Review: Pros and cons of the newest 'Need for Speed'

"Need for Speed" 2015 came out on Nov. 4 and has met a myriad of reactions from fans.  (Courtesy/Need for Speed)

The “Need for Speed” is a racing game series that is accessible to everybody. The latest developer team to be put in charge of the franchise, Ghost Games, has recently come out of a two-year hiatus after releasing “Need for Speed: Rivals” in 2013. The newest title, with the oddly vague name “Need for Speed,” rolled onto store shelves Nov. 4. So far, various testimonials have praised and criticized different aspects of this new title.
    
The game that I’ll conveniently dub “Need for Speed 2015” adds a myriad of customization options otherwise unseen in the series since 2004’s “Need for Speed: Underground 2.” Such features include real-world body kits from aftermarket companies like Rocket Bunny or Raul-Welt Begriff and the reintroduction of a livery editor. 

While it is nice to slap a Liberty Walk kit on your Lamborghini Aventador, there remains a discrepancy between how many options are available for various cars. For example, a touted customization feature of the game is custom headlamps and taillights, but the only car where this feature truly shines is with the 1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R KPGC10. Modifying the lights is simply not an option for the overwhelming majority of cars, even if these cars have had a variety of choices in the real world.

In addition, fans of lighting effects like underglow will be dismayed to learn that this feature has been omitted. More egregious, however, are the reports that paintable brake calipers aren’t in the released version of the game despite being in its in the beta version. Also, despite priding itself on being involved with car culture, you are still able to modify the camshaft on the Mazda RX-7. In real-life, this car does not use a camshaft at all – it uses a rotary engine.

It also is baffling that the multiplayer isn’t as robust as “Burnout Paradise,” despite “Need for Speed 2015” requiring a consistent online connection while the former does not. It’s very likely that the publisher of “Need for Speed 2015,” EA, made the decision for this game to be “always online” as an attempt to thwart piracy, but as seen with the reboot of “SimCity” and its subsequent modding, this method of piracy prevention could remain a shoddy method that alienates players more than it prevents piracy. 

However, Ghost Games has bluntly informed us that future DLC and add-ons for this game will be complimentary. It’s likely that certain features were cut from the release version due to unforeseen issues with the debugging process. They could very well be added in an update. In addition, Ghost Games has reported that if demand is high enough, they will add manual transmission to the game, as many car enthusiasts lament its omission. 

Either way, “Need for Speed 2015” has a very interesting car selection, including an old Volvo 242, a new McLaren 570S and some Japanese classics like the Toyota Supra, the Honda NSX and the Nissan Skyline GT-R R34. From what I’ve heard and seen of this game, “Need for Speed 2015” may be a lot more interesting once updates from the developer are implemented. What those updates could include is almost anybody’s guess. 


Max Engel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at max.engel@uconn.edu.