Need for Speed Rivals is the newest iteration of the popular EA racing franchise. I had the opportunity to play the demo while at E3 on the PS4. The NFSR demo area had three bays, with each bay comprising of three cops and three racers. For you non math majors out there, including me, there were a total of nine racers and nine police officers. The nine racers can go about their business competing in various races while the police officers can initiate a police chase at any time. This is a pretty cool feature implemented into NFSR. Say your friend is playing single player as a racer and is simply completing races. Well, you hop online into his game and start an impromptu police chase. Now, your friend is racing while trying to avoid the cops aka you. Such a seamless single player to multiplayer transition is actually a neat idea and this is coming from someone who doesn't play multiplayer all that much.
Back to the demo, I was one of the nine police officers in the demo area and it was my goal to cruise around looking for racers. When I would find one speeding down the road, I could then initiate a high speed chase with him. With my sirens blaring, I went after my first racer of the demo.
My police cruiser handled beautifully and I was using my handbrake to turn corners with the best of them. As a side note, the PS4 controller is such a vast improvement of the dualshock 3 controller, it felt perfect in my hands. Racers accumulate points by avoiding cops and completing races. My goal as a police officer was to take them out and steal their points they worked so hard to obtain. Weaving in and out of traffic was a thrill and when I finally managed to take out my first racer, I was hooked. I glanced up at the leader boards and noticed I was trailing the other police officers and knew I needed to step up my game.
The NFSR demo wasn't only a playable demo, it was also a competition. Of the nine racers and nine cops, the top racer and cop would receive an exclusive t-shirt and a chance to play for a gaming headset in the finals later that afternoon. I wanted that t-shirt, so I looked for my next racer to try and dismantle. Cruising along, I enjoyed the beautiful sites of the next gen graphics, but I couldn't admire them for long because the next racer was coming my way. Unfortunately, this racer didn't acquire too many points and I was only awarded a handful of points when I took him out. The demo was nearing its end and I still wasn't the overall leader of the cops in my bay.
Then the unthinkable happened. I wrecked my cruiser by driving off a cliff and apparently when you respawn in the game, your vehicle is returned a few feet ahead of where you wrecked. That's nice and all, but you are also put back into the game while you're still accelerating. I was trapped in a vicious cycle of being respawned and immediately seeing my cruiser fly off the same cliff. I was getting frustrated because I wasn't in first and I couldn't play the game. I finally realized that I should simply hold down my brake after I respawned to stop committing suicide. Success! I came to a stop before driving headlong off the cliff and was back in the game.
Only 60 seconds to go and I was still trailing the overall leader. Luckily, I found a racer speeding by me and I immediately turned on my sirens and the chase was on. This new found racer had a bunch of points he acquired throughout the demo and they were right there for me to take. He zigged and zagged to try and lose me, but I hit him with a timely EMP blast which caused him to lose control for a spilt second and that split second was all I needed. I t-boned him and he was toast. I received all his points and a few seconds later the demo had ended. I looked up at the leaderboard of the bay I was in and saw that I was placed first. Okay cool, I was first of the three cops in my bay. I looked at the points in bay two and realized my points exceeded the first place cop in bay two. Sweet! Now onto the final bay…what!?! I have more points than the top cop in bay three? I actually won the competition and received my exclusive t-shirt, while my Irish mug was posted on NFS' twitter page. I was pretty stoked about it. Unfortunately, I did not win in the finals for the gaming headset, but I still had fun trying.
NFSR was very enjoyable for the ten minutes I got to play it. The cars handled beautifully, the transition from single player to multiplayer was smooth and it was simply a lot of fun to play. I’m looking forward to getting to spend more time and really get into the meat and potatoes of the game.