Need for Speed Rivals is basically more of the same, but that’s definitely not a bad thing.

This is the latest is a very long series of games, all with a pretty similar premise. Street racing, lots of drifts and a bunch of customisation are the hallmarks of the series, and Rivals doesn’t stray too far from that mould. However, the return of the ability to play as the police, and in fact an entire Campaign Mode crafted around it, is what makes Rivals a stand out from recent NFS games.

Prior to Rivals, Need For Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 for the PSP was my favourite of the series, simply for the ability to play as a cop and chase down racers. So naturally, when I loaded up Rivals and was immediately presented with the opportunity between cop or racer, I was very excited – and the excitement was certainly warranted.

The two different careers – one cop one racer – provide two different sides of a coin. If you play as a cop you will be equipping your specialised pursuit vehicle, heading out from one of the various stations situated around the map and chasing down racers who very well could be other actual human players. If you are a racer, then obviously vice versa.

The way in which the online lobbies are created and real players are integrated with AI really gives the impression of a county overrun by illegal street races and a ruthless, determined police force. It means that the action doesn’t stop even if you find yourself in a lobby all on your own.

Customisation in Rivals comes in a few different forms, some of it very typical of NFS games. There are the standard visual and performance upgrades which deal with spoilers, body kits, turbos and all that good stuff. The more interesting and unique customisation come in the form of Pursuit Tech, which are basically gadgets to help you either evade the cops or hunt down those pesky racers. There are several slots for you to carry these gadgets on your car, and they range from things such as immobilisers and EMP blasts, to surges of turbo for that extra bit of speed.

The mission system is pretty typical of a free-roam racing game. You can drive around the map, doing whatever you please and if you feel like doing a specific mission or pursuit, either activate it at a specified point or by beginning to chase a racer down. Nothing particularly groundbreaking here.

Rivals is undoubtedly a Need for Speed game, and fans of the series will love it for that. However the changes in gameplay they have made and the online integration they have achieved make it more appealing than a lot of their recent games, so I urge anyone who may have given up on the franchise because it had become a bit cookie-cutter to perhaps give Rivals a go, because you may be surprised at how much fun you have.

Rating - Buy it !


Need For Speed Rivals is available on the following platforms:

PC | PlayStation 3 | PlayStation 4 | Xbox 360 | Xbox One


Publisher: EA

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