I Can't Turn My Brain Off Enough To Get Into Need For Speed Payback

The latest NFS title has its merits, but you really mustn't think too hard if you want to enjoy it
I Can't Turn My Brain Off Enough To Get Into Need For Speed Payback

Having now put a good few hours into Need For Speed Payback, I’m unsure whether or not I’ll be continuing. I’m really sitting on the fence here, because I have - at times - enjoyed it, but I’ve also been monumentally, frequently frustrated by it.

Let’s start with the story line. I do actually like the fact that there’s - unlike most driving games - some sort of plot going on, even if it is hilariously derivative. It’s one of the things that’s nudging me toward the idea of continuing the campaign, but it’s also relentlessly irritating, mostly due to the characters.

You have three playable avatars: Tyler Morgan, Sean ‘Mac’ McAlister and Jessica Miller. All are cocky douchebags, and feel the need to constantly chirp away about how awesome they are while you’re driving. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I heard ‘Mac’ say something deeply moronic like “I started drifting the corners for speed” at one point. But these three fools pale in comparison to ‘Hashtiger’ - the resident Instagrammer bloke in the game who’ll make you want to hurl your controller at the screen. There are also enough cut scenes to make a Halo game developer blush.

I Can't Turn My Brain Off Enough To Get Into Need For Speed Payback

Then we have the way the cars drive. I get that Need For Speed has never been intended to be realistic, but I prefer the way the Forza Horizon games do it - they’re not exactly sims, but the handling does at least make sense. In the world of Need For Speed on the other hand, cars will generally behave like they’re on rails, before eventually understeering and then going into a weird, kind of ‘auto drift’ mode where sideways shenanigans are stupidly easy.

This I can cope with. You do get used to the way Payback does things after a while, and drifting around everywhere is admittedly quite fun. I’m even cool with the deeply silly boost function. But what I can’t abide is the elastic AI in the races. You’ll find yourself easily passing a tastelessly modified Focus RS, only for the blighter to tear up the inside a few corners later, even though your own pace hasn’t changed.

Conversely, you’ll find the gap to the cars up ahead you’ve been trying to catch up to for the best part of a lap suddenly disappear in seconds. There’s no rhyme or reason to how the ‘rubberbanding’ works, and how powerful a car is seems to have no bearing on how easy it is to beat in a race.

Remote video URL

Finally, Payback is a bit buggy. The first week I played it, it would freeze every few minutes, and sometimes I’d be able to pass straight through AI traffic. That hasn’t happened during my more recent Payback sessions, but the livery on the M5 used in several missions took until a good 30 or so seconds into some races before it loaded properly, leaving me staring at a pixelated mess for a surprising length of time.

It’s a shame as there is a lot I like about the game. The open world map for instance is incredible - it’s huge, almost entirely stunning and littered with amazing roads. The people responsible for the map of the next Forza Horizon installment need to head out into the Canyons of ‘Fortune Valley’ and find out how to make a proper set of bends to enjoy, that’s for sure.

There’s also some great attention to detail going on. While out at the launch of the new M5 - Payback’s cover star - EA told us that developers were sent a sample of BMW Individual Frozen Dark Red Metallic (the super-expensive colour of the Launch Edition cars) to make sure in the virtual world it looked exactly like it should. And having seen the car IRL moments before playing the game (handily, there were a couple of consoles set up for us), I can tell you it does.

I Can't Turn My Brain Off Enough To Get Into Need For Speed Payback

For open world driving fun, Forza Horizon 3 is still the one for me. Despite being far too flawed though, Need For Speed Payback isn’t completely beyond being recommendable. The relatively small list of cars doesn’t have a duffer in it, and modifying them in ways you’d never dream of IRL is entertaining. And did I mention how much I love the map?

It’s essentially the gaming equivalent of a Fast and Furious film: it can be enjoyable, but think too hard - especially if you have any real knowledge about cars - and you’re going to get annoyed.

So, you really need to switch off your brain before switching your console on. Right now, I’m struggling to…



Agreed with everything in this article. It really has been a major disappointment.

12/23/2017 - 12:32 |
34 | 44

It’s a great game, but like you said, it makes you rage the f#ck out. The offroad races are the most fun but at the same time the least predictable, so I often found myself repeating the race up to like 20 times

12/23/2017 - 12:34 |
94 | 4

I know the feel. But what frustrated me the most in the game was when they were like “Hey let’s do a sprint race in your drag cars”

12/23/2017 - 14:43 |
52 | 0
Ian MacDonald

After playing NFS payback for some more time, I’ve got to say it’s grown on me. But the upgrade system just ruins what could be an okay game, it’s just seems so counter intuitive and needlessly over complicated, it’s the only thing keeping me from actually buying it.

12/23/2017 - 12:37 |
48 | 2

The upgrade system is very self-explainatory and is pretty good

12/23/2017 - 17:11 |
20 | 32

Last NFS game I played was Undercover.
10/10 would beat a Veyron with almost stock 69’ Charger again

12/23/2017 - 12:50 |
8 | 0
Twin-Turbo kicked in bruh

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I played Undercover the day before I bought NFS Payback.

I made it to the missions where you have to takedown Rose, I did it with the 240SX you get at the start of the game. It was the only car I used.

Good old times.

12/23/2017 - 17:27 |
0 | 0
Ali Mahfooz

Well it’s EA. They’ll mess up big titles in one or the other way. 😛

12/23/2017 - 12:52 |
18 | 4

So your saying it’s like Mario kart but slightly less realistic?

12/23/2017 - 12:59 |
60 | 54
Adam Warner

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I didn’t know that was possible…..

12/23/2017 - 15:23 |
10 | 2

I prefer 2015 > Payback. Sure 2015 is not great, but it has that actual street racing feel.
Payback’s story and card system disappoints me the most.

12/23/2017 - 13:03 |
6 | 4

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I like that I’m driving the car in Payback. You can have all the street racing “feel” you want in ‘15 But you ain’t really driving the car.

12/23/2017 - 18:02 |
2 | 2
German Perfectionist

It has no interior cam, that’s already a deal breaker for me…

12/23/2017 - 13:09 |
10 | 4

Considering you could put stickers on windows, I wonder how that would work?

12/24/2017 - 02:31 |
2 | 2

Why are adults trying to ruin everything? Need for speed has never tried to even be like forza or gran tourismo. All the franchise has ever been is to be fun and easy for CHILDREN to drive. Dear adults. JUST STOP PLAYING!

12/23/2017 - 13:18 |
34 | 30

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)


12/23/2017 - 13:23 |
2 | 0
Erich Mohrmann

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

So has been Forza….

12/23/2017 - 13:29 |
0 | 0
TurboToddler (Straight-five)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You know there’s lots of adult gamers, right? It’s not just for kids

12/23/2017 - 14:54 |
42 | 2
Tomislav Celić

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

As a game dev I’ll tell you few facts
Kids can’t afford modern games
There are more gamers over the age of 21 than under
And the avrage age of a gamer is 31 years old


12/23/2017 - 16:30 |
18 | 10
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I don’t think any child should have to suffer a cutscene where the new M5 sounds like it has a V10…

12/23/2017 - 17:01 |
70 | 2

What a surprise. When the first trailer already arrived and looked exactly like the predecessor, everybody told me to just give the game chance. Fast forward a couple of months, the very same people are disappointed with the game, just like they were with the predecessor. The same stupid gameplay, the same terrible driving physics, the same cringy story. Just like the predecessor.
Now, I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so.

12/23/2017 - 13:34 |
22 | 44

In reply to by Jakob

Have you played it?

12/23/2017 - 16:30 |
10 | 2
Mandalore the Ultimate

In reply to by Jakob

It’s a fun, entertaining game with a decent story and an amazing map. It features in-depth customization and tough cop chases. What more do you want? If you haven’t played it, don’t say stupid sh*t you don’t understand. There is nothing worse then idiots who form an opinion on something without even playing it, or taking the time to get to personally know the flaws and accomplishments.

12/23/2017 - 16:42 |
6 | 6

In reply to by Jakob

It’s much better than NFS15, sure the story is cringy but the driving physics are MUCH better

12/23/2017 - 17:04 |
6 | 2
Seth 3

In reply to by Jakob

I agree

12/23/2017 - 17:25 |
0 | 12


Sponsored Posts