Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Review: Need for Speed: Payback

Race, drift, drag, off-road, and runner. These are the five different categories of events racing gamers get to take part in in Fortune Valley, the main setting of Need for Speed: Payback. The game is like many open world games, only, unlike earlier installments in the franchise, it has “chapters” like a novel.

The game opens with a prologue, in which the three playable characters are gunning an American car, a German car, and a Japanese car on what appears to be a multi-mile practice thrash. The section introduces them as Tyler Morgan (the main playable character,) Sean “Mac” McCallister (the other playable male,) and Jessica Miller (the franchise’s first playable female.)

As the story progresses half a year later (in the game,) players, as Tyler, are finally in the open world, but they now have to win their first couple races in a 1970s Datsun (Early Nissan.) Skipping a spoiler, players are later treated to an increasingly wide range to event, plus access to upgrade shops. There is; however, two minor restrictions.

The first restriction – One car cannot fit all, like in Need for Speed: Carbon. In other words, players have to shop at the Drift Dealership just for cars for drift events, at the Drag Dealership just for cars for drag events, and so on. The second restriction – Race and drag events have to be played as Tyler. Drift and off-road events have to be played as Mac. And runner events have to be played as Jessica. The best thing players can do for all events is reject every side bet.

The installment’s big innovation is that aside from events, players are treated to heists that they get to play almost like Grand Theft Auto missions. In the first one, Tyler and Jessica are tasked with retrieving a Koenigsegg from a high speed truck. But the rest of these missions are really much too good to spoil.

While Need for Speed: Payback restricts what cars you can enter in what categories of events, the innovations of who players get to play as, including a female character, the variations of events, and the range of heists on the side are much more important.

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