The "Need for Speed: Rivals" racing game is the spiritual successor for the 1999 smash-hit "Need for Speed: High Stakes" (a classic of the racing genre), or at least that's what EA says regarding the twentieth installment in the long-running series – yes, there have been twenty of them, thus far.
Having gone through a street-racing phase with several of the older games, NFS is back to its core, featuring the never-ending battle between cops and the ones they chase.
Watching both the trailer and the gameplay videos that were recently uploaded for the E3 games conference in Los Angeles, it’s clear that developer Gothenburg, Sweden-based Ghost Games did not stray too far from the classic formula with this game. If you’ve played one of the more recent games, all will be instantly familiar once you’ve seen both videos.
The game is underpinned by the acclaimed Frostbite graphics engine, now in its third version. It is like a universal platform for automakers, with previous versions of the engine mostly powering first-person games (not necessarily shooters). Now, Frostbite 3 which makes NFS: Rivals look amazing (especially the water droplets/dew which can be seen on car bodies) will make sure it is one of the most eye-catching and flashy games on the market, but we do hope that physics will be improved.
The most recent NFS games were equally pretty for their time, but the cars did not drive in a satisfactory manner. One hardly had to touch the brakes, even when driving a Bugatti Veyron on a twisty road.
All cars felt like they were on rails, even while drifting, which in itself was far too easy. Hopefully, they will correct some of the dim-witted issues plaguing their previous releases, because they have so many talented rivals to worry about which are not doing a rehash of a game released more than 10 years ago and are innovating. EA better get it right, otherwise the series might start losing fans, who will probably go play arch rival Ubisoft’s The Crew.
By Andrei Nedelea