Aug 2, 2017

11: Fast and Furious - The Game

Back when the first Fast & Furious Movie was the hot new shit in cinemas it suddenly became cool to seriously rice out. Let´s just hope that this trend will never come back. EA being EA of course decided to use this sudden horrible taste in car modification and combined it with their most popular Racing Franchise and the result was Need for Speed: Underground. And I love it. Why? Because it is a frikkin great game once you managed to llok beyond all the rice. The heart of the game is the Underground Mode where you are presented with 111 Events that you have to win in order to unlock better cars, more and more tasteless mods, performance upgrades and money to buy all this stuff. When your start the game you get a short, 2-Lap Chance to drive something faster, after that you have to buy something much more boring like a Dodge Neon or Golf Mk4 and with that you have to win illegal races in the fictional Olympic City. Even though the city has a network of roads, many tracks even sharing the same bits and pieces, you can´t drive around the city freely. On the other hand this allowed the developers to put much more details into the surrounding world and as a result the visuals somewhat still hold up today, the fact that the entire game is at night and on wet streets only helps to keep the visuals from looking too boring. Racing is done either and circuits with multiple laps or on point-to-point tracks with variying amount of traffic. Other than that you get Drag Racing wich forces you to use manual shifting and similar to the races you have to deal with random traffic. Drift Races are done on clodes off circuits, so you don´t have to bother with traffic, even your opponents are only represented by their score and not on the track itself. Every once in a while you get the chance to win special, unique parts in a time trial, in these you have to beat a certain time on one of the point-to-point tracks.

At least in the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the game you don´t have to worry too much about your actual opponents since they only get challenging closer to the end of the game. That´s at least if you are like me and you play a lot of racing games. The rendom Traffic can cost you few races though since these bastards can come out of nowhere and sometimes are even placed in a way that you will hit them no matter what when you follow any sensible racing line. Being a Need for Speed game the handling model is very Arcady, but it is always controlable and if you like you can turn off a stability control wich allows you to drift much more easily outside of the actual drift events. The Soundtrack is great mix of Hip-Hop / Rap, Rock / Metal and Electronic Music and you can decide wich tracks you whant to hear and if you whant them in Races, Menus or both. Overall it is a great game and still worth playing even almost 15 years after it´s original release, but you really have to either for whatever messed up reason like all the rice in this game or you have to be able to just ignore it, using the bumper view helps a lot with the later. And before someone asks: I am one of the few people that actualy thinks that the Original Underground was better than the 2nd one, mostly because I think that the open city in the sequel felt a lot like filler content between the races, especialy since all the visual and performance upgrades where spread across 4 different shops. The Original just feels much more Streamlined in many places.