Need for Speed™ Rivals
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Need For Speed: Rivals fuses some of the best elements of Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted. The exotic cars and scenic open-world setting of Rivals make for exhilarating races and chases while the ability to play as either racers or cops adds some variety to the mix. The locked framerate can be overcome, but it’s still a baffling inclusion and the heavy emphasis on online play will also be an annoyance to solo players. However, despite the flaws, this is still a great entry in the series and a lot of fun to play.

Gameplay: Fast and frantic, but some players might find it a little too easy.

Graphics: The Frostbite 3 engine is used to great effect in this game.

Sound: Decent soundtrack, overly dramatic voice acting, and good sound effects

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Need for Speed™ Rivals

Developer: Criterion Software | Publisher: Electronic Arts | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Arcade / Racing | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Need For Speed: Rivals leaves the gritty urban environments of Fairhaven behind for the altogether more scenic Redview County. Like its predecessor, Most Wanted, it’s an open-world title but thankfully one that is a little less tedious. This time the game can be enjoyed from both sides of the law as players pick between racers and cops before taking to the streets. The rivalry between these two factions are played up using some dramatic voice overs and quick cut-scenes, which although very cheesy, are not as over the top as some of the more story-heavy entries in the series.

After a quick introduction to the two factions, Rivals leaves players alone to enjoy the game in whatever way they want. Rivals is divided into chapters, with each consisting of so-called speed lists for racers and assignments for cops. Each one is filled with several objectives and players can choose whichever one aligns more with their chosen playstyle or mood. For example, when playing as a racer players can choose a speed list that focuses purely on winning races and beating other racers or one that is geared more towards outrunning the cops and causing them damage. The third speed list is for players who enjoy the open-world aspect of the game more than the racing and might feature objectives like performing long drifts, reaching certain speeds, or jumping specified distances. Completing a chapter rewards players with things like new cars, performance upgrades, liveries, and so on. While it might sound very simple, it’s quite effective and strikes a decent balance between having goals while still experiencing the freedom to do what you want.

True to its name Rivals is geared heavily towards multiplayer, so much so that the game attempts to throw players straight into the online mode at startup. It is possible to opt out of this and play on your own, but strangely enough, the game still doesn’t allow players to pause. We do not doubt that some players will enjoy the multiplayer aspect of the game, it felt a little underwhelming to us. Not only does the game only allow six players per session, but other players tend to either drive around and do their own thing or attempt to smash your car to pieces instead of racing. Attempting to get everyone together in one race is also a futile experience unless playing with friends.

Fortunately, even when playing solo, the game is a much better effort than Most Wanted. The events are all fun and driving through the beautiful and varied scenery is a lot more exhilarating than the claustrophobic streets of Most Wanted. The game also features a new risk and reward element in the form of speed points. For racers, this is the in-game currency that can be used on everything from new cars to performance upgrades, gadgets, and customization.

Speed points are earned by driving around and completing events while building up a multiplier. The catch is that if the cops bust you before you reach a hideout and bank your speed points you will lose everything. It’s tempting to build up your multiplier and watch the points roll in, but doing so will bring more cops down on you. This already makes the police chases a lot more fun than the boring ones in Most Wanted.

Things work a little different when playing as a cop as you don’t have to pay for vehicles. Instead of earning speed points through your driving skills, you take them away from the racers who you bust. These points can then be spent on new gadgets, but unlike racers, you cannot upgrade your vehicles. Speaking of the gadgets, each side of the law has access to their own ones that range from EMPs and shockwaves to spike strips, roadblocks, and more. In total there are eleven upgradeable gadgets at your disposal, but you can only equip two at a time. Cars now have health bars that can be depleted using these gadgets or by crashing into them. However, the repair shops that dot the roads can be used to quickly repair your vehicle, even in the middle of an event. Events can also be started any time you pull up to them, even if you already have a trail of cops chasing you. Spotting any racer, either player or AI, also allows you to instantly challenge them to a head to head race, which is neat. Also, the game delights in constantly highlighting the best times or fastest speeds of your friends to encourage you to beat them. The only thing that Rivals is lacking is the billboards and other things to smash through, but we can’t say that we exactly missed them.

Need For Speed; Rivals makes use of the Frostbite 3 engine, which means it looks better than ever before. The cars are all insanely detailed, but it’s a pity that customization is reserved to paint jobs, decals, liveries, and license plates. The game does feature the usual assortment of exotic brands, including vehicles by Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, BMW, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and more. The only odd thing about the cars is that even with the dynamic weather in the game they are always dripping with moisture, which looks rather odd at times. Redview County is one of the most scenic open-world locations in the series with sprawling roads that cover everything from snowy mountains and arid deserts to beach-side towns and forests. There’s also plenty of destructible scenery to crash through to add to the excitement. While there’s not exactly a wealth of options to tweak for the PC version, players can adjust the resolution, select the quality level of things like lighting, reflections and effects as well as tweak the ambient occlusion. Motion blur and headlight shadows can also be toggled on or off. We do have a couple of issues, though, such as the fact that the game only has two camera views; third person and bumper view. Even worse, the frame rate is locked to 30 frames per second, which is a travesty for a PC title. Using command-line options we were able to set it to a more acceptable 60 frames per second, but this caused issues with some of the races. For a lot of players, the low frame rate will be a deal-breaker and we doubt that we would have been able to play through the game were it not for the workaround.

The soundtrack for Rivals is not as strong as previous entries but does feature tracks from Linkin Park, Bastille, and Gary Numan to name a few. There’s also the overly dramatic voice-overs we mentioned, which ramble on about pushing limits and forging rivalries. These are different for the racers and the police, but make both sides sound equally unhinged. We played Rivals using a controller and had no issues getting the cars to go where we wanted them to go. The handling is very arcade oriented as players don’t even have the option to switch to manual gears. The crashes have also been toned down considerably compared to Most Wanted and thankfully there are no more ten-second cut-scenes after lightly scraping a barrier. Autolog does make a return, so it’s easy to find events or locations the safe houses takes some of the tedium out of evading the cops.

Overall Need for Speed: Rivals is far from perfect, but it is a big step up from Most Wanted and has a lot more in common with Hot Pursuit. It is certainly a way more accessible entry in the series and gives players more freedom to play the game the way that they want to play. The ability to play as racers or cops adds some longevity and players can also go back and complete the other objectives after finishing the final chapter in the game. We would have liked to see the frame rate issue being addressed instead of leaving it up to players to fiddle with command-line settings, though. Besides, with a game that focuses so heavily on the online aspect, it’s a bit baffling that the number of players and events are so limited compared to previous entries. However, by mixing the best elements of Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted this game is a big step in the right direction for the franchise.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 (Service Pack 2) 32-Bit
  • Processor: Intel 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo or AMD 2.8 GHz Athlon X2
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon 3870 512 MB or higher performance; NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT or higher performance; Intel HD 4000 Integrated 512 MB or higher performance
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 30 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible
  • OS: Windows 7 (Service Pack 2)
  • Processor: Intel Quad-Core CPU or AMD Six Core CPU
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon 7870 3GB or higher performance; NVIDIA GeForce GT660 3GB or higher performance
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 30 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 11 compatible

Related posts

Go! Go! Nippon! My First Trip To Japan

Go! Go! Nippon! My First Trip To Japan

While this game isn't aimed at the typical visual novel fan, it serves as a nice introduction to the genre as well as the culture. The link to Google street view photos of the locations you visit is an inspired touch and you can pick up some interesting tips and facts about Japan. Gameplay: A short but enjoyable tour of Japan. Graphics: Nice apart from the recycled visuals. Sound: No voices and recycled music.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

While there is no danger of this game dethroning the Diablo series it is a solid action role playing game set in a unique gameworld. The mixture of steampunk and gothic elements offer some bizarre enemies and interesting locations to explore while the action never lets up. The complete pack also adds some essential DLC for extending the longevity and variety of the game. Gameplay: Traditional action role playing done right. Graphics: The visual style is nice and the creature designs superb. Sound: Great voice acting, meaty sound effects and some nice tunes.

Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear

With its surreal setting and constantly shifting rooms Layers of Fear is a game that is both immersive and captivating. It loves messing with your perception, but also features enough jump scares to keep you on edge all the time. Unless you take the time to explore your surroundings and uncover the clues you’ll miss out on most of the story elements, so it is not a game to rush through. Thanks to its beautiful visuals and excellent audio it is definitely a cut above similar titles in the genre. Gameplay: Minimal puzzles, but simply exploring the surreal setting of the game is a nerve wracking experience. Graphics: Very polished and highly detailed. Sound: Quiet when it needs to be, but also very effective at using audio to unnerve players.

Mystik Belle

Mystik Belle

Mystik Belle features an addictive blend of classic platforming, Metroidvania inspired exploration and a healthy dose of point & click adventure style puzzles. The beautiful pixel art visuals are a definite plus and the charming characters as well as varied locations will keep you hooked. The puzzles and limited inventory might not appeal to players looking for a more traditional Metroidvania style platformer, but Mystik Belle is definitely worth checking out. Gameplay: Tons of areas to explore, lots of clever puzzles and some huge bosses to defeat. Graphics: Beautiful pixel art visuals with large, detailed sprites and memorable backgrounds. Sound: Features a catchy chiptune soundtrack.

Five Nights at Freddy’s

Five Nights at Freddy's

Animatronic mascots are on the prowl at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza and it is your job to keep an eye on them. Unfortunately, the are more than capable of killing you since you have no means of fighting back. Instead, you have to make use of your dwindling supply of electricity to monitor security cameras and lock the doors to your office before it is too late. You will have to be careful, though, because if you run out of electricity before morning the chances are very good that someone will find your body stuffed into the jagged interior of an animatronic animal mascot suit. FNAF suffers from some technical limitations, but excels at jumpscares and keeping players on edge. Gameplay: Your interaction with the gameworld is limited, but this just adds to the atmosphere. Graphics: You are mostly looking at static renders, but the visuals still manages to be very creepy. Sound: Not much in the way of music, but the sound effects are superb.

Battle Group 2

Battle Group 2

Although you don't have direct control over your battleship, blasting enemy ships and aircraft is still an addictive experience. There are multiple battleships and support ships to unlock as well as upgrades, which along with the ratings for each level gives the game plenty of replay value. There is a bit of grinding involved to purchase the best equipment, but the game remains fun throughout and if the developers support the game like they promise to do it is only going to get better. Gameplay: An action packed experience despite the simple controls. Graphics: Detailed ship and aircraft designs, but fairly bland backgrounds. Sound: Decent voice acting and a very fitting soundtrack.

Leave a comment

4 × 1 =