Need for Speed is a familiar name for everyone. If you have ever dabbled in racing games, you know what Need for Speed is and the impact it had on bringing racing games to the mainstream.
From thrilling pursuits to high speeds, it left an indelible mark on gaming history. With each release, it pushed boundaries, delivering heart-pounding action and addictive gameplay.
So, let’s hit the ignition and rev our engines as we embark on a nostalgic journey down memory lane. In this ranking, we’ll explore the top 10 Need for Speed games of all time. With that said, it’s time to hit the accelerator and relish the adrenaline rush again.
10. Need for Speed II SE
Need for Speed II SE holds a special place in the hearts of racing game enthusiasts. Released as an enhanced edition of the original Need for Speed II, this installment made a lasting impact on the genre.
With its retro-like graphics, addicting gameplay, and vast collection of cars, Need for Speed II SE is truly a gem of the past. While it may be at the bottom of this list, it is still one of the most treasured NFS games for all fans.
9. Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed (2000)
Released in 2000, NFS: Porsche remains a beloved installment and one of the best Need for Speed games in the series. As the name suggests, it was centered around Porsche cars.
Gameplay-wise, the graphics are old and give a vintage feel, which is expected from a game from that time. However, the game is still enjoyable, just like before.
The game featured two career modes, Evolution and Factory. In Evolution, the player starts with a 1950 Porsche, and as you play, you unlock new cars.
And in the Factory driver mode, the player experiences many different events like stunts, slaloms, and races. The players get the preselected Porsche cars for each event.
Overall, it’s a great game if you are a Porsche fan, and I would recommend trying it.
8. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)
It was released as a reboot of the original 2005 Need For Speed: Most Wanted; we’ll talk about that later. It had additional gameplay elements like an open-world map and multiplayer. Plus, it had better graphics.
While 2012’s Most Wanted is an excellent game on its own and won many awards, it did not live up to the original.
Gameplay-wise, it is fun to cruise around and dodge cops. The setting and the map are great to play on, and the tracks are well-made.
Furthermore, there are many types of races to keep you hooked.
7. Need for Speed: Unbound
The latest addition to the series, Need for Speed: Unbound, takes a different turn from the usual racing game. It shifts from realistic-styled racing to a more comic and graffiti-styled game. With more emphasis on street racing and street culture.
The art style is aesthetically pleasing, and the visual animations are taken up a notch. Even doing simple donuts looks cool thanks to the beautiful animations.
And even with a new spin on the art style, the gameplay itself does not deviate much from classic NFS. The only downside is the online mode of the game. It feels undone and like a stripped-down version of the single-player version.
6. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
It’s the successor to the original Hot Pursuit and takes on a similar gameplay style. It was released in 2002 after the success of Hot Pursuit. The game takes place in various regions, giving players a lot of different tracks to race on.
There are two single-player modes, namely, World Championship and Pursuit. In the former, you race in official races against top-class racers. And the Pursuit mode features street racing and avoiding cops.
It has a huge garage of cars from all your favorite manufacturers, making it a great pick for car enthusiasts. There are also tons of options to modify and customize them.
5. Need for Speed: Rivals
The fifth game on the list of best Need for Speed games is none other than NFS: Rivals. Its gameplay and setting are similar to those of the widely successful Most Wanted and Hot Pursuit I. Besides, it was the first cross-platform game in the series, available on Xbox One and PS4.
Storywise, the game has a very interesting plot. In the beginning, you choose a faction, either a Cop or Racer. As a cop, you do missions like patrolling and law enforcement. On the other hand, choosing Racer will take you to classic NFS street racing.
The biggest feature of the game was AllDrive. AllDrive is the system used to seamlessly match players within the same open world. This made the game extremely fun to play with friends. As you can race around in the same world.
4. Need for Speed: Heat
The predecessor to NFS: Unbound, NFS Heat, was a try to reignite the franchise after the failure of Payback. Though it received mixed reviews, NFS Heat was certainly a major improvement from the last few games.
The game is set in Palm City, and the map and the city itself are both visually appealing. Heat was Ghost Game’s last NFS title of the series, and they definitely did not hold back. The mechanics are well done, and the gameplay is fun and engaging.
Overall, the game feels polished and became the foundation for NFS: Unbound. Overall, it is a great entry point back into the franchise.
3. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
We have finally made it into the top 3, and while the games before were great, they couldn’t live up to these top 3 NFS titles.
Hot Pursuit is a game that really gets you hooked immediately, with reckless speeds and high-risk chases. The game defines what NFS stands for. There is a vast collection of cars to cruise in and a big map with fun tracks.
Besides, there are multiple great game modes like Hot Pursuit, Interceptor, Most Wanted, and more.
If you want to try Hot Pursuit, I would recommend the 2020 remaster. It is more of a graphical tuneup to modernize the game. And, it’s basically the same experience.
2. Need for Speed: Underground II
You might think all the top 3 Need for Speed games are older ones, but that’s how it is. The old NFS games were gems of the past, and most modern games can’t live up to their hype.
Underground II was the sequel to Underground I, and everything about it was dialed up a notch. From gameplay to the map and from cars to customization, all aspects were improved.
The game was set on the streets, where you take part in different races like Sprints, Circuits, or Drag races. And you would do this all while avoiding the cops on your tail.
Even now, from time to time, I launch the game and relive that experience.
1. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
If you ask anyone what the best NFS game of all time is, you will most likely hear Most Wanted. This is because Most Wanted has a special place in the heart of every gamer. It was the peak of NFS, and I doubt there will be a game like that again.
The reason for this is the incredible story and progression of the game. You start off as a street racer who loses his car in a race, which we later find out was due to a planned malfunction in your car.
The story begins from there, and you go on to take down the top racers on Blacklist and get their cars, until finally racing against your own car at the end.
Apart from the story, the gameplay was great too. You race and try to escape the cops. The upgrade system was quite good as well, where you could easily squeeze the maximum performance out of your car.
And, to top it all off, the car you originally had was the BMW M3 GTR, which is greatly loved by many car enthusiasts.
And there we have it: The 10 best Need for Speed games you can play currently. If your favorite NFS game is not on this list, that’s completely fine, as everyone has their own opinion. The games I included got good reviews from critics and were loved worldwide.
What’s your favorite one from the mentioned games? The comment section is yours!
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