Need for Speed ​​Payback - Heat the Gum

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Valery Aloyants
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Today officially released Need for Speed ​​Payback, Electronic Arts' new racing game, developed on the Frostbite Engine by Ghost Games. We are therefore in the logical continuation of the game of 2015, Need for Speed, a title which had tried to find the sensations of Underground even if it had not necessarily convinced all the pilots at the time (the main reasons invoked are generally its too small and empty open world, slippery driving, too short a scenario ...). Does Payback correct its mistakes? I was able to make my own opinion thanks to an Origin key given by EA.

Before starting to answer this question that you are certainly asking yourself, I let you discover the first 30 minutes of the game which directly put in the mood, a race played by Clamoune on PC.



An NFS is certainly a racing game, but above all a scenario. Where many games are based on the interface to generate the races and join the challenges, NFS integrates the content in a fun way through the story. The beginning of the game clearly goes in this direction as you will have been able to discover it and places the bases by presenting the protagonists. The main characters are three pilots that we have the opportunity to take turns controlling. The first is Tyler Morgan, a penniless little genius pilot.

Then there are Sean McAlister and Jessica Miller. Sean, whose codename is Mac, notably has a truck which he called "Mac Attack"!

As a racing game would be nothing without tuning, I present to you the mechanic of the band, Rav Choudhry, able to fix everything.

Initially a member of the team, Lina Navarro is the villain. She stole an ultra expensive car from the others by tricking them, virtually causing them to be arrested by the police. Forced to keep a low profile for several months following the affair, the team members went their separate ways.

It was only thanks to the intervention of the wealthy Marcus Weir that our pilots succeeded in overthrowing the police and escaping unharmed. Tyler now works for him as a driver, which allows him to drive pretty cars even if officially he no longer has the right to run races (which does not prevent him from very quickly breaking down and redoing races. street).


Against a backdrop of revenge and mafia, we follow the quest of our pilots, changing point of view as the story progresses. Is Marcus only a casino boss? How far does the power of the Clan criminal organization go? Overall, without being great or downright original, the script is nice, in the vein of all those action movies where special effects take precedence over feelings, dialogues are agreed upon, characters take themselves too seriously, especially pilots, but it deposits a lot! At the same time, are we playing NFS to keep things straight?

Allow about twenty hours to complete the main scenario, more or less depending on your driving skills and the time you spend on the secondary tests.


Ambience and music

We move through the streets of American cities, in the shadow of gleaming casinos. I found it rather pretty and it reminded me of the atmosphere of Las Vegas (this city is the double). The beautiful streets illuminated on the side of the facades and the main gloomy axes as soon as you move a little too far from the entertainment venues of the strip. A day / night cycle offers the opportunity to rediscover the landscapes in a different light depending on the time of day.

I tested on Xbox One X and PC, the screenshots in this article mostly from the PC. The rendering is pleasant, even if the long straight American streets and the large gray buildings generate a certain repetition of the landscape. But they have thought of everything, because it is always possible to escape to the small mountains nearby to enjoy a whole different atmosphere on dusty roads. The playable area is really large and, in the end, varied.

Many cinematics punctuate the game with a fluid and transparent kinematic / game transition system, I just regret the number ... The advantage is that it gives really cool scenes where the car performs incredible stunts without a single bump. On the other hand, I admit that I would have preferred to have my hand at this time and to be able to carry out myself, with the game engine, this leap of sick!

The musical atmosphere is faithful and dynamic: sounds of the city, cars and the radio. Often the pilot listens to the "Voix de la Rue" which gives information on the new activities available. There is also, occasionally, the phone ringing, the opportunity to start discussions around the last race for example. Dynamically, the driver reacts to what is happening in the race. He will moan if he is overtaken, get excited when he is first or even think that overtaking was still damn fair if, for example, the bodies have rubbed!



The majority of the game is about beating AIs on circuits created on the fly in the middle of town. The route is very easily identified by large fluorescent arrows, leading to arches for the checkpoints. This breaks the immersion, necessarily, even if it makes driving easier. Sometimes there are shortcuts, you don't necessarily have to follow the arrows without thinking. The only compulsory passages are the checkpoints, free to the player to cut through a gas station to gain precious seconds.

Fortunately, as you can judge from above, traffic is very fluid, if not nonexistent in some parts of the city, making it easy to slip between other cars without the risk of accidents. The car is easily driven by accelerating / braking with the triggers (or the keypad), the gear changing being done automatically. Very arcade, the conduct relies on drifting which is very accessible with a simple pressure on the brakes (devilishly effective by the way) or with the handbrake.

To save a few seconds, the nitro is there. It recharges over time and offers brief acceleration, preferably used in straights to avoid hitting a wall. When the car is crashed too hard, the game tends to make the car reappear wildly in the middle of the road after a few seconds, even though I have managed to regain control in the meantime. Damage is visible on the bodywork, without this having an impact on the rest of the adventure or the performance of the vehicle, resulting in a side "I don't care". Not very realistic but enjoyable, I must admit ...

Finally, no matter the style of play, it is possible to try again as many times as is necessary to finish first, usually the only acceptable score to prove one's worth on the street.


Map and game modes

The menu is really big, that's a great thing! All activities are identified by symbols and arranged in several categories. To get there, the easiest way is to place a marker, which will create a route, using the same blue arrow markings used for races. On the model of a GPS, the route adapts if I miss a turn.

Among the modes that I was able to test, we have the classic circuit races in the streets of the city, drag races, off-circuit on paths ... But also various other fun activities such as speed runs ( where you have to get the best possible average speed between checkpoints), radar (where you have to pass a radar at its maximum possible speed to get a record), or exploration for wrecks (old abandoned cars ) with as only track a clue given by an NPC.

Although I haven't once had any patrols chasing me in free exploration, the police sometimes come to the party in story mode. I didn't really feel any particular threat from their side, you just have to continue on your way, identified by checkpoints just like any other race and, if possible to enter them in order to send them into the scenery or into the other cars. Because the police cars have a certain quota of life points which, once descended, forces the policeman to stop the pursuit. If there is a crash, the game congratulates in its own way with a most beautiful slow motion effect. The police also like to place roadblocks, but they are not very good and there are always loopholes in their security.



The cars are divided into five types: racing, off-road, drifting, drag and mission (against the police). They can be purchased from their dedicated dealers, one for each type of car. To do this well, it is necessary to have at least one vehicle of each type to participate in the different content. Which is quite restrictive because, after all, if I want to race with my favorite car, even if it is of a different type, why prevent me? At worst, I'll lose, so what?

Especially since the game does not follow its own rules in the story mode, leading to races with the wrong car. Why him he has the right ?! There is otherwise a large choice of vehicles, all more exotic, modified and roaring than the others. Small note of originality for the wrecks, these old abandoned cars to find in the city which have a very unique plastic!

To change the appearance of your car, you will first have to accomplish certain tasks on the map, a compelling novelty of this opus that did not exist before. For performance, this goes through Speedcards, for a maximum of six different cards per car. Basic versions are obtained by completing a race or exchanging them for in-game currency, via a random selection of maps updated every 30 minutes from vendors throughout the city. Useless cards are destructible and give chips, three chips allow you to buy a new Speedcard in a special machine, a kind of slot machine roulette, which gives better cards except that it is here random: no insurance of get a useful card or not owned! We are in the city of the game, but still!

Tokens are also in Shipments, boxes with change and customization items to be purchased for reputation points. Micro-transactions here we are: these shipments can be purchased for real money, using Speedpoints. And the game does not forget to remind you of the possibility of purchasing these boxes after each lost race.

This system is quite laborious, based on luck, and obliging to redo, again and again, races in the hope of obtaining interesting cards ... or simply with the aim of destroying them, for maybe draw after three races (= three tokens) a totally useless card which, once again, will be destroyed for a poor token.


Mode photo

Do you love taking pictures of your cars? Then Photo Mode is here for you. With filters, a free camera, and different options (damage display, pilot, etc.), the shot of your dreams is just a click away or a lever away.



Need For Speed ​​Payback offers a rich and immersive universe, taking the feet to the floor in the streets of a fictional Las Vegas. The story, worthy of a Hollywood action movie, makes you feel like a bitumen god, enhanced by simple gameplay, accessible to all players, all the more thanks to the three difficulty modes. On the other hand, several features give the impression that the studio has drawn happily into all the other racing games: vehicle customization (The Crew), off-road racing (Forza Horizon) or even action (Fast and Furious ). Need For Speed ​​Payback is a good racing game, but I already know that I'm going to have a hard time differentiating it from its competition in a few months, it lacks a little "something" that would create a real identity for it. But that in no way affected my pleasure of driving and if you like to swallow kilometers behind your console, go for it!

  • PC: standard edition (€ 59,99) or deluxe (€ 79,99)
  • Xbox Standard Edition (€ 69,99) or Deluxe (€ 89,99)
  • PS4: standard edition (€ 69,99) or deluxe (€ 89,99)

I finally want to remind that we are here in a video game, do not try to reproduce these stunts in real life!

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