After a disastrous number of years dealing with an identity crisis, the reboot of Need for Speed set for release later this year recently entered closed beta – and it ain’t pretty now that the community has gotten their hands on it. While popular YouTubers have demonstrated the game earlier this year as an extension of EA’s third party marketing tactics, the current closed beta is really the first time the average Need for Speed fan has gotten a chance to dick around with what Electronic Arts hopes will revive the franchise.
However, the initial impressions paint a grim future not just for the impending release, but for Need for Speed as we know it. Judging by community feedback, this may possibly be the last NFS title ever. This game is about a month or so from release, and it’s pretty much done at this point – the close beta being used for finding bugs and other oddities before the game ships.
It’s not good.
The game’s environment draws heavy inspiration from Need for Speed Underground 2 with distinct Canyon, Heights, Industrial, and Downtown settings, while drawing design cues from the ill-fated Need for Speed Undercover by separating each territory with a large body of water and lengthy highway. There are two distinct Canyon/Beacon Hill-like territories, as the portion of the map cut off above can be seen below.
But the map appears to be the game’s only strong point so far.
4Chan may not offer much in terms of descriptive criticisms, but Reddit sure as hell went to town on the game. I’ve hacked some of the harsher criticisms up and put them all in one place. For a game whose deluxe edition retails for $90+, you should probably know the bad aspects of what’s coming along with your purchase.
Already, there are complaints of extreme rubber banding. Every race is essentially scripted by an omniscient AI, something that most racing game fans, whether they’re on an arcade title like Burnout or a hardcore simulation like rFactor, universally loathe.
There are no online lobbies, nor is there any matchmaking-like feature. Similar to Need For Speed Rivals from 2013, you’re sent into a free roam session with a few other players, and you can race against them if you both team up and drive to the exact same race location at the exact same time. Given how many people are off doing their own thing, there’s basically zero chance you’ll race against anyone online unless you jump on the headset and beg people to play with you.
So, in conclusion:
- It’s not fun to drive.
- The AI cheats. A lot.
- The Story Mode feels awkward and forced.
- Online Racing is Dead On Arrival thanks to the Free Roam-focused lobbies.
- Visual Filters make the game look worse, not better.
It’s not fun to play offline due to numerous design choices, and nobody plays online thanks to the counter-intuitive Free Roam-based gameplay that not a whole lot of people liked in Rivals.
Say goodbye to Need for Speed.