I feel the need

I wrote about our difficult initiation with the Playstation 4, but once it finally started working, there is no question that it’s a great bit of kit. We’ve played a couple of games and been pretty impressed with what we’ve seen, but most of our attention has been on Need for Speed Rivals.

I am the first to admit that my virtual driving skills are practically non-existant, and racing games don’t really do it for me. I crash, I lose, I prefer to just press X for go and to hell with the braking consequences.

Thankfully, Need for Speed actually encourages that kind of behaviour. The premise is simple – you are either a cop or a racer. If you’re a cop you want to stop the racer, and if you’re a racer you want to escape the cop. You have challenges to complete, and what is great for me is that they’re not all about winning events. Some are, but some are about driving on the wrong side of the road, or reaching a top speed, or getting air time. These are things I can do!

The gameplay is good, but the graphics are better. It’s incredible to look at, gorgeous backdrops, amazing weather, and not-very-lifelike-but-still-stunning crash sequences. It’s so nice to look at that I quite often get distracted by the scenery and end up bouncing off a wall. The game designers have also managed to squeeze in a lot of different vistas in one relatively small map. From the dusty desert to the snowy mountains, through dense forest or sparse highway, there are rundown farms, aeroplane graveyards, and the beachfront as well. Lots of little bits and pieces to explore and drive around.

The trouble is, we’ve only been playing for a few hours and I’m stuck. I’m frustrated at not being able to get past the next challenge, at not being good enough to sail through. According to Mr C, it’s because I haven’t put the hours in. Apparently, you have to stick at this stuff and work at it. You don’t just get to be good at games like this. I’m not totally convinced. It’s not called the Workstation 4, after all.

However, if the key to getting better is driving more through the beautiful scenery, hearing the engines as they echo through the tunnels, and jumping over old aeroplane wings and across bridges as the rain and wind scatter golden leaves across the path, then I think I can probably get on board with giving it a bit more time.