Ghost Studio brought back what they know best, Burnout Paradise! Wait, wait, wait… I mean Need For Speed! Car damage, high speed collisions, bonus modifiers for reckless driving, it’s everything Burnout Paradise is except in title.
Need For Speed incorporates a story where you are new in town and looking to get your name out there so you join a small crew of street racers and tuners trying to do the same. Acting as your lookout for races in town, your crew invites you to the different events via quick voice mails, leading you to races and meet ups with other crews as you gain reputation on the streets.
All the cutscenes are live action and in first person view of your character. This adds a bit of flair to the story as you visit all the local hang outs that your crew and other street racers go to. It is to be noted that a large quantity of Monster Energy drinks are consumed, or at least in prominent display, during those scenes which makes it hard for people trying to recover and/or take a step back on their energy drink consumption like I was at the time of playing through.
Gameplay wise, I’ve said it in the intro, it’s Burnout Paradise. Well, to be more precise, it’s more like a mix of the PS2 classic (wow, saying this next to PS2 feels wrong) Need For Speed Underground and Burnout Paradise. Drag racing is back in this title, thanks to a free dlc expansion, bringing back one of my favourite mode where it’s actually fun to use Manual transmission in arcade racing games! The main difference in this bring back is the fact that they dropped the lane system for a more open design. The classic racing modes are all there as well like lap races, time trials, sprint races as well as drifting and score attack modes. Adding to this is also a mode called Gymkhana which is more or less an obstacle course race. This game bases itself on being an arcade racer as drifting around bends at 300+ km/h in a Lamborghini Aventador wouldn’t really fly in a simulation racer… or well, I would, in a barrel roll after crashing pretty hard on the wall. The controls are straight forward and all the cars roughly have the same feel and control as long as they are the same drivetrain. The obvious difference being their appearance but game wise, the top speed and acceleration are noticeable when upgrading. All cars can be tuned for either drifting or grip providing players with a variety of gameplay style, personally I prefer mine much more drift inclined and this allowed for such a tuning.
Graphically, this game looks quite stunning and the rain weather effects is gorgeous for a racing game. The slick roads glistening under the street lights as you drive along while a mist rising from behind your car. For an open world racer, the details of the town and surrounding areas are very well detailed, my only issue with it being that the game seems to happen only at night, no day time racing. The cars can also be modified lots visually, reminiscent of the Undergound series. Rims, decals, layers and body kits are all changeable, even the window tint intensity and license plate number.
The game is an always online title connecting to the EA servers with players driving around on the map at the same time as you. As for the online races, whenever you get to an event, you get the option to start it with AI or invite everyone in your current world. Balancing is practically non existent as when I was low level, it tossed me against high level players in fully decked cars and vice versa. If there was a way to open a lobby or connect you with similar level / car power players, the experience would be much more enjoyable. This limits the replay value in my opinion. During my single playthrough, I managed to get a platinum trophy without even trying for it, giving me no incentive to keep playing afterwards. I mean sure, there’s little bonus objectives like finding all the vistas and car parts but they don’t hold much of a pay off.
Overall, the game is very enjoyable for a single playthrough as a single player game. This title hit all the good points from their previous open world racing along with the street racing from the old Need For Speed.