Giving a fatigued franchise a break is an approach we wish more publishers took. Putting Need for Speed in the pit stop for two years doesnâ€™t appear to have entirely paid off however. While the once annual series was in rework weâ€™ve seen the release of Project CARS, Forza Horizon 2, Forza 6 and Driveclub.
The racing genre has come leaps and bounds in a short space of time, and if the reviews are to go by Need for Speedâ€™s arcade-like nature now seems rather amateurish in comparison. In fact, the Metacritic is currently lower than PS4/Xbox One launch title Need for Speed: Rivals.
While weâ€™re on the subject of Metacritic – the site everybody loves to hate – the difference in scores between formats is unexpected. Presently the PS4 version stands at 71% – formed of 15 reviews – while the Xbox One iteration is at 63%, comprised of 8 reviews.
We thought there would be more Xbox One reviews out there, seeing the generous 10 hour preview has been available on EA Access since last week. Itâ€™s pleasing to see this isnâ€™t the case, as in a large open-world game ten hours probably isnâ€™t enough to experience everything on offer.
Enough of us rambling. Hereâ€™s a review round-up:
4.5/5 – US Gamer: “By going back to its roots, and focusing on what made the series great during its heyday, the Swedish studio has created a simple, straightforward racer with five interesting facets that challenge your racing prowess in different ways. It can be tough at times, but the game is solid, addictive, and looks absolutely stunning”
8/10 – GameSpot: “The game is far from perfect, but it is, at points, truly exceptional. Its jaw-dropping visuals, adrenaline-pumping audio, and highly-customizable handling make screaming around the darkened streets of Ventura Bay an intense thrill”
8.0 – PlayStation LifeStyle: “I eagerly await to see Ghost Gamesâ€™ future plans for this franchise, if theyâ€™re allowed the opportunity to continue”
7.0 – Post Arcade: “If Ghost can eventually smooth out the technical hitches (especially that occasionally hitching frame rate), improve storytelling, and increase scope, this new formula could transform succeeding games into something special in open world racing”
70/100 – GamesBeat: “Need for Speed offers meaningful customization, great arcade driving, a cool look, and a five-part advancement system that gives players different things to do. Unfortunately, after a while, doing those things â€” especially after missions become repetitive â€” just doesnâ€™t provide that much fun”
7/10 – EGM: “Youâ€™d be hard pressed to find an automaker willing to take an extra year to reset their car line much like Ghost Games did here with their second run on Need for Speed. What we get is a more focused and competent racer but one seemingly unwilling to risk standing out from the crowd”
6.5 – God is a Geek: “While itâ€™s not bad by any means, itâ€™s just plain old â€œdecentâ€, and thatâ€™s not really enough with the competition out there”
6.3 – IGN: “I like the direction Ghost has taken here, and I think itâ€™s the right one, but beneath its flashy exterior it’s not quite firing on all cylinders”
6/10 – Destructoid: “When you factor in Need for Speed’s forgettable story, you’re left with a slightly above average racing game that’s not as enjoyable as past series entries. From a pure gameplay perspective, it works, but it never manages to elevate itself. If you’re in the mood for a new cinematic racer though, you could do a whole lot worse”
6/10 – ShackNews: “If youâ€™re a long-time fan of the series, youâ€™ll find something to enjoy here, but if this is your first time behind the wheel, youâ€™re going to want sit this one out and check out some of previously-released Need for Speed titles”
3/5 – GameRant: “Itâ€™s a solid driving game, but itâ€™s non-essential. Anyone thirsting for a brisk trip around the block in some souped-up motors will likely come away satisfied, but for the unconvinced, thereâ€™s little here that contradicts waiting for a bigger, better installment next year”
3/5 – We Got This Covered: “Ghost Games’ Need for Speed reboot came with lofty promises, but fails to achieve greatness in any category, be it racing, building or customization. The core gameplay experience is half-decent, but it’s marred by frustrating AI, technical imperfections, handling hiccups and constantly wet roads”
5/10 – VideoGamer: “I adored NFS: Hot Pursuit, I got a lot of fun from Most Wanted, I even didn’t totally hate Rivals â€“ so it saddens me to say that, at the end of the day (which is always the time in Ventura Bay) Need For Speed just isn’t that good”
C – Gaming Age: “Itâ€™s an average racing experience with below-average content, and itâ€™s not something thatâ€™ll be worthy of your attention this holiday season”