Need for Speed: Payback - Need for greed?
Need for Speed is a true legend. Or at least it used to be. It's been years since the series was selling like hot cakes. EA Games and their ally Ghost Games have been desperately trying to make NFS the king of the hill one more time.
Visuals of the game are decent and satisfactory. But it's the only thing you can say about them.
Years ago NFS games used to be tastemakers - Most Wanted was a masterpiece: it demonstrating both supreme visuals, physics and an interesting plot. But how the mighty have fallen...
2017 NFS iteration can be described as average at best, losing it to Forza Horizon, Gran Tourismo, and even earlier NFS games. I enjoyed NFS: Hot Pursuit even more than this more polished game.
Of course, it's still a work of certain quality, but it feels lifeless. And cut-scenes featuring real actors do not save the situation much. Mostly because they are crammed with 100 times recycled clichés, that turn the game into a parody.
There will be an awful load of flashing lights (police, pointing arrows, etc.), which when put into the violently rapid race will be strong enough to cause an epileptic seizure. The physics are more or less good and each automobile has unique weight, dynamics, and momentum, which requires an individual approach.
But the car models look like cheap plastic toy replicas, probably due to insufficient work with the lighting.
It's hard to analyze all of those details, but every time you're looking at NFS: Payback, you have an instinctive feeling that the visual quality has been watered down.
NFS: Payback attempted to take the series back to its roots - dumb and ruthless racing fun.
In the game we have:
- The pause function, that's been missing since NFS 2015. Finally!
- Police cars ramming.
- Somewhat tiresome pursuits.
- Car division/card upgrade systems.
Possibly following in GTA 5's footsteps, the game has three antagonists:
- Tyler - an expert at speed-dueling and extreme maneuvering.
- Mac - specializes in drifting and off-road racing.
- Jess - a chick who hates police and aspires to destroy as many constable cars as she only can.
Each of the characters is tied to a specific car type - there are 5 car types in Payback:
The type names are self-explanatory, except the latter - this one is used for ramming police barricades, that apparently handle it as well as a papier-mâché fence handles a stampede of furious oxen. And you have no other option - you can never shake off the heat in this game. But my favorite part is the "innovative" card system, used for car upgrades. To pimp your poor ride, you need to collect the so-called Speed Cards. Each vehicle has 6 slots for the said cards in total and every slot is responsible for boosting certain qualities.
To obtain them you can:
- Arduously win one race after another.
- Perform stunts.
- Buy a random card for the in-game currency.
That system, possibly inspired by the Pokémon games, greatly undermines fun and joy. From an easy rider, you turn into a tired grinder. To save your soul from the grinding drudgery you can spend real money on Speed Points, that can be spent on Premium Shipments... That's where I give up I guess.
They are acceptable. But if you're like me and always press the direction buttons very zealously - get a steering wheel instead. Arthritis isn't a joke.
Replay Value: 1
Never, ever shall I return to that horrid boredom and money-leech that is erroneously called a racing game.
NFS: Payback could be a renaissance for the game series. But burdensome police pursuits, caricature characters, clichés and the atrocious level-up card system ruined it.
- Can be used to kill time.
- · Pause function.
- · Drifting
- · Police cars ramming.
- · It ends sooner than you expect.
- Tiring pursuits.
- Poor visuals.