Need For Speed Payback Review

It’s crazy to think that the Need for Speed series has been around for 23 years. The first game debuted on the 3DO back in 1994, 22 instalments later and we have Need for Speed Payback, Ghost Games are back at the helm again for a third time as they seek to deliver the next step in a franchise that has seen its fair share of ups and downs.

Tyler, Mac and Jess make up a group of petrol-heads that serve as the game’s main protagonists, it’s paramount that players feel a connection with the characters and aside from cheeky banter and quips there isn’t a whole lot to cling onto. Many of the performances come across as contrived, this makes it too hard to become invested.

The group find themselves going up against The House, a cartel that have a firm grip over Fortune Valley. They control the casinos, cops, criminals and they even rig races, but the goal is to put all that to an end. It’s the underdogs versus the machine sort of scenario which I dig very much, you always want the bad people in power to get what’s coming to them and I feel the same about The House. On another level I want to see the villain characters get their comeuppance.


What I feel is executed superbly is the gameplay and for a racing game it sure as hell should be. The best moments and the most fun I have, are during the actual races and missions. I do have a need with games of this genre, and that’s speed. You can feel the high octane action as you manoeuvre between the other cars on the track. Small things like the camera shaking as you rev your vehicle or switch gears are appreciated because they build immersion. There are a few set-piece moments that you’ll come across that feel very much like Fast and Furious and work out great in bringing some memorable moments.

There is one issue with the in-mission gameplay, and that’s the interruptions that occur when taking on police or enforcer vehicles. Encounter these vehicles and boom, slowdown clip showing the enemy coming in and when you destroy one of them, again you get a slowdown shot of the car being totalled. These cut the momentum and happen far too often.

Roaming the open-world is lacklustre, there are some challenges you can go do such as speed-traps, speed-runs and collectible style things like driving through billboards, but in terms of interesting things to do, there aren’t any. You can go on a treasure hunt to find derelict vehicles to then upgrade but that literally feels like a wild goose chase, you don’t really feel like you accomplished anything by just finding these chassis’ and parts. The only time I spent in the open world was travelling to the next mission, hitting the upgrade shop or finding the few derelict vehicles I bothered to get.

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There is a surprising balance between the pros and cons for this title, one pro which I think is the most prominent from the get go, are the stunning visuals. A beautifully designed open-world that has many awe-inspiring views, locations and buildings. Whilst travelling to a mission I literally stopped and spent a few minutes marvelling at the Kishar Resort & Casino building, I wanted to get out of my car and explore, but of course that isn’t what Need for Speed is. The world I could see being right at home in a massive sandbox style game, so kudos to the design team on that.

Another home-run I feel is the sound design, from the soundtrack to the sound effects this sounds exactly how a racing game should, the rumble of the engine, screeching of the tyres and crashes when metal meets metal is satisfying. The radio music is catchy, very racer-esque, lots of beats and high tempo, it instils this go-fast mentality.

If you want any chance of placing high in the multiplayer games, then you better not play multiplayer until you’ve put in plenty of hours into the single-player to upgrade your vehicle enough to even have a shot of performing well online. Once your vehicle has a decent rating the online matches are fun, competing against others in events that are comprised of five matches are addictive, trying to knock each other off the top spot throughout.

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Ups and downs, highs and lows, for every positive there is a negative which impact greatly on the overall product. It’s stunning visually, sounds awesome and the gameplay is fun, unfortunately there is an unofficial level/rating requirement to have a chance in online, the gameplay is constantly interrupted, and the open-world is boring. The story is interesting but the characters just aren’t, due to not so good voice acting. Not a bad game but I don’t feel it could constitute as a good one either.


Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.

(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Need for Speed Payback, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)


Top Games Releasing This Month: November 2017

November is here, that means another list of the top games coming this month. Much like October there are a huge stack of games coming out, accounting for all major platforms and genre’s:-

Call Of Duty WWII
(Releasing: Friday 3rd – Platform(s): XBO, PS4 & PC)

Super Lucky’s Tale
(Releasing: Tuesday 7th – Platform(s): XBO & PC)

Sonic Forces
(Releasing:  Tuesday 7th – Platform(s): XBO, PS4, Switch & PC)

Need For Speed: Payback
(Releasing: Friday 10th – Platform(s): XBO, PS4 & PC)

(Releasing: Friday 10th – Platform(s): Switch)

L.A. Noire
(Releasing:  Tuesday 14th – Platform(s): XBO, PS4 & Switch)

Rocket League
(Releasing: Tuesday 14th – Platform(s): Switch)

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2
(Releasing: Tuesday 14th – Platform(s): XBO, PS4, Switch & PC)

Star Wars: Battlefront II
(Releasing: Friday 17th – Platform(s): XBO, PS4 & PC)

The Sims 4
(Releasing: Friday 17th – Platform(s): XBO & PS4)

Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon
(Releasing: Friday 17th – Platform(s): 3DS)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
(Releasing: Friday 17th – Platform(s): Switch)

Hidden Agenda
(Releasing: Wednesday 22nd – Platform(s): PS4)

Knowledge Is Power
(Releasing: Wednesday 22nd – Platform(s): PS4)

SingStar Celebration
(Releasing: Wednesday 22nd – Platform(s): PS4)

Resident Evil Revelations 1 & 2
(Releasing: Tuesday 28th – Platform(s): Switch)

The Switch is continuing its momentum with more big releases, most are re-releases of older titles, but it shows the third party support coming to Switch. Call Of Duty WWII and Star Wars: Battlefront II are set to be one of the top holiday season games this year.

Written by Rhys Baldwin.

Need For Speed Payback Story Trailer

EA released a new story-focused trailer for Need For Speed Payback. The game is due for release November 10th, 2017 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

The trailer offers a look at the story that players will journey through in the game. Its set in the underworld of Fortune Valley, players take on the roles of three characters. Tyler is the Racer, Jess is the Wheelman and Mac is the Showman. The three are reunited by a thirst for vengeance against a cartel that near enough run the city. The House rules the cops, casinos and even the criminals.

Written by Rhys Baldwin.

(News Courtesy of EA)

EA Press Conference Details

EA just had their E3 Press Conference and they went hard and heavy with the gameplay and feature reveals for many of their upcoming games.

EA just had their E3 Press Conference and they went hard and heavy with the gameplay and feature reveals for many of their upcoming games.

Madden NFL 18 features a new campaign mode entitled ‘Longshot’ that looks to take the formula from ‘The Journey’ in FIFA 17 and transfer it over to another immersive experience in the latest instalment of Madden. The game will be released August 25th.

We were treated to some footage of In The Name Of Tsar an upcoming expansion for Battlefield 1 focusing on the Russian Army.  This DLC contains six new maps, a new mode, 11 new weapons plus extra vehicles. You will be able to play as a female character for the first time in the games series.

It was also announced that two more maps are on the way this summer for those with the Premium Pass and both featuring night time settings. Nivelle Nights and Prise de Tahure releasing June and July respectively.

Alex Hunter returns in FIFA 18 with a follow-up story called ‘Hunter Returns’. The game is said to be ‘Fuelled by Ronaldo’s Data’ which was then explained to be the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo assisted with the motion capture of various moves and sequences within the game.

Need For Speed Payback takes to the stage with a first look at The Highway Heist, one of the missions you will undertake in the game. This job is what it’s called, a heist on the highway where your crew needs to collect a valuable vehicle from a heavy goods vehicle. Fast-paced and hard-hitting, destroy enemy cars and execute the mission.Fast and Furious style.

From the creators of Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons, A Way Out from Hazelight Studios is a split-screen co-op experience that can be played online or on the couch with a friend. Control Vincent and Leo two prison inmates that seek to escape and secure freedom. Coming Early 2018

Anthem is revealed and is brought to us by Bioware, the studio behind some of the greatest critically acclaimed games and franchises, Knights Of The Old Republic, Dragon Age and Mass Effect. A gameplay reveal trailer will be featured in tomorrow’s Xbox Media Briefing.

NBA Live 18 will also feature a new campaign / story based mode called ‘The One’. You will choose between playing in The Streets or The League. The former has you played on real street courts with the latter taking you into the NBA. A free demo will be launched in August allowing players to try out ‘The One’ for themselves with all progress carrying over to the main game.

For E3 week, EA Access and Origin Access will be free for players to try out for themselves as well as many games on PS4 getting free trial periods, such games include FIFA, Madden, Star Wars Battlefront, Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 and more.

The finale of the press conference was all about Star Wars Battlefront II and gave us a look at what we can expect from the multiplayer side in this highly anticipated game. A full multiplayer game was shown featuring the Separatist army taking on the Clone Troopers in the city of Theed located on Naboo. An assault map with three stages that sees the droids from the Separatist’s looking to overthrow the city and defeat the clones who in turn look to hold back the onslaught.

Battlefront II will do away with the season pass and instead is expected to receive free content with Finn and Captain Phasma coming holiday 2017. ‘Seasons’ will be the themed content that will be added to the game after it’s launch. Along with the before-mentioned characters, The Last Jedi content pack will also contain the new planet of Crait and D’Qar.

For More E3 Coverage you can catch all the big news here at CONQUEST.