We aren't big gamers here at Turbo (except for the Art Director - CD). Sorry, but it's true. We spend our spare time with our heads underneath car hoods or at the track reaping the benefits of said underhood time. It's a rather insatiable urge on our part, the need to fulfill real-life automotive urges and not those otherwise found inside an electronic fantasy world. All of which makes the fact that we're impressed with Electronic Arts' newest Need For Speed incarnation that much more satisfying. After all, there's something to be said for the video game that impresses the non-gamer.
Electronic Arts' yet to be released (and officially titled for that matter) version of the Need For Speed legacy does something few driving games do - mimic reality. Finally, a game that appreciates the sensibilities of the player with a clear grasp of automotive fundamentals. Need For Speed rewards such players, specifically those who make smart decisions when it comes to vehicle modifications and refrain from not so smart impulses such as crashing into walls or other drivers. Need For Speed breaks the generic driving game mold in which players are otherwise rewarded with generically quicker cars that achieve such status by means of generic parts. No, Need For Speed promises to offer players thoughtful upgrades - real parts from real tuning companies - with up to 400 player-modifiable vehicle parameters you can choose. Autosculpt is one such feature. Here players can modify body lines and aerodynamic characteristics, custom tailored to their specifications, with real-world benefits or consequences. Reshape air ducts, fender flares, scoops and spoilers to your gain, but only if you know what you're doing. Impressive physics models add even further realism resulting in different crash results upon each impact - that's for when you crash, not if. The Need For Speed physics team took characteristics such as vehicle speed and trajectory into account to make each pile-up unlike any your friend's ever experienced. How's that for real-world gaming. It's almost enough to force us out of the garage and into our favorite armchairs. Almost. Expect a more in-depth review on Need For Speed along with driving impressions in the near future.