Believe us when we tell you that Electronic Arts is one company with a big eye on the future. Before the last NFS title - Carbon - had even begun development, 20 hand-picked members of the Most Wanted team were set to work on ProStreet, trying to keep the series on the technological bleeding edge while envisaging how tuner culture may evolve in the future.
After all, being games about high-performance vehicles, recent Need for Speeds have always had their finger on the tuner scene's beating
“Whoa!” We’re pretty sure that’s exactly the response EA and Black Box were angling for when they recently showed off Need for Speed: SHIFT, ‘cause that’s sure as hell the one they got. Why else would they be going around demoing the game earlier than ever in the franchise’s history if they weren’t 100% certain of the wow factor therein?
After a strong, but not quite Codemasters-troubling debut, EA’s Need for Speed: Shift really means it this time around. Again diverging from the series’ traditional model of simple handling and all-out acceleration, in favour of a more considered circuit-racing sim along the lines of Codies’ Grid, the sequel is out for blood. Yours, that of your car, that of your opponents, and most categorically of all, that of its rivals.
Its developers you see, make no bones about going after Gran Turismo 5 and Forza 3 this time. And having gone hands-on recently, we are very much listening.
After its big reveal at this year’s E3, long time Need for Speed fans were a little baffled by The Run’s E3 trailer. After only a brief taste of the racing, the main character Jack Rourke leapt from his vehicle and took off on foot. The ensuing QTE segment violently divided early opinion, but rest assured, this is still a NFS game, and the racing comes first. Our recent demo was 100% in-car, and we’re glad to report it feels just as good as Hot Pursuit.
Was I the only Need for Speed fan groaning during EA’s E3 press conference once it was revealed that The Run’s racing cache would be… quick time events? So… instead of falling back on the good favor you’ve earned from SHIFT and Hot Pursuit, you’re making this your flagship racing franchise into The Fugitive?! Okay, let’s get calm… While I can report that the cineractive events are in fact a little lame, they make a helluva lot more sense within the context of something far more interesting and exciting The Run is looking to pull off.
We’ve got a confession to make that goes against most critical response: we quite liked Need for Speed: ProStreet (at least on consoles). It was a competent and relatively accurate recreation of organized competitive racing events. Unfortunately, what ProStreet did at the same time was completely remove the essence of what made a Need for Speed game, leaving a dry approach to simulation in its place.
A blast from the past with a glorious glimpse at the future of online racing...
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit might just have the best online integration ever. It takes the 'always on' idea of Project Gotham Racing 3, fuses it to Burnout Paradise's Road Rules mechanic and connects it all to a social network not dissimilar to the mighty Facebook. In many ways, this is how online gaming should have been done since the very beginning - and anything less in the future will look backward in comparison.
Criterion has taken another step in redefining the Need for Speed series for arcade racing fans. How'd they do it with the rebooted Need for Speed: Most Wanted? By reviving one of the developer's most critically acclaimed racing games of all time...
Take a look at the three DLC packs coming for Need for Speed Most Wanted in our full video walkthrough with the developers...