I stare down the street and gun my throttle. This time it is personal. The guy just behind me on the starting line had made it personal. He was driving one of those American Muscle cars, a Dodge I think. A few races ago he first appeared. Until then I had been happily dominating my races today. Everyone else seemed unable to keep up. Maybe it was because I knew the tracks inside out, or maybe it was simply that I was that good.
I had done with cruising for the day and began going from race to race. A lot of the races finish close to where another starts, so you end up racing the same group of people from one to the next.
Anyway, I was having a good day. My Rep was increasing, taking me ever closer to the next level, and my bank balance was improving as well. After each race, you get to pick a card as a reward. These cards offer such rewards as extra Rep or cash, or even some power ups. Today my luck seemed to be leaning towards Nitro power ups and I now had a stack that would last me forever.
Then this guy in his damn Dodge turned up. My sporty Mitsubishi should have left him in the dust, with its upgraded performance. But he was a dirty racer. The first couple of races I thought I was just unlucky, being nudged off the course or into oncoming traffic. But it became a pattern and it seemed that this guy was out to get me. Five races now I had lost to this guy and his haphazard driving style. But I am getting tired now and need to log off and sleep. I just want to bit this guy, just once, before turning in for the night.
The light goes green and the race begins. When I leveled up, I chose to have a nitro boost at the start of the race, as long as I hit the sweet spot with the throttle. It went perfect and leapt away from the starting grid, weaving in and out of the other cars that seemed to be wandering around like lost chickens. But I could feel Dodge right behind me.
The race through the streets was going perfect. Every corner was taken with absolute precision, every shortcut used to optimum effect. This was my race. Dodge was close behind me though and I knew that all it would take was one little mistake and he would ram me off the road. I just had to keep it together.
I was approaching the final corner and I still had the advantage. My thumb was poised over the nitro button, ready for a burst of speed after the corner. This would be it, finish with a win. Then everything went in slow motion. The screen flickered and suddenly became my desktop. A small blue box appeared in the bottom right corner and an emotionless voice declared to me that my virus database had been updated.
I stared at my screen in disbelief. It stared back as if suggesting that losing a race was better than getting a virus. At that point in time, I was not so sure. I shut down the PC and went to bed. Tomorrow is another day and I will find the driver of that Dodge.
Need for Speed World is an MMO and, as such, places the player into an open-world inhabited by boy racers, AI Sunday drivers and cops with no sense of humour. The developers are promising to take the best bits of previous NFS games and inject them into this online world for the players enjoyment. But this is a gradual process, with the world looking and feeling like a mix of Underground and Carbon so far.
The game, being an MMO, revolves around interaction with other real-life people. The races, which can be played solo, are where the majority of this interaction will take place. There are also meeting places where the players can meet up and compare paint jobs and rag their cars, just like cruises in the real world.
But that is where all of the interaction seems to come to a halt. Whilst roaming the world, there is precious little to do, other than harass the cops and get into a pursuit event. The other players can be seen and clicked on for details, adding to friend list etc, but their cars become ghostly and intangible. Driving around the city is a bit pointless.
But the good thing about MMOs in general is that they evolve. Who knows what the future will bring to NFSW. Hopefully something that will make all of that free roaming a bit more interesting.
The game is free to play – to a point. Progression is throttled and the player must purchase a starter pack before being able to reach the higher levels. This is no problem, the cost of the starter pack is translated into the games’ micro transaction currency, allowing the player to stock up on power-ups or other game enhancing extras. They can even rent out high performance cars that are far superior to anything that is available at the beginning.
So, in my mind, it is best to see Need For Speed World as a work in progress. As it stands right now, the racing is good and the progression, power ups and pursuits all work really well. But there is just not enough to class the game as a true MMO, feeling instead like a simple online racer at the moment. As I said before though, as more stuff is added the game will, I am sure, evolve. Need For Speed World has made a good start though.