Need for Speed is an always online open-world racing game. Cars can be customized and races can be had in single player or online with friends.
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Pro Open world gameplay
Much like Burnout or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Need for Speed features open world gameplay where in the player can pick or choose which races they would like to compete in by driving around the map to certain markers. This makes for a more realistic environment due to the fact that you can just drive around to anywhere you want. The open world is loosely based on Los Angeles, an d is a good sized map for plenty of exploring.
Pro Fantastic graphics
The game looks quite good. All races take place at night or dusk/dawn, making for great lighting on the tracks with good reflective lighting as well as wet roads that look quite sharp. There are also little jaggies to be found when using anti-aliasing, which makes for a very smooth looking game as well. Everything about the graphics speaks to the polish that the game is trying to display, and it exceeds any expectations on the graphics front overall.
Pro Multiplayer is expansive
Being that the game is always online, there will be many players on the map that can be interacted with by joining their crew or just flat out racing anyone at anytime. This aspect of the game is quite fun and players can spend hours not even bothering with the story section of the game by just hanging out with friends and racing. Once a crew is joined players can race as teams as well, so this give a nice group competitive aspect to the game, where everything is not so competitive but requires cooperation.
Pro Good gameplay variety
There is a good mix of races on the map that players can choose to compete in. Traditional races, drifting events as well as Gymkhana events ensure that the layer will never get too board with doing the same thing over and over again. Which is a good feature for a racing game as many tend to do only one or two things.
Pro Tuning cars returns to the franchise
Users can tune and customize their cars to their liking. This makes for a great way to change how a car drives to make it control more to your liking. There are two different drive modes available for each car, Drift and Grip. Drift allows for a more loose driving that makes for an easy way to drift around corners and curves. Grip is a more controlled experience where the car is more stable on the road. Besides these two options users can customize many other aspects such as tire pressure or breaking power.
Con Poor day and night transitions
While racing the course will shift from day to night and back again, numerous time, though these transitions are done poorly and are a bit jarring. This ruins the immersion of the game as it is quite noticeable and happens frequently.
Con Poor in game navigation
The game will highlight ones route for a race with blue arrows on the road, being that the race are mostly nighttime this means that certain obstacle can be difficult to see. The way the races work, the route is unknown until the race begins and is exacerbated by the hard to see road due to it being night. Basically the more difficult races will need to be raced numerous times until the racer is familiar with the course. While this has always been an issue with open world racers, Need for Speed definitely has not made any improvements and may even be considered worse at navigation than others.
Con Low amount of cars
While the roster of vehicles is diverse, the amount is quite less than games like Forza which is limiting to those that would like to see many more cars to play around with.
Con Story mode is short
The story mode can easily be beaten in a casual two days of playing the game, making for a really short experience for a full priced title.
Con Too much rubberbanding
When racing against AI opponents the cars will often use a technique called "rubberbanding" where in it is impossible to lap cars no matter how fast you are going as once you start getting too far ahead, the cars behind you will speed up unnaturally in order to keep the race more difficult. This can be frustrating an immersion breaking as it is very unrealistic as well annoying that the game does not up the difficulty through the AI with a more natural and believable way of driving.
Con Online only
The game forces a constant internet connection for the game, meaning those that would like to play offline due to not having good or constant internet can not play the game. This also means there is no pause menu, so even when racing solo, there will be no way to stop the action for say when the doorbell rings or a phone call comes in.
Con Poor execution of story
The story sequences of the game are played out through live action in a very unappealing way. the characters are often way over the top and unbelievable and are just flat out poorly written. While it can be appreciated that these are caricatures, the demographic that they are trying to target with them is pretty unpalatable.