Need for Speed’s light narrative plays out in a series of short, live-action cut-scenes, brimming with slang I don’t understand, excessive energy drink consumption, overuse of the word “hashtag”, and a slightly comical amount of first-person fist-bumping.
There are five main characters who, when they aren’t speaking to each other like living, breathing internet memes, each represent a different one of Need for Speed’s five themed racing threads. All of these threads lead to an encounter with a real-life automotive icon; an idea which I genuinely like.
It’s still good to have customisation of any sort back in Need for Speed, and with it comes several basic tuning options you can use to alter your car’s driving characteristics. The main slider adjusts all settings, nudging your car towards a drift setup or a grip setup, but you can dive deeper and massage certain steering, tyre pressure, and braking power settings individually to fine tune your ride. I much preferred the drift setup for all race types because I found it far easier to get around corners by poising my Focus in a slide via a bootful of throttle and liberal use of opposite lock, rather than navigate the bends with a grip tune. The latter feels too twitchy at low speeds and too prone to understeer at higher ones, and I found myself getting frustrated trying to find the balance. Odd is the fact that, while Need for Speed has brought back tuning in a big way, the option for a manual transmission hasn’t made an appearance.