E3 2017 – Need for Speed: Payback Early Impressions
Today at EA Play (EA’s contribution to this year’s E3), I got an opportunity to demo EA’s latest racer Need for Speed Payback. In truth, I wasn’t very excited to give it a try considering the last couple Need for Speed games were relatively lackluster releases. This is Ghost Games’ third take at the Need for Speed franchise, and in my opinion, Payback is the perfect title because to me it truly feels like their redemption. While my playtime was limited to a short five-minute demo (which I played through twice), I came away thoroughly impressed and eager to play more.
Need for Speed: Payback introduces a story that would fit right into the Fast and the Furious film franchise. You’re on a crew working against the evil cartel “The House.” In this demo, I was tasked with tracking down a Koenigsegg supercar, being transported by The House via a tractor trailer. Along the way, The House enforcers, driving vehicles as well, will make every effort to stop me. Fortunately, I was able to smash into them, eventually destroying them, not unlike the takedowns you would perform in Burnout Paradise. Eventually, my in-game partner, Jess, was able to jump onto the tractor trailer and after a brief few tense moments, she burst through the back door, driving the Koenigsegg. It’s shortly thereafter where the demo ends, but it was enough to hook me in!
Visually the game looks excellent, as we drove along a vast highway surrounded by desert. There were cars getting smashed, explosions and fires, all done well and contributing to the “big budget movie” look. The characters were all voiced, but unlike Need for Speed (2015), they didn’t sound like ridiculous caricatures. The demo also gave a brief taste of the customization options for the vehicles, which allowed me to tweak pretty much every aesthetic aspect of a vehicle. There were four different vehicles for me to choose from, and I picked the Volkswagen Beetle to toy around with. Without a doubt, the full release will have many more vehicles to customize.
I’m happy to report that this Need for Speed does not have any of the ridiculous live actor scenes that its predecessor had, which in my opinion is a huge step forward. Not much has been said regarding the game’s multiplayer aspect, but I imagine they’ll find some way to integrate multiplayer into this release – hopefully in the form of some sort of co-op mode. As soon as we have more info regarding the multiplayer, we’ll let you know!