With the announcement at E3 that there will be a Need For Speed (NFS) reboot, people are extremely excited to see what EA has in store. Some of the latest NFS releases have been poorly received, one particular criticism being the lack of content. The latest remake, however, is one of the most anticipated games in the series, and it’s easy to see why.
It can be argued that EA hit their peak with Underground 2 and Most Wanted (2005); brilliant, gripping storylines mixed with enough eye-candy and playing time to ensure the player got their money’s worth. These two were followed up by NFS Carbon, which was also a master piece in this writer’s eyes. The Crew feature and the return of night-time racing were inspired features. Other subsequent releases had some good aspects, but lacked quality across the board; the technical brilliance of Shift, the good looking and polished Most Wanted (2012), and the scenery in the fast-paced The Run. While the graphics improved from year to year (just look at the damage cars could take), the last few titles were very disappointing. NFS Rivals lacked depth in its gameplay, even though it looked superb. Hot Pursuit (2010) was too unrealistic, with the emphasis only being on going fast. It could also be suggested the franchise took a step back since Criterion Games took over, even if the car crashes do look incredible.
The older releases, though, are miles ahead. The atmosphere the developers were able to create in Underground 2, the open, immersive world with different types of terrain, the epic range of customizations available to the player – it all made a brilliant game. It was even frustrating sometimes. Should the player choose between the new rims/bodywork/spoiler to improve the car’s star rating, or the more aesthetically pleasing ‘weaker’ one? What camera angle should he/she use for the next cover of the magazine? Would he/she sacrifice personal preference for the next part of the game to progress faster?
Most Wanted (2005), though, had an even more enthralling story. While it lacked the amount of customization the previous NFS release had, it sure as hell made up for it in other departments. The diversity of the geography alone was brilliant, with the added bonus of long, tough police pursuits that never got too repetitive and the challenge of defeating the Blacklist; hours and hours were well spent on this game.
But what could they improve with the latest announced release? And what should be kept from previous releases?
- Graphics: Even though fans would have been happy with something similar to the latest release, EA have outdone themselves with the visuals. This is going to be the sweetest looking racing game to date, and, to make a big impact, maybe this was something that had to be done.
- Storyline: The story needs to be nothing short of absolute brilliance. EA have shown they can produce a compelling piece of fiction. Let’s hope they can replicate the feat.
- Range of cars: While having too many choices could almost irritate the player, this adds to play-through value. Lower-price range cars, such as the ever-unpredictable Volkswagen Golf, would also be welcome.
- Difficulty: An ideal title would force the player to improve as he/she progresses in the story.
- Playing time: While it would not be wise for EA to try to rival Skyrim in terms of play time, I would certainly be hoping for a world full of activities to complete. The addition of a few side stories might also not be a bad idea.
This latest release has so much potential. Although the NFS series has gone somewhat downhill, the fact that the franchise is returning to its roots is surely a good sign. If the gameplay trailer is anything to go by, this will yet be one of the best NFS releases of the franchise. Tough challenges and rewards, frustrating races and that indescribable feeling when it all comes together in a race -EA, please don’t disappoint!