Although there is always a risk with reboots, there have been many notable ones in the recent years, including Devil May Cry and Tomb Raider. Then, there are the reboots that many just wish wasn’t a reality, like SimCity and the various Sonic games that rushed to market. So, it’s not surprising to see Need for Speed on the list, as it has been around for a couple decades with a new game almost annually.
Need for Speed Rivals was the most recent release, and it was a success, but long-term fans did not like it as much as the newer ones. Once Ghost Games, the developers, became aware of this, they decided to spend two years working on the reboot instead of following their annual plan. It is challenging to determine if the development extension is paying off, as you have great underground night racing and numerous challenges, but on the other hand, you have “bros” that under-perform and get annoying to the point of wishing they didn’t exist.
The main question with reboots is, how far back to go? The original Need for Speed focused on night racing, but the release of Need for Speed Rivals introduced midday racing. For many, this was a big mistake, as it was directing things away from the game’s origins. Luckily, Ghost Games understood this and implemented the dusk-until-dawn cycle in a new fictional version of Los Angeles, called Ventura Bay.
Visually, the reboot nearly puts Project Cars and Forza 5 to shame, even if the weather is limited to rain or no rain. When it rains, the streets have puddles that reflect street lights, and it will bring back the memories of why you loved the original Need for Speed. Although, there is a single issue that comes with night racing, and that is visibility. It is easy to miss brake lights of other cars when you are zooming through the streets at 180mph, or a dumpster that’s the same shade of gray as the road.
With the reboot, when it comes to customizing your car, there is much more than the basic dog stickers and custom bodywork available. You will also need to fix it up so it handles well under performance, upgrading fuel systems, engine blocks, and camshafts to intake manifolds and ECU, even nitrous. When you start, there are many options open, but many are locked by level caps and missions. Upgrades happen in the garage, of course, where else? As you advance through the game, you will visit the garage quite often. Some may hop back over every few races.
This may very well be the reboot that the series needed for a new start. The gameplay is great, the cars are impressive with in-depth customization features, but there are the annoying characters that eventually ruin the cut scene and the overall experience. If you are able to ignore the needy “bros” you are stuck with, then we would recommend checking out the new Need for Speed.