In the past, Need for Speed games were more about crazy racing than anything else. When Criterion took over the franchise, that changed a bit, and now with Ghost Studios leading the charge on Need for Speed Rivals, things changed even more. In the latest NFS title, you play as either a cop or a racer. While this may seem pretty straight forward at first, there are some little details that will keep things interesting, and help you along the way.

Need for Speed Rivals uses a multiplayer feature called AllDrive. It basically allows friends to join and interact with your game with no load times or matchmaking lobbies. As a cop or racer, you'll have certain objectives you need to meet. As you complete these objectives, you'll earn score multipliers. Just like in a pinball game, you want to keep your multiplier going for as long as you can. The longer it's going, the more the multiplier increases and the more points you'll earn.

However, when you're in a friend's game, they won't be able to easily differentiate between human and A.I. As a cop, if you nab a racer with a high multiplier, you will be heavily rewarded. As you increase your multiplier, the target on your head will grow larger and larger.

To aid either a police officer or a racer, each class has a variety of abilities that will come in handy to evade or apprehend. There are 11 upgradable gadgets spread between the classes. For example, there's an EMP that will completely disable a rival vehicle, giving you time to make your escape and increase your multiplier. Shockwaves have a similar impact, while calling in roadblocks will force a racer to take a different route or get caught. Likewise, a strip of spikes on the road will essentially end a career, but it's a bit harder to use given that you need to be ahead of your target, or at least anticipate their next turn. The same concern comes into play with roadblocks.

As you increase your player level by completing objectives, new items will unlock and in turn, new upgrades will become available. It's important to choose your upgrades based on what works for you. If you're playing as a cop and aren't good at anticipating where a racer will turn next, put stock in other tools such as an EMP or shockwave-like attack that doesn't need to be positioned ahead of a racer.

Your strengths as a racer will help you level up as well. You can always choose a variety of challenge paths. If you're not good at chasing down speeders, you can opt for point-to-point races instead. You can even go undercover if you wish. Choose the path that best suits your skills so you can level up as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, the faster you level up, the easier it is to access new and upgraded tools.

In other racing games, you're only dealing with A.I., and that makes things easier. Even the best AI in racing games doesn't compare to a human player. With the introduction of AllDrive blurring the lines between single and multiplayer, you will have to stay on your toes if you wish to complete challenges and continue upgrading your tools. It won't be easy to determine which cars are human players and which are A.I.-controlled, so treat every encounter as though it's against a human.

Need for Speed Rivals releases on November 19th (or launch day for the Xbox One) and will be available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. We'll have more on NFS Rivals in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to Prima Games.