Need for Speed World – Review
Firing up Need for Speed World for the first time is an interesting experience. I’m no stranger to Need for Speed, having played several games in the series, my favorite still being Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit for the Playstation One. That really changed today with the venture into NFSW Game. When you first start up this MMORPG game, it downloads nice and quickly and there’s no complicated installs with the installer doing all of the downloading for you. Plus, if you’ve already an Electronic Arts account, you can hop into the game using that instead of needing to go through the task of making a completely new account. After a short download wait, depending on your internet connection, you can fire up the game. The game runs on premium called ‘Boost’ which can be bought from the EA store and redeemed for 1 day car rentals of super charged cars, extra power ups or a bonus to your experience and money making.
You’re immediately greeted by the beauty that NFSW has to offer. It’s obviously a recently designed game, with graphics able to keep up with any recent racing game. You’ll notice that the cars look gorgeous, and even better, they’re name brand cars with names you’re going to recognize from Nissan to Chevrolet. There’s no Ford, but that’s particularly because Ford charges quite a bit for the licensing rights to their cars. When you first start out the game, you’ve the option of four different beginner cars to choose from, with relatively the same stats. As you start the game in Level 1 and pulling out into the street, you’re greeted by your first event, a ‘sprint’ race which is a single lap race that starts at point A and ends at point B. As you play the game, you earn more Reputation Points and level up. For each race when you finish, you’re rewarded with more reputation points and cash to buy upgrades and new cars. You’re also presented with 5 random cards that give you a bonus such as extra cash or power ups.
If you’re quite good with the paint tool, you can make a unique car that will stand out. NFSW has an in game paint scheme tool that is similar to many other games, such as Forza or All Points Bulletin. That’s not to say it’s lacking, but it’s not stand out of the pack either. The cars can be fitted with ‘kits’ that you can buy with the in game cash in order to upgrade their specs to make them faster and better, but as far as tuning or in depth engine/chassis/etc. customization goes, NFSW has none.
The power ups in the game are rather useful for a racing game. From your basic nitrous boost to a bonus to your car’s weight to help deflect ramming to a battering ram to help you through a blockade. Because all of the car’s controls are done with the ASDW keys with space being your hand brake and E being your look behind, the car is controlled entirely with your left hand (or right hand, depending on your preference) which leaves your right hand open to click on your power ups to activate them, which can also be done with the 1 thru 4 keys. The power ups can be mapped to your 4 quick slots via the garage menu to suit your needs for your driving. You get 4 different sets of 4 quick slots, one for each of your major race types, free roam, sprint, race and hot pursuit so that you can set yourself up and tailor your power ups for exactly what you prefer during each specific race type. You can play NFSW up until level 10, when you really start to unlock the bigger, badder cars. The game isn’t completely free, but the free trial period is more gracious than most games.
While you’re out racing in NFSW, you’ll probably want to make full use of the game’s Online MMO style setting. The in game menu in order to keep up with your friends is surprisingly intuitive. It’s like a news feed that posts what’s going on, both with yourself and your friends in the game in real time, keeping you up to date and tempting you to go race and make new friends. While it’s the basic foundation of NFSW to be a vastly MMO game, when it comes down to the actual racing, it feels more like a glorified multiplayer Burnout Paradise. Drive to a set destination in order to start an event, drive in races heavily favoring arcade style game play over anything remotely realistic, rinse, and repeat as needed.
The Hot Pursuit mode is definitely one of the more challenging single player modes. Racing against the cops is not an easy task. The AI for the police cruisers, which are Dodge Chargers and easily picked out from the regular cars, is very well done. You stop on the brakes, they stop on the brakes. Mash the emergency brake and pull a 180, they’ll follow suit. They’ll try to run you into walls and box you in, doing whatever they can to stop you. It is a bit odd that a small, compact Nissan can ram and knock over a much bigger, heavier Dodge Charger. If you make the cops mad enough, your “Heat Level” will rise and they’ll start to put more pressure on you, setting up road blocks and putting down spike strips and tougher cops coming after you. Road blocks will try to stop you, but if you’re quick enough, you’ll dash around it. A well placed spike strip will blow out your tires and limit the speed that you can drive at, making it impossible to escape. Of course, a well timed power up like ramming or run flats will help you to escape.
There are several different race types in NFSW, from your original Race to Sprint to even your Hot Pursuit, which would be this writer’s favorite. There’s also skills you can tailor to meet the needs of your favorite race type, from helping your nitrous last longer to making your pursuit cool down quicker, helping you escape to giving you bonuses to your cash per event. In total, there are 9 skills that you can end up learning, dependent upon your reputation level to unlock them.
All in all, the game ends up being a good balance between the power ups, multiplayer, racing and hot pursuits. Although, while you’re racing, don’t expect professionalism, the game is an arcade racer. Expect ramming, jostling and grinding in order to get ahead with a good dose of skilled racing in order to place first.