Need for Speed: Payback — Is it Any Good?

Is Need for Speed back to its best?

The Need for Speed series has been around the block, covering all sorts of themes in recent years, but the veteran racer’s latest law-breaking, speed-limit-busting entry is hitting stores on Friday, 10 November; but is it any good?

International gaming publications have got their paws on on Payback, which takes a narrative-inspired spin on the NFS franchise, throwing you into the shoes of a driver looking for revenge. Let’s see what they have to say about the game:

GameSpot – 5/10

“Need for Speed Payback’s banal racing is only magnified by this focus on grinding. The simple, almost retro, handling model provides occasional bouts of fun, but it’s never enough to escape Payback’s flaws, with an unwillingness to let you partake in its most hair-raising moments, and a general drabness that seeps into every layer of the game. Fast and Furious, this is not; and that’s a disappointing outcome.”

IGN – 5.9/10

“Need for Speed Payback is a big, competent, and confident arcade racer but it’s really let down by its linear cop chases, its overwrought and insidious upgrade system, its dreadful dialogue, and its superficial action sequences. It feels fine and it looks flashy, but Payback really went all-in on its direct-to-DVD revenge tale and it was a bust for me.”

Eurogamer – No Score

“It’s hard getting angry at Need for Speed Payback when instead a more fitting reaction seems to be one of complete apathy. I feel for developer Ghost Games, and after its promising debut with 2012’s Rivals this clearly talented studio’s spirit seems to have been crushed by the sheer weight of Need for Speed and the corporate burden it carries. In its hands the series has gone from accomplished to flawed to this, a joyless obligation of a game.”

PlaystationLifestyle – 8/10

Need for Speed Payback feels like the natural evolution of the series, and that’s a good thing considering the game ends with a great tease for a potential sequel. While I finished the story in around 15 hours, it’s worth noting that there are a ton of side events and collectibles that I failed to collect in that time. I could see myself easily doubling my time within Payback, and do so with a smile on my face the entire time.

US Gamer – 3/5

“Need for Speed returns with another flawed entry. There’s the core of a great racing game here and when you’re just driving around the open world, it’s wonderful. The progression system encourages grinding and the basic story is delivered with B-movie seriousness, taking away from the racing pleasure. There’s a better game inside of Payback, but you have to go through everything else to get to it.”

GamesRadar – 3.5/5

“Need for Speed Payback is a game with a brilliant story at its core. Silly, over the top and a little bit self-indulgent, but in a fantastic action movie way. It works and you’ll enjoy every car chase, nitrous boost and quippy millennial line. It just misses the mark by adding RPG elements into an arcade racer and making the best cars always just out of reach.”

Need for Speed Payback

Forbes – 6.5/10

One one hand, NFSP feels a lot like a film from a major movie studio with b-level actors, a bad script and talented cinematographers who were perhaps uninspired. On the other side, there is some fun, but simplistic quality to the gameplay. However, it is predominantly a game that is trying to do too many things at once. Unfortunately, it fails to stand out in any one area. Had it ditched the open-world concept for a more challenge and stage-based experience, the story would have been easier to follow and perhaps more engaging. Also, the game might have been able to focus more on its best attribute, which is pure, dumb racing.

Trusted Reviews – 3/5

“When you’re racing, drifting, off-roading or being chased, Payback feels like a fine arcade racer in the classic Need for Speed mould. It doesn’t have the glamour or the handling of Forza: Horizon, but it’s scores big on variety, speed and thrills.

“Unfortunately, those simple pleasures keep getting spoilt by the amount of grinding and driving around that goes on in-between. Need for Speed was never the most-respected racing series, but it used to be one of the most fun. Payback has too much getting in the way.”

Well, it looks like the reviews are all over the place. Are you interested in picking up Need for Speed: Payback? If so, it launches Friday, 10 November on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

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