Need For Speed (2015) Review - All style but at what cost to gameplay?

Need For Speed (2015) 

Buy Need for Speed on

Buy Need for Speed on


  • Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC (Spring 2016)
  • Players: 1; Multiplayer online
  • Achievements: Yes
  • Retail Price: $59.99

High Level Premise – Campaign to be the best Street racer, Multiplayer races

Graphics/Style – Stellar!! At some points its looks like you’re in a live action movie.

Music/Soundtrack – Upbeat jams are perfect to get you amped for the next street race

Story – Typical Need for Speed "prove yourself to be the best racer and gain respect", with tons of side missions and things to find throughout the city

Replay-ability – Medium size campaign, special item hunting, and endless multiplayer races help give this game a longer playtime

Value – I think casual to intermediate race fans will enjoy this game, there are plenty of miles to put on your cars.

Favorite Element - Crusin' around the city in my car like a boss trying to red line it, and participating in pick up races with online players.

After having some time off since there last title, Need for Speed: Rivals, EA comes back to us resurrecting one of my favorite gaming styles from their franchise past NFS: Underground. Right off the bat you’ll notice the games stunning graphics and realistic immersive sounds, especially with a headset like my Turtle Beach XO Seven.  Personally, my favorite feature is being able to tune the cars with various upgrades to shape the car to your own style including everything from a Tokyo Drifter to a San Francisco gripster. However, once you get past the graphics and customizing the game starts to have a few problems.  First, the live action cut scenes leave much to be desired and could have benefited from a big name casting and better writing.  Second, the single player mode is short lived so to get your money’s worth out of the game you need to love the multiplayer mode, and sadly I do not.  And if your system isn’t connected to the internet you can’t even play the game.

The visuals and attention to detail are stunning.

After a long loading screen then game opens with a dark and rainy Ventura bay, which you wouldn’t imagine being ideal racing weather unless you want to do doughnuts or drift into a telephone pole.  The graphics really pop but then the characters start talking and they are all poorly written meme inspired caricatures of human beings.  Since Need for Speed was recently released as a movie starring Aaron Paul, you would think EA would want to capitalize and make the series more cinematic and more unique than the other racing sims that focus on realism.  These people also take away from the racing experience by blowing you up with calls and texts while you are trying to feed your need for speed and not get busted for texting and driving.  Speaking of the Police, they don’t seem that interested in chasing you so don’t expect some thrilling “Hot Pursuit” era chase sequences, I had to actually hit a police car to get its attention so I could have a merry chase.

Drifters gonna drift!

The computer competition seems to always be a little more powerful than you no matter how much you improve your car to push you toward perfection to win a race. Or to prolong gameplay, but this dynamic appears in most racing games and especially so here in Need for Speed. The handling is a little more simplistic than some other racing sims but I enjoyed the drifting controls immensely.  There is nothing like drifting through a long turn and hitting the NOS at the right moment to burst out of the turn into the straightaway.  Outside of drifting I think the visual style doesn’t translate the speed very well.  For instance you don’t feel like you are redlining the car or pushing the limits while driving fast.  It should be pulse pounding and it seems ordinary.  I spend more time enjoying the graphics and panning the camera around my car, and it is nice that they added more external customization options than was available in previous versions of the game.  As far as the engine tuning and upgrades is it idiot proof so that as long as you are spending more money you are getting better.

Next Gen Dave reviews the new racer from EA, Need for Speed on Xbox One. Click to Subscribe ►  

This isn’t a hard core racing sim so don’t expect DiRT or Forza level accuracy and performance, but it is fun to wheel around and now that the price has dropped on the game I think the value is getting to its sweet spot.  I would like to see EA return even more to the Underground model for the next game, or maybe the action of a Hot Pursuit to better differentiate from the other racing games on the market.

Related Articles:

Loot Crate December 2015 "Galaxy" Unboxing and Review

Another round of Xbox 360 compatibility, my picks for the next wave