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Need for Speed: Rivals Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Electronic Arts
Ghost Games, Criterion Games
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
November 12, 2013

These days, you just can’t go wrong with Need for Speed . Aside from a small slip-up several years back with The Run , this franchise has delivered a very high level of entertainment and quality throughout the generation. This time around, experienced racing developer Criterion teams up with new studio Ghost Games, and the result is another adrenaline-filled, extraordinarily energetic racer with a huge amount of content, fantastic style, and a critical pick-up-and-play quality.

I suppose one could make the argument that Rivals on the PlayStation 4 doesn’t exactly epitomize the term “next-gen” in our minds. But you know, that’s very subjective and if we obsess about expectations, we lose sight of the fact that this game looks beautiful. There’s a wonderful amount of background and environmental detail, the startling effects come into play during spectacular crashes, and the weather elements are a really nice touch. With a wide variety of locales and all sorts of great tracks, the game is brimming with polished, vibrant visuals.

The sound equals the high production values of the graphics, as racing enthusiasts will love the throaty growl of a powerful sports car and the gut-wrenching metal-on-metal collisions. The soundtrack lends more fuel to an already thumping presentation, so every event is accompanied by authentic effects, along with a score that fits the game’s ceaseless nature. This is the kind of overtly in-your-face technical tour de force that doesn’t necessarily break new ground, but still manages to shine. And it shines so brightly that you forget about the minor drawbacks, and you forget about all your lofty next-gen expectations. It just looks and sounds too good to be all anal.

A combination of Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted , you can opt to run or be chased in a lush, engaging open world setting. Whether you choose to evade the law or enforce it, you will always experience that patented NFS adrenaline rush that permeates every instant of every event. While assuming the role of a cop, you may be required to be a bit more tactful as you strategize while chasing. And there are some events that, due to the objectives, task you with a slightly different approach or driving style. But basically, the entire purpose of the game, as you might expect, is to leave you breathless and wanting more. A racing pulse is a given.