Today at EA Play we got to play some Need For Speed Payback for the first time and it really showcased a great step forward for the franchise. EA is driving for a cinematic action based racing game with a major focus on the fun factor. Payback seems to bring back the retro arcade style of racing from classic entries of the series, but with modern Hollywood blockbuster flair.
The demo started at the beginning of a heist, where your objective is to steal an exotic car from inside a moving semi-truck. Driving the Mustang GT felt more like an arcade racer than an actual racing simulator, which is a great thing for the series! As you drive top speed down the highway toward the truck, you also must avoid and destroy incoming enemy cars that are tirelessly trying to throw you off-road. This is where Payback really shined, the slow motion cinematic visuals of the cars exploding in mid chase was something pulled straight from your favorite Fast and Furious movie. It seemed to be taking a cue from the Burnout series in this aspect, but it was very much welcomed. I had some pretty epic moments while chasing down the truck.
Once you are able to reach the truck, your ally Jess jumps out and climbs into the back of the freight. Suddenly, an exotic sports car bursts out of the freight in the middle of the highway and you now have complete control over the new vehicle and protagonist. Need For Speed Payback is featuring the ability to swap between playable characters in missions and in some cases, a mandatory swap to continue the campaign. One thing is for sure, the story seems to indicate a high-octane thrill ride, while the gameplay brings the arcade fun factor pumping through Payback’s veins. It will be interesting to see if Payback can hold up to the hype. It has a lot going for it and it seems to be heading in the right direction, but lets hope EA can fulfill with bringing us substantial content that will keep gamers interested for more than the running time of an action movie.