Where "Need for Speed" needs to go.

Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1091 posts) -

So I'm hot off trying the demo for Need for Speed: Shift. I came away a little more impressed with the "you feel like you are driving" stuff than I figured I would. GRiD does a great job of that already, with smart camera movement that really gives you the feeling of bouncing around a vehicle as you take turns at 50mph - but Shift takes the next step. 
 
Unfortunately, that's about all that impressed me with the game. Need for Speed just is not a franchise about "serious" racing, so when you get games like ProStreet and Shift I just sort of shake my head and sigh. At the same time, though, I understand EA's plight - the "Fast & The Furious" direction of Need for Speed Underground and Most Wanted was most definitely tapped out. So where do you go from there? 
 
I say go back to the beginning. I'm talking the original Need for Speed games. No nitrous, no chrome rims, no spoilers and no glowing lights underneath the car. When I want a Need for Speed game to play, I go back to one game, each and every time:
 

 Hail to the King, Baby.
 
Nobody makes racing games like Hot Pursuit 2 anymore. Not EA, no one - and frankly, it's starting to make me a little bit bored of racing games in general. I'm so tired of Forza, Gran Turismo, Project Gotham Racing, and GRiD. I'm also tired of Fast-and-the-furious Underground Street Races. 
 
 Exotic cars, exotic locales
Hot Pursuit 2, on the other hand, doesn't bog us down with a storyline or an open world or sponsored events. You do not race in tracks that feel like they were set up specifically for racing. There aren't any retaining walls, bleachers or spectators. You aren't even really racing in cities, for the most part. You're just some stupidly rich thrill-seeker with an expensive sports car racing across long, winding interstate roads. Locations are just as exotic as the cars - with forests, countrysides and even the coasts of Hawaii.  There aren't many racing games today that offer up such a wide variety of vistas.
 
That's largely because Hot Pursuit 2 doesn't bog itself down with realism. Take Need for Speed: Most Wanted, for instance. In Most Wanted, you're limited to one city, which eliminates a lot of the more exciting and varied options for race locales. Since Most Wanted is also an open-world game, you have to construct racing circuits out of city street layouts. Worst of all, Most Wanted rides the "Fast & The Furious" fad for all its worth, dating the game considerably. 
 
 You "are" in the driver seat
What I want is a Need for Speed game that takes all of the "you really are driving" concepts from Shift and applies them to a game like Hot Pursuit 2. As I fly through a sawmill in the forests of upstate California at 110mph in a Lotus Elise, I want to feel it. I don't want to drive through another city I'm going to forget in ten minutes - and I don't want to drive through locales that were inspired by famous street racing movies, either. Hot Pursuit 2 has you ramp over lava floes from a recently-erupted volcano in Hawaii, for crying out loud. Has any Need for Speed game done anything that cool since then? I'd argue it has not. 
 
C'mon, EA and the Need for Speed Team ! Show some creativity again! Or at least put Beetle Adventure Racing on Xbox Live, or something.
#1 Edited by BlazeHedgehog (1091 posts) -

So I'm hot off trying the demo for Need for Speed: Shift. I came away a little more impressed with the "you feel like you are driving" stuff than I figured I would. GRiD does a great job of that already, with smart camera movement that really gives you the feeling of bouncing around a vehicle as you take turns at 50mph - but Shift takes the next step. 
 
Unfortunately, that's about all that impressed me with the game. Need for Speed just is not a franchise about "serious" racing, so when you get games like ProStreet and Shift I just sort of shake my head and sigh. At the same time, though, I understand EA's plight - the "Fast & The Furious" direction of Need for Speed Underground and Most Wanted was most definitely tapped out. So where do you go from there? 
 
I say go back to the beginning. I'm talking the original Need for Speed games. No nitrous, no chrome rims, no spoilers and no glowing lights underneath the car. When I want a Need for Speed game to play, I go back to one game, each and every time:
 

 Hail to the King, Baby.
 
Nobody makes racing games like Hot Pursuit 2 anymore. Not EA, no one - and frankly, it's starting to make me a little bit bored of racing games in general. I'm so tired of Forza, Gran Turismo, Project Gotham Racing, and GRiD. I'm also tired of Fast-and-the-furious Underground Street Races. 
 
 Exotic cars, exotic locales
Hot Pursuit 2, on the other hand, doesn't bog us down with a storyline or an open world or sponsored events. You do not race in tracks that feel like they were set up specifically for racing. There aren't any retaining walls, bleachers or spectators. You aren't even really racing in cities, for the most part. You're just some stupidly rich thrill-seeker with an expensive sports car racing across long, winding interstate roads. Locations are just as exotic as the cars - with forests, countrysides and even the coasts of Hawaii.  There aren't many racing games today that offer up such a wide variety of vistas.
 
That's largely because Hot Pursuit 2 doesn't bog itself down with realism. Take Need for Speed: Most Wanted, for instance. In Most Wanted, you're limited to one city, which eliminates a lot of the more exciting and varied options for race locales. Since Most Wanted is also an open-world game, you have to construct racing circuits out of city street layouts. Worst of all, Most Wanted rides the "Fast & The Furious" fad for all its worth, dating the game considerably. 
 
 You "are" in the driver seat
What I want is a Need for Speed game that takes all of the "you really are driving" concepts from Shift and applies them to a game like Hot Pursuit 2. As I fly through a sawmill in the forests of upstate California at 110mph in a Lotus Elise, I want to feel it. I don't want to drive through another city I'm going to forget in ten minutes - and I don't want to drive through locales that were inspired by famous street racing movies, either. Hot Pursuit 2 has you ramp over lava floes from a recently-erupted volcano in Hawaii, for crying out loud. Has any Need for Speed game done anything that cool since then? I'd argue it has not. 
 
C'mon, EA and the Need for Speed Team ! Show some creativity again! Or at least put Beetle Adventure Racing on Xbox Live, or something.
#2 Posted by Kazona (3065 posts) -

Dude, I agree with you 100%

#3 Posted by Ashuku (215 posts) -

Man. You make me want to dig out my copy of hot pursuit 2.... Wherever it might be. 

#4 Posted by demontium (4708 posts) -
@BlazeHedgehog: You are basically correct.
#5 Posted by BlazeHedgehog (1091 posts) -
@Ashuku said:
" Man. You make me want to dig out my copy of hot pursuit 2.... Wherever it might be.  "
Y'know, the PC version has online play, I think... dunno how functional it still is. Like, if it's direct-connect or if it's server-based.
#6 Posted by jakob187 (21665 posts) -

Where Need For Speed needs to go:  to Hell.

#7 Posted by AjayRaz (12424 posts) -

Hot Pursuit 2 was AWESOME! i had so much fun with that game.  
the games before that (mostly the first hot pursuit and NFS II SE) were awesome too. 
it would be cool to see NFS go back into that direction, but i'm not sure if they will have the same degree of success  
they had during 2003 and before with today's racing games. 

#8 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

How could you forget the helicopters that dropped bombs in front of you?
lol, good times

#9 Posted by dagas (2820 posts) -

Underground 3 ^^ Yeah I know I'm probably the only one who never got over Fast and the Furious (or The Matrix for that matter) but I'm still into neon and NOS (and trench coats). Never played Hot Persuit 2, but played a little bit of the first Hot Persuit. Don't remember anything except that it had cops chasing you.

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