Need For Speed has had a rocky history since the glory days of the Underground series. With the last truly great Need For Speed game being 2005’s Most Wanted, the series has undergone several changes in style and tone, changing developers at the whim. 2015’s Need For Speed reboot, helmed by Ghost Games, was an admirable attempt to recapture those glory days but fell short of the mark due to a pretty horrendous story and equally vile characters and “acting”. Need For Speed: Payback has now arrived to firmly remind us that Underground 3 is just a pipe dream. But strangely, I’m not mad.
Need For Speed: Payback puts players in the open world Las-Vegas inspired Fortune City, where you’ll get to play as three different characters across the campaign. The goal is ultimately to pull off ingenious car heists, taking some notes from the Fast & Furious series in more ways than one. At E3 2017, we got our first taste of the gameplay, and what immediately shone was the way it shamelessly mirrored the over-the-top style of its cinematic F&F counterpart. You basically find yourself reliving the role of Vin Diesel in pulling off daring, albeit very unrealistic, hijackings of shiny new vehicles.
The roster of vehicles has not been entirely confirmed, but we’re expecting a healthy amount, at least around 40-50. The vehicles this time also seem to be more on the luxury and exotic side, with the occasional muscle thrown in. It’s not a bad move, but it would be nice to have those amazing Japanese tuners back in the selection again. Car customization seems to be lifted from the previous game, but with a few more perks and additional add-ons because it is, after all, a Ghost Games sequel. The customization looks as deep as 2015’s entry, and definitely is one of the greatest selling points for Payback given the absence of really in-depth customization since Carbon.
The open world is also one of the big selling points, touted as the largest dynamic world ever put to a Need For Speed title. This may include on-the-fly weather changes that will ultimately affect vehicle handling and overall visibility, which sounds like an exciting prospect if they’re going for full immersion. Granted, it is at the expense of believable action sequences, but nonetheless, a Fast & Furious game by a AAA company sounds lovely. Anyone remember that horrendous Tokyo Drift game on PlayStation 2? Yikes.
Need For Speed: Payback lands on our laps on November 10, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Watch the gameplay trailer below: