Racing Genre lovers might have been a little disappointed with the launch line-up of the next gen consoles. Due to the delay of the most anticipated driving game, Driveclub, the only two racing titles available were Forza for the Xbox One and Need for Speed Rivals across all platforms. I must admit I am fond of the racing genre, but I tend to steer away from online only titles. But in the world of racing, a game feels more competitive knowing you’re going head to head with a real person and not A.I., and that is why I thought I’d give this game a go.
Audio and Visuals: Having been developed using the latest version of the Frostbite Engine, I don’t need to tell you how spectacular the visuals looked. The environments were details, the cars looked stunning, and the textures and lighting were great. The vehicular damage and crashes looked good, but I have to be honest and admit that Criterion did it best in Burnout paradise; both in the visual aspect and the feel of ramming a vehicle. The audio aspect of the title was also good, however I expected a bit of more detail for the car engines’ sound effects.
Gameplay: The core of every single game is the gameplay and how well the mechanics manage to engage the player. The driving mechanics and general feel of the cars are quite good in Rivals, and there was a sense of diversity in the challenges which never made gameplay too stagnant. The vehicle upgrades and modifications (especially for the police section) where great, and gave you a reason to push for more XP points in each session. Unfortunately the game suffers from some problems, some of which were based on poor decision making from the development studio. For example why was the tutorial section online? I mean everyone knows you can’t pause an online session, but not being able to pause the tutorial feels kinda ridiculous. Also the choice of going peer to peer was a mistake in my opinion, every time a host logs out mid-session you end up losing a lot of skill points for nothing. The game also suffers a bit from glitches; In one instance the game crashed and threw me out into the main menu, only to discover that my save file was corrupted and I ended up starting the game from scratch. In another instance I fell off a cliff and my car floated around in an empty brown setting; I wasn’t sure if I fell out of the game or found a interconnecting portal between the real and virtual worlds.
Personal Experience: I have to admit that even though I hate online and I met my fair share of crap playing this game, I quite enjoying blowing some steam off with Rivals. I mean this game is not something I would suggest for racing or car enthusiasts, but I would suggest it as an online alternative to other titles. I am not sure if this is the right direction for the Need for Speed franchise, because I must admit that I do miss the proper racers from yesteryear, and I am still hoping a proper racing title will swoop us away in the near future.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Written By Matthew C.