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Thursday, December 5, 2013

With the #NFSRivals Platinum Trophy Now Obtained, Here's My Review | PS4

Need for Speed: Rivals is the best in the series since 2005's Most Wanted. It has a true identity and sticks to it, never taking itself too seriously while still not being a Burnout wannabe. While the lack of both vehicles and vehicle customization may turn some people off, I strongly recommend you give it a try.

If only to see how beautiful the next-gen games truly are.

Rivals is set up very simply: you can play as a Racer or a Cop. There's a storyline of sorts to each side, involving a bunch of street racers and cops all crashing into one another in a feeble attempt to prove who's in charge. Honestly, it's nothing special and I really wish people would stop asking me how the story is.

It's a Need for Speed game after all. Story is certainly not important. What is however is how well the vehicles themselves move around the map. Which, luckily for EA and Ghost, is very well. Each new car has a different sound and feel, with some of them capable of insane drifts while others much better in a straight line. Don't get stuck driving your "favorite car OMG!" or you'll find yourself no longer advancing in the story.

It's all about using the correct car for the correct situation.

Which is what is so beautiful about Need for Speed: Rivals. It's not just that each vehicle looks different than the next, it's that they all serve a very specific purpose. The F12 is a great ride for Interceptors and Hot Pursuits. It's fast, solid, and handles well enough. The Pegani is the speed demon. While it won't take much of a hit, you'll love it in those tricky Time Trials. The Bugatti - on the Cop side - is a beast. Equip it with the ESF and Shock Ram and you'll ace Interceptors faster than your 0-60 time. Then there are the Lambo's - Aventador and Veneno mainly. Quick and nimble, you'll love dancing around the landscape, juking cops and laughing your way to safety.

There's a vehicle for every racer in Rivals, despite there being only 22 Racers and 24 Cops.

You progress through each story by completing Assignments, each of those with their own set of specific objectives. Be it drift for 1,000 yards, bust 5 Racers, get 10 seconds of total airtime, or Gold 'x' amount of 'y' mode. Both Racer and Cop have 61 total missions to complete, which took up roughly 20-25 hours of my 38 total hours played.

For an arcade racer that's some serious campaign depth.

Then there's the visuals. Such beauty. Much weather. Wow. If you have played Forza Horizon and found that game to be breathtaking you're in for a real treat with Need for Speed: Rivals. You'll cruise around the map through everything from gorgeous coastline to vast desert. You'll drive through snow the higher you climb, and be blinded by the sun as it rises over the horizon.

What's truly incredible is the dynamic weather system. Without a moment's notice you'll drive into a major thunderstorm, lightning striking in the distance and rain coming down in sheets. That Maserati you were driving is no longer sticking to the tarmac the way you remember, and with the finish line just a few corners away you'll need to adjust quickly.

Which wouldn't be such a big issue if you didn't happen to have a dozen Cops after you, equipped with Pursuit Tech designed to take you out. It's not just the roads and the weather you have to battle. You'll get hit with EMP's, Shock Rams, Spike Strips, ESF's, patrolled by Helicopters, and more. Take too much damage before finding a Repair Shop or a Hideout and you'll not only be Busted, you'll lose all that precious SP you spent so long acquiring.

Review scores are out of 100 and are meant to be taken very seriously
Need for Speed: Rivals is an intense drive through gorgeous Redwood County. You'll drift and nitrous your way over rolling hills and thick forests. Through road blocks and oncoming traffic, and over broken bridges across massive canyons. Yes the customization is weak - as in it's hardly there at all (change paint color, add vinyls, and upgrade your car). Yes there could have been more vehicles to choose from and a stronger story.

Yes the fact that civilian vehicles blow you up with the slightest touch is #rage-worthy.

But above all that Rivals is straight up fun. It's an absolute blast to play, especially with a group of friends (up to 6-players online at once). 3 of you as Racers, 3 of you Cops, and an open world at your fingertips. I highly recommend this as an addition to your PS4/Xbox One collection.

And before I forget, thanks to everyone on Twitch who sat through my Platinum run with me!
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