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Review

Need for Speed: Rivals Review

  • Game release: November 15, 2013
  • Reviewed: November 15, 2013
  • PS4
Aaron Sampson on Google+

New life on the old roads.

by

"Damage critical." The words appear on the screen in red, sending a rush through me. One more hit and I'm done for. It's too far to the nearest repair shop; I know I need to make it back to a hideout fast or I'll lose everything. I gun it, relying on my reflexes to help me evade the police, with their spike strips and their reckless attempts to run me off the road. There are only two possible outcomes: the triumph of big risks taken and big rewards achieved, or the agony of seeing everything I've earned slip away in an instant. Which will it be this time?

Despite being the work of new developer Ghost Games, Need for Speed: Rivals is clearly a game in the mold of Criterion's entries in the Need for Speed series, particularly 2010's excellent Hot Pursuit. In this game, as in that one, you step into the cars of both cops and racers and cruise around a gorgeous open world, completing events that require you to either evade the law or enforce it. Of course, enforcing the law here isn't a matter of asking drivers to politely pull over; instead, it involves ramming racers at speed, using spike strips and shock rams, and wrecking the elusive racers' vehicles by any means necessary. As a racer, you have plenty of tricks up your sleeve as well, including shock waves that damage and repel nearby vehicles, and jammers that prevent the cops or your fellow racers from using their own weapons against you.

The Redview County Police Department has quite a budget.

This wild technology can get you out of a tight spot as a racer or help you incapacitate one as a cop, but it's your skills as a driver that matter most. Weaving through traffic and around roadblocks, drifting smoothly around turns, and making smart use of your limited nitrous can make all the difference, and dividing your attention between driving skillfully and making the most of your tech is wonderfully stimulating. With so much going on at once, it's not unusual to feel like you're operating on pure instinct, and when you get into that zone, Need for Speed: Rivals is aggressive arcade racing bliss. These cars feel hefty and substantial, so as you side-slam a cop or hit a racer from the rear, you can almost feel the clash of metal on metal in your bones.

Most of this could have been said about Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit too. And the event types that are scattered around the landscape are standard stuff: straightforward races, time trials, hot pursuits in which cops try to bust racers before they reach the finish line, and so on. But there are two things that reinvigorate this familiar gameplay in Rivals. One of those is that, by default, you always share the world with other players. Those players might be cops or they might be racers, and as you cruise around trying to complete objectives to advance your own career, your experiences and the experiences of these other players might collide. If you're playing as a racer, for instance, someone playing as a cop might start pursuing you, whether you're in the middle of an event or you're just cruising around.

These police can fly.

And if you're a cop, hunting a human player across the winding roads of Redview County--an environment that offers no shortage of obstructions you can smash through and shortcuts that you can take advantage of--is more exhilarating than pursuing artificially intelligent prey. Other games in the series have had multiplayer options that pit cops against racers, but here, the multiplayer is seamlessly integrated into the world at large. You can encounter other players at any time, and as a result, the world feels alive in a way that earlier games in the series haven't. If you choose not to share a world with other players, AI cops and racers roam the roads, so there's still a chance you'll run right into a high-speed chase or some other action even when you're playing alone.

The seamlessness with which events are integrated into the world does carry with it the occasional downside. If you start a race, for instance, while being pursued by cops, the cops might crowd around you during the few seconds before the race starts, during which you're immobile. Once the race begins, you're hindered by the cluster of cop cars surrounding you, while your opponents speed off unhindered. Your opponents slow down significantly if you fall behind early, though, giving you a conspicuously artificial opportunity to catch up. And it's frustrating that, while you're being pursued as a racer, you can't use the GPS function to set a waypoint for the event of your choice.

The other element that makes Rivals particularly exciting is the irresistible risk-versus-reward mechanic you're constantly faced with as a racer. As you roam the roads, completing events and escaping the cops, you build up a score multiplier, and eventually, you're racking up the speed points you need to purchase new cars and upgrade existing ones really quickly. But your heat level also increases, meaning that the cops become increasingly aggressive in their efforts to hunt you down. It becomes extremely tempting to press your luck, to take one more risk, complete one more event, and reap the rewards. But if you're busted--which can happen anywhere at any time, until you make it back to a hideout--you lose all of the speed points you've accrued on that outing. It's deliciously excruciating to see all your points slip away, and narrowly escaping the law to make it back to a hideout with a fat stack of points makes you feel like the king of the road.

Those pesky police with their eyes in the skies.

And what a beautiful road it is. There's nothing decidedly next-gen about the look of Rivals, but it's still a gorgeous game. Redview County is lush and inviting, with leaves blowing in the forest winds, waves crashing on the coast, and pleasure seekers hang-gliding in the clear blue skies. At least until the weather changes. At that point, a thunderstorm might lend an ominous atmosphere to a dangerous race along a cliffside. Whatever the forecast, the cars themselves, and the collisions they tend to get into, look spectacular, sending showers of metal and glass in all directions.

Need for Speed: Rivals is very much in the tradition of Hot Pursuit, but that great, familiar gameplay has been infused with enough new elements to make it as thrilling here as it's ever been. It sure is good to hit the open road again.

The Good
Exciting mix of pure driving, aggressive maneuvering, and using technology
Seamless integration of single- and multiplayer brings world to life
Terrifically tempting risk-versus-reward mechanic for racers
Gorgeous visuals
The Bad
Conspicuous AI rubber-banding
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Carolyn was introduced to the thrills of wrecking her rivals in Criterion's racing classic, Burnout 3: Takedown. She spent four hours playing Need for Speed: Rivals at a multiplayer event organized by EA and played for many more hours in the GameSpot offices.

Discussion

364 comments
SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Graphics ok..nothing to boast about.. it is not a beautiful scenery by any means.. traffic there is hardly any.. It is not worth it.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

U got to be kidding.. seems more like a rushed dev game. It is boring.. not even hard hitting.. 2 views.. lack of cars, damage, effects in general.. it is more like driving around a lonely boring country. Can not even use the camera to look at the car in the garage. The sound of the cars are nothing like their real life counterparts, the crashes just suck and are retarted stupid.. fuck, last NFS most wanted is far better in everyway. I am not one for review scores but trust in Gamespot I do. But Carol u got to be kidding.. I am talking PS4 as well.. Ghost games Suck.. and this is average at best..

raminmetall
raminmetall

for next version of need for speed , put a item in it , that we can upgrade the car appearance for example : ( sporting Rear of car - side of car - front of car - roof of car - body of car ) doing this , can be attractive for me and my friends

raminmetall
raminmetall

Hello,

I'm Ramin from Iran and like to leave a comment for need for speed Rivals (PC) 

its best game for me , without any problem and bug and suggection

its actually final and everything we want in game it have 

thanks for madding this game 

Need For Speed Rivals is the best version of Need For Speed games

Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect  Perfect 

thanks from Game Spot

and 

thanks from EA Games

thetrellan
thetrellan

I just got it, and have to agree that it's too much like Hot Pursuit. 

Somehow, though, I don't mind. In fact, it gives me the distinct impression that Criterion begged EA to let them do the game over, because it's better than HP in every way.  

I still have issues with the map- although it works as more than just a title page, it's too slow to pop up, interrupts gameplay while waiting for it to do so, and has no zoom feature, suggesting that its inclusion was granted grudgingly- but the thud of my jaw hitting the floor whenever I thought about how stunningly photographic the graphics were emphasized how much this is the game that HP really should have been from the start..  

Using photos for texture maps isn't exactly a new idea, but it's never worked like this before.  Tiling effects are not noticeable, all the lighting matches up, and even the shadows created during dusk and dawn look real.  Consider my mind blown.  The game is fresh, the physics much improved, and even the weather is great.

EXxile
EXxile

The game is awesome, with the exception of the over aggressive cops, and the fact you cannot pause the game unless you're in a hideout. There was one instance where I was literally just sitting in the repair shop, and a passing cop slammed into me and started a pursuit for no reason. Or when I finish a race with 5 cops chasing me and hitting me with emps forcing me to lose the points I literally just gained from my race. It's a great game, and I love the thrills of the chase..but the cops need to be toned down.

joey2010
joey2010

1. No innovation (Same old recycled features from previous titles)


2. Horrible controller support (PC version)


3. Frustratingly long intro filled with long and unnecessary repetitive hints


4. No settings whatsoever: can't adjust video settings such as resolution, AA, AF etc (PC version)


5. Constant bugs and freezing (PC version)



How this horrible game received an 8/10 is baffling. 




EliteGamer09
EliteGamer09

i can't even finish half the races without either getting busted or totaling my car. other than that the game is great.

pupp3t_mast3r
pupp3t_mast3r

Is it just me or do reviews on gamespot seem awfully biased lately, a lot of the new games have bugs and issues unaccounted for. 


Heck at this point in time I just scroll down to the comments to get an opinion of the game as opposed to actually reading the review these days.

SirFiddler
SirFiddler

i love this game. i got 5 games with the release of the ps4 here last tuesday and i am stuck on this one. i played maybe 10 hours on it so far and have both careers on level 15 and so far so exciting. what i havent figured out yet is hiding from the cops as a racer and this is the only thing that really bugs me. i am hiding with no cops in sight and many times already, close before i made it, it says "pursuit resumed" still without a cop in sight ? graphics look good and i like how single and multiplayer mix although it can get crowded on the road at times , which could be annoying if you're close to reaching your last target and someone crashes into you and it's back to the hideout. all in all however , great game. also the app for ios is a good addition

abeeest1
abeeest1

I've haven't rage quit so much and so hard in my life, getting busted with a lot of points feels like all out theft.

PancakePuncher
PancakePuncher

if i select the 12 month playstation plus thing and it comes to the end of 12 months will it start using the money in my credit card or will it just not let me use playstation plus???

billymambo
billymambo

the only bad thing about this game is that you cannot pause it while on the road...


i mean c'mon, we gotta take a ... walk

LexLas
LexLas

Now this game is entertaining ! Can't wait to get this as one of my first games on PS4

mrtommytiger
mrtommytiger

Im a nfs fan but what i dont get is why they keep the pimping so minimal..One of the reasons everybodies favourite Nfs are Original Most wanted, Carbon and underground series because they had the option to pimp the ride all the way from Rims and rimsize to bodykits and spoilers, multiple layers of vinyls, engine etcetc! For some reason the makers dont get that..its a shame. The racing is okay but without options to make your ride really unique nfs will always run behind the facts. The online part is so so...guess i prefer the oldschool simple race lobbies..i dont want 10 objectives in an open world..i just want to have fun with simple competetive races against other crazy pimped rides...in my book a missed opportunity..to bad..better luck next time

Amorphis2k
Amorphis2k

Bought this and will give it a go once I'm done with AC:IV

elcurros
elcurros

The game is crap!!

U cant use a wheel!???? ----- no u cant!

Prismet
Prismet

Pretty good. Got platinum after 2 weeks. Nice to have a game you don't have to spend 3 months getting plat.

traykey1
traykey1

Hmm, I smell Rinse and Repeat.

madpaulie
madpaulie

The game is crap!! it's the same as hot pursuit ok hot pursuit was good but not this one.

Sniggih
Sniggih

I've enjoyed playing it so far. Interesting shift back to the Hot Pursuit days.

rockobatman
rockobatman

Well I find the game very fun and thats all I need

himanshubadaik
himanshubadaik

AWFULL GAME BY AWFULL PEOPLE


MY DEAR NEED FOR SPEED FRANCHISEE

WE DESERVE BETTER AND WOULD NOT EVER PLAY YOUR SHITTY PRODUCTIONS

FROM THE GAMERS PLEASE GET AN IDEA


AND FOR THE REVIEWER BURNOUT WAS REALLY GOOD BUT I THINK YOUR TIME IS DONE

I THINK U SHOULD STOP WRITING THINGS U DONT MEAN OR KNOW


THANK YOU



earthrat
earthrat

Who paid you off to say all this crap? Lets list the major issues shall we, since you obviously have NOT played the game and got your information from EA!

Tutorials are MANDATORY!
Cutscenes are MANDATORY!
No Mouse: All game controls borrowed from the console, with NO support for PC gamers!
30 FPS: Really? WTF gives there?
Start a game, don't even think about pausing the damn thing! Again WTF?
No drive wheel support? Again WTF???
BUGS... BUGS.... BUGS.... and more BUGS....

From a PC gamers perspective you got it all wrong and you left out all the downsides of this game from that perspective! My list above is the short list, but let me say this game is the most pathetic release yet! EA was pissing and moaning just last month about how everyone hates them. Well this is why, they don't give a shit about making games that support the users. All they give a shit about is how much money they can rip everyone out of!

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

The game is fun but using the Frostbite engine is so wrong! The game is bug fest and the graphics are way worse than MW2012 and HP2010

thetrellan
thetrellan

Looks like the reviewer really liked Hot Pursuit. 

But as an open world racer, HP kind of sucked.  For one thing, no interactive map at all.  No game needs an interactive map like an open world game!  For another, we were promised a huge world.  We got that, only it was really the map of a smaller world blown up to add more detail, making the entire thing look like what it mostly was- large expanses of lonely desert.  No cities or towns, just places along the road where people have apparently settled without any new roads being built.  In short, an open world that would only appeal to closed world track racers.

Also no story.  I don't think that really hurt Most Wanted, but all that open space needed something to keep you occupied, interested, and motivated.  It could really have used the drama.

Frankly, if that's what Rivals is like, you can count me out.  And I really am jonesing for a new open world racer right now.  So please, can someone either settle or confirm my misgivings so I can make a proper decision?  I use a gamepad, not a steering wheel and pedal, so that's not an issue.

Closed world racers need not reply, though of course some of you will.  Suit yourself.

krazy_dude
krazy_dude

No Logitech Wheel Support for a Driving Game???

Electronic Arts clearly deserves the "Worst Software Company" title in player reviews... I just bought my last NFS game...

I wouldn't say that GRID 2 is everything it was cracked up to be, but at least I can use my bloody steering wheel..

For those that don't have one, believe me when I tell you that the control you have over a D-pad or a Thumbstick is well worth it...

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

I am not complaining about the score, I just wish she mentioned some of the negatives or the problems she had personally that she would score this an 8.

PancakePuncher
PancakePuncher

how do u use your jammers and shockwaves as a racer ?

icebox98
icebox98

the move to beat the pc's graphics was a deliberate act to promote sales for next gen. What kind of living person would think a console with a pair of  hd7000 gpu's beat a system with 2 well set Nvidia getforce titians?

a pc's capabilities are limited to the money you have and the hardware on the market, and as far as i can tell, there is atleast more than ten gpu's that beat the crap out of next gen consoles and i own one of them............... also, mods :)

toshineon
toshineon

Hmm... I'm still not impressed by the Need for Speed series, and haven't been since the original Most Wanted came out.

Inox555
Inox555

Not a single in-car shot during the video review or in the stills?  Is a cockpit view even an option in this game?


binderdundat
binderdundat

Why couldnt they have thrown some sport bikes into the mix. Why does it only have to monopolize cars? Midnight club 2 had both and its was FREAKING AWESOME!!! 

hank2601
hank2601

Shit, I thought that was a guy talking...

tntgrunge5
tntgrunge5

Sru this feg, im sick of her, he is obiously paid by ea. Gamespot now sux so bad. Delete my account.

PancakePuncher
PancakePuncher

if u dont speed in this game and dont purposely crash into other cars will the AI cops chase you ?????

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@joey2010 because… the game was meant for consoles… ps4+x1 >> PC master race...

SirFiddler
SirFiddler

@PancakePuncher i only always use network cards , not my credit card, but i think if you pay by credit card the system is pre-set to renew your membership automatically once it's over.

LexLas
LexLas

@mrtommytiger Exactly, thats what pisses me off about the game too. I just did a quick review on this game and said the same thing. Thats why GTA 5 is so great, you can pimp out your ride. 

billymambo
billymambo

wrong mate, Rivals style is a rollback to older versions of NFS mostly from the first playstation years with superb graphics and modernised models. Regarding the reviewer, you are correct... but the most annoying is that Kevin Vanord, i mean Jesus Christ forgive me.

ali_angabini
ali_angabini

@Virtual_Erkan  

I agree. The problem is the Frostbite engine, but they will not accept it, because they have paid money for this shitty graphic engine.

shadomasta
shadomasta

@thetrellan Closed world racer here,responding because you asked us not to. 

"For another, we were promised a huge world.  We got that, only it was really the map of a smaller world blown up to add more detail, making the entire thing look like what it mostly was- large expanses of lonely desert. " It's this, but bigger. They clearly copy-pasted a bunch of landmarks from all the other popular closed world NFS games and spread them out a bit. Only I am legitimately surprised at the lack of a corkscrew section of the map. They added one small town where you can drive through, and somehow that town only has three roads, all parallel to each other and one of them isn't even really a road, it's a boardwalk that holds a bunch of outdoor dining areas (of course you can completely destroy these at will). The desert isn't as big as HP, but it does feel better. The Airport graveyard from MW2012 madeda reappearance allowing you to jump and wreck off as many wingtips as you like. 

Anyway, to answer your question, no, you won't like this game. It's not open-worldy enough. Hope that helps. 

icebox98
icebox98

@toshineon it would be nice to see a new need for speed with good characters, not drones

nine-eight-nine
nine-eight-nine

@Inox555 nope, there's no bonnet view either. Just top down rubbish or first person (front bumper, no car) view.

shadomasta
shadomasta

@binderdundat When was the last time you saw bikes in ANY NFS? I'm pretty sure I missed that one.

shadomasta
shadomasta

@PancakePuncher 

If you don't want to be chased by cops, do the speed limit and keep at least five car lengths between you and the cops. Also, don't have a heat level over 5. 

Tviper7
Tviper7

@PancakePuncher  yes what where you expecting midnight club la, the nerve of you! to think he police have something better to  than chase you around 24-7 speeding or not.... Lmao! its a fun game but since ppl bitched about the police in most wanted 2012 being so weak. crapterion ramped it up to 12. They chase u even when your just cruising unfortunately.

thetrellan
thetrellan

@shadomasta@thetrellanI appreciate the input.  Thank you.  Honest and unbiased input can be hard to come by these days.  As are franchises that have a clue what makes the franchise work. EA seems to be having a lot of trouble with that these days.  I believe they should make one franchise open world and perfect the open world racer, then create new franchises for track racers and shifters or what have you.  I can no longer depend on EA for my fix, I suppose.   We'll see.  I may just get bored enough to pick the game up after all.  

BTW, you never mentioned whether the map was interactive.



Need for Speed: Rivals

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
Need for Speed Rivals is an action racing game that aims to capture the intensity of the street's ultimate rivalry between cops and racers in an open-road environment.
ESRB
Everyone 10+
All Platforms