This is an honest opinion from myself as a long time NFS fan.
Need For Speed, a franchise that I have loved since I first played the classic Need For Speed Hot Pursuit when I was 5, yes, 5!! and game after game, it got better and better with the graphics, the handling, the car selections, everyone enjoyed the games because you went fast….REALLY fast.
The year 2003 came and we were hit with Need For Speed: Underground, a game that everyone I knew, literally everyone, had spent hours every day playing, customising their cars, pimping their rides to the fullest and bragging about them to everyone they can, everyone felt like they were in the world of The Fast and the Furious with their friends. Then in 2004 came NFS: Underground 2 and that pushed it even further by introducing free-driving allowing the player to roam around the city finding hidden body shops, performance shops, car lots and more. It was everything in a racing game that millions of racing fans wanted, having the option to drive alongside a rival racer and race them on the spot to win some extra cash, choosing how to pose your car for magazines, customising your boot with subs, amps, nitrous tanks, and so on, all these things made the game basically perfect. 2005 came and we were given NFS: Most Wanted which took it to another level by adding cops that will chase you down if you’re caught being wreck-less, racing for pink slips, getting arrested and having your cars towed away, these new features gave players a lot more thrill when playing the game, although there was less customisation to the cars than Underground 1 and 2, the cop chases really did give it an extra shine. And finally the last NFS game that I really enjoyed, is NFS: Carbon released a year later in 2006.
More focus was brought back to the car customization by having to actually shape how you would want your hood or bumpers or side skirts to look like in terms of length, size, or angular shape. Having team members in your races to help you get an edge in racing was one thing that was actually surprising, it was new, and many loved it. And the last extra feature that made it stand out from the rest was the drag racing from the top of the mountain which reminds us all of the scene from Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift where Sean and D.K. face each other off on D.K.’s mountain.
Now with these great games, EA had, why did they go a different direction? Undercover was ok, but everything after that changed.
Shift became more of a circuit racer and focused on realism of impact, drifting and car accuracy (basically the Gran Turismo of drifting)
Pro Street focused more on just going fast
The late Hot Pursuit, car customizations were gone but Criterion did a great job at the crashing visuals being experts at it from the Burnout series
Then came The Run which even though visually it was good, the quick time events were horrible and were not needed. And drifting felt like the worst thing you could do in that game for it slowed you down a lot.
he late Most Wanted to be disappointed me a lot, because in my opinion, it was not Most Wanted at all, not having any in-game currency like the classic Most Wanted to buy a car, customise it from scratch and turn it into a beast on wheels. No cars felt earned in that game although the cop chases were challenging at times but every car was basically a rocket so getting away was easy.
As I spent time looking at these games I just listed, I realized why they don’t excite me anymore, you start off with fast expensive cars, and end with fast (and more) expensive cars. That’s not how it was in Underground 1/2, Most Wanted or Carbon, in Underground 2 which I just recently started playing again, you start off with different options of cars like a Nissan 240sx or with Most Wanted a Chevy Cobalt SS, where as in the later NFS games you start off with Porches, BMW’s, Lamborghini’s and so on.
Now I want to hear from other NFS fans, would you like NFS to go back to the Underground/Most Wanted/Carbon style and theme? or are you happy with how they are now?