Need For Speed: Rivals is hard not to get excited for when you are playing the game itself. Outrunning police cars at 150 miles an hour the forest to end up jumping off of a cliff to escape. Developed by Ghost Games, Need for Speed: Rivals creates for the gamer an organic successor to the previous Need for Speed games developed by Criterion. This is not a surprise if you take into account that the majority of the staff that worked on the past Need for Speed games ended up working at Ghost Games. Ghost developed a great successor in Need for Speed: Rivals and handles the torch pass extremely well.

Need for Speed: Rivals does a great job combing the always fun cops vs. racers created in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit along with the open world freeform gameplay of Need for Speed Most Wanted. In reality Rivals created the best of both worlds in one game. The only problem with combing the best of both worlds is that for many aspects of the game it ends up feeling like something you have played before. That something is what ends up creating a void inside the game.

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Need for Speed: Rivals takes place in the fictional Redview County California and the landscape of Redview couldn’t be more different one mile after the next. Inside the map you free-roam world you drive through amazingly detailed vineyards, barren deserts, seaside resorts and amazing mountain passes. The landscape creates a amazing change of pace from the urban playground of Most Wanted. The city streets created great escape routes in the past games but the view doesn’t get much better then what you see in Rivals. The long winding and massive roads create better car chases that expand for miles that typically end in exciting car wreaks. The roads also allow you the ability to preform amazing drifting lines long the streets. For the first time in Need for Speed the focus is on the chase itself instead of only being about the get-a-away. You dance around the streets while you look for ways to break away from the police while you keep moving.

Sadly the open roads also become a problem for the gamer. Often you escape the police you end up being spotted randomly again. Once you are spotted it starts again the long chase process and if you have extremely bad luck, like I had once, you will spend a lot of time trying to get away. If you are looking to play several of the challenges scattered throughout the world you will want to take it slow in the vicinity of any police in the game.

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Redview doesn’t seem to have as many secrets to explore as the past Need for Speed games. No billboards bearing you’re the faces of your friends, no hidden super cars, and far less jumps then in any of the previous games. You can find several hidden pathways but the need to explorer always ends you either crashed in a barrier forcing you to find one of the many pre-determined roads.

The style and look of Need For Speed: Rivals creates an Americanize version of Forza Horizon 2. Sadly the gameplay itself doesn’t allow you free-roaming aspect that Horizon does. You want to explore the land like you do in Horizon but the simply doesn’t all you to. The cars look almost as brilliant as Horizon and the nitro boost adds a lot of great speed to the gameplay but at the speeds the cars often seem out of control and lead you to a destructive crash.

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In the end of Need for Speed: Rivals creates a thrill ride. You will have fun riding for a while and will scream your head for a few hours. After that the game will sit on a shelf until you are up for another scream ride. Rivals creates some amazing car chases and you will enjoy every minute of it but it isn’t a game you will play for hours straight.

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