There are two different set paths in Need For Speed Rivals. As the racer, you are a placed as a street racer named Zephyr. You start off by posting a video of your car outrunning cops and a number of racers also begin posting their own similar videos. This quickly becomes a trend and the cops must react. As the cop, you training to be a member of the Redview County Police Department. Once you’ve completed your training you’re a member of the police force. Counter to the racer, you will see this new street racing trend appear online and it is your job to react.
The story follows a set path and progresses with cut scenes with every new ranking. It is quite interesting to be able to see both parts of the story. The stories are quite generic but it’s good to see the developer still trying to include a story that is worth playing through. It gives you a reason to want to push through.
Need For Speed Rivals is one of the best looking PS4 games available. The cars look amazingly detailed and the environments are on another level. Using the Frostbite engine, the environment really comes to life with dust particles everywhere. It’s an absolutely joy to play through and still easy to see what’s going on even at high speed. The crashes are as spectacular as ever and the weather effects also bring a new and enjoyable element. It absolutely oozes with polish.
The sound in the game is equally as impressive as the graphics. From the moment you take off, you will notice the absolute power behind your car. Similarly, when you make a huge collision you will get the feel of just how brutal it was through the sound track. The general music really matches the gameplay and I never found it to be repetitive.
As mentioned before, the gameplay is split into two separate stories. You have the option to defy the law as a racer or enforce the law as a cop. You can swap between careers at will and this was one of the best things for me. You’re able to interchange whenever you feel like it and this actually made the career a joy to play through. Your first task in the career is to pick a Speedlist. There are always 3 to choose from and each provide differently focused challenges. They usually differ in terms of having to win races, or using aggression to take down a certain number of cops using tech etc.
As you progress through these challenges you will obtain speed points and rank up. When you rank up, you will unlock a specific vehicle based on whichever speedlist you just chose. You can use your speed posts to buy or upgrade your tech such as EMP or your Turbo Boost. This is where most of the challenge comes together. The game really plays on risk vs reward. The longer you spend in a single session, the more you speed points you will earn. The higher you warning level, the quicker your speed points will rise. The issue is that as soon as you get busted, your speed points for that session will disappear. You must finish a session by returning to your hideout in order to log these points. The only differences in the cop career is that you unlock these cars by completing a specific level and speed points are used specifically to buy and upgrade your EMP.
Both careers are as enjoyable as each other in terms of the actual racing. The handling of the cars is as wonderful as it ever was in Criterion’s efforts, with each vehicle driving true to its vision. Ferraris are fast and powerful and loud and easy to manoeuvre. The Ford GT is a great big and heavy beast with insane power but a back end which you don’t want to lose when instigating a drift. Drifting is imperious here and it’s a shame there aren’t the winding corkscrew environments as in previous titles to really make the most of the fun afforded by the mechanic. At least it means employing drift in high-speed pursuits is an exact art, not one where you need to worry if it’ll work properly. You can get it right most of the time – and always it’s your fault if it fails – and ensure the chase isn’t given up.
Both careers are enjoyable however I found the cop one just a little better. It allows for a lot more freedom and really puts you in control of what you do next. You can head to your next event or chase down any racer that drives past you as you free roam. There was nothing more satisfying to me than to randomly take down a racer with a huge head on collision.
AllDrive is the successor to Autolog. AllDrive ensures that you’re always online and always in a multiplayer game. This means that when you’re in a race, more than likely the players you’re reading against are real. Similarly, if you’re chasing down a racer, most of the time they’re likely to be a real player somewhere in the world. The good thing about this is that it really doesn’t effect gameplay at all if you just want to play through the game by yourself. AutoDrive is still in the game in the sense that it’s still always logging your friends race times and your speed camera times.
My one negative about the game is the variety of events. Yes there are two completely different story lines but I wish that there was a tad more variety within these story lines. They start to get repetitive after a few chapters. The game is still extremely enjoyable though.