XBOX 360 Need For Speed Rivals

Last updated date: September 19, 2019

DWYM Score
8.8

XBOX 360 Need For Speed Rivals

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We looked at the top Racing Games and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Racing Game you should buy.

Overall Take

One of the most well-known racing franchises pits street racers against cops in this game. You can play as a cop or a racer and slow down foes with spike strips and air support. The controls are a snap to pick up. In our analysis of 74 expert reviews, the XBOX 360 XBOX 360 Need For Speed Rivals placed 3rd when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note September 20, 2019:
Checkout The Best Racing Game for a detailed review of all the top racing games.

Expert Summarized Score
7.8
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
33 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
It’s worth pointing out that although NFS remains one of the most well-known names in the arcade genre, that doesn’t mean it sets an example that all should follow. As the technology powering the series has continued to improve, the will to mature the core attitudes and ‘fiction’ beyond established cops-vs-racers rhetoric has been noticeably vacant.
- Game Rant
Rivals gives you the option to switch back and forth between campaigns of either racing against the law or for it. Each campaign comes with a set of challenges and unlock progressions. Each chapter allows the player to pick a certain Speedlist challenge
- Game Zone
November 18, 2013 | Full review
You won’t find ample engine customizations screens here, but you will get to enjoy some slick, easy-to-pick-up controls and one of the most populated environments you’ll ever see in a racing game--a good thing, considering it features an expansive open world.
- Games Radar
November 15, 2013 | Full review
Another feature of Need for Speed Rivals we like is the realistic weather effects. Heavy rain impairs your ability to see clearly, and flashes of lightning at night illuminate the screen for a second. Need for Speed Rivals allows you to switch between playing as a cop and racer. Just like the racer, the cop comes with chapters of exciting pursuits to engage in.
- Optics Gamer
March 3, 2017 | Full review
Spike strips, overhead air support and electromagnetic pulse generators help slow their foes. But the raucous racers have purchasable tech as well, in the form of electronic jammers and a shock wave mech that lets them blast and repel pursuers with a lightning-like charge.
- Plugged In
Need for Speed Rivals' has a brilliant, forward-thinking approach to online play. Any time you start the game while online, you're automatically put into a server with up to five other players. You can see where other players are on the map and jump near their location, or you can ignore them and just try to do your own thing.
- Polygon
November 18, 2013 | Full review
Impressive visuals. Great value. Some of the slickest controls this side of a Burnout game. Exciting mix of pure driving, aggressive maneuvering, and using technology. Seamless integration of single- and multiplayer brings world to life
- Tech Spot
"Need for Speed: Rivals" uses arcade-style gameplay within an open-world environment. Players earn Speedpoints for completing challenges and pulling stunts, such as jumps and death-defying near-misses with other cars. The game's risk-reward system entices you to go for big score multipliers by completing consecutive feats, but you can lose it all if you're caught by the cops or total your vehicle.
- Tom's Guide
November 25, 2013 | Full review
The game looks great. Rivals' day/night cycle has amazing detail thanks to the Frostbite 3 engine's lighting effects. The dynamic weather is incredible: rain pounds down naturally, leaves blow up as you drive past, and small pockets of dust clouds blow by as you head into the more rural landscapes.
- Video Gamer
November 25, 2013 | Full review
What experts didn't like
The few reasons youre given to upgrade your car. Impact damage is dealt haphazardly
- Games Radar
November 15, 2013 | Full review
Although there was creativity in the chase scenarios, we don’t think there was enough variety in situations to keep some people entertained. The initial excitement of the game may fade as you log in more hours. Those who prefer outsmarting the cops and hiding to escape them may be disappointed. The gameplay in Need for Speed Rivals doesn’t allow for that strategy. You can still hide after losing the cops, but it’s more difficult to avoid detection. Occasionally, there’s an online glitch that causes you to lose your progress.
- Optics Gamer
March 3, 2017 | Full review
Few noticeable problems holding it back. Conspicuous AI rubber-banding. Impact damage is dealt haphazardly
- Tech Spot
The Triangle and Square buttons activate any power-ups you have equipped to your vehicle. Unfortunately, you can't use third-party steering wheels.
- Tom's Guide
November 25, 2013 | Full review
There's also a lack of dedicated servers, which severely affects your experience. If the host leaves while you're mid-event, you're dragged into a load screen, and brought back in at a point where you'll need to restart, even if on the cusp of victory.
- Video Gamer
November 25, 2013 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Racers are lone wolves out for their own glory; driving agile cars built for high speed racing and epic chases. Cops work in teams to hunt down and bust racers using the full power of the police force. Switch roles at any time and watch the stakes grow in an all-new scoring system that lets you put your speed points on the line to earn even greater rewards. Single-player and multi-player are no longer isolated game modes. Seamlessly join a world where your friends are already racing and chasing. No lobbies. No waiting. Paths will cross as races and pursuits collide, creating a world where no two moments or events will ever be the same. Power up your car with the latest performance upgrades and technology, and personalize your car with fresh paintjobs, liveries, custom license plates, rims, and decals to show off your style to your friends and rivals. Save different configurations and keep a variety of car packages available to leave your mark no matter the situation. The Network is your destination for all things Need For Speed. With the power of Autolog you can view your game progression, see your next unlocks, plan your next gaming session and interact with your Need For Speed friends away from the console. Intense racing moments are made even more thrilling with access to technology and upgrades customized to each side of the law. Racers can choose evasion technology from jammers to electromagnetic pulses. Cops are outfitted for aggressive busts with shockwaves, roadblocks, helicopter support and more

Overall Product Rankings

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XBOX ONE Forza Horizon 2
2. XBOX ONE Forza Horizon 2
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XBOX 360 Need For Speed Rivals
3. XBOX 360 Need For Speed Rivals
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 9
XBOX ONE Project Cars 2
4. XBOX ONE Project Cars 2
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Expert Reviews: 5
XBOX ONE Forza Motorsport 7
5. XBOX ONE Forza Motorsport 7
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XBOX ONE Forza Motorsport 5
6. XBOX ONE Forza Motorsport 5
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XBOX ONE DiRT 4
7. XBOX ONE DiRT 4
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XBOX ONE Forza Motorsport 6
8. XBOX ONE Forza Motorsport 6
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XBOX ONE ONRUSH
9. XBOX ONE ONRUSH
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PS4 DriveClub
10. PS4 DriveClub
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Racing Games

There’s no doubt that you’ve seen car commercials where the car moves at top speed through mountain roads or races through the desert. As the commercial ends, tiny print at the bottom of the screen appears: “Do not attempt.” 

Most of us would never try to drift around an airplane runway at night, but why should stunt drivers have all the fun? Racing video games can give you the same thrills and chills without the risk.

Today’s titles have unbelievable graphics that make you feel like you’re right there, speeding through gorgeous settings featuring British castles or rolling Irish hills. Realistic, dynamic weather and thoughtful soundtracks add an extra layer of shine on the latest games. 

There are two major sub-genres of racing games, and most players prefer one or the other. Simulation racers are designed to be as realistic as possible. The cars respond with physics that mimic real-life driving in an open-world setting. (Open world means that you’re not limited by a closed racetrack. You can drive off-road and you’ll never hit a wall where the graphics end.) Some people find these games more difficult to play, but diehard car and racing fans love them. The Forza Horizon series has some of the most popular simulation racing games

Arcade-style racing games put less emphasis on realistic controls and focus on creating the most enjoyable race possible for a general audience. You’re usually confined to a track, but the games are loaded with extras like weapons, boosters and ramps for trick jumps. The controls are usually easier to pick up. The Mario Kart series is one example of arcade-style games. 

Some games straddle the line between simulation and arcades, with ramps, missions and off-road activities hidden throughout an open-world environment. They usually have unlockable levels and fun extras to keep you playing. 

Both simulation games and arcade games have more options for cars, drivers and customization than ever before. You can choose from hundreds of vehicles, like Ferraris, Audis and Beamers. Online playing expands your gaming world, connecting you with friends and challenging players across the globe.

Now that you’ve got a solid grasp of racing games, zip on over to our Tips & Advice section to help you choose the perfect one.

DWYM Fun Fact

Racing games, or “racers,” have come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1970s.  The first car-based racing game was Atari’s “Gran Trak 10,” released in 1974. It was a single-player, black-and-white game where users raced a car around a dotted racetrack. 

The graphics weren’t much to look at, but players were wowed by the game’s included steering wheel, gear shift and pedals. You earned points by passing through certain parts of the course, and you played against a countdown timer. A black box in the center of the course represented an oil slick.

Despite the rudimentary graphics and sound effects, “Gran Trak 10” was tough to master. Spinning out and crashing into the side of the track were almost inevitable. The game was still an arcade favorite, and some lucky players across the globe still have the full arcade boxes as collectibles.

The Racing Game Buying Guide

  • First off, consider what gaming system you use before you buy. Most games are built to run on multiple systems, but there can be subtle differences between the controls and features from console to console. Make sure that you’re okay with any user differences on your console. 
  • Next, you’ll want to think about whether you’re looking for an arcade racer or a simulation racer. If you want to pull off high jumps, drifts and other tricks while you attack your fellow racers, look for an arcade racer. If you’re more concerned with realistic driving in gorgeous outdoor settings, a simulation racer is the right pick. 
  • The controls in some games are easier to pick up than in others. In general, arcade-style games have simpler controls and are friendlier to general interest players or kids. Simulation-style games rely on accurate physics, so their controls will be closer to an actual driving experience. They’re better for older players or serious racing game junkies.
  • Customization options abound in modern racing games. Some games let you modify every detail of a car down to the lug nut, while others just let you switch colors or models. Drivers can also be modified, or you can choose from a roster of professional racers. Pick a game with plenty of modification possibilities if that’s something you really want.
  • Today’s racing games offer far more than laps around a track. Face-off races, where you challenge other players online, can create a new challenge every time. You can also play against your old times in some games, or earn new cars or abilities if you master tricks or beat off-road challenges. Choose a game the type of add-ons that will keep you playing.
  • Racers take place almost entirely online. The type of server that each game has will affect how quickly it loads and how well it performs. For the fastest experience, look for a game that has a dedicated server. That means that the server is only used for gameplay and doesn’t waste bandwidth on other things like connected e-commerce stores. 
  • The speed of your home internet will also factor into how quickly your game loads and how smooth your experience is. Check out how much bandwidth each game requires and make sure your current Internet plan matches.