Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/need_for_speed_world_pc/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Since getting a first look at EA Black Box's free MMO racer Need for Speed World back in May, the experience has been fleshed out and polished, with lots more to come as the years go on.
If you're new to the game, it's a free to play title intended to be played on a wide range of computer hardware, from your average laptop to a high-end PC -- both of which will take advantage as much as they can. The MMO part comes in in that Internet is required to play the game -- while there is single player, you'll constantly be connected to the "world", populated by race fans from all over which you can compete against and chat with.
Aside from straight races, there's also the classic Pursuit mode, soon to be beefed up with co-op and versus varieties which should add a lot ot the experience.
The final major components are car customization and power-ups -- both of which have been built on considerably since beta.
Now performance packages are offered depending on your level, each of which accomodates a different style. There's also the paint shop, which affords different colours and vinyls for each part of the vehicle. It was promised in our interview more in-depth tuning options will be coming in the next major update, so there's that to look forward to.
I'm happy to say power-ups are now supported by the Xbox 360 controller unlike before, although sadly, the game still seems to be thinking of keyboard users first -- many functions like finding races and going to the safehouse still need to be added in.
The first thing I noticed this time around is World is much more lively. Once connected, you'll see other real live players all around, waiting for a race, exploring the grounds, or just chatting. Speaking of chatting, the social features now include private chat and 'add as friend' functions, the latter of which opens up more options like teleporting to their location, whispering, stat comparisons, and so on. Hopefully Black Box gets on VOIP, soon, too -- especially in the new Pursuit modes, this would prove particularly useful and exciting.
Races don't seem to have changed, but nothing really needed to be, although I will say the option to keep driving around while being queued to start a race -- coupled with a rematch option -- would keep the experience more fluent.
It could be my imagination, but the Pursuit mode appears to have been enhanced. Cops seem a little smarter than before -- a real downfall to the mode previously, where I felt invincible (not a good thing in a game like this). Particularly if you manage to get your heat level to 3 -- good luck getting out of that jam. Also, the fuzz remembers you if you recently evaded a pursuit. For example, if you smash up a few coppers or citizens, get them chasing you long enough to raise your heat level to 2, hide out awhile, then be spotted again, your heat level will resume at 2 -- a nice touch.
An especially thrilling episode occured when I was hiding out. Just about at the end of the cooldown period, three federal cars appeared out of nowhere, all sights pointed at me. I busted out the 'Emergency Evade' power-up as I had no speed to escape in time, then rounded the corner, only to find another fed. Lucky for me, a truck was blasting ahead full speed in his direction, creaming him as I slid on by. Victory! Moments like these happen all the time, and are a big part of the draw.
The last thing to note is the in-game music -- it's not omnipresent, which is a smart choice, allowing you to concentrate on the action without interference. But when it's there, it's surprisingly quality and enjoyable stuff. Of course, an in-game jukebox would be welcome, especially for those on laptops who can't sacrifice the resources with an external media player. This is something the team is considering, so you can hold out hope.
You may have noticed I haven't focused much on gameplay much for this review. That's because the core of it hasn't changed much since our first look. It's still the same solid fun -- classic Need for Speed spread across a massive world and with RPG-style progression mechanics thrown in for good measure. It lives up to its word, lending itself well to casual or extended play (though perhaps a little more the former at this stage). With a sworn dedication from the development team, there's even more goodness to come, too. What can we say? You'd be silly not to try it, and the microtransaction model should work for everybody.
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