Need For Speed: Rivals – PS4 Review

Need For Speed: Rivals, by Ghost Games and EA

Need For Speed: Rivals, by Ghost Games and Electronic Arts

As I write this, Need For Speed: Rivals is the only driving/racing game available for the PlayStation 4.  And, it’s a good game.  It looks great in 1080P and the frame-rate is blazing, no matter how much action is on the screen.  But, at the same time, it’s the same game…  often, I felt like I was playing Burnout: Rivals, or, more accurately, Need For Speed: Paradise City 2.  Essentially, N4S: Rivals takes the racer vs. racer missions and gameplay of Burnout: Paradise City, tacks on a cops vs. racers component, and calls it a day.  Well, that is while also going through the trouble of building a new game world and rendering new high-def graphics.  Again, repetition is not necessarily a bad thing, but, you should know what you’re getting into.  Bottom line – if you like BO:PC, you’ll like Rivals.  If not, well, the odds probably aren’t in your favor.

The game world of Redview County, modeled after California, is massive and beautiful.  You can drive for hours and almost always be on a different road, or stretch of long highways.  The scenery varies from the beaches, to the mountains, through the redwood forests and the deserts, all experiencing different types of weather over different times of day.   The physics engine and sense-of-speed are quite good.  All of the graphics are top-notch, and the PS4’s horsepower keeps the frame-rate high – over many hours of play, I never experienced any lag or drops.  The selection of cars is good, but not ‘hundreds of cars!’ good.  You’ll earn your Ferrari’s, Lambo’s and other exotics, alongside staples from present-to-recent-day luxury and performance cars.

Need For Speed: Rivals, gameplay

Need For Speed: Rivals, gameplay

Gameplay is like a straight-forward racer.  There are two story lines that the gamer can follow, and easily jump between, Cop and Racer.  As a racer, you get to race others, AI and online players, through various missions to build public trust in racers-in-general, and expose excessive-force by the Police.  As the cops, you do the same thing, but aim to stop racers from endangering innocent people rather than expose them in some way.  The plots are basic, but enjoyable, and a good way to introduce the player to the game world.  There are a few different types of missions to complete, but the open-world design allows you to find AI players to race or bust pretty easily.  Online play is fantastic, it’s a great rush finally busting a talented player-racer, or ditching a bloodhound of a player-cop.  There are some tweaks you can make to your car, and weapons/defenses options.  Again, nothing groundbreaking, but always fun.

For PS4 owners that might own the game for PS3 or Xbox 360, I’m not sure I’d recommend the upgrade.  The graphics are slightly better, but that’s probably not enough to buy the game all over again.  If you don’t have a previous gen copy of the game, then I think Need For Speed: Rivals, is a great deal of fun.  If you’re a racer/driver fan, you don’t have much choice yet, but you should pick a copy up just the same.  You can frequently find it on sale for around $40.  For Gran Turismo/heavy-duty driving sim fans, well, N4S: Rivals might not be your cup-of-tea.  But if you like a little arcade action to go with your sim, then I think you’d have a great time racing and chasing in Need for Speed: Rivals.

Mike Knotts

Mike Knotts was born in 1968 in a small town in southern Indiana. Even when very young, Mike showed a love for all-things technical and sci-fi. Moving with his family to California in the early 80's, he eventually graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in History. Rather than put that to good use, Mike continued to pursue his passion for technology by working for early, regional ISP's in the mid 1990's. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he works as a project manager for an Internet startup. Mike is a co-founder of Geekometry.

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