Posted Dec 10th 2013 3:01PM
A Pretty Face Isn't Everything
I don't remember the exact phrasing, but my first encounter with the loading screen of Ghost Games' Need For Speed Rivals told me all I really needed to know about the latest title in the venerable series. The gist of that loading screen tip? "Drifting refills nitrous." A thinking man's racing game this would not be.
And frankly, that's okay. In a world where the racing genre of video games is dominated by Forza Motorsports and Gran Turismo, Rivals is a breath of fresh air. It doesn't take itself seriously, and while this is both to its gain and detriment, it's this characteristic that I was reminded of each time I began to get angry over a gameplay fault. It was also this frustration that ended up ruining what, at first, looked like a solid title.
As the Need For Speed series seems to be constantly evolving with new set pieces and perspectives in each title, it's important to point out what Rivals is - namely, it feels like a spiritual successor to Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit, allowing gamers to take on the role of either a police officer or a street racer. That's really all you need to know, as the few, limited elements of Rivals' story have all the depth and gravitas of Steven Seagal doing Hamlet.
If you're a racer, you just want your freedom, which consists of driving a supercar like a clown. If you're a cop, you want to make the average citizen feel safe, which is done by attempting to wreck other drivers. There's no real extrapolation of these two ideas throughout the title, so it's best just to forget about them completely and focus on the game itself.