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'Need for Speed: Rivals,' a new twist on an old format

tech reviews Updated: Jun 14, 2013 15:33 IST
Xbox One


The latest version of this long-running franchise lets gamers play cops and racers.

The gaming franchise is already into its second decade, and EA has pulled out all the stops to bring it kicking and screaming into the world of eighth-generation consoles: the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

One of said stops is to offer the chance to either fracture or uphold laws by being able to play as chase cop or race criminal, an approach introduced in 1998's "Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit" and revitalized in the 2010 reboot.

But as well as this series hallmark, "Need For Speed: Rivals" makes the most of the superior processing power of the Xbox One and PS4 with wonderfully fluid animation that obeys the laws of physics, as well as settings so detailed that they're clear to see -- even when roaring past at 200mph in a bright red Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.

Also keeping things interesting is access to weaponry. Cops have EMP-firing guns and tire-popping stingers, while criminals have radar jammers and nitro kits for break-neck acceleration.

Ghost Games, the EA studio responsible for the game, has confirmed that further weapons will be added before the game's official launch on November 19, when it will be made available for the Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3.

And, like Ubisoft's "The Crew," "Need For Speed: Rivals" also offers a seamless experience across single, multiplayer and co-op gaming, although it doesn't quite offer the persistent online world experience of "The Crew."

Neither does it provide the obsessive detailing of Microsoft's "Forza Motorport 5" or Sony's "DriveClub" and "Gran Turismo 6" -- three other huge racing titles showcased at this week's E3 conference. Still, "Need for Speed: The Rivals" can claim to offer a seriously immersive gaming experience.