Welcome To The Nightlife: Need for Speed PS4 Review
Written by Radio Heatwave on January 9, 2016
In the city of Ventura Bay, you start out as a local street racer who has caught the attention of a racing clique and you blaze through the streets completing different events given to you by members of the clique. The jaw dropping graphics coupled with the dynamic audio in the background is sure to get your adrenaline pumping in every race and leave you in awe. However, the background seems to be fixed at different parts of Ventura Bay so do not be surprised when your background switches from midnight to pre-dawn and back to midnight in a single race.
They See Me Rolling, They Hating
Need for Speed is geared towards casual players and players who love the arcade-style racing genre. In Need for Speed, there is no manual transmission which simplifies the controls as players do not need to constantly monitor their speed and can just accelerate at full throttle all the way. Ghost Games implemented an obvious rubber banding system or as I like to call it, the “catch up system” that makes this game closer to the arcade-racing genre. Racers that are losing will always get a speed boost to give them a chance of catching up to the winner so the race is never over until someone crosses the finish line. This system can be frustrating as there are times where I maintained my lead throughout the race but a small mistake right before the finish line causes all my enemies to go pass me in a blink of an eye.
Fist-bumping, Language of the Streets
In the streets of Ventura Bay, having good racing skills and the ability to fist-bump is the only thing you need to be acknowledged by everyone. Need for Speed’s single player campaign is made out of a series of live-action cut-scenes that are filled with energy drinks, racing lingo that I do not understand and fist-bumping. I was impressed by Ghost Games’ attention to detail, in many of the cut-scenes, instead of seeing a random stock car in the background, I could often see my own customised car. There are five main characters, each having a different personality and are obsessed with different types of races. Then there is Outlaw, a character whom you will never meet and will only provide you with objectives that involve screwing with the police. I have to admit that some of the dialogues were really cliché and had me cringing on my seat, but I still give props to Ghost Games for taking the time and effort to try and imitate real street racers. My only problem with the cut-scenes is the lack of response from my character. The cut-scenes are all in first person point of view and the only response my character gives is a fist-bump; he does not speak or reply to any of them, which makes me feel like an awkward introvert most of the time. The same thing happens when my character receives a phone call, the other party will just talk non-stop as if it was a voicemail and will hang up before my character says anything. This does not affect the gameplay but it does make me feel like my character is a ghost at times.
Perfect Style for Every Racer
Need for Speed allows racers to tune their cars to become a grip model or make it more suited for drifting. Every racer can now imagine themselves as Torretto from the Fast and Furious series, Han from Tokyo Drift or even both. In theory, this system seems perfect since there is a racing style suited for everyone but in reality, every racer will choose a style more suitable for drifting or end up with at least one car for drifting since you can own up to five cars at once. There are drift races which require the player to score points by drifting which cannot be accomplished with a car tuned for gripping. You can complete all the races using a drifting style, but the same cannot be said for a grip style. Besides driving styles, the game also offers a variety of visual customisation such as editing the paint and decal. There is also the option of changing certain body parts for certain models of cars so it is almost impossible to find two cars of the exact same appearance.
Subaru BRZ Premium (2014)
Ferrari 458 Italia (2009)
All About the Parts
It is common knowledge that a Ferrari will be much faster than a Volkswagen Golf GTI, but this might not be the case in Need for Speed. Ghost Games decided to emphasize on the car parts instead of the car itself so my Subaru BRZ Premium(2014), a car that I had gotten for free at the start of the game, can be on par with a Ferrari 458 Italia(2009) with the right parts. Players are not restricted to using the most expensive car model in the endgame and can use any model they like since every car model has its own unique engine sound and appearance.
Never Riding Solo
Whenever you start the game, Need for Speed automatically connects you to one of their online servers filled with a dozen of online strangers. You can challenge a player or an artificial intelligent (AI) character in any time of the game by simply approaching the car. The in-game map also shows the location of all players in your current server so you can look for a specific player that you want to challenge. The inclusion of online players and AI bots have proved to be a nuisance at certain times. It seems that every time that I am drifting through a sharp corner, there is always another player or AI bot drifting through the same corner in the opposite direction and causing me to crash. It is very easy to avoid the ambient AI cars since they move with a constant speed but it is almost impossible to predict the movements of other players because they can change their velocity at any given time. The greatest nightmare is running into a whole crew race: five cars accelerating towards you at the same time, making a clash inevitable. However, this nuisance has helped me win certain races as well when other players or AI bots crash into my fellow competitors and giving me the opportunity to overtake them. Depending on your luck, this feature can help or harm you, usually the latter for me. Need for Speed requires a constant internet connection to play even if you only want to play the single-player features only. If you lose connection to the internet, you will have to reboot the whole game which might be irritating to some people who do not have a stable internet connection. As the game is online, it is not possible to pause the game so if you have something urgent to do in mid-race, you will have to give up on the race and try again.
Personally, I am not a big fan of racing games because I usually suck at them, but Need for Speed’s newbie-friendly controls makes it easier for newcomers to get used to the game. Hardcore racers might dislike this game because of the rubber banding system and lack of manual transmission. Casual players or people who are not big fans of the racing genre like me should pick up this game if they are thinking of trying a racing game. Additionally, Ghost Games stated that there will not be any in-game micro transactions and they currently have no plans for any paid downloadable content so what you are paying is what you will get with no hidden costs. Ghost Games is definitely taking a step in the right direction for Need for Speed, but there are still some minor issues. The requirement of having a constant internet connection is a hassle and players should be given the option of playing offline alone or go online and race with their friends and strangers.
Written by Jonathan Koh for Radio Heatwave.