Review by DJellybean
"EA doesn't seem to be listening anymore."
Okay, the last game was fun and so is this game. The reason for the low score is because little improvements were made and EA's worst enemy(controls) makes it their nightmare. Well enough talk and onto the review.
The graphics in this game are pretty good, even clearer and sharper than the last game. And this time the backgrounds(mainly the houses and fore backgrounds) seem to be a lot more polygonal and have some depth into them instead of the flat 2-D look in the last PSX game(NFS:HS). You can see a lot of civilians in the game, however they are usually dummys in the background and can't be hit. Which is good because if you could knock down civilians, it would be a T rating instead of an E rating. The graphics in the background are really good, they show depth and very good clarity. However, while the graphical eye candy gives the game a good look, you can easily spot a lot of bad things. For one, pop-ups happen so often in this game its not even funny. You see a lot of buildings and even the road pop right in front of you. This will SERIOUSLY affect your gaming because you often have to make rash decisions to turn left or right instead of anticipating them. This makes the game so fustrating, mainly because the signs pop up at the last minute and you often crash when trying to make a slick turn instead of racing through the race like normal. If you can't see where you are going, then what is the point EA? Also the collision and clipping detection in this game is really pathetic to a point where you can call yourself Houdini(sp?). Like take the France Seaside stage for instance, when you crash along the fence near the waters you notice that you are on the other side of the fence! Also when you crash into buildings, the structures that look like they have so much depth into them falls apart when you can see right through the buildings when you crash into them. A problem with the graphics is that you often crash into a light post, however if you are too close to it(often you are) the post turns invisible. The only real positive thing is that the slowdown doesn't happen as often as before.
The music in this game is really classic barnyard music. Its really hard to describe the essence of what the music is really about. But if your one of those people who got tired of the music in NFS:HS then you'll definitely like the new music type. No more of that heavy metal stuff. The sound in this game is pretty good. The authenic horn noises, the tire screeches, the engines roaring, its all here. The bad part about the music is that the game only has about 4-6 tracks that really differ from each other that make them sound unique. Also you can forget about bringing the entire CD soundtrack to the races with you because that feature is gone. You will have to stick to the same theme all through the races.
Replay value: 6/10
The replay value in this game is semi-good. The Evolution mode keeps the game alive and the Chase mode really brings the game together. However, the game gets so friggin repetitive that it makes the game so tiresome to play with. I mean if you don't have human competition, then you might as well play the game for its Evolution mode because the AI always remains the same in this battle. Which makes the game so disappointing its like playing one of those Vs. games against the CPU(MvC, MSHSF, XSF).
The game does offer its benefits. First you notice that the game gives you PLENTY of modes to work with. The only really new mode in this game is capture the flag. In this mode you can select 1-4 players and capture floating NFS symbols in the stage. They will appear randomly and throughout the track as you can go backwards and forwards throughout the track and the first person to capture 4 flags win. Even if someone catches say, 3 flags, the other opponents can capture 3 flags and it just takes one more flag to win the race. Also the chase mode, its the usual chase mode of cops and robbers we've seen from previous games. It gets repetitive sure, but for those unfamiliar with the mode will have a blast. The Evolution Mode allows you to race through three eras. You must complete all three races in each era and finish at least 3rd in all your tournaments to advance to the next era. Basically it takes 27 races to complete Evolution mode. Also in the game is the history of the Porche, which is sadly, probably the best part in the game. Its provides a small clip of the car and details the history of that car, just like the last game. Its really entertaining and really captures the essence of what the cars were really made for(sorry for sounding like some English teacher but that's how I feel). There are more tracks in this game though, probably about 18-21 tracks in all. Sadly the length of each track is shorter compared to the LONG tracks in NFS:HS. Which makes up for the numerous tracks, not to mention that the now maximum laps for each track is 5 instead of 4. And the replay is really nice, its just like the last game where you have a lot of options like fast forwarding and stopping and rewinding and changing the view of the camera. Now about he controls and actual gameplay. The controls in this game have either not changed or gotten worst, which is pretty bad on both accounts. The select button, which was the player saver in the last game has not turned to mercilous crap. In the last game it would put you back in front of the open road and out of the sides, in this game the select button sucks. It acts like a sudden break instead of putting you out on the tracks and leaving you to your way. That's one of the many problems with this game. Its utterly downright fustrating and difficult to get out of crashing into a wall and back to the race. The poles you crash into always sticks to your car like some kind of magnet, it just won't let go unless you really WORK for it. Then you have the graphical glitches in this game(not glitches, faults) like pop ups, you have to memorize the track to ride through smoothly instead of seeing it before hand, really disappointing. Then you have the controls in this game, they are fine in the open road but even as you drive as slow as 25-30 MPH you can find yourself swerving out of the road and crashing. Do I even have to mention the the crappy barely any options view? You get three views in this game, helicopter view, behind the trunk view, and finally the driver view(not cockpit view). Not very much to choose from, you might as well choose the helicopter view because the other two views makes the game look so confusing as pop ups are in their primes when you drive in those two views. Then you have the AI in this game, they seem to drive like drones instead of actual opponents. They are just dumb drones given a specific assignment and then given the ability to try and complete that task. The dumbest thing is that they don't ever crash and yet stay at a constant top speed all going around the track with so smooth a precision that its like watching an opera. That's why its disappointing to face the CPU, they are either too god for the game's own good or they are too slow for your own standards. The evolution mode is a bit fun, you are not forced to pay the car damage fee but instead you can pay the fee anytime between races. You also can pay increments, like pay a portion of the total damage to fix the car up to a certain level instead of paying the whopping overall pricetag, and not only that but you can split your money up upon the areas of the car like the interior, outerior, engines, and breaks. You can also buy used and new cars, and even sell your car no matter what kind of condition its in and get a pretty good deal out of it. The Factory mode is somewhat like Smackdown's ranking in season mode, you keep racing to reach the top and that's basically it. Also when you buy a car or select a car in the Evolution and Quick races mode, you can choose any car you want, but the nice part is that you are given a set of paint colors from a panel, all right in front of you. Basically the game doesn't offer a lot of pizzazz or anything reliable in terms of gameplay besides the extra modes. But the extra modes won't do you any good if you can't play the game well.
EA just doesn't listen to the fans this time around. The last game was good and it improved but this game has gotten a bit worst and will fustrate a few EA veterans. What has EA been doing? Its been a year since the release of the last game and they haven't done much at all to this game besides add tracks and more Porche's. Basically new comers will like the game just a tad bit more than NFS veterans, but I still suggest you buy the last game instead(Need for Speed: High Stakes).
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 04/23/00, Updated 04/23/00
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