I have been a big Need for Speed fan since Hot Pursuit 2 and with each release, I have found something to like about the series, however in the years past, since Ghost games took the helm, I have found myself not liking the series, with Payback however, the developers have stated that they have been listening to feed back.
Need for Speed Payback was playable at the EA Play 2017 event, so my hands on there was the same as everyone elses, but where the past games have pushed forward the idea of an always online experience with friends, Payback is approaching things a little differently. Thankfully the biggest change to the game is that offline is now supported, which means if you are like myself and don’t have great internet, you can play this game now.
The demo that I played, has you taking control of one of the three playable characters, in this case, Tyler as you attempt to get close to a truck that is speeding along a highway, in order for your friend and another playable character Jess, to jump from your car to the truck in order to steal what they are carrying, a very fancy sports car. If this sounds like something you might find from within the realm of Fast and Furious, you would not be wrong, the developers stated that they wanted to get people to think of cars as more than just a point a to point b device.
When I took control of the game, I was able to see how it controlled, which is more critical in a NFS game than you might think, here the car controlled very well, drifting it around a corner, while avoiding traffic felt so good. Tapping the NOS to gain a little extra speed was also welcome, especially as to get closer to the truck, I had to take out the support vehicles that they had floating around. If you think Burnout’s Dominator mode, where you have to deliberately wreck other cars, you are on the correct track, however each time, after the first, that I wrecked one of their cars, the slowdown shot of that car being wrecked was very annoying.
Once I was able to get up to the truck, it lead to a strange situation, cutscenes and there were a lot of them, which is not a bad thing, if they bookend the action, but here they were 10 second and 20 seconds in length, just enough to tell you something, but also long enough to be a pain. The one you will know about is from the trailer, where the truck break checks, causing the player to run up the back of the truck, for some reason, that was a cutscene. I don’t know if the entire game will playout like that, I hope not, but if it does, people might be a little annoyed.
It is early days yet, but within this brief moment of gameplay, I got a feeling that my Need for Speed is back, time will tell how the game shapes up, but in the short term, I have a good feeling.