Need for Speed Hands-on Preview
Gotta go faster.
Need for Speed is going all ‘underground’ with the new upcoming reboot for the series which focuses more on the street racers we can afford rather than just super cars. The Underground series has massive popularity and for most, it was considered the most iconic titles of the franchise. Ghost Games has understood what the community wanted and it delivers incredibly detailed car customization with their latest iteration.
Before we jumped into our timed gameplay with Need for Speed, we were given some cars to choose from. There was the classic Nissan Skyline to the Silvia 180X and the newer GT86 plus Ford Mustang. These are all affordable cars which makes it appealing to the wider market.
I chose the Toyota GT86 as my car to tinker with and was surprised at the compelling level of mods both mechanically and visually. While we had a limited time to look through the visuals mods you can do the car – I managed to rush around the menus to see what you can tweak. From colours to side skirts, trunk and even the sound system (yep) was customisable. I went for a white/black Rocket Bunny Toyota GT86 which was a node to the panda looking older 86 car.
When the game started, we were thrown into an introduction race with other players at the stand. The game looked fantastic on Frostbite with the night time setting but the racing wasn’t particularly smooth which was a worry. The Need for Speed demo suffered from some massive frame rate drops especially when the car drifts which throws off your handling of the vehicle. While this was a preview build, we can only hope this will be rectified at launch and before the beta.
Drifting felt weird at first and not arcadey or simple like previous Need for Speed games. It requires a certain of level of skill to balance your car when you swing it into the momentum. It took a few tries before I could get an idea of how the mechanic works which really requires more practice. This is a welcome change for those looking for a challenge but can annoy those wanting that arcade feel and ease of access like previous game.
Another point of the game that really felt awkward was the pull down camera when turning the car sideways. I normally play bonnet/in-car camera for most racing titles but when I play something like Need for Speed, I use the outside rear camera so I can see how the turns/drift plays out. With the new Need for Speed, I really dislike the shift of the camera. It throws you off and makes it harder to see how the drift plays out. I didn’t see an option to turn this off which hopefully they allow you too. While it does bring you closer to the action, it’s more of a nuisance than anything else.
While I love the customisation in the new Need for Speed and the focus on street racers, there’s a few things I dislike about the gameplay. The camera could be easily fixed with an option which I’ve probably missed or wasn’t available at that build. The drifting is doable but I really wish they kept the older easy transition. Need for Speed is still something I kept high on my list for releases this year, let’s just hope it crosses the finish line with the issues fixed.
Need for Speed arrives 5th November 2015 for Xbox One and PS4.