The Five Best Need For Speed (NFS) Games of All Time
Need For Speed (NFS) is a classic racing game franchise that has dominated the racing game genre since its inception in 1994. The iconic gaming franchise was first published by Electronic Arts and currently developed by Criterion Games. It has been more than 25 years since the first game came out, and yet this action-packed adventure game continues to muster nostalgia amongst millennials and generation-z.
With the release of Need For Speed: Unbound on 2nd December 2022, there are presently 25 NFS games in the franchise. It is no easy task to pick one and title it the best. So, we have attempted to narrow down the top 5 NFS games of all time. These games are revered for their innovation, gameplay and exceptional graphics.
In no particular order, here is our curated list of the five best NFS Games of all time.
Need For Speed (1994)
The 1994 version of NFS played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the franchise, laying the foundation for its success today. As the original installment, it embarked on a daring journey, propelling the Need For Speed series into uncharted territory. This version introduced players to a race car simulation that was truly ahead of its time, setting a new standard for racing games and leaving a lasting legacy within the franchise.
Highlighting the game were the inclusion of exotic cars such as the Ferrari 512TR and Lamborghini Diablo, alongside other notable models like the Dodge Viper and Mazda RX-7. These high-performance vehicles added a thrilling element to the gameplay, enticing players with their speed and style. Furthermore, the game's race tracks were inspired by real-life locations, featuring Alpine, City, Coastal, Rusty Springs, and Vertigo, each offering unique challenges and breathtaking scenery.
The 1994 NFS version not only captivated players with its advanced race car simulation but also paved the way for the franchise's continued success, solidifying its place as a groundbreaking and influential installment in the history of the Need For Speed series.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
NFS: Most Wanted, released in 2005, stands out as an iconic addition to the franchise, delivering an exceptional gaming experience with its breathtaking graphics and captivating storyline. It quickly gained a dedicated fan base, becoming a beloved favorite among players.
Set in the fictional city of Rockport, the game revolves around heart-pounding races where competitors vie for the coveted title of "Most Wanted." The adrenaline-fueled gameplay kept players on the edge of their seats as they engaged in thrilling rivalries on the city streets.
Cars inspired by popular manufacturers like Porsche, Lamborghini, Chevrolet, Ford and many more were a part of this version. What makes this version stand out is the presence of police pursuits, rank climbs and a dynamic day-night cycle. The riveting car chases and the legendary single-player campaign make this one of the most successful installments in the franchise’s history.
Need For Speed: Underground 2 (2004)
This marked a significant milestone in the NFS series, as it was the first installment to introduce an immersive open-world experience, enabling players to freely explore the city and engage in thrilling underground races. Serving as a direct sequel to NFS: Underground, the game took gameplay to new heights, providing improved mechanics and the freedom to roam the vibrant streets and hidden spots of Bayview City.
One of the standout features of this game was its extensive customization options, empowering players to personalize their vehicles to their heart's content. From tweaking the external appearance to adding body kits and selecting paint colors, players had the freedom to create their dream racing machines.
In terms of the car roster, the game offered an impressive selection of vehicles to choose from, including notable models like the 1999 Mitsubishi 3000 GT, the 1993 Nissan 240sx, the 2003 Toyota Celica GT-S, 2005 Ford Mustang GT, and many more, catering to a wide range of driving preferences and styles.
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit holds iconic status as it marked the first game in the franchise that allowed players to experience both sides of the law, stepping into the roles of both cops and racers. An exciting addition to the game was the NFS Autolog, enabling players to directly connect with their friends within the game, transforming it into a more socially immersive experience.
The inclusion of various race modes, such as Standard races, timed races, and intense police-racer chases, brought an element of competitiveness that kept players engaged and entertained throughout the gameplay.
This modern and action-packed installment of the series boasted an impressive lineup of exotic cars, including renowned models like the Nissan GT-R SpecV (R35), McLaren F1, Porsche 911 (997) GT3 RS, Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Pagani Zonda Cinque, and many more, ensuring players had a vast selection of high-performance vehicles to choose from during their adrenaline-fueled adventures.
Need For Speed: Carbon (2006)
Building on the success of NFS: Most Wanted, the sequel, NFS: Carbon, took the franchise to new heights by expanding on the foundation laid by its predecessor. One of the exciting additions to the gameplay was the introduction of "Canyon Duels," thrilling races that took place in the scenic canyon routes of Palmont City. To further enhance the gaming experience, a crew system was implemented, allowing players to recruit wingmen who could provide valuable assistance by obstructing opponents during races.
NFS: Carbon didn't just rely on its gameplay enhancements; it also received praise for its engaging narrative-driven approach. Bringing back the notorious antagonist from NFS: Most Wanted, Sergeant Cross, the game's main storyline gained an added layer of intrigue and excitement.
Moreover, NFS: Carbon impressed players with an array of new features and innovative designs, ensuring a captivating and immersive gaming experience. The car roster was expanded to include notable models such as the Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS, Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, Renault Clio V6 Renault Sport, Mazda RX-7, and many others, making it a thrilling and diverse installment in the NFS series.