Need For Speed Payback: What You Need To Know
2015's edition of Need For Speed – the 22nd outing in the Need For Speed series – was billed as a “complete reboot” of the franchise, and while the game sold well and was praised for its photo-realistic graphics and comprehensive vehicle customisation, some fans of the game found problems too, particularly with some aspects of the 'always on' internet connection needed for the game and the lack of drag racing.
This week the its follow-up, Need For Speed Payback, arrives in stores and developers Ghost Games say they've taken fan feedback on the previous instalment into account when developing Need For Speed's 2017 incarnation.
So what can we expect this time around? Here's everything you need to know...
So what's the synopsis here?
The action in Need For Speed Payback takes place in the Vegas-like fictional setting of Fortune Valley, where three main protagonists – Tyler, Mac and Jess - are trying to take down a cartel in control of Fortune Valley's murky underworld known as 'The House', adding a Fast & Furious kind of vibe to the familiar racing action.
What's the gameplay like?
As with other instalments in the Need For Speed series, the bulk of the game is split between races against a series of rival crews, heists and, of course, the obligatory cop chases, where you'll need to outrun your police pursuers if you want to avoid getting busted.
Each of the three main playable characters is billed as having their own particular set of skills, although it's probably more accurate to say that each character is linked to one (or more) of the five distinct vehicle classes – Race, Off-road, Drag, Drift and Runner – the latter being reinforced cars modified specifically to aid you in police pursuits.
This time around though there's a little less focus on the straight-up street racing aspects, which are augmented here by the introduction of what the developers call “action driving” experiences, where you'll engage in a series of movie-like cutscenes involving spectacular crashes and pile-ups.
Fortune Valley itself is an impressively rendered and very large open world setting, which now features a 24-hour day/night cycle. This is one of the many changes introduced in 2017's instalment and a welcome one because, while the dusk-'till-dawn racing in 2015's Need For Speed was a faithful hark back to the game's origins – and a really good looking one at that - it did sometimes cause a few visibility issues, especially in rainy conditions.
Any new features?
Quite a lot has either been overhauled, gotten rid of or newly introduced in Need For Speed Payback, with many of the changes being the result of the feedback received about the game's predecessor. One of the biggest issues with 2015's Need For Speed was the fact that, due to the requirement for an always-on internet connection, the game's single-player mode lacked a 'pause' function. The introduction of an offline single-player mode this time around remedies that problem, and there are some other important changes too.
Drag races have been reintroduced in Payback, having been conspicuously absent at the launch of its predecessor, and manual transmission is also available from the start (having been added as an update to the previous game). One of the other big improvements has been in the game's storyline, which is now much longer than the one featured in 2015's incarnation, and while the cutscenes still feel a bit unnecessary in places, they're a lot less frequent and a little better conceived this time around.
Aside from the feedback-led tweaks, there are a couple of other overhauls worth mentioning too. The first of these is the new system for upgrading and customising your cars, which now revolves around 'Speed Cards' and works something like this: Speed Cards are obtained by winning a race, receiving a shipment, levelling up your rep points or completing challenges (although they can also be purchased from tuning shops – more on that in a moment). These are split into six categories: Gearbox, Exhaust, Head, EDU, Block and Turbo. Some of the higher level cards also include bonuses such as nitrous or brakes, adding a boost to your car's in these areas.
You can also purchase cards using in-game currency from tuning shops, but be aware that the type of card available from any shop at any given time is random (rotating every half an hour or so), meaning you might end up with a card that you don't want or need. If that happens, you can trade in your unwanted card for a 'Part Token' – collect three of these and you can swap them for a Speed Card which, again, will be random, but typically of a higher standard than those you'd earn by winning races and such.
The second major overhaul has to do with the cop chases, which now involve passing through a series of timed checkpoints and which, if navigated successfully, will see the boys in blue give up the chase. This means no more hiding down a dark alley with the lights and engine turned off to evade your would-be captors, however the later races do mix it up a bit by introducing cops into the races themselves.
Can I see a trailer?
Yes indeed, there's a brand spanking new one below for you...