OH DEAR NEED FOR SPEED, PLEASE MAKE A GOOD GAME
Is it so difficult to make a good racing game?
Here is something you won’t believe. Need for Speed (NFS) is now as old as the Foo Fighters. The franchise has been around for 26 years with 27 titles under their belt (this does not include some of the spin-off titles). However, after the recent release of NFS: Heat, one would ask, can NFS make a good game?
Hear me out. I have played almost every entry in the NFS franchise until the 2015 reboot, which was considered a huge let down in the series. After the release of Payback, I stopped playing NFS (In fact, I did not even play Payback after reading reviews of how bad the game was). Payback was flat-out awful in every way. And then there was Heat, which was able to rectify some of the gameplay mechanics (that were found on Payback) in a way to try to gain some credibility in the franchise. But despite the improvement, it failed to convince me to buy the game. Why? It’s nowhere near as good as Most Wanted or even Hot Pursuit. So, what happened?
I could blame Electronic Arts for the declining quality of the NFS games, which is sort of obvious just by looking at their business practices. I could also blame the developer, Ghost Games (now known as EA Gothenburg), which is a disappointment as the team consist of employees who were from other game developers that specialised in arcade racing games. That puzzled me because with that much experience, how could they possibly drop the ball to make a good NFS game.
Fortunately, as reported in February 2020, the NFS franchise has been taken over by Criterion. This is a good move as I considered them the kings of arcade racing game genre with the Burnout series. They even make two NFS games (2010’s Hot Pursuit and 2012’s Most Wanted), which myself (as well as other gamers) considered to the best of the franchise.
I’m delighted that Criterion will be developing a new NFS game because right now, we need more exciting arcade racing games that use real-world cars instead of Mario Kart (which has become the standard response when one mentions ‘arcade racing’) which I am sick of hearing, and NFS has every opportunity to do that. Because I think they are the only racing game that includes action-packed cop chases, which make the game that much special. It’s just that the game has to be executed properly.
Take away Mario Kart and look at what racing games do we have now. Midnight Club is no more as Rockstar Games is busy with Grand Theft Auto. Burnout is down to just re-releasing Burnout: Paradise on the current-gen systems (I highly recommend this game). Forza Horizon was good, but it is more like Top Gear/The Grand Tour amusement park, driving real-world cars around amazing roads. It’s like a theme park without roller-coasters.
Forza Horizon is a great game. But, it is more of a Top Gear amusement park, without the roller-coasters.
Sure, there are other racing games such as the Formula 1 series, Project Cars, Dirt Rally, and Asserto Corsa but unless you are into F1 or have the patience to learn the racing line, I would not recommend this to a casual racing fan.
NFS is a roller coaster. The thrill of driving a Lamborghini at the absolute limit on open roads while having the sense of danger getting chase by the police as they throw helicopters, roadblocks and spike strips to stop you. You feel you are the bad guy as you try to battle police cars and other racers to reach the finish line. I’m sure anyone who is into racing games agreed that NFS is the only game that does cop chases perfectly.
So, let’s just hope that the new NFS game will be good, considering that the franchise is in good hands. Otherwise, it is time for EA to retire the franchise.
So, what are you thoughts about the Need for Speed franchise? Sound off in the comments below