Arcade arcade – the genre is very specific. The fact is that any trifle made in a wrong way can send the whole game into the cuvette: you will go too far with the physical model – it will become completely uncomfortable playing, you will miss with the design of the tracks – you will lose in fun, you will think up few game modes – the game will quickly get bored and go to dust on the shelf. Continue this list for a very long time, but one thing is important: in any arcade race there must be a well-balanced balance between complexity and interest, which is easy to break. And at first glance, the authors of Need For Speed Payback for the first time in many years managed to find this “golden mean”. But this, unfortunately, only at first glance …
Game: Need For Speed Payback
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Genre: arcade autosimulator
Release date: November 10, 2017
Developer: Ghost Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
But first, let’s get into history a little. It begins in 1993, when the studio opened Criterion Games, which created a cult series of games about the destruction of the wheels, crashes and concurrently one of their most fun auto-arcades – Burnout. In parallel with this in the year 1994, the very first part of the Need For Speed series appeared. The point of intersection Criterion Games and Need for Speed was the year 2010, when friends from Criterion (at that time already owned Electronic Arts) undertook to restart Need For Speed Hot Pursuit. Against the backdrop of not very successful previous Undercover, and even more against the background of the collapsing in the camp of serious autosimpler offshoots with the subtitle Shift, the new Hot Pursuit looked (and most importantly, it was played) quite cheerfully and interestingly. Fights with the cops looked certainly no worse,
The next meeting Criterion and Need for Speed was held in 2012 with the development of Most Wanted, which was also very warmly received by both players and critics. Apparently, at about that time the EA bosses decided to take the most talented people from Criterion and establish a new studio for them, Ghost Games. Subsequently, they made an excellent NFS Rivals, and then an extremely ambiguous Need for Speed 2015. After that, the annual release of “Thirst for Speed” was suspended, and the developers were given more than two years to release a new game that would make the NFS series again great.
At first, it seems that Ghost Games coped “perfectly well”. We are met by the new city of Fortuna Valley with a very extensive suburb, which includes canyons, forests, deserts, highlands, long freeways and winding serpentines. The surrounding world is diverse and elaborated just fine. Each district of a decent card area is unique and very beautiful, and for a complete set there are not enough only snow-covered areas, but they would look very inappropriate here, because the developers in the design of Fortune Valley clearly inspired by the natural expanses of Nevada. Yes, and the urban buildings themselves with an abundance of casinos are clearly hinting at us on the gambling capital of Las Vegas. In general, the open world is very well developed, and not the least role in this is played by the mass of activities that a player can occupy in isolation from the main plot.
The map is simply covered with points of interest: you can find gas stations, auto parts stores, garages and car dealers (all of them, by the way, serve as fast-moving points), drift-zones, speed rides, CCTV cameras, under which you need to drive at a certain speed, hidden collectible items, billboards that need to be broken. Here and there scurry free riders, ready at any time to take your challenge. You can entertain yourself by searching for parts of the legendary cars that, after assembly, will be much more powerful than those that can be bought at local stores (at least at first). And what is surprising is that all these optional activities are extremely exciting. I say this as a clear opponent of collecting unnecessary trash in video games. The fact is that the above would be extremely dull,
Here is the thing: Need For Speed Payback, unlike the previous game of the series, is very pleasantly played. So it coincided that I was able to play the Need For Speed in 2015 just a couple of months ago, and I clearly remember how heavy and slow the cars were in that game. It was possible to manage them normally only in the “drift” configuration, and even then you had to find a more or less suitable car for you, on which you would skate the rest of the game, as to change what so long got used to, there was no desire. In Need For Speed Payback they twisted the physical model to the required level, when the weight and dimensions of the car are felt perfectly, but the control does not roll towards the simple arcade where you need only press 1-2 buttons to win. Returning to the design of the environment,
In general, from the gameplay point of view, the new “Thirst for speed” was just a wonderful project, to play in which it is interesting, and to explore the open world is fascinating. What can not be said about the plot. Yes, in races, it has far from a primary role, but the advertising campaign focused on the fact that we will have three unlike each other, around which a real criminal story unfolds in the spirit of the best films of the Fast and the Furious series. In fact, we have a set of cliched characters: Tyler Morgan is a typical high-speed racing driver, Sean McAllister is an African American, a drunk and off-road racing lover who moved to the United States from, if I do not mistake, the UK to be the best in his business, and Jessica Miller is a fighting woman who does not mind embarking on cops, and, in general, does not hesitate to deal with the underworld. No less flat were secondary characters, as well as villains who are “bad because they are bad.” The story begins with an extremely “original” betrayal, for which the heroes will avenge the whole game, climbing up the career ladder of the illegal racing of Fortune Valley.
But God is with him, with the plot, because in the game it is much more pleasant to participate in a series of races, and not follow the talking heads (otherwise I just can not call the characters, unfortunately). And the races here are prepared for every taste: the usual ring races and sprints, the drift already mentioned, which has returned (at last in its normal form !!!) to a series of drag racing, races with the police, cargo delivery tasks, “battles” with a timer , but apart is standover. Within these races, which almost always take place in the desert and its environs, the lion’s share of pleasure lurks: firstly, for the series this is an extremely fresh solution. Previously, this was not. Secondly, these races are very interesting, because before you, in fact, a set of control points and a lot of the ways already mentioned for cutting. Sometimes you can just swoop, almost jumping over the mountains, spit on the track. A sheaf of dust and dirt, escaping from the wheels of cars, make the race incredibly spectacular. And this despite the fact that artificial intelligence behaves on the road competently, does not cheat and sometimes makes mistakes, but in multiplayer, by itself, pleasure increases at times! Somewhat disappointing in all this is the absence of different weather conditions. In Fortune Valley it’s always sunny.
It would seem that the game is fine, but the catch came from there, where did not expect – the authors managed to nakosyachit with the economic model of the game. Now I will explain: like in any NFS series, we need to tune the car, improving its characteristics and from time to time to buy new cars, when the old ones are already pumped to the limit. So, Payback introduced a very strange tuning system. In order to improve the characteristics of the machines, you do not need to change the suspension, the motor, the braking system, etc., but to purchase special Speed-cards. In total, you can install 6 such cards on the wheelbarrow, each of them differing in characteristics, which it improves. In addition, there are several “manufacturers” of cards, each of which specializes in something of its own: some are more suitable for increasing the speed, others are for improving controllability and so on. And what’s wrong with that? Well, replaced the suspension / brakes on the cards. What is the problem? And the fact that in local stores of these cards a limited number (about 6-12 pieces at a time). From different manufacturers and for different needs. The assortment changes every 10 minutes, and this process can not be accelerated. But you can buy the missing cards in exchange for special tokens, which fall out of … lutboksov.
Yes, some cards give for winning in the race, and the new lutebox falls every time you increase your skill level. But the problem is that this great rand does not end: when you still accumulate the necessary number of tokens and decide to buy the right card, you will get a real roulette! Before unrolling roulette, you can choose one of three characteristics, which exactly will be in the new card: the manufacturer, the system that will be improved, or the bonus of the new card (there may be up to three of them). After that, you just need to hope that you drop the right part. Moreover, the developers did not even hesitate to bring the following tip to the download screen: in order to earn new Speed-cards, redistribute the race or buy cards in a special store. That is, we are told directly: do grind or spend real money. An ingenious marketing move! By the way, such decisions did not go unnoticed. For example, the Belgian game committee recently recognized lutboks as a form of gambling (it was long overdue!) And appealed to the court to stop this disgrace in the whole of Europe, which I personally sincerely wish the Belgians good luck.
Slightly disappointed and the soundtrack, in which you can identify only 2-3 songs. And they are all from far from the most popular genre of rock music. The rest of the playlist is played by inexpressive but fashionable performers, whose songs are no doubt good, but are not at all suitable for driving at high speeds. It’s really not clear to me why the developers once again ignore the example of the Underground series and try to cram more trendy performers into the playlist, but less than those that fit under the adrenaline rides. In general, if for you “e-ron-don-dong” is not just a set of letters, then in terms of music you will not find anything close in it.
- Good graphics.
- Literate game design of the open world.
- Smart artificial intelligence.
- Various locations.
- Several types of racing for all tastes, among which the offroad is especially good.
- Cars are very nice to drive.
- Extremely addictive gameplay.
- No change in weather conditions.
- Inexpressive soundtrack.
- Obsessive system of micropayments.
To summarize, I want to say that only one wrong decision has spoiled the game that is excellent in all respects. Yes, the developers acknowledged that they went too far with the Lutboks and will necessarily change this system, but after a few weeks after the release, the situation did not change much. Need For Speed Payback has an extremely addictive gameplay that breaks down against the wall of microtransactions. Do not get me wrong, this is the third EA game in the last 2 months, where the pumping of money is at the heart of it, but if in FIFA 18 and Star Wars: Battlefront II, imprisoned on the Internet, such tricks still could somehow justify, then in Need For Speed Payback, which does not pretend to the laurels of a multiplayer-oriented project, the introduction of microtransactions is the extreme degree of the publisher’s greed. Therefore, if you are willing to spend a little time on the grind of cards, then you will open a wonderful game from the point of view of gameplay, deserving a minimum of 8.5 points out of 10. But only the publisher’s greed that broke an excellent project simply does not allow such an assessment. Paid games, worth $ 60, should not drain extra money from players, that’s why Need For Speed Payback gets 7 points out of 10 . And no more points!