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'Need for Speed Rivals' Review--Changing Lanes

'Need for Speed: Rivals' offers more visceral fun than ever in the series' next-gen debut.

Driving in style

Cars and Customization

It wouldn't be a "Need for Speed" game without a full suite of expensive sports cars, and the vehicle roster in "Rivals" is sure to make gearheads happy.

The Ferrari brand makes its return to the franchise, with cars like the Ferrari 458 Italia and Enzo Ferrari available to unlock. Whether your favorite manufacturer is Ford, BMW, Lamborghini, Porsche or Audi, you'll be able to wreak havoc in their latest vehicles.

Completing missions will unlock new cars, which can be bought with Speedpoints. "Rivals" provides a near-endless number of ways to customize your car, whether you want a purple Chevy Camaro with skull decals or a cherry-red Ferrari with white racing stripes.

Take one look at the power-ups available in "Rivals," and you may think you're playing a military game rather than a racing one. Both cops and racers can purchase items such as jammers, electromagnetic pulses and static fields in order to keep the opposition away or put it down for good. And though the add-ons sound technical by name, deploying them while driving feels just as satisfying as dropping a red turtle shell in Nintendo's "Mario Kart."

Multiplayer

"Rivals" puts a new spin on racing multiplayer with AllDrive, a system in which single-player and multiplayer are seamlessly connected. Your friends can enter your game world at any time, allowing you to team up as a group or drive around individually and tackle your own missions.

This unique form of persistent multiplayer is one of the game's standout features, but it also presents a major caveat. Since you're technically always online with "Rivals," there's no way to pause the game. Though you can get through most Speedlists in 10 to 15 minutes, gamers obsessed with finishing a mission as quickly as possible will have to deal with extra time added to their score if they take a break in the middle. If nature calls in the middle of a high-speed chase, you'll have to hold tight or put the controller down and hope the cops don't catch up.

MORE: How to Upgrade PS3 Games to PS4 Versions

There weren't any other racers to team up with on the PlayStation Network at the time of this writing, so we'll update this review with full multiplayer impressions.

Verdict

"Need for Speed: Rivals" offers visceral arcade-style fun in a way few other racing games do. It places gorgeous vehicles in an even more attractive open-world environment, and puts a spin on the "Need for Speed" formula by allowing gamers to play on both sides of the law.

Racing purists who want to pick a car and a track, and have a realistic racing session are better suited to Microsoft's new "Forza 5." However, if you like driving fast, outrunning the law and racking up high scores until the wee hours of the morning, "Rivals" will keep your engine revved.

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Publisher: EA
Developer
: Ghost Games
Genre
: Racing
Release Date
: Nov. 15 (PS4) Nov. 19 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), Nov. 22 (Xbox One)
Platforms
: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC
OS:
Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) 32-Bit
Processor:
Intel 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo or AMD 2.8 GHz Athlon X2
Memory:
4 GB
Hard Drive:
30 GB
Graphics Card (AMD):
AMD Radeon 3870 512 MB or higher performance
Graphics Card (NVIDIA):
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT or higher performance
Graphics Card (Intel):
Intel HD 4000 Integrated 512 MB or higher performance
Sound card:
DirectX 10.1 compatible
Online Connection:
512 KBPS or faster
Keyboard and Mouse

CD/DVD ROM Drive required for installation only