Need For Speed Rivals

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, X1, PC
Developed by: Ghost Games
By Matt Ross
Dec 17, 2013

Just when racing games were in danger of getting too serious (Gran Turismo, Forza et al) Need for Speed turns up with another example of just how much fun can be derived from driving recklessly fast. The lucrative franchise’s 20th outing, Rivals, is relatively simplistic. You choose between a career as a cop or a racer, and set out to drive around the 100-plus miles of fictional Redview County. As a cop, you’ll respond to calls, chase down street racers and generally do your best to serve and protect. As a racer, you’re tasked with completing head-to-head sprints, evading the cops and indulging your fondness for mischief. The game plays up the titular rivalry, pitching it as an ongoing epic battle between lawlessness and duty, but overlook the slightly pretentious melodrama and there’s an open-world racing title here that’s good for a huge amount of fun. You’ll soon grow tired of the cookie-cutter events that take place in Redview, but thanks to AllDrive – a new social tool that the series would do well to retain – there’s a lot more action to be found. Simply put, the system allows you to immediately transition between racing by yourself and with other online players. Trigger the system and your game world becomes populated with other cops and racers, offering you the kind of opponents (or teammates) that the game’s AI can’t match. It offers a much-needed alternative to the relatively straitlaced in-game drivers you’ll find when playing offline and, more importantly, adds some much-needed variety. It’s a smart move, and one that makes Rivals the kind of game you’ll want to sink a lot of time into. 

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