Play Time 4h 22m
32/32 Concept Art
32/64 Movie Stills
Game Completion 31%
Distance Travelled 322 Miles
Rank Points 30000
Bonuses unlocked 64/96
Play Time 4h 22m
32/32 Concept Art
32/64 Movie Stills
Game Completion 31%
Distance Travelled 322 Miles
Rank Points 30000
Bonuses unlocked 64/96
Fast & Furious Showdown is one of those games that is easy to forget about. I didn’t even know it existed until I was on Ebay looking for the new game and came across it. That said, this should not be mixed up to say that it isn’t a high intensity title. The racing is solid and while the game is short enough, there is a tough level or two that should take you some tries. Ultimately it’s a good racing game that is hindered by its short length.
The game takes place before film 6 where the heroes had their big team up with Hobbs. So the campaign follows the introduction of his new partner who is trying to learn about Hobb’s objectives and enemies. To do this, the heroes basically talk about how great Dom and his crew are as well as Shaw and the villains. As they continue defeating us in each encounter, the partner gradually sees why Hobbs wants to recruit Dom and his gang since Shaw is unbeatable otherwise.
As for the gameplay, it’s your standard racing game for the most part, but throw in a bit of Need for Speed type combat as well. After all, either the cops or the villains will always be trying to stop you depending on what side you’re playing as. So you have to move as fast as possible and always stay one step ahead. For the traditional driving levels, the gameplay is on point and you feel like you’re going rather fast. The toughest levels are when you have to win through drifting which is not a mechanic I use a whole lot in any title.
Then you have the double driver levels where one person jumps to the top of the car and blasts away at the others while someone drives. I would always switch myself back into the driver’s seat because I’m not the biggest FPS fan. Additionally, I found the A.I. to be a pretty bad driver in most instances so driving on my own was the best bet. Otherwise you’re just crashing all the time and at times it also feels like you’re just moving really slowly which was kind of odd. I don’t see how that would have an effect on anything as long as the A.I.is holding down the accelerator.
There is one level where the obstacle feels a bit odd though. That’s when there are these little bombs on the ground and the shockwave feels like it’s a whole lot bigger than the animation. It doesn’t matter where you are, the bomb will ultimately catch you. I thought this was a bit much and died numerous times but I suppose I eventually got out of there which is the important thing. That’s the only time I let the A.I. drive so I could snipe as many bombs as possible.
There are also some quick time events where you have to jump on a truck once in a while. I like quick time event type scenarios but this one does feel like there is no true purpose to even have it here. It’s a small instance once in a blue moon for something that will not actually affect the level since it usually ends at that point. I’ll give the game credit for coming up with new modes and all but I think you could have done more with it. Imagine quick time events for some hand to hand fights among the main characters? Now that would have been pretty awesome.
As for the graphics, well they’re fairly standard stuff. Not as good as you’d find in one of the big AAA titles but I would say they are good enough not to be called bad. So they’re fairly passable and better than what you would find in the Madden cinematic moments. The soundtrack is more on the bad side. It’s going for an EA kind of feel with a lot of modern lyrical songs but most of them definitely felt more annoying than good. They’re loud and all but the lyrics don’t work so well and I wouldn’t count this as a net positive.
In terms of replay value, there doesn’t seem to be much of anything here. No extra levels or big collectibles to grab at all. I suppose that means you will purely be here to re-experience the story levels again but the thing to note is that you cannot skip the cutscenes. So that will present a bit of an issue I imagine. There may have been some kind of challenge mode so hopefully that will help but for the most part this is definitely the kind of game that you play for the story and after that you’ll likely leave it around. The story’s around 4-5 hours so it’s good enough if you find this for a small price. For full pricing it would not have been worth it though.
Overall, Fast & Furious Showdown is a fun title. I’m always up for a good racing game and the combat part is also nice since it expands on the concept a bit. What’s more thrilling than trying to turn the corner as someone is blasting as you right? The A.I. uses a lot of rubber banding though so they tend to catch up to you no matter how far ahead you are. Definitely makes it difficult to truly get away without defeating them so you always need to be on the attack. It should have had more of an in depth story mode and more replay value though. I look forward to seeing how the new version plays out one of these days and if it’s able to improve on these areas. If it does then I think we will have a true winner on our hands.
The ride must go on. Fast Five ended up being my favorite title in the series but little did I suspect that it would get surpassed so quickly. 6 takes everything I liked in the 5th film and then adds on to it. We get a lot of great fight scenes and character moments here. The series holds onto its strong family values and makes it across the finish line in record time.
The movie starts out with Hobbs realizing that he’s up against a villain group that can’t be taken down easily. Usually he doesn’t need any help but this time is an exception. He grabs some intel from one of the villains pretty easily and then sets about recruiting Dom and the old gang for one last ride.
Dom and friends are all millionaires who are having fun around the globe so it may seem hard to recruit them right? Well, not when you have the right ace up your sleeve and Hobbs has a doozy. See, there’s a photo of Dom’s old wife Letty around and it seems like she’s riding with the villains. That should be impossible since she is dead but if there’s even the slightest chance that she is still alive, Dom can’t waste it. He quickly agrees to help. Still, can these heroes stop this new villain group or are they simply outmatched here?
One thing I really liked here was how quickly everyone dropped what they were doing to help Dom. It shows that the money didn’t change them. They’re still a very close knit group and show up when the call goes out. Dom doesn’t have to talk to them for more than an instant to get them on his side. There’s no complaining, whining, or any of that. They’re just ready for action no matter what it takes.
It keeps on reinforcing the family aspect of the series. Dom always explains that these guys are his family and you don’t give up on family. You help out whenever you can with no second doubts. It’s hard to think of any series where the main characters have such a close bond. It’s just nice to see and immediately puts the film in a good spot so far as knowing who to root for and getting you personally engaged in the fight.
As always Dom is a great character here. He really doesn’t waver and hasn’t gotten sloppy in his driving skills. It’s safe to say that the film still portrays him as the best racer in the series. You could maybe make a case for Brian matching him but under pressure you want Dom on your side at all times. When the chips are down he won’t fail. The guy is also the better hand to hand fighter. Dom is a natural leader and just doesn’t back down. One of the more impressive scenes is when he’s face to face with Shaw and doesn’t even flinch when a gun is pointed at him.
Brian has his own subplot here where he breaks into a jail to try and find out what happened to Letty. Ultimately he doesn’t learn a whole lot to the point where he comes back and Dom doesn’t even want to hear what he learned. That said, it was a huge risk and Brian proved that he was willing to do whatever it took to find her again. He also proved himself in a fight as he took on several opponents at once.
Brian’s always been a fun character. He gets overshadowed by Dom but I like the guy and it’ll be sad once he’s gone. His wife Mia doesn’t get to appear much this time around but she encourages Brian to help the team out. She’s still a team player for sure. Elena also doesn’t do much here but you can pretty much see why. With Letty back on the table you can basically confirm that her romance with Dom can’t last.
It’s why I was never on board with that romance either way. It seemed like a rebound no matter how you slice it. Letty would certainly have good reason to be upset about this as well although everyone takes it in stride. Hopefully Elena returns and we can see her in more of an action setting next time.
Of course Hobbs has a big role as you’d expect. He sets the tone right away with how he beat up one of the minions in the interrogation room. That was pretty impressive and it showed that he is just as obsessed as ever with bringing crooks down. He may be a lot more by the book compared to Dom’s crew but he’s willing to be flexible. He has a pretty fun scene with Tej when they have to round up some cars. Most importantly, Hobbs can still fight and comes in clutch during the climax of the film with the 2 vs 2. As a driver he’s slightly below Dom’s crew but holds his own surprisingly well considering that isn’t really his thing.
His new teammate in this film is Riley. She’s pretty solid and gave us the first big fight scene of the film against Letty. I would have to say that was one of the better fights in the movie, there was a ton of back and forth there. It’s definitely not The best fight of course since the climax threw in some big ones but it was a blast. Riley’s also no nonsense and can fight really well. She also knows how to take a hit and keep on going. She left an excellent first impression and always leaves the opponents guessing.
Tej is pretty good at getting the cars set up and planning things out as always. He may not get quite as much to do as some of the other characters but always has good banter with Roman. Likewise, Roman is a pretty charismatic guy. Not all of his jokes land but he does have a lot of fun moments. His lack of fighting skills do get exposed at one point but he does keep getting up so you can’t doubt his determination.
Han may not get a big role during the film but it’s certainly a memorable one. He’s always got a lot of confidence in Gisele and lets her do her own thing. When she moves in on a villain he just moves onto the next one because he knows she has this covered. Gisele does well with her gun and consistently makes accurate shots from long range. She has to be the best shooter on the team by far.
Then of course you have Letty. She isn’t quite herself during the film due to some memory loss. Of course you’ll be wondering how she survived. The film explains how this happened which will answer any questions on that. It doesn’t really make sense why someone did something which allowed her to live though. She makes for a good antagonist and definitely has a lot of fighting skills. I can see a lot of potential for battles in future films as a result. She has a solid character arc.
As for Shaw, he’s a solid main villain. After watching the trailer for Hobbs & Shaw the whole time though I was waiting for a certain twist that never happened. It makes the experience pretty unique to be sure but he still stands up well as a villain in his own right. He can’t fight but is a smart villain who plans for every contingency. The heroes never make a move without him being ready for it. His futuristic cars were also impressive both in how fast they were and also for their raw strength.
The rest of his villain group wasn’t too memorable though. The one who gave Roman and Han a good fight was impressive but good luck remembering his name. The rest of the group doesn’t get a whole lot of dialogue or anything beyond their initial scene though. It is cool that the film set them up as a dark version of the main characters though. They may not have had a proper team fight but it was still cool.
The battle scenes are the best that they’ve been. My favorite fight out of all the films is probably Hobbs vs Dom from Fast Five but this one just has many fights on that level back to back. There is a lot of nonstop action here so something is always going on. You’ve got different climaxes and high tension moments with both sides making move after move. It’s all extremely entertaining and also high quality. This is definitely what you would expect from the series.
The only weakness I would say the series has is the never ending fanservice. As always whenever the heroes go for a rare drive you’ve got everyone dancing on the cars or walking right into the camera. It’d be nice if the films could tone down this aspect and just focus on the fights. It’s not as heavy as in other titles though and the positives still outweigh this negative to a pretty high degree so it shouldn’t hurt your enjoyment of the title.
The writing is on point and has a lot of good humor moments throughout. The film is fairly long and since it has a fast pace that means you can expect a whole lot of adventures here. Fast & Furious 6 just keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. It’s sort of like the non comic book version of the Avengers (2012) in terms of tone and action. Things even get pretty serious by the end as the film actually does have a body count. While the movies always end on a high note, the gang certainly goes through their share of trials. The soundtrack is also on point. The series always has a lot of different tunes that bring a lot of energy to each scene.
Finally, we can’t miss talking about the end credits scene. This was pretty hype and I always believe you should end your film with a cliffhanger like this one. It’s probably the most hype end scene since Tokyo Drift. We see an event from that film in a new light. Turns out that what happened to Han was a lot more personal than expected. It may be a retroactive change but it’s a solid way to make Tokyo Drift even more important all of a sudden. The new villain is also immediately going to be one of the better FF villains. You can tell from this scene that he means business.
Overall, Fast & Furious 6 was very impressive. This one is going to be extremely tough to defeat but I look forward to seeing how good 7 is. We’ve still got the full cast here so I am expecting it to be pretty good. I wonder if Brian will get a bit of a power up to keep up with Dom and Hobbs or if he will still mostly be more of a support fighter. With that stinger at the end you definitely know that 7 is about to get personal. Dom’s family will need to be ready to meet this challenge.
It’s time to continue to the Fast and the Furious series. This time we’re going away from Tokyo and back to the main plot with Dom. You’ll get your share of explosive race scenes here and a pretty good story. The film still holds itself back a bit with its reliance on fanservice but you will get some hype rock songs to keep you in the mix. I don’t think it quite tops Tokyo Drift’s soundtrack but that one still has one of the more iconic film end songs.
The movie starts out with Dom and the gang stealing some more gold as they take down a truck. He feels like it’s all getting a little too dangerous though and decides to put some distance between himself and the rest of the family. Things are quiet for a while but then his friend Letty is murdered by a gang lord. Everyone warns Dom that he shouldn’t pursue this since the guy is an incredibly infamous villain but that’s not going to stop him. You don’t mess with family after all.
Then you have the other main character Brian who has been put back on the task force. He has not had the best track record as of late so this might be his last shot. He barely captures someone after an extended chase scene but he gets some clues. At the same time as Dom, Brian finds out about a big race that is about to happen. The winner gets to transport some of the goods which means that it is the perfect time to find the gang lord. Only one person can win the race though so this is going to get close.
The movie does a good job of contrasting each of the characters’ theme music. In Tokyo Drift the main character had an electronic theme that fit in with the neon atmosphere of Tokyo. Here Dom always gets a fast paced Spanish song and Brian gets an intense rock tune. They’ve all got different ways of handling their business after all even if there are a good amount of similarities. The soundtrack is definitely on point and reaches the intense levels you would expect here.
Fast & Furious doesn’t hold back with the special effects either. It looks good throughout with a lot of fun cars involved. The action scenes are good and the pacing is on point so the film doesn’t drag out. If anything you just wish it could be longer at times since it’s all over in the blink of an eye. The first race doesn’t even happen til almost halfway into the film. It’s cool for setting up the action that is about to happen but it also means that you can’t expect too many different races. The climax has a lot of action though. There’s a lot you can do with cars and that’s really the appeal of these films. Whenever Dom uses the nitro I’m reminded of the various racing games for Gamecube.
On the flip side, as always the movie does tend to dwell on its own fanservice issues a little too much. The characters inevitably go to night clubs and such where everyone is acting really sketchy. One of the villains certainly has a pretty cringe worthy setup going for him before Brian brings in the cops. I could do without those scenes so we could focus more on the action. None of the romances are particularly impressive here either and could really be cut out without any issues.
As for the main characters, I still prefer Dom to Brian. Dom really gets the job done and feels like an experienced veteran when it comes to racing. While Brian did appear to have the edge in the race, Dom always makes up for this with his own creativity on the track. As he is in revenge mode a lot here, you can expect a lot of intense scenes with him breaking into places and taking people down. He’s certainly a strong fighter.
Brian is still a good character too though. He is pretty torn at the moment with his friends and also with upholding the law. His agency looks a lot less reasonable here though as they jump in before he gives the signal and one guy in particular was trying to give him a hard time. Brian didn’t let that slide though and I liked how he landed a pretty good combo right away. He’s no pushover.
Then you have some of the supporting characters like Mia who is still pretty upset at Brian for his choices when they first met. The guy did lead off with a lot of lies and deception so you can see why there would be some sore feelings there. She seems like a good character and will hopefully get to do more soon. Letty doesn’t get to appear for very long before things get dicey for her but she was not someone who would back down from a tough mission. She did her best to the end.
None of the villains are particularly memorable though. You have the guy who took out Letty and he acts as evil and petty as possible. There’s just nothing really making him stand out from any other gangster. You know that he is doomed the moment he messed with Dom’s family. There’s Gisele who seems rather high up in the villain ranks but she doesn’t really get to race here. Hopefully that’ll change soon.
Overall, Fast & Furious is a fun way to bring the cast back. I’d like the films to really start focusing more on the races and less on the nightclub kind of scenes. Once it does that I think we’ll be off to the races so to speak. I do think it beats the first two films in the series though. Does it beat Tokyo Drift? That’s a pretty close one but ultimately I would give it the narrow edge. Due in part to the end stinger but I also liked how much influence it took from the Need for Speed series. Dom is definitely a better main character than the last guy though. We’ll see how the series continues from here because I’m really looking forward to seeing when the series goes really off the rails with the stunts and everything.
Le Mans is probably the closest I’ve seen to a film not really having much of a story since Cats. Fortunately unlike that film this one was still fun mainly because in general you can’t go wrong with racing. The film does have some issues with all the characters looking the same and that feeling like nothing is happening, but as long as you enjoy watching the cars go at it you should be fine.
The film starts with Michael getting ready for the big Le Mans race. It’s effectively a huge cross country race that spans an incredible amount of distance. It’s so long that the drivers even substitute out with others as the car goes on. I don’t know the specific rules here and the film isn’t about to tell them to you but effectively it seems like anyone can substitute for you as long as they have permission from the coach. Naturally it shouldn’t come to that since they already have the different guys lined up. Michael wants to win this but can he pull it off?
Meanwhile he has to deal with some drama involving the past. See, Lisa’s husband was in the last Le Mans and he ended up dying. It seems like she partially thinks Michael is responsible but more than anything she just doesn’t like racing anymore. We are given a flashback involving the crash briefly but when seeing it, it’s fair to say that it’s not really Michael’s fault. In fact, throughout the film we have quite a few crashes and it’s always tough because while you may spin out of control to dodge the first car, is it the first car’s fault?
It’s all relative when you’re out on the track. Nobody wants to crash after all and I can tell you up front that there isn’t some kind of big antagonist trying to take everyone out for the count. These are all professionals that are just trying to take the win but this isn’t exactly an easy track. Even the simplest of turns can become challenging when you’re going at such a high speed. You can’t slow down or you’ll fall behind as well.
Now, you could say that Lisa’s plot is the main story here. Part of the film is helping her see that maybe racing isn’t so bad. The plot could have been done a little better though as the scenes are spread out across the whole movie so there isn’t much to them. Part of her despises the races but she can’t help but keep showing up anyway. They just draw her in even as she tries to resist. All of the drivers seem to like her as well but you know that Michael’s the only one who may have a shot and even then you’re hoping that she friend zones them all considering that her husband didn’t die all that long ago. It was the last grand prix which I assume was a year ago unless this competition is held every 4 years or something like that.
It’s just not a super engaging plot but at least it does give us a chance for some dialogue and a change of pace. The rest of the film is really just the grand prix with a lot of different camera angles to keep things fresh. I always thought one of the most stressful moments in these things has to be when you have to go into the pit stop and let the crew maintain the car. Even if everyone has to do it at some point, it can be rough seeing the other cars getting out ahead of you.
There isn’t much to say about the soundtrack because I wouldn’t say there’s much of one here. The effects look good though, the movie shows how fragile the cars are. After all they’re built for speed so one wrong bump and that’s really it for the machine. It’s totaled before you can even give it a glance.
So Le Mans is a rather unique film I would say. Sure, it doesn’t have an interesting story compared to Speed Racer, Fast and the Furious, or even Need for Speed, but at the same time it’s a fairly safe film. Since pretty much the whole film is just a race, there isn’t any time to fall into any cinematic pot holes. The only negative that the film could even risk would be if it got downright boring. After all if you’re not really into cars or just moderately into them then you may get bored of seeing them turn the corner over and over again. That’s the only risk it takes, but since I enjoy a good race I wouldn’t say that’s the case here. I wouldn’t call the film boring, I would say it’s a little dragged out and could have benefited from a shorter run time but I was engaged enough to want to see it to the end.
Ironically as it’s built around being a real race that means it isn’t nearly as exciting to watch as virtually any other racing film since those (despite having slower, more traditional cars) feel like they have a lot more energy and substance. I think if I saw this in theaters I would be a lot more disappointed but watching it now, it just sort of flows by. I don’t imagine it’ll leave an impression after a while but it’s a consistent film and I’d say that’s enough to keep it at a positive level.
Overall, Le Mans is a film that makes no real mistakes but you do wish it could have added more of a plot. Sure, you have some rivals in the race, a small subplot with a guy hoping to win one last race before he retires, etc. At the same time you still don’t feel like there’s much of a story here which is in itself a bit of an experimental technique I suppose. I wouldn’t want this to become the standard but it’s a decently good film that does deliver on showing you the cars. Pick whichever car you want and root for it to go all the way!
Thumper is one of the last of the big Playstation games that I wrapped up. I have to say that it was one of the more enjoyable ones. It also has a high difficulty level so don’t expect to breeze through it. That being said, with infinite lives and constant checkpoints, you can certainly get through it with enough persistence.
This is really everything that I imagine a future F Zero game would be like. Really this is exactly what they should be thinking about long term. There isn’t much of a plot as the game is very interpretive but it seems like a very powerful alien creature is after you so you have to use your car to bounce back the shockwaves and defeat this monster. Rinse and repeat for each level. This is clearly far in the future so perhaps you are humanity’s last hope.
One thing that you will notice pretty much immediately is how stunning the graphics are. This game is a cut above the average racing game and that’s actually quite impressive. The whole game takes place in space so the levels look like something out of Crazy Gadget. The visuals are always moving and if anything it can be difficult to keep up with your eyes because of how fast the stage moves. The game is part rhythm based so you have to move your car in tune with the music. It’s sort of like a non physical version of DDR at times.
Hitting the right corners at the right times triggers a beat which you can subtly use to keep up the flow of your moves. There are 4 main moves, turning sideways, Jumping, Accelerating, and then a ground pound. Use these as you progress through the levels. The game will teach you how to perform each move as you go through the levels normally. Each chapter has around 20-40 levels in it. No worries, this is where the infinite lives come into play because otherwise it would be really difficult to conquer all of this without a game over.
The first few chapters aren’t so bad but the game does get more difficult after that. It’s the kind of game that feels really challenging even as you’re conquering it so that part is definitely pretty fun. It also just feels like a lot of thought went into the game. The gameplay is smooth and the length is pretty decent considering that the game is free right now. It’s definitely worth picking up before that deal goes away.
As for the soundtrack, it’s not very memorable but it does have that classic sci-fi feeling. It works really well within the levels as you work to get to the next stage. The whole game meshes well with that atmosphere. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about with the game since it is a very straight forward racing game. Either you enjoy blasting through the levels and dodging the obstacles or you don’t.
If anything this could even help you practice your timing if you are a musician. After all, timing is crucial to playing any instrument and this game is built entirely around that concept. So it’s a game that can definitely help to improve your skills while you also have a blast. In that way you’re cooking two skills with one bill. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.
It would be fun to be able to race other cars in the story but taking on these giant bosses is certainly a blast as well. They come at you relentlessly and you’ll likely lose quite a few lives on your first encounters. It also took me a minute to realize that to damage them you have to properly go through each boost point. For a while there I was ignoring them and just accelerating as much as possible. This is one of those times where accelerating isn’t necessarily the right approach to take.
Overall, Thumper is a really fun game. It’s a nice futuristic look at a car game and F-Zero should take some notes. I’m always up for some virtual driving so when you throw in some lore and boss fights I’m definitely all in. It’d be cool if they could make a sequel to this one with a heavier emphasis on the story at some point. I’d definitely be excited to give it a whirl since there is certainly a lot you can do with this one. If you haven’t played it yet then I would definitely recommend checking it out.
PS4 Trophies 5/19
I have to give Nintendo props for finally adding some full free games to their menu. Now, it’s not quite the same as with Sony or Microsoft where they give you a slew of games that stay completely free every month. This one was time limited so it was only free for a week or so but it’s nice to have this. It also adds a level of urgency since you have to try to clear the game in that time. It was awful close but I did manage to clear this game right at the very end of the trial period so I have to admit that I felt pretty clutch at that point. Crash Team Racing is a lot more difficult than you would expect so you definitely don’t want to underestimate it.
The game’s story involves an alien showing up on the planet and deciding that he will destroy everything. He will give the heroes a chance though. they must all compete in a bunch of races and once we have determined who the strongest racer in the world is, then the villain will fight that guy. It’s a fairly basic story that’s just so we can have some context for the races. You can tell that it wasn’t exactly top priority to have a big involved story or anything like that. I do appreciate the game giving us several cutscenes though because it does make the story feel more authentic. Each world has 4-5 races that you have to conquer before fighting the boss of the world.
The gameplay is that of a 3D racer and of course the objective is to get to the finish line first. As you drive through the maps there are items you can grab which will help you in this endeavor. Most of the items you should recognize from Mario Kart like the Paratroopa, Green Shell, etc. They are all slightly altered of course so it’s not literally the same weapons but they have the same effects. The main difference here that makes the game more difficult than your average racer is how the boost system works. In order to attain your boost you have to intentionally drift while on the map. Keep on drifting in order to boost as well as increase your base speed. So for example, if you are just driving straight in a normal way then you will be moving fairly slow. If you keep on drifting over and over as you race then your overall speed will be greatly improved. So the more you master drifting the better.
In fact, winning the game would be 100% impossible based on my experience without drifting. Even with it some races would take me over 20 attempts to conquer. I can only imagine what the game would be like on hard mode. I was impressed with the difficulty setting although at the same time it does feel like the A.I. tends to cheat at times as their cars are naturally faster. I do understand programming a racing game like this is no small feat though as you would have to either have the A.I. be too weak or too strong. I suspect it’s not a super adaptive learning process here as that would be a lot of work for a racing title.
The graphics look very good. It’s definitely a very modern game with all the trimmings. The character designs are on point and the level backdrops are all different and have a striking look to them. We also have a hub world which is a nice idea although it could have been handled a little better. You have to manually drive to each world and there are no real big checkpoints so expect a good amount of driving between worlds. It’s a super small thing to note but one of those times where a fast teleport system would have been a good quality of life upgrade.
As for the soundtrack, that part is fairly forgettable. All of the tunes are super standard to the point where they could pretty much be free domain music in a racing game. Part of this is due to the fact that most racing games do have good soundtracks though so the bar is already high. To be standard for a racing game isn’t a bad thing but I do feel like they could have added an extra tune or two that you could really sink your teeth into. Now that would have been really good.
There’s a good amount of replay value although it could definitely be in an annoying way. There are tons of characters to unlock here. The way to buy them is to use your coins at the pit shop but only a few characters are displayed a day. It’s not like the classic shops where everyone is always there to be purchased. So you may have the coins but it could take a while to get everyone. I am impressed with the scale of content though. It may not be easy to get them but there is so much to buy. I’m not even familiar with half of the Crash characters in this game, they just squeezed everyone in here. Between doing all of that and trying to unlock the secret ending there is a whole lot to keep on doing here. Naturally the online multiplayer is a factor as well.
Ultimately what holds the game back when compared to the other big racing games like Mario Kart and the Sonic ones is that the gameplay being so heavily reliant on the constant boosting can hurt. You don’t want to always have to be turning at every moment and that’s what this mechanic forces you to do. It’s a lot less peaceful than the game could be and between that with all of the items it feels like you aren’t getting to actually “race” for a good chunk of each level. This is still a good game, but I could have done without the boost mechanic.
Overall, it’s clear that a good amount of effort was put into this game. It’s nice that we have a real story and the amount of characters in the game is crazy. The gameplay may not have been my favorite but it’s still a racing title and the kind of game which will be amplified when you play with others. If you’re looking for a good racing game to check out then I would recommend buying Crash. It’s not exactly my top recommendation in the genre though so if you want an even grander title then I would recommend Mario Kart. Of course…I have yet to buy the latest game in that series myself but it’s on the list.
Characters Unlocked 20/53
Game Complete 38% Complete
Gold Trophies 16
Gold Keys 4
Blue Keys 0
Gold Coins 0
Well, at long last the Need for Speed marathon is now over. Rivals was the last one I owned that I had not yet played so this was quite the milestone. It’s been a lot of fun racing around and Rivals definitely does feel like a lot of effort was put into it. The graphics are definitely top notch and there’s a whole lot to do here. You have fast travel here which is always a must for games where the hub world is so huge. The story may be a bit weak but you’re here for the gameplay and definitely will not be disappointed.
The game starts off by asking if you want to play as the rebels or the cops this time around. I went with rebels since I played as the cops last time. Please note that you can switch sides at any time. Ideally the game is hoping you’ll go ahead and complete both stories. As it is, each side is fairly long so the game did a good job of really making sure the purchase was worth the money. I don’t think it would be possible for you to beat this game in under 10 hours for example. On the Rebels side the plot is basically that the main guy is trying to prove that it’s best to live life on the edge getting your 15 minutes at a time as he breaks all of the rules. The cops begin getting more and more desperate to catch him. Then you have the cops who are doing everything they can to take this rebel down but it’s proving to be difficult. They’re also having to deal with a lot of copycat racers so all of those guys need to go down and fast.
The game has a lot of different ways to race. You’ve got the standard races, time trials, pursuit races which is a race while being chased by the cops, and Interceptor which is a 1 on 1 battle with you and a police car. Each chapter is divided into missions and each mission is divided into a few tasks. For example one mission might be to win 3 races, clear one time trial, and earn 100K. Once you do all of that then the mission is completed and you will move onto the next set. I like the clear plot progression here as well as the fact that none of them feel all too crazy to me. The tasks are all pretty achievable even if they may take some time. The toughest set always seemed to be the drifting ones so I didn’t even try those. Typically you’re given 3 options on which set of tasks you want to complete and I would go for the racing focused ones. They just seemed the most direct.
I’d say the game took around 12-15 hours but I suppose it’s hard to say exactly. The final race in particular was a really tough one that took me quite a few tries. You have to drive over 30 miles nonstop in order to reach the end and if you made a wrong call or had a bad bump then there’s a chance you would lose and have to start from scratch. Let me tell you, starting from scratch is never fun. Still, since it’s the final level I can give it a pass. None of the other levels are nearly so long and it does make sense that you would want the final level to be a challenge. This game actually had far better pacing than most other Need for Speed games with how the levels go so I have to give a lot of kudos there. I also liked the variety. This was just a really well balanced game.
Part of what makes it work is how interactive the hub world is. It just feels alive with cars moving around at all time and the cutting edge graphics. As I mentioned earlier the game looks amazing. Definitely what you would expect form a next gen title. The soundtrack was also not all that annoying this time around which is great. The franchise is not usually known for having a good amount of solid themes so it’s something that can always be a bit concerning. This way there wasn’t really anything to worry about. When you pack on the replay value then you’ve definitely got a bargain here.
At its core what makes Rivals so good is of course the gameplay. It’s all very smooth and you feel in control of the car. I like that you unlock cars which you can use and buy them with cash but there isn’t the crazy level of customization that other titles have. I don’t mind a little customization of course but after a point you want to be able to just jump into a car and start driving instead of always wondering how you can optimize it. This one leaves things reasonably automatic as well which I think is a great middle ground. The game also has a lot of items at the ready here as you can attack with mines and shockwaves as well as protect yourself with Jammers and stuff like that. Items can work quite well when used the right way. For racers I really don’t mind not having any gimmicks but I won’t complain about them either.
Overall, Need For Speed: Rivals is a great game. It really captures the essence of the series and executes on every angle quite brilliantly. There is no part of the game that I would shake my head at. Even the story which can be a bit overdramatic as you follow a lead who is so far from being a hero that you can’t root for him, is okay in the end. At least it doesn’t drag on which I appreciate. You don’t get to see a whole lot of cutscenes but at least each one has a direct purpose. If you’re looking for a good racing game to pick up then I would definitely recommend this one. You really can’t go wrong with Rivals.