When Electronic Arts announced Need For Speed World some time ago many people raised their eyebrows at the much lauded MMO aspects being incorporated. How would it work? Would it actually add anything to the experience? Today KitGuru gaming finds out.
Need For Speed World is a very different experience when we look at other games in the franchise … gone are the corny story based elements with the focus now on earning money for upgrades and new car models. Reputation is a new facet which allows the player to level up which in turn grants access to new cars and more racing events.
Racing is mainly split into ‘Sprint races’ which are based on point to point areas and ‘Circuit races’. I wish I could elaborate with many more game play modes, but unfortunately EA have decided that these modes are enough this time. This means that after a few hours gameplay is rather limited and we don’t have access to the almost standard modes now of drifing, speedtrap, knockout and checkpoint. The two styles on offer unfortunately lead to a lot of MMO style ‘grinding’ which quickly becomes both boring and repetitive in equal measure.
Confusingly gameplay is generally split into sections based on the power up menu. While I have mentioned Sprints and Circuits, there is also ‘exploration’ which is basically just you driving around visiting various parts of the map. If this is boring then you can teleport to the race location or join from a distance – meaning this mode is basically negated.
All of the races are linear in design and the paths are detailed by arrow marked walls which stop the player from taking other routes to the finish line. Sure, they throw in a few shortcuts to try and spice it up, but it fails to ignite any feeling of variety.
Pursuit is my favourite game mode – running from the cops was always my favourite part of NFS games. The computer AI is quite good although quite why EA decided that the method of capture should be based on a meter system baffles me. The nearer the cop car gets, the faster the meter fills up. Once this meter reaches the top you get busted and lose money. This sounds fine in theory but it can be slow to react and as you need to try and shake the cops via accelerating and cornering, sometimes you are placed in a situation which is all but impossible to win.
Winning or losing races nets you some in game money and then the upgrades and new purchases begin which is always the foundation of a NFS game. There are a fair few options on offer, but again, it is nothing new or dramatically different from previous excursions. When the reputation reaches a certain level then you get to unlock new cars and races.
The maximum level the game offers is level 50 and to reach specific levels there is a tremendous amount of grinding required which is something I really do NOT want to be doing in a racing game. This isn’t World of WarCraft guys, its a racing game!
Graphically the game is reasonably attractive, but its certainly not pushing any modern hardware to its limits. It is pretty, but the environments really are doing nothing to invigorate this genre. Its the ‘same old’ Need For Speed racing game we all know and love (?). An ATI HD5770 is capable of handling this title at high resolution with reasonable eye candy settings so you certainly won’t need a GTX480 to power the engine. This is a good thing, but sadly if the title was graphically more varied it would have helped the experience.
It looks like they nicked the best bits from Most Wanted and slapped it into the new title. It is just too bland and unattractive throughout to warrant attention. The audio is typically high quality, which is what we would expect from EA anyway.
Need For Speed World is free to play until Level 10, and after this you have to purchase a $20 starter pack to progress further, the concept is going to work against EA because I would seriously feel that by level 10 a large portion of the potential audience will have gotten bored and moved on. It is an interesting idea, but I can’t see it helping sales. StarCraft 2 I can understand, but Need For Speed World?
Need For Speed World is a rather poor game which incorporates MMO elements to try and attract a new audience to the popular franchise. If you enjoy grinding, then this will be a thrill, but for the rest of us who want to actually race then it falls far short of the mark. The game needs more variety, less grinding and most importantly, more excitement. One to miss.