Need for Speed Payback is Perfect for Those Who Want a Burnout

first_imgStay on target EA Changes Loot Crates in Need for Speed Amid Battlefront II ControversyThese Are the Games You Should Check Out in November Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img As we’ve said a billion times, 2017 has been an incredible year for video games. Because of that, I almost forgot a new Need for Speed game was dropping this month. This is doubly weird considering I’ve been a fan of the franchise since its PS2 days. I’m glad Need for Speed: Payback made it onto my radar because it is quite an unexpected but pleasant surprise. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it is the Burnout Paradise successor many of us have wanted. It really is that good.Jordan Minor wrote an excellent breakdown of the game’s various features. Instead of going over (or driving over?) familiar ground, I’m going to simply give you my personal thoughts based on the nearly ten hours I’ve played.Unlike others, I actually greatly enjoyed 2015’s self-titled Need for Speed, but I’ll admit it had issues. Though fun to play, the various race modes and environments were a tad on the generic side. The FMV sequences were endearing in a way, but they could sometimes come off as cheesy. Being inspired by the classic Need for Speed: Underground 2 wasn’t enough, and developer Ghost Games knew it. This vehicle needed a serious tune-up if it wanted to remain relevant to gamers.Need for Speed: Payback is very much like Burnout Paradise or Forza Horizon 3 since it features a massive open world filled with a ton of races to complete and collectibles to pick up. I can see some comparing Payback to Horizon 3 since both have similar desert environments dotted with pockets of civilization. That comparison is fair, but I’m more partial to Payback because it is set in America. Australia is cool and all, but driving on the opposite side of the street never felt right to me. Also, Need for Speed has Burnout-esque crashes, something Horizon 3 sorely lacked.Like Need for Speed: Underground 2, Need for Speed had skies perpetually cloaked in darkness. While cool at first, it got a bit drab and monotonous as the hours passed on. Thankfully, Payback features a full day/night cycle that makes the world much more vibrant and realistic. I loved gazing at the pure blue skies above the sun-baked desert or the forested mountain region at night. This is another title that shows the power of the Frostbite Engine. Everything is beautiful no matter the time of day.I’m not a huge fan of simulation racing games. That isn’t to say I don’t find merit in racers that strive for uber-realism. I just prefer arcade racers where I only have to release the acceleration button occasionally. Like most other Need for Speed games, Payback is roughly 80% arcade and 20% sim. Cars have strengths, and weakness one has to account for. At the same time, every car is great to drive because the game isn’t strictly adhering to real-world physics. The fact you can upgrade every vehicle to boost its performance just makes driving all the better. Zipping across the map in everything from humvees to sports cars is a thrill.Need for Speed: Payback’s large and diverse cast of characters is one of its strongest components. I had no issue with the FMV characters from the previous game, but I’m glad Payback opted to go with more traditional polygonal stars. Now, these digital thespians can lend themselves to more elaborate and varied sequences. This includes everything from hanging out in a garage planning the next heist or jumping from moving vehicles. The voice actors deliver credible and authentic performances. Admittedly, the actors keep things relatively lighthearted, but it fits with the overall tone of the game. As crazy as this sounds, Need for Speed: Payback has made me reevaluate how I think about stories in driving games.Going back to comparisons, I couldn’t help but think about Fast & Furious as I played. In this case, I am specifically referring to the first four movies in the film franchise. Before The Rock made his muscley, mini-gun wielding debut, the series focused exclusively on racing and car culture. Need for Speed: Payback also emphasizes these aspects. Yes, there are wild chase sequences, explosions, and all manner of crazy things that play out in the story. However, the game always puts the spotlight on racing — much like Fast & Furious used to. In this sense, I’d like to consider Need for Speed: Payback a spiritual sequel to the original Fast films.While I’ve greatly enjoyed my time with the game so far, I know I’ve only just scratched its surface. The story alone is supposedly around 20 hours long. If you add in all of the different races, challenges, billboards to break, poker chips to collect, and derelict cars to find and upgrade, you can see Payback easily taking up a significant amount of time. This is either a good or bad thing, depending on the size of your backlog. I’ll no doubt slowly pick away at Payback during the rest of the year, so I’m thankful it contains a good deal of content.Working Need for Speed: Payback into my busy gaming schedule presents a challenge, but it’s one I’m willing to take. I’ve desired a new Burnout Paradise for nearly a decade. I don’t know when or if that will ever happen, but this is about as close as it gets. I’m glad the Need for Speed series (and in particular this game) is here to fill that void. If you want a racing game that offers a great deal of customization, a massive open world to explore, and an action-packed story, Need for Speed: Payback is the game for you.Need for Speed: Payback releases on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 10. You can pre-order it now from Amazon.last_img read more

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