Great edition of the excellent racing game
Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista
Need-for-Speed-Rivals is an installment in Electronic Arts' long-running racing series. Created by fledgling studio Ghost Games, with plenty of input from racing veteran Criterion, the game runs on the Frostbite 3 engine. As with other recent iterations of the series, as well as many classic ones, this Need-for-Speed title allows players to take the wheel of both police cars and illegal street racers.
This combination of roles makes for some great game-play variety. Players who want to focus on speed and racing lines above all else will enjoy the opportunity to whittle down their time trial results, while others will focus more on beating packs of other racers. When the urge to enforce the law rather than scoff at it arises, players have the opportunity to drop seamlessly into waiting cruisers. Chasing down racers can be just as exciting as being a racer, and players have access to a number of interesting and effective car-stopping tools.
One somewhat strange issue affects those playing the game on the PC. PC gamers usually run games at 60 frames per second or better, but Need-for-Speed-Rivals lays down some roadblocks. Its physics engine is tied to the assumption that the game will never update more than 30 times in a second, and exceeding this hard-coded mark results in some weird effects. Fortunately, enterprising gamers have figured out how to fix this issue, and this simple modification is so easy to install that few will have difficulty taking advantage of it.
On the upside, the game offers an extensive and well-chosen selection of cars to drive. Some pretty posh licenses help to fill out the stables, and rides from Ferrari again grace the series for the first time in over a decade. Players begin with relatively slow starter cars, but even these less-glamorous machines can be upgraded until they really scream. As they advance in the game, players unlock cars that are more naturally suited to racetracks, and some of these cars can be a handful even in stock form.
The single-player portion of the game is extensive and full of content. Many, though, will naturally gravitate toward racing against other human beings, and the game doesn't disappoint in this respect, either. A wide variety of modes and tracks ensures that these contests will be just as fresh and exciting as solo races, and excellent networking code helps to ensure that races are lag-free.
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