My thoughts on Need for Speed: Payback

That’s a nice way to summarize it, isn’t it? You read this post’s title and then look at the picture, that’s pretty much it.
It wouldn’t be fair though. There’s the work of hundreds of people behind the making of this game so a simple joke like that wouldn’t do it justice. Also, there’s also the reasons WHY I disliked so much what EA showed about this new game and I’d like to share it with the world.

Let’s start by explaining where I come from. The first NFS game I ever played was also the first Need for Speed game ever made. It may be quite rough for today’s standards and it certainly was cheesy with those FMV cutscenes but, it was a game from my childhood and I kinda have nostalgia because of it. Back on the PS1 days, I played NFS3 Hot Pursuit night and day. I really loved the police chases so much. Since then I’ve played games from this IP on every playstation console; the underground games and most wanted from the PS2 era, almost every game from the PS3 generation which was quite a feat considering how much they spread out the franchise with more sequels, reboots and spawning the whole “Shift” series… If you’ve been following this blog you could also see that I even played Rivals on PS4 so, yes, I can consider myself a follower of this franchise.
The thing is, that doesn’t mean I liked every game in the series. In fact, that review I made on NFS Rivals had me pretty much trashing the game. Also, I’ve never talked about the 2015 reboot on the blog before but I’ll tell you now, I don’t think that game is any better than the previous title honestly.

I don’t like where this series is going. The NFS games used to be racing games, some more arcadey than others but racing games through and through. However, if I look at the latest installments and judge them as that, racing games, they’re useless. Why? Because, simply put, there’s no real racing in them.
They introduced this “feature” called “rubber-banding” quite a while ago. That’s supposed to make races feel more competitive and your victories be tighter and engaging but… they went way overboard. The races you can have in Rivals and NFS (2015) aren’t real races, they’re scripted events. You’ll overtake the rivals when the AI lets you and they will overtake you on the very same premise. There’s no skill other than not crashing at the last quarter of the race so that the oponents overtake you without any space for catching up.

The thing is, those two games were financial failures for EA or, at least, they didn’t sell well enough for what they had expected so they wanted to give the series a rest. The NFS had become almost a yearly release franchise by then but this time they wanted to give the developer more time so they could bring something fresh to the franchise.
That product of that added time and a will to bring something new to the series is called NFS Payback and, to my dismay, instead of making a 180 degree turn, it pulls out a full 360 to keep the series drift further and come with full force.
You didn’t like rubber-banding so intrusive that it made races fully scripted? Let’s make the game have fully scripted missions and not a hint of racing anymore.
This isn’t Need for Speed anymore, this is the Fast & the Furious: The game. It’s not trying to bring racing games fans back to the series but actually catering to the Michael Bay audience who just want to see cars flipping over and exploding. It does looks flashy, I’ll give it that. The graphics and the colisions are quite impressive to look at but this isn’t about racing anymore and thus I lost all interest (and hope) on the series.

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