Need for Speed Payback Preview – Road to Vengeance

Need for Speed is one of the oldest and most prolific franchises out there, with over twenty titles released since 1994. After a while doing the same pure racing routine might seem monotonous, and the upcoming Need for Speed: Payback seems to do something new with the franchise.

Let’s take a look at what we can expect in NFS: Payback.


Up to this point Need for Speed had stories which were pretexts at best. You have a car, we provide you with some arbitrary problem, go drive fast. Things were simple. With Payback, however, EA and Ghost Games clearly decided to go for a more story-driven experience, with actual characters instead of pretty much anonymous rebel drivers on the road to fame or something.

If that wasn’t interesting enough on its own, we’re getting not one, but three main characters, each specialising in different driving styles, and with different motivations. There’s Tyler, the one with penchant for racing itself. Mac enjoy extreme driving with lots of tricks, while Jess is the one you call for reliable driver who’s cool under pressure.

The three of them are going to go against the gambling cartel called The House, each for different reasons. Of course The House has people in the police and local government, so it falls to the three drivers to sort out this mess.
From what of the plot we’ve seen so far doesn’t sound at all original, but as five million Fast and Furious movies have taught us, repetitive, unoriginal plots can still be a blast to experience, if the cast is likeable and the production has a modicum of sincerity. Whether that will be the case with NFS: Payback will likely remain unknown until the release date, but there is a lot to work with for a change.

Cinematic heists

A good portion of the core missions are going to involve taking down enemy convoys, which means a lot of Mad Max-like car combat. We can expect a lot of ramming ominous SUVs, slamming into them side to side, pushing them onto objectives, all that fancy stuff. It remains to be seen if it’s going to rival 2015’s Mad Max game in terms of road conflict, but the hopes are up.

Interestingly, the convoy missions are going to be scripted, and given certain cinematic flair. One of the gameplay trailers suggests every guarding SUV we crash is going to get a nifty slow-motion shot of getting wrecked, while the actual truck heist requires some good driving, triggers a cutscene and a slick change of character we’re controlling.
It looks great on trailers, sure, but it remains to be seen whether it stays for the game itself, and if so, whether it interrupts the flow too much.

Car customisation

It wouldn’t be a proper Need for Speed game if it didn’t have extensive car customisation. You’ll be able to tune up your ride with aftermarket parts, which you’ll be able to either buy or win through racing, but that’s the most basic level.

Enthusiasts of tweaking will be given a chance to manipulate their car’s suspension profile to a satisfying degree, although it’s unclear yet how much it’s going to be reflected in actual driving, it all depends on the physics engine.
There’s also going to be a decent measure of visual customisation as well, including a wrap library, which will be open for community creations as well. The usual aftermarket bumper, headlights, hoods and pretty much any visible part of the car are all going to be customisable as well, of course, although some options may be absent based on a specific car.

What to expect, then?

The upcoming NFS is going to feature all the best parts that made the franchise popular in the first place. It also adds a story to an extent never before seen in the series, clearly inspired by The Fast and the Furious movies. With current gen visuals, and extensive customisation in both performance and appearance Need for Speed: Payback is likely to make some big waves when it launches on November 10 this year, which leaves just about two weeks to get a preorder, if you need to. Think fast.

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