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Need for Speed: Rivals (PS3/360/PS4/XB1/PC) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
300x300px-LS-688ef2d0_B00CTKHZI4-51VNhVc2vlL.jpeg
Overall rating:
4.5/5




Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
89






Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Ghost, Criterion Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Open-world racing (arcade)
ESRB Rating: E10+

Length: 12-20 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Game Modes: Racer Career, Cop Career, Online

Full Game Size: 8.86GB
Disc Install Size: N/A ( I bought the downloadable version)
Resolution: 1080p
Frame Rate: 30

Audio Format(s): Up to 7.1 audio (on PC)
Spoken Languages: English
Subtitles: Yes

Directed by: Craig Sullivan
Music by: Vanesa Lorena Tate
Written by: Will Staples

Release Date: November 19, 2013


The scenery in the game is stunning


Details such as the out-of-focus background enhance the sense of realism


It's pure bliss when you are racing at 200mph through the photo-realistic world of NFS: Rivals



Synopsis:

Quote:
"Racers are lone wolves out for their own glory; driving agile cars built for high speed racing and epic chases. Cops work in teams to hunt down and bust racers using the full power of the police force.

Intense racing moments are made even more thrilling with access to upgradeable pursuit technology customized to each side. Racers use this technology to evade cops – using tech such as turbo bursts, jammers and electromagnetic pulses.

Cops will be armed for aggressive busts, deploying shockwaves, jammers, and calling in police roadblocks or helicopter support.

Each side has a different set of supercars, technology, tasks and career milestones. Switch sides whenever you want to get that car you need, the tech you want, and the role you crave in a progression system that is different for each side." Source: Electronic Arts


My Take:

I enjoyed Need For Speed: Rivals a great deal thanks to its rewarding gameplay that focuses on high-speed driving through a gorgeous environment. I'm especially thrilled that the Criterion approach to racing games—epitomized by the classic Burnout series—is now a part of the Need for Speed franchise's DNA.

One of the most appealing things about NFS: Rivals is how everything takes place in an open world, there is no online mode because everything you do is online. Even if you strictly play against computer opponents, other real players inhabit that world. NFS: Rivals' map doesn’t match it's immediate predecessor—Need for Speed: Most Wanted—in terms of stunts and jumps. It's much more of an open-road racing game, but the upshot is that racers crash much less often, and that's a welcome break from NFS: Most Wanted's crash-happy gameplay.

I enjoyed playing both the cop role and the racer role. Even though the game features a maximum frame rate locked at 30fps, gameplay was smooth. The graphics are quite beautiful, and there are tons of little details to savor. Some scenes practically beg a player to stop what they are doing and enjoy the view. Clearly, this is a game developed with the new next-generation consoles in mind.

3D gameplay looked excellent. I used TriDef 3D set for line-interlaced 1080p mode and the result was lag-free 1080p 3D at 30fps. All of the graphic elements were in the right place, the illusion of a real 3D world was exceptional. This is a game I'd want to play through an Oculus Rift.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**Ratings are judged against the state of the art in contemporary games. As technology rapidly improves, standards will raise appropriately.**


Audio: 84

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low Frequency Extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Positional/Environmental Cues: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Detail/Realism: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue/Mix Quality: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699


On it's own, I might have rated NFS: Rivals higher for sound, but it struck me as a step-down from NFS: Most Wanted's impeccable presentation. Effects were not quite as visceral, bass was not as deep. There is plenty to enjoy in NFS: Rivals; the driving sounds are realistic, and the cop dialog is well mixed. I enjoyed the soundtrack, which included an assortment of commercial tracks. It's just not as good as what came before it.


Video: 94

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Aliasing: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Frame Rate: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Calibration Adherence: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Technical Quality: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Art Design/Production Value: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Visuals were gorgeous, I have no complaints about the locked 30fps frame rate, but I also suspect my system could handle something much higher—if given the opportunity. Aliasing artifacts occasionally popped up but were rare and not distracting.

The technical quality and production value is exceptional. There are so many tiny details that go into making a world seem real, and NFS: Rivals is chock full of them.


Recommended Settings:

  • Audio—Dynamic Range: Maximum

  • Video—Ultra everything plus motion blur




Game Design: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Overall Gameplay: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Controls/Feel: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Interface: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Stability: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Load Time: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692



NFS: Rivals is a fun game, no doubt about it. The map is full of relatively forgiving terrain, which leads to extended chases and races. The map is somewhat simplified compared to a pure Criterion-produced game, like NFS: Most Wanted or Burnout Paradise. Instead, the open world more closely resembles tracks from NFS: Hot Pursuit. There are no extensive urban environments filled with secret jumps and billboards.

That's not to say the game is any less exciting to play, but it sometimes it feels a bit too easy—at least for my skill level. I was done with the game—both the cop mode and the racer mode—in under fifteen hours. Fortunately, the persistent open world that is the core of the game makes for engaging repeat play.

Controls are easy to learn and intuitive. The cars handle well, although there is not much variety in terms of vehicle type—the game presents a steady progression of faster and better sports cars.

I had some stability issues, I've clocked about 29 hours of gameplay and suffered three instances where the game quit on me. I've also suffered a few disconnections, which is probably not the game's fault. It is not as stable as other games I own, but it's also relatively new and a patch might help with stability.

Even on my relatively speedy system, load times are rather long. It took one full minute from launch to get to the main menu, another full minute to go from the menu to the game itself.



Final Thoughts:


When Electronic Arts bought Criterion games and made Need for Speed: Most Wanted, I rejoiced. I was never a big fan of the NFS franchise, while at the same time I was a huge fan of Criterion's Burnout Paradise. By combining the two, EA created the foundation for open-world gameplay with NFS elements—namely cops, and real-world cars. Need for Speed: Rivals is the mature sequel, the elements fit together very well and almost create the illusion of true virtual reality. When I'm in a good session, I lose myself in the game, which is exactly why I play.


Mark Henninger
AVS Forum Video Game Reviews

Reference Review System:

Vizio M550KD (3D gameplay)
Epson Powerlite 8350 (2D gameplay)
Pioneer SP-FS52 Main L/R and surrounds
Pioneer SP-C22 Center
Pioneer Elite SC-55 receiver
DIY subs (4X12")
Crown XTi-2002 (subwoofer amp)
Custom PC: i5 2500 with 16GB RAM, XFX Radeon R9 270X DD, 10,000 rpm hard drive.


Edited by imagic - 12/24/13 at 6:45pm
post #2 of 23
Good review, thanks!

i keep hearing good things about this game, and love arcade racers. But I have a hard time supporting a 30fps game in this day and age, especially on PC. I haven't played it, but I think more points should have been docked because of this.
post #3 of 23
Is the experience the same across all platforms in regards to visuals, sound and gameplay, at least the next gen consoles?
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckademic View Post

Is the experience the same across all platforms in regards to visuals, sound and gameplay, at least the next gen consoles?

The 30fps limit makes it so that the experience on next-gen consoles and a PC is likely to be extremely similar.
post #5 of 23
Nice review, I'm loving it on the PS4 right now, looks amazing. I wonder if it's 7.1 on the PS4 as well?
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

Good review, thanks!

i keep hearing good things about this game, and love arcade racers. But I have a hard time supporting a 30fps game in this day and age, especially on PC. I haven't played it, but I think more points should have been docked because of this.

If the lower frame rate had affected the gameplay, I would have taken more points off.
post #7 of 23
Good game and great review but I prefer Most Wanted 2012.
post #8 of 23
I bought this game and sold it within a week of release on PS4, sadly Sony and the developer didnt communicate/collaborate as to to allow for the various big $$$ race whee setups to be compatible with the PS4. Sadly I have over $700 invested in my now useless for PS4 race rig between the chair g27 wheel and various mods. Going to wait til the spring when some new race games come out for the PS4. Once you race using a wheel/chair setup theres no way you back to using a controller.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukedallas2005 View Post

I bought this game and sold it within a week of release on PS4, sadly Sony and the developer didnt communicate/collaborate as to to allow for the various big $$$ race whee setups to be compatible with the PS4. Sadly I have over $700 invested in my now useless for PS4 race rig between the chair g27 wheel and various mods. Going to wait til the spring when some new race games come out for the PS4. Once you race using a wheel/chair setup theres no way you back to using a controller.

NFS would not benefit from a wheel. It is a very arcadey race game with very unrealistic controls (steer, tap brake, counter-steer and drift through turn at 100MPh).

While I do enjoy the Burnout series and Paradise was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed the last Hot Pursuit, I miss the old NFS style games like High Stakes and earlier games (I originally started the series on 3DO).
post #10 of 23
When/if they decide to release a fix to unlock the FPS for the PC, I'll bite. Until then, I have lots of other racing games vying for my time
post #11 of 23
blaster...

http://forums.guru3d.com/showpost.php?p=4709493&postcount=249

Check this post. You can unlock it yourself. Just need a good machine to keep it running at 60 fps. Most people are just upping it to 40
post #12 of 23
Thanks, Shreve. I'll check that out. In the meantime, I bought NFS Most Wanted from the Origin store and I'm not able to see the damned game in my game tab. Apparently a lot of people have had this problem and I only found out about it after buying the game. Why oh why can't it be as easy as Steam?
post #13 of 23
If you are looking to further increase fidelity - Add the following to the user.cfg file

Render.ResolutionScale 2.0 (Anything between 1.0 and 2.0)

This will enable downsampling. Really sharpens things up, but it makes it hard to run at 60 fps. Might need to set it to 40 or 50
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

Good review, thanks!

i keep hearing good things about this game, and love arcade racers. But I have a hard time supporting a 30fps game in this day and age, especially on PC. I haven't played it, but I think more points should have been docked because of this.

Yeah, I just checked out as soon as I heard it was locked to 30. I have no idea why they think that would be acceptable for a racing game in 2013, especially to a PC gamer.
post #15 of 23
The last patch for the PS4 smoothed out the judder now it runs at a solid 30 FPS. The game has a good sense of speed. I'm not a PC gamer but 30 FPS seems smooth
To me. Because it's not 60 isn't a reason not to enjoy it.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by helvetica bold View Post

The last patch for the PS4 smoothed out the judder now it runs at a solid 30 FPS. The game has a good sense of speed. I'm not a PC gamer but 30 FPS seems smooth
To me. Because it's not 60 isn't a reason not to enjoy it.

I see your point - it's like refusing to see a good movie that's only on DVD and not on Blu-ray. If it's a good movie, it's worth seeing regardless of source.

But the problem I have in this case is it's like releasing a high-profile big budget movie on DVD-only, and no BD. That would be frustrating to those with nice HTs used to watching movies on Blu-ray.

That said, I have an itch to play this anyway because of reviews like the OP's, and also it's been a while since I've played a good arcade racer. I just need to decide on PS4 or PC.
post #17 of 23
It's brilliant for an arcade racer. If you have a nice large screen and a decent surround system it shines on PS4. Last racer I really enjoyed was 2010 Hot Pursuit and Rivals is basically a sequel to that.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by helvetica bold View Post

It's brilliant for an arcade racer. If you have a nice large screen and a decent surround system it shines on PS4. Last racer I really enjoyed was 2010 Hot Pursuit and Rivals is basically a sequel to that.

I think the visuals are actually the strongest part of the game, frame rate notwithstanding. That said, there should be an official option to straight-up double the frame rate, if your computer can handle it. Perhaps make users pass a brief benchmark before enabling the option?

I understand the gist of the criticism of the frame rate—since there is a functional hack, there should be an official way to increase it instead. But that's not enough to stop me from enjoying it.
post #19 of 23
Throwing my bright red F12 Berlinetta into a power slide with the sun setting in the background doesn't get old. smile.gif I do wonder if Ghost lowered the resolution to
900p similar to battlefield 4 they could achive 60FPS on PS4?
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

I think the visuals are actually the strongest part of the game, frame rate notwithstanding. That said, there should be an official option to straight-up double the frame rate, if your computer can handle it. Perhaps make users pass a brief benchmark before enabling the option?

I understand the gist of the criticism of the frame rate—since there is a functional hack, there should be an official way to increase it instead. But that's not enough to stop me from enjoying it.

I got the PC version and tried the 60fps hack. I have a good computer - dual GTX670s in SLI, and most sections looks great at 60fps, but many sections slowed to 40s and 30s. And when these sections slow, the game drags noticeably, affecting play.

I think the reason they don't have an official 60fps PC option is the engine can hit it for the most part, but when it can't, gameplay takes a bad nosedive. Sticking with locked 30fps is probably the best option IMO.
Edited by DaverJ - 3/14/14 at 9:54pm
post #21 of 23
Looks like a nice game. Might get it once I can afford a PS4...
post #22 of 23

Very good preview. I will try it now. That's my favorite game.

post #23 of 23
Well, going back on what I said, I decided to get it. Mainly because my kids were getting bored of NFS: Most Wanted and Rivals is another sandbox type racer which my kids like. They would rather just drive around than race. It's my job to race and get new cars and upgrades.

So comparing it to Most Wanted, I would have to say the graphics are much, much better in Rivals. There are leaves and debris flying all over the place, the rain on the screen and cars looks fantastic and the color palette is more muted, adding to the realism. I initially had some crashes, but that was a driver update issue which is now resolved. I love Most Wanted, but I hated that it seemed like as soon as you got your car to top speed, there was always something there crashing into you - there is just way too much going on to get any speed unless you're up in the mountains. Rivals, on the other hand, is less in the city, so there's way more opportunity to open up and get to top speed for longer periods of time. I really like that. The cars feel more weighty in Rivals which is good, but the sense of speed feels a bit slower than Most Wanted and perhaps that's to do with the frame rate cap. It still feels pretty damned fast, though.

You can't jack cars in Rivals, and there are less of them, so Most Wanted definitely wins there.

I wasn't sure about the whole online thing. For the most part it has been OK, but I got extremely frustrated one game when a few toolbags decided to simply chase after me and try to smash my car while I was in the middle of an event. I was a racer and they were racers so there's no reason for that other than douchebaggery. I am fine with players chasing me if they're police when I'm a racer, but c'mon. If that ever happens again, I'll just pull the plug on my Ethernet and keep going.

If I had to choose one, I'd have to say I'd go for Rivals. It is really fun playing on both sides of the law and the open roads are really what NFS is about, IMHO. Sure there are more jumps in Most Wanted, but there are some good ones in Rivals, too. If finding jumps and air time floats your boat, Most Wanted is your best bet. My 0.02.
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