For years, EA’s Need For Speed series has taken a number of interesting directions, from the sim-like Shift games to the street racing oriented Underground entries to the pursuit-based Most Wanted and Hot Pursuit titles from Criterion. This time around, however, the developers at Ghost Games are going back to racing basics with the plainly titled Need For Speed, a game that will take you into the heart of competition in Ventura Bay, making an attempt to establish a name for yourself.
This year’s release has a lot in common with past Need For Speed games, particularly Most Wanted, when it comes to its open-world structure. Players will be able to race around the city to find events in a number of places, including online-integrated events where they can challenge their friends, as well as a single player campaign to build up your reputation. Entering an event is as simple as driving up to a starting point and pressing a shoulder button – seconds later, you’re shooting for a first-place victory.
The demo we got to check out last month at E3 provided two of these events – Race and Drift. With Race, you simply take on a number of competitors as you race through the city streets, using tactical driving and boosting to take the lead. Drift, however, requires you to be a little more stylish, as you’ll use drifting techniques in order to achieve a first-place knockout.
It’s advised that players get an online connection to get the most out of the game’s social aspects, including real-time multiplayer challenges and Daily Challenges that will be offered following the game’s release. The better you do in Need For Speed, the more potential you’ll unlock for your vehicle.
Said potential comes in the form of experience points that you’ll earn over the course of each race. You’ll be able to earn it in a number of ways, including getting a top speed on a course, drifting for a great period of time (without crashing into walls, mind you) and evading police, who will be coming after you at every turn to shut down your racing shenanigans. Again, it’s a lot like Hot Pursuit, but Ghost Games has polished the game engine so that it looks like an all-new experience.
If you want to show off just how much style you’re evoking from your driving, you can use Snapshots to capture your racing in action. These are taken automatically over the course of the game, and you can select which ones you wish to share with the community afterward. Having your friends take part is actually rewarding, as you can receive exclusive in-game items if you receive enough likes. So, yes, feel free to share when you come off an elusive turn or, better yet, go flying through the air with ease.
Driving is just one aspect of the game, as Need For Speed will also provide one of the most in-depth customization engines we’ve seen in the genre. You’ll be able to change a number of things on cars in the garage, with a simple interface that lets you tweak each individual part. For instance, if you feel like adding a foil to the back end of your car, you can choose between various parts, and buy the one you want.
Customization is covered in a vast spectrum in the game, from body kits to spoilers to mirrors and headlights. You can even change the hubcaps if you feel like rolling around “baller” style, with a number of manufacturers providing unique models to choose from. The better you race, the more you’ll be able to unlock – and the bigger your digital garage will eventually become.
Perhaps the biggest perk, however, is being able to choose what kind of handling type you want for your car. Both Drift and Grip styles are available, so if you want a car that slips all over the road – or firmly stays on it so that you pertain top speed going into corners – the choice is clearly yours. It’s best to experiment with both of these types of handling, just to see what your preference is in the long run. Who knows – loose and slippy may just be the style you’re looking for.
Need For Speed is coming along well in its development, and EA should have a full-blown racing monster on its hands when it arrives for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on November 3rd. We’ll see how it crosses the finish line then, and provide you tips on how to get the most out of your dream ride. We’ll see you on the race course then.