Test Results: Entry-Level And Conclusion
Even though Need for Speed destroys every graphics card on the market at Ultra HD, it can also be playable on very modest hardware. That is, so long as your resolution isn't set to anything higher than 1280x720 at the game's lowest detail settings. The resulting quality is just about what you'd expect out of a console, which is to say it's livable. But that's not why we play on PCs, either.
AMD's marketing claims about the A10-7890K being suitable for online gaming turn out to be true. It generates frame rates that are playable, if only just so. The Radeon R7 250 2GB DDR3 can't really pull ahead due to the game engine's rather low requirements at minimum graphics quality settings.
Intel's Iris Pro in the Core i7-5775C also does well. Unfortunately, it's definitely held back by drivers (what we saw on-screen was not free of visible errors).
The bottom line is that Need for Speed can be played on lower-end CPUs and graphics cards. It just won't look great.
The always-online nature of the game isn't as annoying as we feared, but it's still annoying. Even after activating the well-hidden Play Alone option, Need for Speed just doesn't feel like a single-player game. It sure is nice to be rid of the annoying players who make it their mission to get in the way of your latest top score attempt, though.
Need for Speed’s graphics don't leave much to be desired, and they scale from the very lowest to the very highest reaches of today's (and yesterday's) graphics hardware. This picks up right where Star Wars: Battlefront left off.
Unfortunately, the game still falls short of Need for Speed: Underground 2, largely due to the incomplete handling settings that could have (and should have) been, er, handled better. It's not like everyone's a tuning expert, but the way the cars drive clearly defies physics. When a 10-year-old game is more realistic, that's not something to be proud of.
It's hard to come up with an all-encompassing conclusion. There are some great and some terrible things about Need for Speed. You'll need to make up your own mind about this one, since enjoying it depends on how much importance you assign to the various aspects of gaming. The PC version shouldn't really be compared to the console builds, since their graphics look incredibly different. At least that makes up for the wait to some degree.
In the end, if we have to summarize our impressions of Need for Speed in one line, we'd mention something about a dead horse and a stick.