Straight from the underground.
THE NECESSITY For Speed series is definitely something of a chameleon. At various points, it has been a police chase simulator, an authentic track racer, and a good Cannonball Run-style action movie on wheels. This latest DEPENDENCE ON Speed follows in the footsteps of the first Fast and Furious film by exploring the white-knuckled world of illegitimate street racing. While it isn’t a totally novel approach for the series (Underground covered tuner car culture over ten years ago), it can open a few new avenues for DEPENDENCE ON Speed’s arcadey but nuanced design of racing–most notably in its progression and customization systems.
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At one point within my playthrough, however, I hit a wall. Metaphorically. I’d been building my stock Subaru into an unstoppable tuner beast for practically 15 hours at that time, but also for whatever reason, I simply could not see through the lately unlocked story missions. I tried and retried until I finally made a decision to grind through smaller side events to earn some “rep” and cash. This extra currency, I hoped, might i want to upgrade my way to victory. I did so eventually conquer those missions, and along the way I learned two extremely valuable lessons: Utilizing a single “balanced” ride for both drift and race events is an awful idea at higher levels, and despite each of the frustrating nonsense DEPENDENCE ON Speed put me through, I was always excited to dive back.
The game is definately not perfect, nonetheless it is, at points, truly exceptional. Its jaw-dropping visuals, adrenaline-pumping audio, and highly-customizable handling make screaming around the darkened streets of Ventura Bay an powerful thrill. The sense of ownership that is included with tuning an individual ride to perfection instead of simply grabbing the flashiest vehicle available proved tremendously rewarding. Even just the breathtaking speed of upgraded vehicles makes the driving in DEPENDENCE ON Speed absolutely gripping. This foundation of gratifying gameplay anchors the knowledge, as the rest of DEPENDENCE ON Speed’s specifics have huge variations from equally outstanding to smash-your-controller frustrating.
Take the goofy yet oddly endearing narrative: the live action cutscenes contain hit after hit of stilted acting, awkward dialogue, and unwarranted fistbumps without advancing anything resembling a plot. Weirdly, none of the scenes actually happen in cars, and for reasons uknown, every one starts with someone arriving and ends with another person leaving, with maybe 30 seconds of conversation among. Yet somehow, this crew of misfit racers actually grew on me. By the finish, I’d wholeheartedly embraced their warm, friendly corniness, despite the fact that I still had no idea what the story was about. The occurrence of a villain or rival may have increased my investment, but at least you can skip any scene that starts to drag.
The sense of ownership that is included with tuning an individual ride to perfection instead of simply grabbing the flashiest vehicle available proved tremendously rewarding.
The overall game world presents its issues but also stands up to scrutiny. DEPENDENCE ON Speed is defined in a totally open world modeled generally after LA, with four main boroughs and many more subsections which range from hilly switchbacks to tangled highways to tight urban corridors. It’s populated with event markers you can tackle in virtually any order, giving the campaign a everyday setup the belies the intensity of its challenges. I somehow found myself in some of the same areas again and again, but the degree of detail, variety, and overall believability made metropolis an immersive high-speed playground, despite having its perpetually rain-slick streets and suspiciously sparse traffic.
Apart from those semi-rare civilian vehicles and the casual squad car–which remain a joy to outrun, by the way–Need For Speed’s roster of vehicles includes the most common mixture of Lamborghinis, Porsches, and Ferraris. But remember, that is a casino game about street racing. When you can eventually choose the really high-end stuff, you’ll spend almost all of the campaign slowly but surely unlocking better elements and aesthetic upgrades for your less exotic tuner-mobile.
Visually, your alternatives are robust: change the colour, design a livery, add aftermarket spoilers–if you can picture it, you can usually create it, making standing out online fun and easy. Components like engine blocks and suspension systems, alternatively, are slightly less impressive. Generally, the more costly the part, the better your vehicle will run. So if you wish to upgrade your ignition, for instance, you basically select that menu option and scroll until you discover a part you’ve both unlocked and will afford. There’s really no technique to it, making the complete process feel rote.
You will get calls about events. A whole load of phone calls.
Fortunately, buying these pieces also grants you increasingly granular control over your car’s handling. You’ll eventually start 16 different sliders that control from tire pressure to shock stiffness, and contrary to popular belief, I could feel the impact of each adjustment. It’s an extraordinary system. You can tend to avoid the potential tedium of ticking sliders backwards and forwards simply by adjusting a master slider between “Drift” and “Grip,” gives a less precise by still serviceable setup. For me personally, though, fine-tuning my ride’s handling became a sort of game-consuming obsession, one with very tangible rewards.
However, this obsession eventually got me into trouble. DEPENDENCE ON Speed features a wide selection of events, including point-based drift competitions, traditional circuit races, and even Gymkhana events. This mix created some welcome gameplay variety, but it addittionally resulted in that wall I eventually smashed into. In early stages, my limited resources forced me to pour most of my efforts right into a single vehicle. By enough time I got eventually to later, more difficult missions, it didn’t even eventually me that my well-rounded ride was actually a liability, and the overall game provided no feedback to point a more drift-tuned car would immediately resolve my problems. A choice to save lots of multiple tuning profiles for an individual car would have not merely confirmed useful, it could have tipped me off that, hey, perhaps you need to take it easy that back end if you need to win.
You can’t restart a meeting while the cops want you, that may get really annoying. Positive thing outrunning them is fun.
That solution sounds super clear in retrospect, but other points of frustration were somewhat more inescapable. For instance, DEPENDENCE ON Speed uses clear rubber-banding to keep opponents within striking distance during races. Having your opponents nipping at your heels creates tension, sure, but allowing the AI to automatically catch the player cheapens the upgrade system and may bring about undeserved losses.
The game’s unhelpful navigation system puts you at an additional disadvantage. During race events, blue arrows appear on the floor to help you from checkpoint to checkpoint because, unlike a genuine racetrack, the course won’t be obvious. Unfortunately, this results in you obtain no warning before reaching a turn unless you’re constantly diverting your eyes right down to the mini-map. And even then, it certainly is night in DEPENDENCE ON Speed, making certain obstacles like barriers and guardrails more challenging to identify. I had to restart a lot of races because I missed a turn, didn’t turn sharply enough, or collided with an object I never saw. I’d have loved a synopsis of every course before I started race events, but sadly, that isn’t an option.
Finally, the drifting point system is needlessly punishing. If you hit an obstacle by the end of a drift, you quickly lose any point you may have received for that drift. Consequently, pulling pointless 180s in the center of the road will net you more points when compared to a properly executed drift that ends together with your rear bumper lovetapping a guardrail. It’s infuriating. I am aware that powersliding right into a wall must not be worth any points, but surely there’s a happy medium here somewhere.
If you persevere, you will be left with a garage packed with tricked out cars and a global populated by friends to race with and leaderboards to top.
Thankfully, in the event that you persevere, you will be left with a garage packed with tricked out cars and a global populated by friends to race with and leaderboards to top. You may easily setup a crew as high as eight racers–which lets you enter events together and otherwise just go out in your shared city–or you can merely drive around Ventura Bay until you find another player, of which point you can challenge the other person to 1 of several random event types. It isn’t precisely dedicated multiplayer, nonetheless it will let you race together with your friends just fine. You can even choose asynchronous gameplay, choosing especially marked events your friend’s have completed so that you can best their times and earn just a little extra cash.
I did notice a tiny but forgivable couple of frame rate drops within my playtime on the PS4, and the game’s always-online setup meant I possibly could never truly pause the overall game. If you ever have to quickly pause the action to, say, reply to your phone or stop your cat from destroying your furniture, you just can’t unless you’re ready to lose whatever event you’re playing. I was also disconnected from EA’s servers anytime I was from the game for a good brief period, which resulted in the unnecessary hassle of reconnecting merely to continue playing without any help. Still, none of that–including the unfortunate difficulty spike I experienced–was enough to ruin DEPENDENCE ON Speed’s gorgeous world, rewarding progression system, and exhilarating driving mechanics. Your move, Vin Diesel.