Gamers and car nerds around the world will all agree on a few things. One is that the greatest racing game that’s dominated the hearts of gamers for decades is Need for Speed. They’ve been doing this for a long time and when the Afrihost team heard about Need for Speed Heat coming along, we got involved in a bit of a debate around the best Need for Speed title in their 25 year run.
This discussion was quite intense, so we ordered some pizzas, broke out the marker specifically made for writing on glass (think Russel Crowe in A Beautiful Mind), and put together a list of our top 7 Need for Speed titles to ever come out!
Key points that influenced our final list were story line, game play and overall experience with career mode. If you have objections – let’s get into it in the comment section.
Special Mention: Need for Speed
As the original game was first published in 1994 we should give this game a little respect. It changed the way we experienced driving games. It was available on PC DOS; and for console gamers it came out on Panasonic 3DO, Sega Saturn and, of course, the original PlayStation. (Ask your Dad if you don’t know what we’re talking about!)
7. Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed (or Porsche Edition)
Released in 2000, the game was put together as a nod to the Porsche catalogue of cars made between 1950 and 2000. Reviews were mixed for this game, but car fans were able to appreciate the vastness of the Porsche models featured. We felt like the game had to be mentioned as it was a bold move for Electronic Arts.
6. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2
Although this wasn’t the first of the Hot Pursuits, this was a game changer when it came to the number of cars available and the racecourses featured. Hot Pursuit allowed two forms of play: World Racing Championships, where players were challenged to race on different courses; and Hot Pursuit Ultimate Race, that challenged racers on the same racecourses but with the addition of Police chases. While still rudimentary as far as career progression was concerned, the tracks were challenging, and the most exciting moments were the short pauses in the race when cops flag you for speeding and begin their chase.
5. Need for Speed Undercover
Released in 2008, Undercover was a great spin on the Hot Pursuit concept while staying contemporary with the introduction of free roaming and elaborate story lines for career mode. Players took the role of an undercover police officer looking to bring down a syndicate within the underground street racing world. The game brought in an interesting line-up of cars like the Bugatti Veyron and more. Big shout to an early crush – Maggie Q.
4. Need for Speed: The Run
Released in 2011, The Run is another unique take on the Hot Pursuit idea. Players would take part in a series of challenges, while racing in real world locations across the United States from state-to-state. The variety of challenges throughout your career gameplay made this game really cool in our view. It broke the monotony of the typical 3, 2, 1 standing races and the storyline paid homage to the Need for Speed movie with Aaron Paul at certain points.
3. Need for Speed Underground
This game not only changed car gaming culture, but it unpacked the street racing world and built up a strong appreciation for the world of car customisation. The opening theme song for the game is without a doubt one of the most memorable kick offs to a video game and their simulated version of drag racing made this game a hit.
2. Need for Speed Underground 2
As the follow-up to the cultural earthquake the first Underground brought about, Underground 2 had a lot to live up to. While some may disagree for purely nostalgic reasons, the game play, storyline, and driving dynamics of Underground 2 superseded that of the original Underground. Not to mention that Underground was the first game in the Need For Speed series to introduce free roaming. Also, Brooke Burke!
1. Need for Speed Most Wanted
The opening sequence to the game sets the mood and brings a sense of seriousness to the game. As your custom built E46 M3 gets impounded – you’re forced to work with the police in bringing down a massive illegal street racing syndicate. At the time, the game set fire to every racer’s thumbs and that M3 build is probably one of the most iconic mods to this day! Need for Speed Most Wanted built a super immersive experience with awesome back stories to various members of the syndicate. This story could not be outdone by their follow up on Undercover.
We’d love to know what you think and if you have any other titles in the series you loved, hit us up and tell us why this was the game that did it for you.