Like The Crew, Need for Speed requires a constant internet connection to play – even if you want to play solo. Unlike The Crew, you can’t just simply opt into multiplayer and rely on the game to take care of matchmaking and enlist you into a series of events. This really didn’t need to be an always online game, and because it is, you can’t even pause the game, which I found extraordinarily annoying. Plus, without decent PvP, the only thing left after the brief campaign is hunting down Need for Speed’s frankly boring collectables. Exactly why are we collecting photographs of plain, dimly-lit parking lots and anonymous warehouses?
The best thread is ‘Outlaw’, which is really just a mix of all the game’s race types with the cops on your tail. The cop action is scaled back from Hot Pursuit and Rivals but I certainly appreciate how the police AI seems a lot more fair and bound by the in-game physics than it ever did in Ubisoft’s The Crew. Considering it was the standout mode in the old Underground games, the lack of any drag racing in Need for Speed seems like a misguided omission.
It’s not an especially long story, though. There are 79 main events, but I blasted through them in just two days. The often shameless rubber band AI screwed me out of a few wins here and there but, for the most part, there were only a handful of races I needed to repeat. This modest length might be less of a problem if the multiplayer was more robust, but it isn’t.