- Ł1.62: Tier 2 car rental
I rented a powerful Tier 2 car. I'd have had to wait until Level 12 to legitimately buy one, and my money situation was taking a hammering from a string of failed pursuits. This rental car's power embarrassed my Mazdasport 3. It even showed up the other cars in the same class, which could only be bought for those in-game dollars.
Handing over the Boost for the rental, I felt like a disgusting fraud. But I dutifully joined a race, and was thrown in with a single opponent - also in a rental car. This was a relief, but the next race was against two regular cars, and the hostility was justifiable and plainly expressed. "Another rental car noob," I was told. When I crashed into a wall, I was told, "LOL fast car noob" from the finishing line. Rental cars in multiplayer races, then: bad form.
- 60p: 5 x Nitrous / 60p: 5 x Juggernaut / Ł1.20: 10 x Traffic Magnet
After every completed race, you get to choose one of five bonus cards. They contain cash, rep, or one of the power-ups that help you boost, sabotage leaders, ram cops, and escape pursuit. These cards are your only free source of power-ups, and the random nature means you're bound to run out of your favourite items. However, the fact that you can earn them without spending Boost provides the ideal cover for anyone wanting to buy their way around the track. Even the cooldown time can be circumvented with the "Ready!" power-up, allowing you to spend those power-ups as quickly as you like.
Need for Speed World should be a dirty game. A clean race, with no ramming or power-ups, is still enjoyable, but it only becomes a matter of fantastic pride and fury when you're calling traffic magnets or slamming someone into an oncoming car. It's a shame the free access to power-ups is fettered by the mean bonus cards system and Boost purchases, because with more power-ups - and more varied power-ups - this could be a great, filthy racer.
The beta has seen a few bugs, so I'll share my experience over installation on three PCs. On a two-year old Dell desktop that cost Ł400 and only barely met the minimum spec, the game ran perfectly, and played well over a wired network. My three-year-old gaming PC looked much better, but over a wireless network, there was some lag. The PC in an office, meanwhile, has never been able to log in, with an unhelpful message that pops up before I can even get into the world. Googling shows other people have had the same problem - so that's another reason to try out the trial version before shelling out Ł15 or $20 for the Starter Pack, which awards you that amount of Boost as well as allowing you to level up freely.
It feels like the opportunity to do something interesting has been lost with Need for Speed World - or not realised yet. Larger races. The ability to define and share your own races. Multiplayer pursuits. It's fairly obvious that the only reason this is a PC exclusive is because Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network can't accommodate the Boost system, because NFSW appears to have been built with console sensibilities in mind. It's a real shame that the MMO aspect of World is effectively a needlessly elaborate lobby.
There is scope to do some interesting things here. And there is room to do them, yet. Just don't buy the Starter Pack until you've exhausted the free trial.
6 / 10