Game: Need For Speed Payback
Developer: Ghost Games
Reviewed on: PS4 (Review code provided)
Fast and Furious; this is what I think of now when I hear about Need for Speed. I’ve been longing to go back to the days of Need For Speed Underground (the best NFS game there is), and can’t help but think this is what has been missing all these years. The good news is that Payback has bought that back; the fact that you can put decals on and put neon lights underneath the car to me says Fast and Furious. Also it’s so much fun with a basic story mode, which is easy to follow and keeps you coming back.
You play as a crew made up of three members; Tyler Morgan (The Racer), Mac (The Showman) and Jess (The Wheelman), planning to steal the Gambler car during a race. However, things go awry when you’re then double-crossed by The House, an organisation that runs the city. This then splits the team and leaves Tyler wanting only one thing; Payback.
The gameplay is simple. You have different crews that you try to befriend so you can work on taking down The House. You soon get the Gambler on your side after he learns that you were double-crossed by The House, and all your plans soon come together once you starting racing against these crews to earn respect and trust.
There are four different types of races; off-road, drifting, road racing and drag racing. You race 4 to 6 times against each crew to earn trust and gain the respect of the leader of the crew. You earn money each time you race so you can purchase new cars and upgrade cards. You also earn upgrade cards every time you win a race, which keeps it very simple to upgrade your car and I think that’s great; lets remember this is Need For Speed not Formula 1. You can upgrade each part of your car from gears, brakes, nitrous and acceleration and many more.
Not only can you follow the main story mode but also you can drive in the open world map to find little side missions, such as speed traps, drift missions and many more, and you can visit tune-up shops to make you car better. You can also visit dealerships where you can purchase new cars; you unlock more cars the further you get through the game.
As you progress through the game you unlock garages around the city and the city limits, and it’s here where you can store your cars and personalise them, putting new decals, body kits and even neon lights. You can now create your own decals to place on your car and by the looks of some of the designs I have seen, people have taken it to a completely new level. The map in this game is a bit of a let down, you can be driving in the dessert and needing to get into the city. Looking at the map you’d think that’s miles away but nope, you can drive there in a minute, and that’s something that annoys me with how deceiving the map is.
The car dealerships which are dotted around the city are a clever idea; each dealership sells different kinds of cars like off-road, street and drift cars. You can get all the big names from such things as a MK1 Golf, Nissan GTR all the way to a Bugatti Veyron, the price does vary of course due to the car but if you win races and save your money you can get one.
I have avoided it until now but I am just going to say it; loot boxes. Yes, that’s right, loot boxes are in Need For Speed, BUT they’re not as bad as people are making them out to be. There has been lots of chatter about how bad loot boxes are in games, how they are giving unfair advantage to those who are willing to spend the money. I do not think that’s the case here; all you can buy is currency and apart from buying cars and new upgrade parts with the currency, you cannot progress that far unless you’ve played the story mode. Loot boxes do not make this game un-playable; there’s just an annoyance because they are there.
Loot boxes aren’t exactly out of place in a game that refers heavily to gambling; The House, The… Gambler. Its all there. Fortune Valley, where the game is based, is basically a faux Las Vegas. When you start a new race there is a little side-bet to help you earn some extra cash by drifting a certain distance, for example; you can get all sorts of odds depending on the level of your car.
Also of note is the derelict cars. Every time you beat the boss you get a little map, which leads you to collect a derelict car part, once you collect all the parts you build a derelict car and can then use it in races; let me tell you, they are not easy to find but man I love driving around looking for them. The derelict cars are ones like a Volkswagen Beetle, i mean that’s cool, it may not be the best car but you can make it up to look amazing. They are just fun cars which you build by finding the car parts. Personally i wish they had put a classic mini in there, but hey that’s just me.
There is a lot of hate for this game but I just don’t see it; I love the gameplay, and it’s an accessible title you can just pick up and play, have fun at racing or just designing your car. The frustration is still there when it takes you 5, 6 or even 7 attempts to win that race, but when you do win it is such an accomplishment.
I love the design of the game as it is a typical Need For Speed design (if it’s not broke, don’t fix it) but the graphics are a little edgy; when you make quick turns or in the city and you bomb down the road it just doesn’t look crisp like a 21st century game does. But this game game isn’t about the looks, it’s about the fun.
I think this is a great game; the designing has worked really well, the gameplay is superb and graphically it is… okay. It’s a little blurred in parts but overall, it’s fine. I do have a couple of major negatives though; the map is very deceiving, and gives the impression every thing is far away in a huge environment, which is not the case. The upgrade cards, even though they are simple and easy, just don’t do it any justice; they’re boring and sometimes don’t make sense when you’re trying to upgrade your car parts.