Review by mrolympia

"Fun game, but doesn't fully utilize the PS2"

The first release of the long lived Need for Speed series on the PS2 is a successful one......for the most part. If you're looking for an uber realistic game, get Gran Turismo. If you're looking to upgrade your cars, get gran turismo. If you're looking for rice rockets, get gran turismo cuz this game has none of those things. If you want to drive the best exotics in the world (including ferraris, lamborghinis, and porsches) at really high speeds through traffic while running from the cops then this is a game you'll wanna check out.

Graphics: 8.5
The cars look good, the backgrounds look good, the scenery looks nice......however the cars aren't as nice looking as Gran Turismo in my opinion, the back grounds aren't that outstanding, and the scenery is good, but not great. You won't have time to check out backgrounds and scenery while you're driving 150 mph trying to keep you're 200,000 dollar exotic from crashing into the honda civic in front of you.

Sound: 7

I have yet to hear a racing game that has real, authentic car sounds. I've heard what a corvette and a viper sound like in person and I can tell you that this game doesn't really capture it, along with the rest of the cars too I imagine. No other car game has done this either so it's not a huge deal. I guess I just wonder why they can make an explosion sound real in an action game but they can't duplicate a ferrari engine which is turning at 8,000 rpm. Other than that, tires squeal on the pavement during high braking, acceleration, and turns. Crashes sound like, well, that you hit something. The songs are of pretty good quality.....although there aren't many of them either which is a shame.

Gameplay : 8

This is the best, and most disappointing part of the game. How can it be both? It exceeded and failed to live up to my expectations. Confused? This game does hold true to the NFS series which is you pick an exotic car that you probably will never be lucky enough to drive in your life (or even see for some of these beauties like the mclaren or ferrari F50) and drive them with no regard for anyone else on the road, or even keeping the car in one piece. There are lots of tracks to choose from, the sense of speed is nice too. It also marks the return of the long, open road course which has been MIA since NFS1. These are courses where you try to get from point A to point B within the time limit instead of doing laps around a track, which I like. The shortcuts are back too, which can save you a little time but not all that much. You get rewarded for hitting them but if you miss one it's not worth doing a 180 for. The cops are back, along with an unrealisticly fast helicopter which has some interesting ammo. There are tons of jumps around too so arcade racing fans will be happy. There are tons of cars to select from as well, over 40. These range from light weight, nimble $40,000 cars to the luxury sports cars to the super exotic $1,000,000+ cars. Some of the old favorites like the Ferrari F50 and Lamborghini Diablo, and a few others make a return visit. Each car handles differently too. The AWD Porsche 911 turbo is quite different from the Ferrari F50, just as it should be. As for the setup itself, the game is basically divided into two big trees. In one you have to race against a field of cars, in the other you have to take on cars as well as the cops. Don't worry, the cops are after everyone not just you, although it doesn't feel like it sometimes. To get to the different events you first have to complete the others. Once you beat those you'll unlock cars, tracks, as well as events. Once you complete everything though, there's not a lot of motivation to playing single player again.

Now the disappointing parts. Remember the dashboard view from NFS1 and 2? Well they're gone for the most part. The crashes, they are god awful in this game which is what I'm most ticked about. Every other NFS game has had some good crashes in it. This one if you hit a honda civic head on doing 200 it just slows you down significantly. No flipping end over end for 300 yards like in the earlier PS1 games. Car damage is back but hitting a wall will barely scratch the paint instead of totally wrecking the front end like it should. I'm not saying it should be ultra realistic but I think a happy medium isn't too much to ask here. One more thing, remember in NFS2 where certain cars had spoilers that raised under braking and when you reached a certain speed? That's gone too, even though some cars have spoilers and wings that do raise and lower at speed. This is the PS2 here, I expect these things. This game does have a big variety of cars, but a lot of them are very similar. In reality you can cut the number or cars from 40+ down to the mid 20's probably. It isn't a bad thing, after all how many people have driven all the cars in gran turismo 3?

Replay value: 9 (if you have friends to challenge you)
this is one of the best games I have to challenge friends at. The races are quicker than the sports games I we all have. If you don't want to sit down for 30-45 minutes playing a game of football you can just throw this in do a quick race in a couple of minutes. It's good if you have a lot of friends over so you can play them all, unlike in sports games where it would take to long. As for the single player, it does tend to get a little old but it won't happen for a while.

Overall: 8

This is a good game but it felt like they could've done a lot more with it. EA shelled out big bucks to get the licenses for most of the exotic car companies like Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche. The cars look good, you do get a good sense of speed when you play it but it felt if they spent a couple more months of refining it it would've gotten a 9 or a 10 from me. The flaws aren't huge, but they are noticeable. The police AI, very small song selection, crappy crashes, overall sound, and the lack of the dash view are my biggest complaints about this. If you can look past it this game is still very good. It's not Gran turismo and it isn't trying to be. What it comes down to is do you want to have a game with exotics that cost more than your house that you can play with your friends when you're done beating the single player mode? If not, I'd say skip it until better versions come out, if not then go ahead and shell out the money for it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/24/03, Updated 04/24/03

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