After cutting its teeth on middling Need for Speed: Rivals, Ghost Games has emerged from its development garage with a playable build of its latest effort, Need for Speed. Yes, Need for Speed full-stop, with no subtitle whatsoever, because, as the developers put it, they wanted to create the ultimate Need for Speed game, and not just another named installment.
Have they succeeded? Well, going by my eight minute-long demo, I’d have to tentatively say yes. They certainly came to E3 fully prepared and gave us one hell of a fun experience.
Need for Speed apparently has several different storylines, but Ghost’s presentation-giver didn’t go into details outside of saying that they’d represent each of the game’s different ways to play.
To explain the above, I need to mention how this is advertised as the definitive Need for Speed game, and it’s not just because of the developer’s pride. You see, for what may be the first time ever, you’ll be able to tune your cars to a fine art, allowing preferences like grip over drift (or vice-versa) to come into play. Hell, you can even pick different tires and rims if you’d like, and adjust the air pressure inside each of the rubber things.
The demo actually began inside of a garage, with live action video that soon seamlessly switched to show in-game car models. The transition was so impressive and so subtle that I didn’t notice it at first, and it ended up blowing me away. It was there, inside of that auto shop, that we were able to spend two-and-a-half minutes choosing, customizing and tuning our cars. We had tons of money at our disposal, but there was almost no time to spend most of it. I spent very little, but tried to, and did some moderate customizing with my Ford Mustang. As such, I can only imagine how great a car customized by someone creative (who has time to spare) would look.
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I should also note that I chose drift over grip and never regretted it. Once I finally got to play it felt natural, and I had few issues controlling my car. Sure, I crashed a few times, but that was mostly rust and stupidity.
Need for Speed rated us as we played as well. To earn points, all you have to do is play the game. Everything you do, be it a drift, a podium finish or some other cool skill, will give you something towards your profile. The game will also take snapshots of cool things you do and upload them to its media portal so that others can be in awe of your badassitude.
I earned most of my fifty or sixty thousand points during a drift event, but others didn’t even bother partaking in any of the four competitions that became available following the inaugural race. They simply drove around and messed with the world, all the while under the watchful eye of some racer-hating cops who likely tried to ruin my day as they did theirs.
Another thing they pointed out was how easy it is to make friends in the game, via a recommendation tool that advertises people you may know. Things were predominantly about the gameplay, though, and for good reason. Not only is Need for Speed looking beautiful at this point in time, despite the odd visual glitch which is to be expected right now, but it controls well and is a heck of a lot of fun to play.
While I honestly question whether Ghost Games’ next outing will be able to dethrone Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 2 as the best racing game in existence, they’re certainly on track to deliver something fantastic. Not only that, but something memorable and worthy of its Need for Speed (full-stop) title.