It’s time to floor it and tear up the roads, resulting in screeching tires and a swaying automobile. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the Need For Speed series of fast-paced racing video games has to offer.
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Here’s your chance to play every Need for Speed game and learn the series’ complete backstory if you’re a true fan of the franchise. This article is written for you in particular if you are only now getting to know the NFS games.
The various Need for Speed titles that have come out over the years are detailed below. You can look around all you want to take a trip down memory lane or discover a whole new world of hustle and bustle. If you’re looking for the best speed game for yourself, you’ll find it here.
A little Introduction to The World of Need For Speed
The notorious (and soon-to-explode-globally) Need for Speed game first appeared in the 1990s. The game has gone through several developers since it was first created by Distinctive Software and before it was even released. These include titles from Electronic Arts (EA), Black Box Games, and others.
Since its debut, a plethora of games have been released for it. The Need for Speed video game series has amassed such a large following that a film based on the game’s premise was released.
The racing gameplay in games like Need for Speed: Xbox 360, Speed: PlayStation 2, etc. is similar in that it is easy to pick up and play but still incredibly engaging. The players are in charge of their vehicles, and the objective is to race as aggressively as possible to the finish line first. The level of competition can be upped by entering the game’s multiplayer mode.
Storylines are engaging, visual themes are epic, the racing cars are incredible (and can be unlocked as you play), and there are plenty of races to get your heart racing. The game can still get your heart racing even though you have complete control over everything with the controller.
Here’s a quick rundown of every Need for Speed game, from the first to the most recent, so you can jump right into the action.
Need For Speed Games: From Launch to Latest
Get ready for the ultimate rush of adrenaline! Every year, new games are released in the series, so prepare for a roller coaster of emotions.
1. The Need for Speed
First released on August 31, 1994, Need for Speed was a groundbreaking racing video game franchise. The game was playable on the Playstation 2, DOS, Sega Saturn, and 3DOS. A lot of people enjoyed the adrenaline rush they got from playing this extreme racing game.
While not particularly groundbreaking by today’s standards, the game was a huge hit with fans thanks to its inclusion of many of the most impressive sports cars of the time. It was easy to tell which model was which because of the meticulous attention to detail given to both the interior and exterior of each vehicle.
Critics praised the game for its realistic presentation of popular cars and their intricate systems, as well as for its use of licensed and infamous brands.
2. The Need for Speed 2
In the wake of the success of the original Speed game, many players have been waiting eagerly for the sequel. When it was released on March 1st, 1997, Need for Speed: Most Wanted changed the racing game forever.
New and improved racetracks were added to this version, shaking up the formula for racing games in general. The McLaren F1, Ferrari F50, and more conventional vehicles like the Ford GT90 were among the featured vehicles.
The second game’s only flaw was its average visuals, which looked even worse on the PlayStation. Since this was the case, the game was not given its due respect.
3. Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit
To make up for the visual shortcomings of its predecessor, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, released on March 25, 1998, focused on gameplay improvements. In fact, it improved upon earlier versions in a novel way.
The third installment of Need for Speed, playable on PC and PlayStation, boasted improved visuals and graphics as well as new and improved tracks. Sony’s decision to promote the PlayStation through the game is indicative of the game’s popularity.
Not that this was a bad part of Need for Speed 3, but it wasn’t the best. The most exciting aspect of the game was the introduction of police officers, who now had the power to write tickets, close off streets, and puncture tires with road spikes.
The fact that this game was designed to serve as a benchmark for others and succeeded at doing so is not contested. To the point where it is still regarded as one of the finest examples of a racing game that emphasizes speed.
4. Need For Speed: High Stakes
On March 1st, 1999, the game was first released. The game’s single-player campaign was fleshed out to include more of the pursuit story from the previous game.
Players could purchase brand-new automobiles and compete for pink slips in that game, which was a fantastic new addition. That edition’s new features, however, more than made up for its subpar music selection.
Among the features that helped make this version of Need for Speed the best it could be, fans particularly appreciated the multi-race championships and technological advancements.
5. Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed
Can you identify the vehicle that made its debut (or rather, release) in the Need for Speed series on February 29, 2000? That’s right, a Porsche!
The Porsche 2000 was featured in the first-ever NFS game, Porsche Unleashed. This occurred because Electronic Arts and Porsche manufacturers signed a 20-year exclusivity agreement.
Although some of the Porsche vehicles’ top speeds were panned, the game was a huge success with gamers. There was still plenty of action and thrills for fans of the Speed series.
6. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
Released at a time when Electronic Arts knew exactly what it was doing with the Speed series, this new edition shows the series in full control and with clear goals. On October 2, 2002, the sequel to Hot Pursuit was released, and it was a vast improvement.
The graphics in these Need for Speed games, playable on consoles like the PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, and GameCube, are a huge step up from the original games. It also featured stunningly varied courses and incredibly high-end vehicles.
Many people fell in love with this game because of the improved visuals and faster cars. However, the PS2 port is preferable to the Xbox and GameCube versions because the need for speed games varied with the performance of each version.
7. Need for Speed: Underground
Updates and additions to the game released on November 17, 2003, were designed to up the suspense factor. For starters, the game was ported to the GBA in addition to Xbox, PS2, PC, and GameCube.
Second, the incorporation of the formula culture into Need for Speed added a new dimension of challenge to the game. This event coincided with the introduction of new customization options for players’ vehicles.
As an alternative to being given a car at the start of a match, players now have to save up and win a certain number of games before they can claim the booster. So, you could alter your car to your liking by swapping out the rims, tires, and more.
Thanks to these fantastic improvements, it has been hailed as the finest Need for Speed game to date by many players.
8. Need for Speed: Underground 2
On November 15, 2004, this iteration of the Need for Speed games was released. More freedom was given to players in Need for Speed: Underground 2’s narrative, vehicle customization, and free-roaming environments.
The absence of police chases was noted, despite the fact that the game was otherwise fantastic and filled with fresh ways to pass the time. People were obviously too preoccupied with admiring their freshly modified vehicles to take any action.
9. Need for Speed: Most wanted
One of the biggest NFS jokes is the Need for Speed: Most Wanted game, which came out on November 11, 2005. This game was supposed to strike a middle ground between traditional and cutting-edge fare, but instead it’s something entirely new and enjoyable.
The City of Rockport’s racing arena is Most Wanted’s most significant legacy. Stunning visuals, thrilling mountain roads, and thrilling police chases kept you glued to the screen for hours.
10. Need for Speed: Carbon
Need for Speed: Carbon, the newest installment in the NFS series, was released on October 31, 2006, marking yet another disappointing installment in the series. It drew inspiration from the popular Hot Pursuit series, the underground racing genre, and the Most Wanted series, and it also incorporated the emerging culture of street racing to achieve greater success.
It was not only unable to match the excitement of the original game, but also to stand on its own two feet. For instance, the graphics in this game weren’t all that great, and the fact that it took place at night made it even more challenging.
All of the following platforms had access to this game:
- Xbox 360
11. Need for Speed Pro Speed
For the Need for Speed series, this November 14th, 2007 release was a huge flop. Electronic Arts made a different simulation game due to a lack of knowledge in the genre.
This led to technical difficulties and other inconsistencies, which rendered some vehicles uncontrollable and made the minigame mechanics seem counterintuitive.
12. Need for Speed: Undercover
Following the critical and commercial failure of Need for Speed: Pro Street, Electronic Arts was determined to make a sequel that would be universally praised by the gaming community. However, this last-ditch effort was still considered successful.
However, Undercover lacked the visual and technical polish that makes games fun to play. Campaigning and the story itself were both pretty uninspiring to the general public.
13. Need For Speed: Shift
On September 15, 2009, Slightly Mad Studios released a new installment in the Need for Speed series called Need for Speed: Shift, which quickly gained a devoted fan base. The overwhelming positive reception this game has received is way beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.
The game’s touring car mode is a high point of NFS: Shift. The game’s graphics, vehicle management, and new career mode were also impressive.
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mobile PC, and PlayStation Portable all supported the Shift NFS edition.
14. NFS: NITRO
The NFS team at Electronic Arts was clearly committed to meeting the needs of every possible player. Because the first two NFS games focused on serious auto racing, the third installment, Nitro, was released on November 3, 2009, with a more relaxed focus.
The Nitro game was ported to the Wii and DS to give players a new level of excitement and thrill beyond what is possible with realistic car controls. The game’s name, “Nitro,” makes that clear right away.
The game’s visuals were also cartoonish and animated in style, adding to the lighthearted and welcoming atmosphere.
15. Need For Speed: The World
The Need for Speed update that came out on July 27, 2010 was, in every sense of the word, a paradigm shifter. One could argue that the game’s failure was due to the fact that it was too innovative for its time.
This offshoot of the series was an MMORacing release that emphasized online multiplayer competition. A live online connection to other players was possible.
The best features of NFS Carbon, Most Wanted, and Hot Pursuit’s Rockport City were incorporated into the World version to appeal to the game’s expanding fanbase.
16. Hot Pursuit – NFS
At the time of the release of Hot Pursuit (2010), fan retention had become Electronic Art’s top priority. The times of great success were long gone. Criterion Games has been commissioned to remake Hot Pursuit 1998 to meet the rising demand for racing simulations.
Despite the fact that remakes are never as good as the originals, Criterion Games did a fantastic job of updating Hot Pursuit. The game’s detailed and aesthetically pleasing environment, as well as its impressive performance, helped it to garner positive reviews from players despite a few technical issues.
17. NFS Shift 2: Unleashed
In case you missed it, Slightly Mad Studios released a new NFS Shift game on March 29, 2011. In many ways, the sequel is an improved and polished second installment. And that meant changing it from a realistic racing simulation to something more fantastical.
The game’s crash physics and models of real-world cars, trucks, and drivers are both impressive. The critics who reviewed Shift 2 praised the game and the game’s cars for their improvements and attention to detail.
The PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 versions of Shift 2 were all fully functional.
18. NFS: The Run
The NFS game (Run), released on November 15, 2011, was another overambitious launch by the franchise that failed to please the audience at the time. The game’s departure from the standard NFS formula was a letdown for many fans.
The Run didn’t feature a bunch of shorter, more localized races, but rather a single, coast-to-coast interstate chase. Four hours was too long for the fans, who were dissatisfied with the campaign.
Players were also frustrated by the large amount of time spent on cutscenes, scripted events, and other non-driving activities.
19. NFS: Most Wanted 2012 Edition
Criterion Games, basking in the success of 2010’s Hot Pursuit remakes, set out to create another remake, released as NFS Most Wanted on October 30, 2012, as an edition of 2012.
Instead of improving upon the original, this game would be a fresh take on the NFS formula, inspired by Burnout Paradise. Even so, many of the game’s elements were harshly criticized.
Races were very unbalanced due to frequent AI interference, lack of car customization options, and shorter campaign lengths. The game’s potential for success would have been greater if it had been better developed.
20. NFS Rivals
Launched on November 15, 2013, Rivals was Ghost Games’ first attempt at creating a racing video game. The game is compatible with Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and personal computers.
The game has been modified so that it can be played on consoles from both generations. In this case, the play’s success on XBOX, PC, and PS4 can be attributed to its high-quality graphics, rapid loading time, and novel feature, a dynamic weather system.
21. The NFS: No Limits
No Limits, developed by Firemonkeys Studios and available on iOS and Android as of September 30, 2015, is a cross-platform game. A free, streamlined version of the commercially available NFS games, this title features 3D graphics and was released.
It was criticized for holding back features from the free version despite including elements from the NFS games such as customization, police pursuits, and illegal racing.
Since the race time was limited, the developers likely counted on players shelling out real money to unlock additional playtime.
22. Need for Speed 2015
Electronic Arts and Ghost Games hoped to breathe new life into the Need for Speed series with 2015’s updated installment. This game, which came out on November 3, 2015, was developed with the intention of providing the best NFS experience ever, complete with stunning visuals and unprecedented levels of player control.
As a result of the shift in priorities, the game features previously given priority have been neglected, leading to the worst car handling in NFS history. To everyone’s relief, the game was quickly forgotten by fans and relegated to the scrap heap of failed NFS attempts.
23. Need For Speed: Payback Edition
It’s safe to say that if you thought the 2015 NFS edition was bad, the Payback edition set new lows for that series. Payback was released on November 10, 2017, at a time when many fans were beginning to question whether or not they should continue supporting the series.
Neither the originality nor the NFS spirit were present in this installment. The Fast and the Furious film series was the sole inspiration for this cash cow. Worse still, the game still had all of the issues that were called out in 2015.
The game was built around staged police chases, and its complex card-based system served only one purpose: to encourage players to spend real money.
24. NFS HEAT
A new Need for Speed game, titled HEAT, was released on November 8, 2019. Although it was not significantly worse than previous games in the series, Ghost Games’ latest offering still fell short of the originals.
When Heat first came out, audiences had a variety of reactions. People had only just begun to get over the disappointment of the previous two releases. Still, it featured a number of enhancements to the gaming system that made up for the previous damage.
Need for Speed 2022: Everything you need to know
Latest news – EA confirms new Need for Speed for 2022
During the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, Electronic Arts announced the upcoming Need for Speed game would be released in the third quarter of Fiscal Year 23. A release date between October 1 and December 31 is thus established.
Codemasters Cheshire working on Need for Speed with Criterion
Speculation that Codemasters Cheshire would be collaborating with Criterion Games on Need for Speed was confirmed in a Linkedin post by EA.
A Producer job listing, which was shared by EA Senior Recruiter Pete Johnson, states that Codemasters Cheshire (the studio behind DiRT 5) and Criterion Games will “embark on an extraordinary journey to deliver the future of Need for Speed.”
Map and first screenshots leak
Early screenshots for Need for Speed 2022 have apparently surfaced ahead of the game’s official reveal. The Need for Speed 2022 map, as seen in the recently released screenshots, is massive.
The map, said to be set in a made-up city inspired by the real-life Lake Shore City, includes both urban and rural areas, as well as highways and winding “drift” roads. The leaked images also provide a glimpse of the user interface.
Photorealistic graphics mixed with “anime elements”
The latest rumors suggest a visual overhaul for Need for Speed. The new NFS from Criterion will reportedly combine photorealism with anime-style visuals, as reported by VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb. ”
Grubb explained, “It will be photo-realistic, but on top of that, anime elements.” “You know how in commercials for cars and the like, the car is shown driving around while cartoon flames and other visual effects shoot out of it as it goes? That seems to be the aesthetic they’re going for.
Location: Fictionalised Chicago setting rumoured
Despite the lack of an official announcement, VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb claims that the new Need for Speed is set in a city called Lake Shore City.
Palm City in NFS Heat was clearly inspired by Miami, but rumors suggest that Lake Shore City will be more like Chicago.
Criterion’s upcoming Need for Speed game, as reported by Jeff Grubb of VentureBeat, will be exclusive to current-gen systems.
This is just a rumor at the moment, but if it turns out to be true, Need for Speed 2022 will be missing from PS4 and Xbox One. Instead, it will be available on the PS5, Xbox One, and PC platforms.
EA Play Live 2022 cancelled
The annual EA Play Live summer event, where the company typically reveals new games and generates buzz for its titles, will not be held this year.
Instead, EA will release information about the next Need for Speed game whenever it is ready, leaving fans in the dark.
Criterion back onboard
The last four NFS console games were contracted out by EA to Ghost Games. As EA looks to the past to improve NFS’s future, they have now been let go. Criterion has created a number of NFS games before, including 2010’s excellent Hot Pursuit.
Thanks to last year’s Remaster, Hot Pursuit is just as enjoyable a decade after its initial release. Additionally, Criterion developed Most Wanted (2012), but their best work can be found in the Burnout games.
For good reason, we’ve gone on and on about how much we love the Burnout games. It’s not an exaggeration to call Burnout one of the best arcade racing series ever, and Burnout 3 was one of the best racing games ever made.
You can see why we’re looking forward to the next NFS so much; however, any idea of when we can expect to see it?
There is no word yet on when the movie will be released. In spite of this, EA confirmed during their Q4 Earnings Call that Need for Speed would be launching in their Financial Year 23 Q3, which would put its release date between October 1 and December 31 of this year.
The release date of NFS 2022 can be estimated by looking back at similar launches. It is interesting to note that if you look back at the history of the series, you will find that all of the most recent games were released in the month of November. The month of November is a popular time for video game releases because it falls between the holiday season and the Black Friday sales.
Given that Criterion will have nearly an entire calendar year to develop NFS 2022, we don’t anticipate a change in this trend. It’s possible that the trailer will be released between June and August, if this is the case.
This game’s release consoles are much more certain. The release of NFS 2022 marks the series’ debut on current-gen consoles. As a result, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be getting NFS, but what about the other platforms?
The game will indeed be released for the PC, though its future on previous-gen consoles is less certain. Even though EA is releasing major titles for PS4 and Xbox One, such as FIFA 22, it is unclear whether the company will maintain this pattern into 2022. Whether or not this happens is contingent on the availability of PS5s and Series Xs, which are expected to remain low until at least 2023.
Jeff Grubb of VentureBeat claims NFS 2022 will not be coming to PS4 or Xbox One, but EA has not confirmed this.
Single player and cars
Those who are familiar with classic NFS games will likely find the single-player mode to be the most appealing. However, we haven’t been given any hints as to the setting of the story mode or its scope.
But I’m hoping that the driving and the customization will take precedence over the single-player mode. We really enjoyed being able to tailor our experience in Heat, and we’d hate to see Criterion take that away from us. Being an EA game, and a next-gen one at that, guarantees that the visuals and sound will be excellent.
There will almost certainly be a wide variety of automobiles available. To get to the supercars and hypercars of your dreams, you’ll have to start out racing old muscle cars and low-performance racers.
Once again, we don’t have a lot of information to work with, but we can make some educated guesses. As Heat introduced the concept of crossplay to the show, we can assume that it will continue to be a staple moving forward. Both racing and cops-and-robbers are staples of the NFS franchise, so we’re crossing our fingers that they stick around in the online version.
Don’t forget that over a decade ago, Criterion was the one who first brought NFS’s innovative Autolog system to the table. That people could connect with one another in-game was revolutionary. Especially when you think about how Twitter and Facebook looked like before they became what they are now.
Summing Up the List
As was previously mentioned, this sports car racing ride has numerous unintended consequences. A speed campaign is a great idea in theory, but it has led to some pretty bad iterations of games. It’s a lot of fun to try out as many as possible.
However, the goal of each new release was to either improve upon or mimic the previous games in some way. Because of this, we now have hybrid forms of the NFS games. Others, despite impressive visuals, are falling short due to a lack of originality.