Two years later, Need For Speed returns to Fortune Valley with a history of revenge and street racing in an environment both urban and natural, which collects many of the ideas of the franchise and mixes them with others somewhat controversial. We travel all its roads in our analysis.
Need For Speed has been given another two years of rest. It is not the first time, the delivery of 2015 supposed a restart and took the same time. However, he did not finish convincing. And it is that Need For Speed takes all the generation trying to find the right key, rescuing everything possible from the past to face the future in what is always a good tribute to the franchise, but lacking ideas that make it renew. One thing is for sure: Need for Speed Payback is not that future.
On paper, his formula can be even better than the nighttime Need For Speed two years ago. His return to the day-night cycle, his extensive map that proposes urban and natural environments, together with all the inheritance that already collected the previous work of Ghost Games, results in a game with more packaging. However, the experience is quickly marred by an uncomfortable, forced and artificial structure provided by the need to include a system of levels specific to an RPG that allows you to unlock SpeedCards (improvement letters for your vehicle) and Cargoes ( Prize Boxes).
This system seems crude and poorly implemented. Need For Speed Payback contains Career, Skid, Escape, Acceleration and Escape missions. Each one of them requires a vehicle of a certain level, but getting that car with the required features involves doing secondary tasks and, above all, repeat missions to get the cars, money and the necessary improvements if we want to be minimally competitive. Trying to enter a mission well below the level is, at times, a waste of time. Even with the right level, it is sometimes palpable that the game adapts little to this system of levels, and has to continue using the classic tricks in artificial intelligence to give excitement to the racing. In any case, Need For Speed relies little on your driving skills.
Of course, if you do not want to invest time, you can do it in money with the cargos: microtransactions that give you that push to keep up with the game. Are they strictly necessary? Of course not. But repeating missions and having to do long challenges that have us circling the extensive map is not done to the player’s liking. They are a formula to extend the life of the game and do not even seem like something fun, because they are widely overcome challenges that respond clearly to the concept of “grinder”. The result, as we say, is that Need For Speed Payback has content very similar to what we have seen in previous installments of the saga, but because of this structure, it will be much harder to finish it.
Payback does not propose anything that we have not seen before. For a game that seems to be trying to reinvent itself, the truth is that we have not seen in it elements that we have not played previously in other Need For Speed. Their greatest contributions, in fact, rescue them from the formula adopted by Forza Horizon from its second part, adding off-road races that make the most of the Fortune Valley mapping, while defeating each of the rival bands is rewarded with the location of an abandoned car to be repaired with its respective parts; again, as Forza Horizon 2 contributed at the time.
The five disciplines are now somewhat more varied than in the previous Need For Speed. The races are a classic, but they also include the counter- races. The skid takes us to make points in very well planned routes, with some variations. The SUV opens the map before surrounded by roads and secondary roads. The acceleration proposes a mini-game career and gear changes. Finally, the Escape confronts us with persecutions with the police and the members of La Casa, the organization from which we seek revenge.
When history joins the events, it offers some of the best missions of the game.
Modes of the game that, without being original, seem much more varied than what the franchise proposed to us before. It is appreciated that the events of Derrape propose us variants such as trying to pass through objects of the collision, SUV expands the limits of its orography and Escape confronts us with police that becomes something more difficult to get rid of. Although its conception and its structure is repeated, going through many of these tests has been fun with some really well designed. We fail, yes, the Acceleration; his minigame of gearshift is pretty simple and his races are looking for speed, but with cars that are practically incapable of turning.
To fill in the extensive map, there have been added some small missions known from other driving games, such as crossing a radar at full speed, counter-races and instant skidding races that try to avoid the tedium of having to go to a garage or tune center without spending money on the process. Something already in itself cumbersome, because if we want to customize our car or change it for others we are forced to go through these checkpoints. To try to give some life to the matter, the Challenges are added, small missions such as driving in the opposite direction or reaching high speeds, which will also help us open Cargoes to improve our vehicles.
The multiplayer mode has been losing more and more weight, reducing itself to races for eight players without many options. The same happens with the Autolog, one of the great contributions from Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and that here is somewhat camouflaged without more utility than to offer us the marks of our friends. At least they return the SpeedList that were lost in the last delivery and where we will choose between a racing car and another SUV. The system matches the level of our vehicle and, if we play with rank, it will also do according to this classification.
History helps to reconcile the missions, without shining with its own light. An organization called La Casa Que amaña Carreras betrays our band, which ends up dissolving. Little by little, we will have to recover our position to take revenge not only for the personal but for the good of the city and the rest of the street gangs. Although it is really simple, most of the time you will not be very sure of what they are telling you, but in almost all these occasions you will not mind much either.
When the story joins the events offer some of the best missions of the game, where we will control several characters in different circumstances, as seen in the demo of E3. However, these missions are very scarce and in most cases, we face different bands whose objectives are simple: races, skids, chases, which can end up fatiguing the player.
Technically, the game looks good, with some details very well taken care of. The cinematics is not very successful, but what happens on the asphalt has a good invoice, especially in natural settings that shine in the sunsets, more than the city: a kind of decaffeinated Las Vegas. The certain thing is that the Need for Speed of 2015 was able even to create a more realistic visual section, although of course, hiding everything under the cloak of an eternal night that ended up running out, so we preferred the formula used in NFS: Payback. One misses, yes, the phenomenal climatic effects that already showed Need for Speed Rivals in 2013.
The disciplines are now somewhat more varied than in the previous Need For Speed.
The sound effects fulfill, with some boasts like the V8 engines that roar well, while their soundtrack re-mixes licensed tracks with an original soundtrack for some key missions. It contains some clues that intone the most frenetic races very well, while it’s dubbing our language is simply correct, without reaching the quality of the original.
Need For Speed Payback is the work of the franchise in a generation that has not finished blunting. It is noted with a lack of obvious ideas, whose maximum contributions to this release are inspired by other driving games and where Frankenstein has been created structure that barely breathes the work and the player. The Ghost Games team has plenty of talent to create a good Need For Speed and has shown that it is able to combine all the elements that have made the saga great in each of its stages, also adding a great personalization and tune to the equation. But it also gets a vague note: it does inexplicable things, like having a lesser sense of speed than your previous delivery. Recycle ideas, again and again, relying on their open-world instead of pampering each mission in an artisan way. It makes driving more personal than ever before, being able to adjust the setting, but once again, we trust that all cars are the variation of the same perfect vehicle with diminished statistics. Even his driving style has been polished so little that a failure of the previous one, which blocked the steering at times making it impossible to turn, is still present here. It relies too much on artificial intelligence that sometimes cheats. And definitely, no matter how hard you try, Need For Speed can not contain a repetitive RPG structure to advance its main story, because it breaks the rhythm.
Need For Speed Payback refines the formula of the previous game, expanding the scale and rescuing all the good ideas of the franchise, but everything becomes too familiar and uninspired. If we add a structure that forces the player to repeat missions to continue, the result is a game that seems fun, but also something lazy and artificial.
- Disciplines, such as Skidding, Off-Road or Escape, very fun
- Varied map, containing urban and natural environments
- Its structure forces us to repeat missions in order to advance
- Few main missions elaborated