. Horses thundering underneath the hood. RPM’s rapidly increasing as you inch toward the 200 MPH mark. All of these special moments captured in our virtual world we have come to know as “Need for Speed.” Since most of us do not have the honor of being able to experience these feelings in the real world, we can escape to our virtual haven to simulate these heavenly desires. Need for Speed Rivals was the first racing game this gamer has played since Need for Speed Underground (and Need for Speed Underground 2), so there was a high expectation already. Let’s see how it held up.
Blue Ball Score: 22 out of 25 balls
The mechanics of NFS: Rivals was similar to most other racing games, but there were a few tweaks and additions. Now, keep in mind, this gamer has not played any racing games after NFS: Underground 2, so most everything was an addition, but let’s review some of the most notable ones.
The first thing that this gamer noticed was the ability to play as a racer or a cop. As one may suspect, it was a bit more fun to play as a racer than a cop. The exhilarating thrill of running from several cops on a freeway at high speeds, or spiking a cop car into oblivion, and not to mention the cynical feeling of ramming and totaling a cop car. But, that being said, we all know that racing games can get a bit boring at times. Scenery all looks the same at 200 MPH and ravaging through the same streets gets a bit redundant. So, the addition of being able to play as a cop or racer adds a nice little changeup.
Another addition that I noticed quickly, was the weapons. These weapons included spikes, jammers, shock rams, and a few more. The weapons allowed racers (and cops) to gain an advantage over the other amidst pursuits. They could get quite annoying at times when you had 5+ cops chasing you and hitting you with everything under the Sun, but that just added to the thrill of the chase.
Speaking of the thrill of the chase that is something that this game really specialized in. By doing events throughout the game, you earned points. If you were to get caught by the cops, you lost all of these points. Essentially, it is a risk-reward concept. You may get a ton of points, but it always works out where the more points you have, the more you seem to be wanted. Nothing like getting 300,000 points and losing it all because the police had a flippin’ helicopter.Just like when I got pulled over with…nevermind.
Anyway, moving on, all-in-all the gameplay was phenomenal. This gamer truly felt like a true street-racer and like a total badass. The mechanics were solid, easy to learn and not too hard, but still challenging enough, and the additions to the game were phenomenal. Made it competitive yet fun, thrilling, and there was always something new right around the bend. I give this a 5/5 balls.
Looking at the campaign from a broader view, NFS Rivals offered a ton of customizations. You could unlock and drive some of the sickest cars out there and reach speeds that are just plain nasty. And, trust me, I have seen a lot of nasty (stay away from women named Diane).
The campaign intermingled with the online experience (which we will get to later). It is an open world experience that is shared amongst other players. It resembles a Destiny feel in the sense of playing a campaign while other players are doing their own thing. Personally, this gamer enjoys playing a lone wolf style of campaign play, but if you prefer a more cooperative style of play, this game offers that as well. Whether you are a virgin lone wolf or a swinger style gamer, NFS Rivals offers both styles that are both equally as fun and exciting.
Overall, the campaign was solid. As one could guess, the depth of a solid story line was lacking, but there has yet to be a racing game with an in-depth plot. The customizations available, styles of gameplay offered, and vast range of vehicles you could drive lead me to give this a 4/5 balls.
NFS Rivals had an extremely exciting multiplayer. The open world feel, the varying types of terrain (hills, mountains, open highways, snow, rain, and many more), the intermingling campaign and multiplayer experience, it all just combined for an amazing online experience. You could check your GPS, find another racer, drive up to him, give him that infamous “Vin Diesel nod” from Fast and Furious, and hit the gas.
As mentioned above, you could also play as a cop and run other racers down to try and wreck them. This may have gotten boring long term, but it served as a good changeup. I can recall a time when I had a ton of points taken from me and that just really rubbed me the wrong way so I switched to being a cop and wrecked several other racers to get some anger out of my system. I couldn’t be a cop for hours on end (who wants to be a cop anyway), but it definitely served its purpose in NFS Rivals.
All-in-all the online experience was really good. It was fun, exciting, offered several different routes to keep your interest, and the “shared campaign/multiplayer” is a good addition that was needed to stay “up with the times.” NFS Rivals’ online experience was a step in the right direction with all these additions and improvements. 5/5 balls.
The graphics were stunning. The effects of the storms included thunder and lightning in the sky, varying rain, snow on the roads, and many more. All of these effects help add to a more realistic racing experience. The scenery was also beautiful. It was very detailed, especially for a racing game. And, most importantly, the attention to detail on the cars was beyond remarkable. The sharpness and crispiness on the cars were amazing and made me feel like I was driving a real Ferrari – my Ferrari.
The sounds were solid as well. I started this article off with a pathetic attempt to emulate the sound of an engine revving up, but this game’s emulations were all but pathetic. The horses thundering were music to my ears, the dreaded sound of sirens were all too realistic, the sound of my tires hitting spikes and then re-inflating, and the guilty pleasure of totaling a cop car in the wall. All of these sounds combined to provide an immersive experience. I would highly recommend playing this game with Turtle Beaches cranked up.
The only complaint here is the soundtrack. The soundtrack had a few good hits, but overall wasn’t very good. I had to turn my Pandora on to really get in the mood. I mean, after all, who doesn’t like a little Marvin Gaye while rampaging the streets in a Ferrari?
Do I really need to provide a summary here? With the exception of a disappointing soundtrack, everything else was perfecto! 4/5 balls.
That being said, how does NFS Rivals compare to NFS Underground 2? I’d say it is pretty damn close. Perhaps a better way to put it would be an equivalent, but in a different era. NFS Rivals is the Underground 2 of the 21st century. Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of a young tasty_nades playing NFS Underground 2, but Rivals comes pretty damn close to it.
I would say that NFS has definitely retained its credible franchise name with me. I had extremely high expectations going into this and it did not let me down. I would definitely put this game up there in the ranks with Underground 2, but there were some things that could be improved as mentioned above. Due to these small miniscule issues, 4/5 balls.
In conclusion, NFS Rivals was an absolute monster of a racing game. I would highly recommend that you purchase this game and give it a shot. If you liked the feel of NFS Underground 2, but some of the most recent racing games were a disappointment, this is the game for you. It shares much of the same racing feel as NFS Underground 2, but with a more modern twist. The mechanics were simple and easy to learn, the combined campaign and multiplayer was much needed, the additions to the gameplay added some interesting twists to the chase, and the graphics/sound were stunning. This game is a must-play for racing fans old and young alike. Total balls? 22/25 balls.