Need for Speed Payback looked great onstage during the 2017 EA Play keynote presentation but many of the explosive features that make it resemble a Fast and the Furious movie also serve to distract and detract from its actual gameplay.
There may not have been an official Fast and the Furious game in recent memory, but EA clearly wants Need for Speed Payback to be the next best thing. The high-octane racing series has often featured the kind of adrenaline-injecting high-speed-chase antics that fans love, and Payback is no different. But there was just something about the specific gameplay EA showed off ahead of E3 2017 at its EA Play event in Los Angeles that smacked of riffing off the popular film franchise That isn’t inherently a bad thing.
Fast and the Furious-style action, with character-driven car chases and high-stakes heists, could pair well with Need for Speed-style racing. But this section of Payback, which was first revealed earlier this month, failed to impress for a variety of unrelated reasons. The demo, which mirrored the part of the game EA showed off during its keynote presentation Saturday, takes place toward the end of the game’s second chapter.
Two characters — Tyler and Jess — chase after a semi-truck on a narrow freeway in an arid desert environment. With Jess egging you on from the passenger seat, you control Tyler and try to catch up with the truck so you can steal a car inside its trailer. The mission is heavily reminiscent you might even say derivative of any number of similar scenes in the Fast and the Furious movies, not to mention other similar franchises.
Payback rips control out of your hands jerking the camera around for five excruciating slow motion seconds Need for Speed Payback looks as gorgeous as you’d expect in this day and age, with just the right amount of motion blur and other subtle effects to really let you feel the speed at which you’re driving. The demo EA showed off onstage looked as explosive as any scripted movie car chase. But a number of factors that contribute to that polished, exciting veneer onstage backfired when I actually got my hands on the game.