So many things have to happen for a racing game to stand out. It has to have advanced driving mechanics, car customization with depth, deeply engaging tracks, and more. The wish list for video game racers is so long, which is why a game can fail for not having it all.
Need For Speed has proven time and time again, that it is a phenomenal gaming franchise with exceptional racing titles. Games such as Need For Speed: Underground have tremendous nostalgic value. We are thrown for a loop because more of these games aren't backward compatible. These are 10 Need For Speed games ranked from worst to best.
10 Need for Speed: Rivals
It wouldn't be out of the ordinary to compare Need For Speed: Rivals to Burnout Paradise. Both games have cinematic crashes, and both games are open-world. Unfortunately, Need For Speed: Rivals has its fair share of bugs and glitches. Had the game been more polished, it could have been an exceptional launch game for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The concept of the game looks good on paper, but it had poor execution. Still, Need For Speed: Rivals is one of the best Need For Speed games thus far.
9 Need For Speed: Undercover
Although police chases are still a significant part of this Need For Speed Installment, players play the part of an undercover police officer. To infiltrate a crime syndicate, players compete in street races and drive stolen cars. The speeds you can reach in this game are absurd. This heart-pounding adventure is a ton of fun, and it's why Need For Speed: Undercover is considered one of the best Need For Speed games to date. The game even has role-playing game elements that allow players to improve their licensed real-world cars.
8 Need For Speed: Carbon
Need For Speed: Carbon is a lot like Need For Speed: Underground, but it had a shorter single-player campaign in comparison. It also has less car customization than Need For Speed Underground. As a game that allows you to use nitrous oxide in street races, it has genuinely fun gameplay that surprises at every turn.
For a game that released more than ten years ago, it holds up well. Driving mechanics are exceptional, and the game has high replay value. Nostalgic players can go back to Need For Speed: Carbon without thinking twice.
7 Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
This stunning open-world racing game pits players against the police or outlaw drivers. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit was the first game that allowed players to be behind the wheel of a police car. It contains a story-mode for the most wanted driver and a policeman.
From the makers of the Burnout series, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is a ton of fun. This 2010 game stood out when it released. Its driving mechanics and exotic vehicles are extraordinary. Future Need For Speed games should take inspiration from Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.
6 Need For Speed (2015)
As one of the most anticipated Need For Speed games to be released, Need For Speed (2015) brought back the underground feel but added updated graphics and a more immersive open-world. However, it failed to deliver on many of Need For Speed's most renowned qualities like car customization and race variation. The game didn't contain drag races like it should have. The concept should have worked but the execution was poor. Despite its unforgivable flaws, Need For Speed (2015) is one of the best games of the Need For Speed franchise.
5 Need For Speed: Underground
It wouldn't be out of the question to place Need For Speed: Underground higher on this list, given the amount of customization. It laid the foundation for the other Underground and subsequent Need For Speed games. NFSU proved that even a Dodge Neon or Honda Civic could be turned into a race car. The game released on consoles such as the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. NFSU's drag races and time attacks were fun. This game released around the time that The Fast and the Furious released, so the underground car scene was trendy.
4 Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
The Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit game series contains a couple of Need For Speed's most recognizable games. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 came back with improved gameplay, better open-world environments, and some of the finest exotic vehicles of all time. The game even allows players to go off-road, which is something that was rarely seen in video games when it released. When we think of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, we can compare it to games like Forza Horizon. Unfortunately, the series has taken a downturn since this game's release.
3 Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a masterpiece driving game. Who could've guessed that a game that released on consoles such as Android, iOS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 could be enjoyable? It may have actually been the best on mobile devices.
The fact that almost anyone could jump into the game made it appealing. It took after the Need For Speed Underground but also differentiated itself with unique race tracks and top-notch driving mechanics. It won the VGX Award for Best Driving Game. This is one Need For Speed game you can't miss!
2 Need For Speed: Shift 2 – Unleashed
The career mode of Need For Speed: Shift 2 – Unleashed is its highlight. Its races feature a wide range of tracks against top-tier drivers. Need For Speed: Shift 2 – Unleashed is a huge improvement over its predecessor. As a game that released in 2011, the graphics don't look that dated. According to ea.com, "SHIFT 2 Unleashed redefines the racing simulator genre by delivering authentic and true-to-life, dynamic crash physics, plus insanely detailed real-world cars, drivers and tracks."
1 Need For Speed: Underground 2
The soundtrack could have had more variety. Listening to the same songs playing over and over was frustrating. However, Need For Speed: Underground 2 had enough car variety and customization to make the game stand on that alone. The career mode is the high-point of Need For Speed Underground 2, but the online and local multiplayer weren't bad either. The game has the most customization of any Need For Speed game, and it's why it's considered the best Need For Speed game of all time.