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Need for Speed: World (Windows)

59
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

Need for Speed: World is a massively-multiplayer online racing game and the first with that model in the long-running Need for Speed series. For Electronic Arts it is the spiritual successor to Motor City Online where a similar concept was used. Players drive together in an open, free-roaming world and participate in races against each other to progress in the game, buy new vehicles, and unlock more of the city. It also includes a lot of social aspects. The environment consists of two large cities, Rockport and Palmont, previously featured in Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Need for Speed: Carbon respectively. The main racing modes are also modelled after those games, combining illegal car races, tuning cars, and police chases.

Players drive around in the open world and participate in racing events that consist of sprint races (a single route), or races in laps, both against several opponents. These races are indicated as events on a world map and it is possible to teleport to them straight away. Upon arriving a single click searches for opponents and groups them in a multiplayer lobby. Generally it takes less than a minute before the actual race start. Events can be done in multiplayer, as a private race where only specific players are invited, or a singleplayer race against AI opponents when there are no other human players around. When players have different cars and different driver levels, the performance is balanced to make it fair for everyone. By winning races the player acquires the two main currencies in the game: reputation and cash. Reputation is needed to level up and cash serves to buy new vehicles and customize them. Police chases are triggered by driving into a police vehicle while cruising through the world. It is based on different wanted levels that raise the difficulty and it keeps tally of the amount of damage you cause to the state. In that mode the goal is to outrun the police forces and reach a point where they lose track of you. At that moment a cooldown period is initiated and if you are not spotted during that time, a successful escape is achieved. When busted, the player has to pay for all the damage caused. Shaking off the police is usually done by seeking out pursuit breakers in the world. These are gas stations or giant billboard indicated in red. When the player drives through them, they collapse and often crush the cars in pursuit. When the wanted level raises, the police cars become more numerous and aggressive, and they start deploying spike strips and roadblocks.

The player's central hub is his safehouse. There all cars can be reviewed, new ones can be acquired, and they can be customized extensively - with paint jobs for all individual parts, a vinyl shop, and kits that alter the car's performance. Performance is based around three parameters: top speed, acceleration, and handling. With each level-up different driving skills are provided as rewards, such as a timed boost at the start of the race, a shorter cooldown period when running from the police, or better boost management. Gameplay has many arcade-like elements through the use of power-ups during a race, similar to Blur. The different power-ups are fitted into four slots and the composition can be customized. Generally there are three types, to be used in the Race, Pursuit or Explore mode. In Race there is Nitrous to provide a short boost, Juggernaut to favour performance over handling and Slingshot to receive an advantage when you are trailing the pack, but there are also offensive ones such as Traffic Magnet that draws traffic aggressively towards a specific car, which can be countered by activating Shield. In races there is a One More Lap power-up to force all drivers to go for an additional lap to get a final chance to win. Different power-ups can be combined, but they also a cooldown period before they can be reused. During police chases players can call Instant Cooldown to end pursuits right away, Run Flats restores tires after running over a spike strip, and Emergency Evade knocks the cops back when they are too close.

The easiest way to earn power-ups is by competing in races. Next to reputation and cash the player also gets to choose a Lucky Draw card that provides one or multiple power-ups, reputation points, or cash. Power-ups can also be acquired by spending SpeedBoost, the in-game currency that relies on transactions with real money. SpeedBoost is also used to get car rentals to test drive cars before buying them, and amplifiers. SpeedBoost is bought on the game's website but can then be spent in-game as it is tied to the same account.

The game uses the free-to-play model. The game can be played freely, but only until driver level 10 and the 11 races that come with that. To go beyond that, a starter pack for a one-time fee $20 is required. It includes:
  • a unique car (MazdaSpeed3);
  • the option to progress and open up 40 more levels;
  • $20 worth in the SpeedBoost currency.

Screenshots

Need for Speed: World Windows Start of a race
Need for Speed: World Windows Multiplayer lobby before starting a race
Need for Speed: World Windows Using the nitrous power-up
Need for Speed: World Windows Level up and you receive additional racing skills

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The Press Says

MMOhut Aug, 2010 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
PC Gaming World Jul 28, 2010 7.8 out of 10 78
IGN Aug 06, 2010 6 out of 10 60
Games Radar Aug 03, 2010 6 out of 10 60
Jeuxvideo.com Jul 30, 2010 12 out of 20 60
ComputerGames.ro Sep 20, 2010 60 out of 100 60
PC Gameplay (Benelux) Aug 27, 2010 56 out of 100 56
GameStar (Germany) Aug 12, 2010 54 out of 100 54
1UP Aug 04, 2010 C 50
JeuxVideoPC.com Aug 04, 2010 8 out of 20 40

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Sciere (245158) added Need for Speed: World (Windows) on Aug 02, 2010