With proven pedigree in the racing game scene, boasting titles like Need for Speed: Shift and Shift 2, Slightly Mad is a studio that knows its way around a racetrack, and in association with My.com, it’s bringing all that knowledge to PC gamers in the guise of World of Speed, a AAA game in everything but price.
As with the studio’s previous games, WoS is focused on realism. Each of the game’s tracks is either a faithful recreation of existing real-world circuits or an all-new creation crafted from the winding streets of cities as far afield as London, Monaco and Moscow, and that’ll do doubt resonate with racing aficionados. Similarly, players can expect to get behind the virtual wheels of some of their favourite real-life vehicles, with licensed cars from manufacturers including Mercedes, Porsche and Chevrolet on offer.
Where World of Speed differs from other titles, apart from costing nothing for the basic experience is the major focus on community that’s been written into the very core of the gameplay. Players will be able to join forces with their friends to create race teams and compete against the world. The game’s social hub encourages interactivity and customization of team logos and aesthetics, and there’s even a highly-competitive battle mode that temporarily eschews the game’s focus on realism to offer a change of pace as players battle for turf in Territory Wars.
Unlike other free-to-play titles that’ll offer players a mere sniff of what’s on offer before blocking them unceremoniously behind a pay wall, there’ll be no level restriction on non-paying players. Of course, those who do choose to support the game by purchasing new vehicles and upgrades with their real-world money will have a minor advantage, but the aim has been to create an open environment that’s as even as possible among all competitors, and World of Speed is most definitely shaping up to hit that target.
A quick look at WoS’ gameplay makes light of the fact that this is a free title, with genuinely impressive visuals ensuring the game can hold its own against even the biggest hitters in the racing genre. There’s a level of detail on show here that’s unique to Slightly Mad, and it all adds up to create what is an undoubtedly premium experience.
Interestingly, the game has been structured in such a way that winning isn’t everything. Tackling each event in as diverse a way as possible brings its own rewards. While there will undoubtedly be many players whose prime concern is sticking to the racing line and hitting every apex, those who opt for a more inventive approach, particularly when working together as part of their race team, will be able to profit by way of in-game points.
By reaching certain milestones within each race, such as combined team time in the lead or drafting for a set amount of time, you’ll be able to contribute to both your personal and team points total, levelling up as you go and unlocking additional vehicles, upgrades and events. Even if you’re floundering at the rear of the pack, there’s going to be some way for you to compete for points, ensuring that nobody is ever just making up the numbers.
World of Speed is set for launch later this year for Windows PCs.