If you’re looking for incredible car chases and Hollywood production values, there’s one racer that races ahead of the pack.
Need for Speed Payback is out right now – and it’s the most fun we’ve had in ages.
Here’s why EA’s latest racer should take pole position in your Christmas games wishlist.
Payback uses the Frostbite engine, the same powerhouse behind FIFA 18. And, boy, does it look spectacular.
Cars boast impressive levels of detail and environments are rich and colourful.
There’s a clever motion blur that helps create a sensation of speed, as well as adding a Hollywood-style gloss to the racing.
But the graphics really come alive during the crashes – which sees the camera spin away ‘Matrix-style’ to capture the cars crumple and contort in super slow motion.
For those after realistic handling, you best look elsewhere.
However, those chasing fun, almost arcade-like handling, then Payback’s where it’s at.
Cars all boast their own look and feel. The monstrous Ford Mustang feels heavy round corners, but gobbles up the tarmac when on the straights.
The new BMW M5, meanwhile, has bags of grunt delivered in a more refined manner – making it perfect to weave in and out of traffic at high speeds.
It’s the perfect game to make you feel a better driver than you actually are.
You’ve also got a vast open world packed full of different events to test your skills. Events range from drag races to drifting challenges across the dusty desert.
To help give you edge, you’re able to visit dealerships and garages to buy new cars or spend points on upgrading the look and feel of your current ride.
The action set pieces
Payback isn’t just all about racing.
The main plot sees a team of young drivers try and take down The House, a criminal organisation with an obsession for fast cars.
The acting is nothing to write home about (it’s actually horrendous) but Payback offers the best videogame car chases in years.
By far the most memorable missions see you fend off sinister-looking SUVs, chasing down huge trucks or escaping the cops.
Fast and Furious movies may have got more ridiculous over the years, but Payback more closely resembles the earlier films.
There’s a focus on stunning, high-impact racing coated in a welcome Hollywood sheen – with a splice of John Woo slow-mo for good measure.
Be warned, though – enemy AI is incredibly aggressive, so expect a bumpy ride.
There’s nothing like it right now
Burnout fans will be happy – the game has been developed with the help of Criterion Software, the team behind the classic racing games.
As a result, there’s simply nothing else like Payback on the market.
Need for Speed Payback is out now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.