I absolutely adore this revamp of the need for speed franchise.
It took me ages to buy this game though because of the hugely mixed bag of reviews, but i got it cheap in the sales and i haven't looked back.
First off, the graphics are truely remarkable, whether your car has pearlecent paint or a standard metallic sheen, the light hits them perfectly and reflects back a plethora of stunning effects. The tracks are very well detailed with the only real graphical drawback being the rather dissapointing damage system.
Lots of people have countless opinions on the handling system, and to be honest, at first i didn't like it, but i spent 10 minutes fiddling with the driving controls, as changing how much you can steer and how quickly can vastly change your cornering, and to me, it changes the game. When i first picked it up it felt far to twitchy at high speeds yet somehow sluggish when hitting an apex, spending the time to tweak the controls (not individual cars downforce) fixed my issues and to me, has attained the second best car handling game i've played, second only to Gran Turismo.
The game has a wide array of tracks to drive, which all have been mapped rather perfectly (i've drove alot of the tracks I.R.L.). Laguna Seca's corkscrew is as blind as it should be while sticking to paddock hill bend at Brands Hatch is superbly challenging. I honestly don't have a REAL bad point about the tracks, just that there can always be MORE.
The new system of disorientation upon immpact is an interesting concept which is best experienced when set to sound AND visual effects. A slam will blur skew your vision all over while your ears ring with great realism. A tap will simply send a pulse of concentration to you, almost making you more aware of how close you are to an opponent, or a wall. At best, this new feature works great, but it does niggle every now and then, a tiny graze has blinded me for several seconds before, but thankfully this rarely happens.
You may wonder why i'm giving 4 stars, and it's a simple as this: There are little niggles all over the game.
For a start, I use the hardest difficulty and yet still find it to be quite often far too easy. I know i'm a good driver but i'm not doing it for a living so i can't be THAT good.
On some tracks, the A.I. will launch off the grid, and turn full lock to get onto the racing line, instead of progressing straight, in a realistic way, thus leaving you to be able to pass all the opponents by the first corner.
Applying decals to your car has been made tremendously irritating by not allowing you to have a fully controllable camera angle, this means your racing stripe down the centre will be skewed, mis aligned, or even the wrong colour, because no matter how hard you try you can't get that exact angle you need.
Some of the paintwork options are just stupid. Manufacturers colour schemes cannot merely be switched to a different colour pair, the greatest example of which is the Bugatti Veyron. Everyone knows the iconic paint style of this car, yet, you cannot simply select your own two colour scheme for it, you'd have to fiddle endlessly with decals to get the desired effect, time i'd rather spend racing.
All over though, this game is generally fantastic, and well worth a purchase. If like me you don't like the look of all these reviews, give it a rent to test the handling. If you end up with this game, you'll love it.
Thanks for reading ALL of this.