Dabe Alan

There is no way to pause Need for Speed: Rivals, and that’s kind of a big problem for many gamers

There is no way to pause Need for Speed: Rivals, and that’s kind of a big problem for many gamers

There is no way to pause the game in Need for Speed: Rivals.

This decision makes sense at first. The game automatically puts you with a group of human racers, and you can warp to their location, challenge them to races, or work together to fulfill different objectives.

This is the “AllDrive” system, and you get bonuses for interacting with other human players. It’s more like an MMO than a standard racing game in some respects. Being able to pause the game would be detrimental to the social experience in any number of ways.

The problem is that I have two babies in the house, and I can never tell if I’m going to need to get up to change a diaper or help with a feeding at any point in my day. This changes how I game, and I know I’m not the only person who has circumstances that can make it necessary to take a break from a game at a moment’s notice.

Rivals is more or less unplayable for people in those situations.

I tried everything to pause the game. I raced offline in a private game, so my pausing would have no effect on other players. No good. I tried hitting the “PlayStation” button on the controller to activate the PlayStation 4’s dashboard in the hopes that the game would pause then, but no luck.

The game’s world continues merrily along without your attention. If you’re in the middle of a pursuit and you put the controller down to pat a baby or use the restroom, you’re going to get caught and lose all your credits. I’ve talked to people who told me about their favorite places to “hide” their car so they don’t incur the wrath of the police nor random drivers, allowing them to sneak away for a quick bathroom break.

The game is set up to make this frustrating

This wouldn’t be a big deal if the game wasn’t so damned fun in every other respect, and to be fair there are many gamers who have little to no problem dedicating hours of uninterrupted time to a game without this becoming an issue.

The other issue is that the game offers a high-stakes game of chicken with the player; you earn credits by racing other players or the AI, getting into chases with either the police or the racers, and exploring the environment and fulfilling secondary objectives. It’s easy to rack up a high multiplier for your score and get a high number of points, but it’s just as easy to lose that progress.

You see, you have to make it back to a safehouse to “bank” those points, and if you get apprehended or total your car all those points go away and your multiplier is reset. This could lose you a significant amount of time, but that’s kind of the point: You need to be willing to risk everything if you want to go after the really big scores. It’s a neat mechanic, and goes a long way to increasing the tension in a racing game.

Of course, you can’t fucking save the game. So if I’m in the middle of a high speed pursuit with 60,000 points in the bank I can either grab the kid and forfeit all that hard work, or try to calm her down while I make it to a safe house to bank my points.

It may not be kids, many different people have many different reasons why they may need to pause a game to walk away for a few minutes, but this game offers you no ability to do so. Even worse is the fact that stepping away for a moment or two can have such dire consequences for your progress.

This isn't the end of the world. The game is still fun, and again it's likely that many gamers won't be bothered by this. But the game would become much more accessible for more members of the audience if EA had included the ability to pause the game when playing offline. As it stands, there are only certain “safe” times of the day when I'll be able to play, and that's a damned shame.

I know I'm not the only person this will affect, but I'm curious for your thoughts. Does this matter to you?