|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC (2016)|
|Dev: Ghost Games|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: November 3, 2015|
|Players: Single-player, multiplayer|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Language, Mild Violence|
All this customization will come in extremely handy for the various mission types. It's going to be virtually impossible for you to progress in this game unless you own at least two vehicles to accommodate the different race styles (unless you want to keep tweaking your preset from the garage before each race, which can be a real pain). You'll need a good set of wheels for raw power and speed to tackle the sprints, time trails and lap based races. On the other hand, a slippery set of loose tires for your drifting missions (which are based mostly on points) is an absolute must. I personally didn't enjoy the drifting aspects of the game quite as much as the straight-out racing, but it does help add variety and I'm sure there are those who'll quite enjoy squealing around corners while trying to maintain that perfect balance of controlled chaos with this race type.
As for the story, I can't really give it positive or negative marks. It's not bad, in fact it's pretty much what I would expect from a racer such as this. The production values are pretty good and the story is standard fare, but it's nothing you haven’t seen a million times. Faceless guy gets recruited into a crew of street racers who all want to make a name for themselves. To achieve said goal, somehow all you need is a broken down Honda Civic and some after-market parts to become a super-star of the streets overnight. If only the real world operated that simply, Jiffy Lube would become our new religious institution. While most people would suggest I'm silly for expecting anything more than good gameplay out of an arcade racer, I guess I'm just old fashioned in wanting a little bit of a hook from the story to help keep me interested. Once you get through the initial tutorial stages, the story mode's play mechanics don't really change all that much. Win races to buy better parts to win more racers. Wash, rinse, repeat. There are a few collectible opportunities here and there, but nothing to write home about. But I give a pass on this aspect, as the story's level of importance to the overall game quality ranks pretty low in this instance.
At the end of the day, you have to gauge a game on its fun factor. Did you enjoy yourself, and can you recommend it to others who'd also be able to find value in it? Despite a few gripes here and there, it's hard to go wrong with any Need for Speed. Even though this one is sold as a "relaunching" of the series, it really just feels like a modern-day Underground sequel. Having said that, if they continue on in this vein (and learn from some of their past transgressions) I can see Need for Speed once again rising to the heights of its popularity it experienced during the heyday of 2005 (when Most Wanted was pulling in Destiny-level profits). If not for the fact that the whole damn game takes place at night and has no day-cycle (something I found quite annoying), I would have given this game a near perfect score. But I found that aspect of the title became repetitious pretty fast.
So if you're looking for a fast-paced, fuel-injected bit of fun with no strings attached, there's really no good reason not to at least rent Need for Speed 2015. In my opinion, it easily beats out juggernauts like Forza for the top spot of racer of the year.
Video Content Director
Date: November 3, 2015