This past weekend, I was offered a spot in the Need for Speed closed beta. I wasn’t able to take any video or screenshots of the game, but I want to describe how I feel about this newest iteration. Sit back, relax, and listen to the rambling of a slightly mad (insane) gamer.
This newest Need for Speed is a reboot of sorts for the franchise and it definitely shows. There is a slight story and the acting can be a little over the top at times. From what I was able to piece together, the story is about building your dream car. I could be mistaken in that. The story may end up being good in the end. However, I’m not expecting an edge of your seat story. If the story is the passenger in this racing, then who’s driving?
The driver of Need for Speed is the gameplay. I participated in a couple of online races during my time, but I stuck to solo play for the majority of the time. The reason being that I really wanted to get a feel for the game. Could this be the Need for Speed: Underground 3 that fans have been waiting on? The answer is both a resounding yes and no. The gameplay feels like it belongs to the franchise. The cars handle differently based on what tuning setup that you are using. There is a quick tune for those without deep knowledge of cars. This option will allow players to set a fine balance between Drifting and Grip. Don’t go into this game expecting Forza style handling though.
The customization options for Need for Speed need to praised about. There is a lot here for people to be happy with. The last one that I personally remember being happy with was Need for Speed: Underground 2. Just like that game, there is even an option to change sound systems in some cars. The options that I played around with made for some interesting looking kits on my starter car. Players will really be able to personalize whatever car they want and really make it theirs.
There are plenty of races to take part in. These range from time trials to drift races. I’m not sure if was something that I did wrong, but the drift races seemed a little unfair at times. The AI drivers would always be around 30,000 more points ahead of me. I had trouble with one race in particular and couldn’t advance anymore in the story thanks to this little problem. The other races allowed me to come in any other position besides first to advance. That one little race didn’t sour the game for me though. It actually made me push harder to find a good tuning setup for my car to see if I could improve. Admittedly, that hasn’t happened to me in a long time in a racing game.
So how is Need for Speed the Underground 3 that fans have been waiting on? The customization is the best answer that I can give to that. How is the game not the Underground 3 that people have been waiting on? The simple answer is that the game feels like it’s missing something. I haven’t quite nailed down what that something is, but I know that it’s not there. The handling of the cars is as arcadey (this needs to be a real word) as the series should be. The flow of the game felt good as it transitioned from live-action scenes to in-game models. Maybe when the full game come out I’ll be able to say what’s missing. Today is not that day though.
The burning question remains. Is this game worth playing? The answer is yes as long as you have internet access. The handling felt good and there are plenty of customization options to really make your car stand out. If you’re looking for a racing game that isn’t focused on simulating driving a car, then Need for Speed is on track to be that racing game this year.
Need for Speed will be released on November 3 for the PS4 and Xbox One. The PC version will arrive in 2016.