Friday, September 18, 2009
When did Need for Speed fall to the depths of mediocrity? Was it with Most Wanted, Carbon or maybe even further back with Underground or even Hot Pursuit 2? I actually like Need for Speed Underground, it was a nice change from the previous games and I thought the sequel was even better, so I think the downward spiral started around Most Wanted, which was still pretty fun, but not as good as Underground 1 & 2.
NFS Carbon was even worse and the whole "Let's copy Midnight Club's open world setting" blew up in its face. The open world sucked and so did the tracks. What's wrong with regular tracks, why did it need to go open world like Midnight Club (great games, by the way). The Burnout franchise went the same route and I think it was much worse than the very awesome Burnout 3: Takedown and Burnout: Revenge. If you haven't played Burnout: Revenge, you owe it to yourself to find a copy and play it, it's one of the best and most fun arcade racing games ever.
But I'm getting off-topic. After crappy Carbon (hehe), came piss poor Pro Street (see what I did there?). Now Pro Street was offensively bad, it was the lowest point of Need for Speed EVER. It tried to be all Street and cool, but was lame and lacked in the gameplay department. Mainly because of the terrible handling of the cars. They didn't feel much like cars, but more like boats. Did I mention the tracks were poor too? No? Well, they were. Still, it sold really well. I don't know why, but it did. GRID and Dirt were much better driving games in everyway.
Anyway moving on, NFS reached the bottom of the barrel with Undercover. A terrible plot about an underground cop being a street racer to stop some drug shipment or something, I dunno, I wasn't paying attention. Terrible c-grade acting in the live-action videos telling the story and again the actual driving wasn't satisfying or much fun. Also, it was open world again and the tracks were (you guessed it), not much fun.
I have no love for EA, that much is true, but I've always been a fan of the Need for Speed series. Seeing it butchered more and more with each release was very dissapointing. Interestingly, EA decided it was time for some quality control and this was due to bad reviews and not sales figures. Yep, Undercover sold well even though it wasn't worth wasting time on. For NFS Shift, EA handed the development to a new studio (good move) and with a little quality control have brought back the series from a near brink of death with hardcore gamers. I will post what I think of it as soon as I give it a go, but sites like IGN and Gamespot have given it a 9 out of 10, so it must be a huge improvement over the previous titles. Stay tuned.