Need for Speed World Test: Drifting Through the Pay-2-Win Curse

02/10/2014 11:00 am by Anna Radak in TestsDownload GamesRacing

Need for Speed

Need for Speed

The team has been reluctant to try out racing games in the past. Why? Because neither Anna (this is me) or Marcel (hi Marcel!) have played any of the Need for Speed installment in years and honestly, going up against experienced players in such a competitive environment was a scary thought. But since it is expected of us, we decided to channel our inner warrior princess and just jump into the online game head-first. All we needed to get started was set up an Origin account and download the free-to-play title. Can Need for Speed World keep up with other racing games like Ridge Racer Driftopia or Auto Club Revolution? Let's find out...

Learning the Racing Ropes

Our pride and joy.

There’s just one quick tutorial we have to go through before joining the ranks of other players. Here, against artificial intelligence, we can definitely hold our own and master the first single-player challenge that’s handed to us. In fact, we are able to dominate the race against computer opponents - up until the point where we hit a wall. Boom! The moment we lose control over our pretty Pontiac GTO '65, we crash into a nearby obstacle (that we could have sworn wasn’t there on the first lap).

Just one little mistake is enough for it to be game over, sayonara, goodbye: Instead of finishing first, we end up being the last car to roll over the finish line. But that certainly doesn't stop us from another attempt, and this time - now that we’ve gotten a feel for the map - it’s all easy peasy lemon squeezy. Being declared the winner in Need for Speed World grants us bonus reputation, plenty of cash and a lucky draw of cars. Whatever we get here depends on our overall performance during the race. While cash allows us to pimp our car or purchase other vehicles, reputation is what fantasy games call experience points. The more reputation we collect, the higher our driver levels up.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

First place!

Whenever we’re not actively racing, we can just explore the Free Roam area, get comfortable with new surroundings and see what Need for Speed World has to offer us. Soon after slapping on a new coat of paint and purchasing parts to increase our top speed, acceleration and handling, it’s time to face our fears and challenge actual players to a race against time. While some races are restricted to cars of a certain class only, all other tracks seem to be open to everyone. There's no real matchmaking system to guarantee we only go up against players of a similar level, though. That means it's not unusual for us (level two) to face gamers that have obviously been playing for much longer than us (level 22).

Uh oh.

Is it possible for beginners to beat racers level 20 and above? Not really. Although we don’t end up crashing our Pontiac this time around, we’re so slow compared to other players that we don’t even get to finish the race. That stings, considering the fact that we had a smooth ride throughout the entire map - but once the first player goes over the finish line, we only have 30 seconds left to complete the race and get a rating. If we don’t make it on time, there is literally nothing we can do about it. With our spirits dampened, we decide to check back into our Safehouse (a safe place for us to take a deep breath) and see what we can do to tune our racing car to better standards.
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