At this years EB Games Expo, EB Games Expo 2015, EA had a 5 minute playable build of Need For Speed available for gamers that had been able to withstand the 45minute-3hour queues to play the game that weekend. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Need For Speed is an arcade-esque racing game series that sees gamers racing in renditions of real cars across real locations, on the streets. One of the biggest games in the Need For Speed franchise is the Need For Speed: Underground game that first appeared on the Gamecube, Playstation 2, Xbox and PC platforms. This latest Need For Speed looks to be going back and using the Underground games as its influence this time around, while still maintaining some of the newer systems that were brought in when Criterion started working on the series.
Our 5 minute session with Need For Speed was a multiplayer session where we would race our customised car in a points battle against other players in the same district. The setup was with 5 players on each half of a rig, so there were 10 players in total for this battle. But before the 5 minute clock would start, we were first given 3 minutes to customise our vehicles, a small taste of something I hope expands a little more down the line.
Customisation in Need For Speed is a pretty painless process that looks more complicated than it actually is. We were given the choice between 5 different cars and had $50,000 in-game to spend on making them look and perform well. Customising a vehicle is pretty easy to do, you pretty much choose the kinds of customisation that you want to be done, such as visuals or whichever, and then you choose on the car itself the part you want to customise. So, for example, if you want to apply a body kit, you move to the part of the car near the top to apply the kit. If you wanted to apply windshield customisations, you’d choose the windshields on the car itself. Unfortunately for our play through, I didn’t see anything like neons or vinyls, but I’m hopeful that they will make it into the full game. I dunno if these features have been announced or not, but I would love to see them.
Returning from Need For Speed Underground 2 is the ability to tune your cars road-side performance. After customising out vehicle, we were taken to a menu selection that allowed us to customise how our cars performed. I changed mines performance in regards to turning, making it loose enough to drift, but tight enough to still maintain control of what I’m doing. I chose this kind of build because I prefer to do racing circuits and things, and thought it’d be a decent build for a racing game where I wasn’t sure about what I’d be getting myself into once the game actually started.
After the customisation was complete, we were thrown into a sprint race against each other in some perpetually night city. A sprint race is essentially a 1 lap race were racers begin at one point and end at another. Whoever is first place and crosses the finish line wins the race. At the end of the sprint, the game opened up into a kind of free-roam deal where we would be competing for points. Whoever had the most points at the end of the time limit, wins the game. There were multiple ways of earning points and if you’ve played previous Need For Speed games, you’d already have a good idea on how attain them. Drifting, driving close to traffic, wrecking stuff and winning races are all ways to gather points. You could also get into a police chase to generate a high number of them.
However, the free roam wasn’t free from events either. In the middle of the map were four events that you could try out, like a circuit race and another sprint. I’m not sure what the other two were because I ended up getting into a police chase and couldn’t try them out. Much like in Most Wanted (Criterion), you can start an event by driving near them. In Need For Speed, you just press the R1 button to start a race. This is different from previous games where you’d need to do a burnout.
Due to the loud nature of the EB Games Expo, I couldn’t really hear too much music from the game itself so I can’t say too much about the soundtrack. It’s unfortunate, but I think it’ll be pretty good based on what we’ve heard in past games.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Need For Speed. I can’t wait for its release.