Need for Speed Rivals Full Review:
Though it’s a far less technical and therefore more arcade feeling racer than Forza, Need for Speed: Rivals isn’t something you want to miss as part of the Xbox One launch offering. Its schizophrenic identity of law breaker versus law maker, provides a dual experience of fast cars, dangerous pursuits and intense road battles that trigger adrenaline and joy like seldom few racing titles do. It struggles to cement itself as a different beast to its two predecessors, but like them it’s a pick up and play racer with heart and style, that’s hard to put down.
Indeed Need for Speed Rivals is very much a mixture of last year’s Most Wanted and the previous year’s Hot Pursuit. The returning theme of cops versus racers is present, this time set up as two careers following a flimsy narrative told though live action footage of news reports and social feeds about the struggle between authority and freedom: the law and the racers. You can switch freely between the two careers and experience each side’s different mind-set, roster of cars, equipment, and overall objective. It very successfully shakes up the feel of hitting the road, keeping you entertained with its variety as some events aren’t available to the other side. Meanwhile the open-world sandbox returns. Rivals puts aside the urban sprawl in favour of large stretches of countryside – woodland, coastal roads, snowy mountains and dusty deserts – with small built-up areas. You can freely drive through the large map, enjoying the transitions between the distinct areas whilst jumping into events you find scattered around, or engaging in head-to-heads and pursuits with racers you come in contact with.
Need for Speed: Rivals is a terrific entry in the series, taking the strongest elements of its predecessors to build something familiar but with its sights clearly on the future with regards to online integration. The lighting and weather effects look fantastic thanks to the next generation hardware and the sense of speed is as exhilarating as ever. The six player restriction is a tad disappointing, and minor issues such as the uninspired narrative and the frequent disorientation after resetting from a crash eat away at the experience slightly, but otherwise Rivals is a top notch racer you really shouldn’t let pass you by.