What is Need for Speed Payback?
When a sudden betrayal leads to a car heist going wrong, top racer Tyler and his crew find themselves out on their back. Eager to get revenge on the ones who did them wrong, it's up to you to work your way up from the bottom, as you compete in underground street races to earn a place in The Outlaw's Rush, and finally get your shot at payback.
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How do you play Need for Speed Payback?
Spread out over an open world, Need for Speed Payback is a game that mixes paint trading street racing, with numerous other speed-related challenges for you to complete. In the races themselves, you'll face off against seven opponents in a no holds barred tussle for first place. Feel free to bash, ram, and spin your opponents on your way to first place, as you'll need to use every trick in the book to get out in front.
Outside of the races, the open world offers a variety of challenges for you to complete. From speed gate challenges, which ask you to hit a top speed while passing through them, and jump challenges, which see how far you can leap off a ramp, to destructible collectibles like billboards, there's a fair amount to see and do on your way between races.
How easy is Need for Speed Payback to pick up and play?
With challenging opponents who'll punish any mistake, and an adjustable difficulty level that doesn't seem to make too much difference to their skill, Need for Speed Payback is a game aimed at experienced racers. No matter how well you drive, it's rare that you'll find yourself far out in front of the pack, as even if you sabotage one racer, there'll be another waiting to take their place. Many races also require you to finish in first position in order to unlock the next.
While races themselves are well signposted, with frequent checkpoints and large chevron overlays to signify sharp bends, getting around the world itself and finding the next events is a bit more challenging. As there's no route marker overlay on the road itself, you'll need to keep a close eye on your minimap to look out for your turn.
The game's upgrade system also serves to make the game more challenging. Rather than being able to buy defined upgrades, you instead have to use speed cards to upgrade the various bits of your car. The two easiest ways of getting new speed cards are to either visit parts shops scattered around the world, in the hope of finding a speed card that's better than the one you currently have equipped, or win a race, which will earn you a single, randomly chosen card - although it still may not be any better than the one you have equipped. What that means is you'll have to spend a long time replaying earlier races (and doing your best to come first) in the hope of getting a new card, with which to make your car better.
While the game is fully subtitled and story scenes are fully voiced, there is the odd bit of reading to be done surrounding tutorials, etc. Sample sentences include:
- Spend THREE Part Tokens to ROLL a new Speed Card. LOCK IN your choice of Category, Brand or Perk and hit Roll! Good luck with the odds!
- Set the fastest AVERAGE SPEED through the Checkpoints.
- Each Dealership specializes in a different BUILD TYPE. There are five build types to discover: RACE, DRIFT, OFFROAD, DRAG and RUNNER.
Although it has nothing in the way of sexual content or violence in game, Need for Speed Payback does contain some bad language, with words like "b*stard" and "p*ss" showing up occasionally, alongside racial slurs like "gringo".
Parents will also want to be aware that the game gives players the ability to download "skins" that other players have made for cars. Some of these may contain inappropriate content - one we found would cover your car in cannabis leaves. Although it isn't an intrinsic part of the game itself, it's well worth bearing in mind that online connected consoles may lead to players seeing inappropriate content - depending on your console of choice, parental controls may be able to restrict the access to user generated content.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4