At this point, after 23 years since its inception, the Need for Speed franchise hardly needs introductions. We know what to expect. Cool, fast cars, exciting races, occasional game of cat and mouse with the police. We all know the drill. It seems that Need for Speed: Payback is going to be a “The Greatest Hits” compilation of the cool features of NFS, with some additional bits and bobs of its own.
Let’s take a look.

There is a story now

If you always found Need for Speed games lacking for story, you weren’t wrong. They usually had the flimsiest excuses for storyline, barely enough to give some context to racing, as if we needed a reason to speed through urban or rural areas.

Curiously NFS:P is not only going to give the plot a heist theme, but we’re also getting three protagonists, which may or may not ever have some semblance of personality. Each of them is going to have a different specialty as a driver, too, taking on different types of missions and races.
Our racers are Tyler, a rising start of street racing, and the game’s primary protagonist. Along the way he’s also going to meet and team up with Mac, who cares maybe a little too much about style, and Jess, who takes a much more professional approach.
The three of them is going to join forces in order to take down a gambling cartel known as The House, although each will have their own reasons for it, as well as different specific methods.
Although Mac’s or Jess’ motives remain unknown, a little is known about Tyler, since his story is the one that justifies the game subtitle. At some point in the recent past Tyler’d been double-crossed by people connected to the gambling cartel controlling the casinos, officials, and the underground. The key to taking them down is by driving aggressively at them, probably.

Convoy assaults

Payback probably isn’t going to be 2015’s Mad Max in terms of car combat, but judging from the trailers, NFS is going to be no slouch either. Throughout the game there will be missions requiring you to assault convoys transporting objects important to The House. Of course things can never be easy, so before you get the objective you’ll need to take down the cars protecting it. Which mean a lot of side-by-side driving hoping your opponent drives into a pole or flips on a tricky piece of road or dirt. What is slightly worrying is that even in the gameplay trailer each such crash results in a brief camera shift and a slow motion of the resulting destruction. If this continues in the final product it could harm the pace, and possibly result in a slight disorientation. It of course remains to be seen, and it’s fully possible it was just an additional cinematic flair added to the presentation.
Either way, fighting through several cars worth of protection detail, capturing the objective, and driving away with it sounds like a nice divergence from the usual and same-y races we know from previous games.

Car customisation

Since a decent number of years NFS games put emphasis on customizing your car both in terms of appearance and performance. Need for Speed: Payback isn’t going to be any different in this respect, with an allegedly impressive number of customization options.

Car classes

A part of that system will be related to car classes, of which there will be five. Race cars are going to be great at high-speed cornering and driving ahead on tarmac. Off-road will be durable and have air time good enough to make landing on loose surfaces less of a hassle. For straight-only speed and some wheelies, you’ll pick Drag vehicles. Drift cars will trade speed for taking corners sideways. Finally Runners are going to be the cars of choice when you need to avoid cops and thread through traffic like it’s nothing.
Worth noting is that cars are limited to two or three classes, except for Derelicts you find in the game world, which can be customized to any of them.

Visual customisation

What’s a good NFS without a way for you to create your own uniquely-looking car?
Payback knows where the strengths lie, and so it’s going to offer a significant scope of visual customizations of various kinds.

First off, we’re getting custom paints and wraps, the latter of which will have community support, in case you find the ones shipped with the game to be insufficient for your needs. That implies there will be some form of editor and a sharing tool. Although it probably won’t create anything like the modding communities some games have, it’s nice to see support for creative endeavors. On the car body side of things, there will be a large number of individual customizable parts for nearly anything between the front and rear bumper. You’ll also be able to control the stance fo your ride, if the factory suspension profile isn’t at all to your liking.

And then there’re the usual performance upgrades and tuning. All things considered
NFS: Payback is going to provide you with plenty of tools to make the cars truly your own.

The final lap

Although the NFS franchise has gone through ups and downs along the way, Need for Speed: Payback looks like a definitive improvement judging by the information released so far. Between a story that may introduce some actual character and stakes to the game, diverse range of driving activities, and substantial customization, Payback sounds a little like a comeback of the famous franchise.

We will need to wait until Need for Speed: Payback releases on November 10 this year,  leaving just under two months of time to get your pre-orders ready, if you are into this sort of thing.
How are you going to prepare your car to take on The House?