The Need for Speed brand has long existed in the format of an annual TV series - the anticipated release alongside the forever young Call of Duty, FIFA, iPhone and Supernatural. Working in such a rhythm, it is extremely difficult to make sharp movements within a series, since the players develop certain habits - they know in advance what product they will receive for their money, and therefore any sharp jump to the right / left ends in disappointment. But at some point, it became clear to everyone, including the developers, that the series was heading into the abyss of self-copying. The brand began to fade, the new parts stopped evoking at least some emotions - and the publisher decided to start from scratch.
Employees of Y8Games Studio, a relatively young studio entrusted with the development of a new part, were the ones who took on the rethinking of the famous series. After finishing the controversial Rivals under the supervision of Criterion, the authors decided they needed to take a break and start reinventing the wheel with a stone wheel. It took them almost two years to study the needs of the Need for Speed audience and then implement them.
It seems to me that the racing genre has recently lost its position. There was a time when Need for Speed was a huge series, one of the largest for Electronic Arts, but in the process of working on Rivals we realized that a lot needs to be changed, and this takes time. After all, Need for Speed means a lot to everyone who has played at least one part, especially when it comes to the same Underground or Most Wanted. Therefore, we decided that as a new studio, we need to understand exactly what the fans want from us and make the Need for Speed exactly what they expect.
Need for Speed has always differed from many other games in the genre in that almost every part had a story campaign. Calling the scenarios "breakthrough" would be an exaggeration, but they were the ones that motivated us to continue playing. After all, rating stars and new cars are a good incentive for a simulator, but not for an arcade race. The plot in the new part is excellent, although it is built according to the classic scheme: a newcomer comes to the city - gets into a "crowd" of racers - trying to establish himself in it as a leader. But in the new Need for Speed, this banal story is presented surprisingly entertainingly, simply because we look at the events of the game through the eyes of five real heroes at once.
The big plus is that the plot is presented through videos shot with the participation of real actors, and your car is already embedded in them. Of course, it's easy to understand where the video is and where the graphics are superimposed, but the move turned out to be spectacular. And although it is unusual to follow live people in the frame after eternal renders, it is also interesting from that. All the shots are made from the perspective of the main character, so at some point there is an effect of immersion in the story. And for me it was one of the motives to go through the game to the end.
The world of the game is not arranged in a completely familiar way. The city has its own legends (in the local language - "icons"), that is, the coolest, fastest and most insane racers. These icons are real racers, about whose lives hundreds of videos can be found on the Web, they have appeared on Top Gear and have appeared in many other car shows. But getting to their level and even more so to win is not easy. And in this you will be helped by the most devoted fans of icons - they are your allies, and at the same time the "faces" of the game.
Accordingly, the game has five independent branches (one for each icon). You can pass them in turn, but I would advise you to alternate between different types of races, leaving the “violations” branch behind for some time. Why? Find out further. In the meantime, let's take a closer look at these legendary racers.
“Speed” is represented by Magnus Volker, a Porsche fan who owns (!) His own bridge, on which various shows and filming are regularly held. A local "wanna be a tough guy" racer named Spike will help you reach the heights of Magnus. He is an incredible fan of Magnus (every rider in his branch is a fan of the corresponding icon) and always follows his example, trying to break records, which he immediately improves. In this branch, you have to conquer sprints and races in a ring format, which allows you to relax after some drift trial that literally makes all your muscles contract.
Ken Block is responsible for "Style". The man who founded one of the most popular blogs about drifting, jimhana and any other car trick - Hoonigan. You may even have seen his Ford Focus covered in Monster logos in many rally games, as it came from there. His "most loyal fan", Manu, will constantly throw you more and more difficult routes, where you will have to hone your drifting skills, since the new control system allows you to customize the car for yourself, which makes the task much easier.
Tuning is represented by Akira Nakai, another Porsche fan. He founded a car repair shop near Tokyo, which quickly became considered the birthplace of the most beautiful Porche in the world. His follower, Aimee, is also obsessed with cars and their appearance. She will supply you with almost all new upgrades, so I advise you to give priority to her branch. This time the tuning is really extensive, and I'm ready to spend a lot more time in the garage.
For those who are not in the know, Dzhimkhana is a type of racing in which you have to go through a track with many obstacles, forcing the pilots to make 360-degree turns, ride backwards, twist eights, and so on. It turns out to be very spectacular.
«Нарушения» представляет Шиничи Морохоши, «теневой» гонщик, которого можно увидеть разве что под утро. И хотя о нем самом известно немного, его Lamborghini — мировая звезда. Это самая короткая ветка в игре, но, увы, я рад что она оказалась именно такой (об этом ниже). Хотя непосредственно заезды по ночному городу в компании лиловой «Ламбо» и пары копов оставили неплохие воспоминания. Курировать игрока на пути к преступной славе будет Трэвис, человек, который знает, где достать все, что угодно, если это касается машин.
The Team's benchmark is the Risky Devil, a Chicago-based collective that has conquered the streets of every major city in the United States with its synchronized drift. Their fan, Robin, is the liaison for all those who will help you throughout the game. She constantly calms the hot-tempered Spike and throws you interesting team races, often - on a winding serpentine, strongly reminiscent of the third "Fast and the Furious" or Need for Speed Carbon.
You can go through the storylines as you want, but the further you go along them, the more difficult the races will be. Somewhere by 40-50% of passing each of them, the races become significantly more difficult. If you feel like you are starting to fail, I advise you to switch to something else, rather than banging your head against the wall because of too fast opponents.
Winning each type of race will earn you cash and REP, the local equivalent of the classic experience. By earning REP, you level up, unlocking new upgrades and races. But as for the cars, they are, very nicely, available immediately. The main thing is to accumulate enough funds to purchase. Oh, this endless question of money.
The main merit of Y8Games Studio is the tuning system. Any parts - from the handbrake and spark plugs to turbochargers and nitro - are available in your local garage. Any vinyls and stickers, as well as a free palette of colors with customizable gloss and varnish - make your car individual, no restrictions! The only thing missing is the “Chameleon” colors, but you can survive the lack of them. Separately, I would like to tell you about the space in the "cover-up" menu.
To test it, I made a hand-bombshell with my brand new Lamborghini (in the video below) and took about a quarter of the available layers. Therefore, I can assure you that you have enough space for any of your ideas. A huge set of figures, drawings, names and a full-fledged alphabet (including Russian letters!) - now nothing prevents you from writing "night wolf" or "AK47" on the rear window of your car. And, of course, body kits, spoilers and wheels have not gone anywhere - everything is in place, coupled with ready-made packages that contain whole sets of spare parts, as in the old games of the series.
In addition to various improvements and whistles, you can customize the behavior of the car - and this is another step in the right direction. The fact is that those who played in the Underground remember how in the old parts it was hard to drive the car into a skid, which caused many to turn "against the walls".
In the later parts of the series, especially in those that were engaged in Criterion, cars, on the contrary, go into drift with a light press of the brake pedal. This decision was controversial and not everyone supported it. Now everyone has a choice: more drift or more grip. At the same time, there is a global "slider" with which you can quickly adjust all the parameters in the desired direction, and a finer setting if you want to seriously tinker with the machine. Surprisingly, Y8Games Studio was able to sit on two chairs.
A day later, all the races were completed, all the icons were defeated, and the upgrades were open. After completing the last race on the map and not seeing anything else, I was upset. And it's all? But Robin, the soul of the company, immediately called me and invited everyone to pack up and take a ride to mark the end of a long journey. It was a very beautiful race, which, as befits a good ending, shows the sun at the very line of the horizon, views of the still sleeping city and many beautiful cars. And then I was already pleased, but it turned out that this was not the end.
The real finale was an incredibly long race for 12 people side-by-side with icons. After almost 10 minutes of tense struggle, I put the controller aside and enjoyed the final cutscene.
But there are no games without problems, and Need for Speed is no exception. The main and most offensive failure was the "Violations" branch. Entirely. Starting with the fact that the cops in the game are the most leisurely and passive in the history of the series, and ending with the incorrect setting of the tasks themselves. Considering that the cops in the game only occur randomly, then leaving the storyline campaign to chance is a bad idea.
Once I was very unlucky, and I tried to find at least one cop on the map for about forty minutes, then to ride next to him for five minutes, and then escape. And all this happened behind the wheel of a low-powered Honda Civic, since this event had to be cranked in a car with less than 200 hp, and this is after my Lamborghini at 1080!
It was the most boring hour in the entire 24 hours of the game. And the reason is simple: there is no easy way to call the cops in the game. In the same Most Wanted, such tasks immediately transported you to the city with the cops on your tail, and that was great. At the same time, the races with violators themselves turned out to be vigorous. Here the cops immediately find themselves on the tail (and with a high indicator of aggression), and every opponent is not averse to "pushing" you onto a tape with spikes. However, in this part, there were no various EMP hits and other jammers, so interacting with the cops looks pointless, and 99% of the game you will not even see them.
And the last point that I can count on the minuses is the multiplayer tracing-paper with Rivals. This means that you are always in an online session and, for example, cannot pause the game. In doing so, you can stumble upon real players on the map and race with them. Personally, I prefer a separate multiplayer format with full lobbies and dedicated races. Here it is more like a desire to make the world more alive. But something turned out without a spark.
We will be updating the game in the future and these updates will be free. I can't say exactly how we plan to develop the game further, so as not to make promises, which then I can not keep, but I can assure you that we will add new content. In addition, there are daily quests in the game, so you will have something to do. - Patrick Honnorari
Y8Games Studio took tuning from the Underground, added scale to Hot Pursuit and hooked on Rivals multiplayer, creating what may not be perfect, but definitely the best Need for Speed in 5 years. It has everything that I expect from racing: normal pumping, plot, beautiful cars. The only thing missing is neon (for some reason it was not added to the game, we are waiting for updates) and a normal chase system. Yes, this is not the longest game in the world, but 24 hours of non-stop racing without being distracted by anything else is a lot. And the feeling that more needed to be done is gone. I got real pleasure, albeit overshadowed by minor flaws.