First of all, the usual thanks to Xbox for the code.

Ready, steady, go!

The engines roar like primal animals, the countdown is on....

3..2..1 and go!

Reflexes are key and I need to stay sharp, especially if I want to get to the major leagues and get back at that bitch Navarro, and bring her crooked operation down.

Yeah I know street racing is illegal, but there's a line that you do not cross. You don't screw your best crew out of a career, money and you sure as hell don't throw in your lot with another crooked s.o.b who wants to make sure that only his team reap the benefits.

How far are they willing to go? Well someone blew up my house, and I don't think that they would have cared one jot if I had been in it at the time.

Payback is coming, and it's only a few races away...

Guts 'n' glory....

For Tyler Morgan life has not been easy for him and his crew. Fellow drivers Sean McAlister (drift racing specialist), Jessica Madsen (super car racer), Marcus Weir, (off road racer) and their mechanic Rav Chaudry have been forced to disband.

Tyler is now forced to be a hotel parking lot attendant, and he has been promised that he will get payback but when? Tyler takes events in his own hands, nearly gets blown up and well there's where we go from there.

What follows is a nitrous charged race for kudos, respect and justice whilst avoiding the police who of course take a dim a view of all this illegal street racing malarky.  

Events;

There are number of races on offer, straight checkpoint to checkpoint races, speed camera trap trials, clock the best time, drift racing and off road Forza horizon style cross country action.

As far as racing goes it's a no holds barred affair, with Burnout style bang 'n' smash eliminations allowed.  You'll gain as reputation points as you race, clock up fastest speed trap times, avoiding the police in pursuits and generally wreak havoc on the roads and score points for near misses.

If you have played Burnout, Forza Horizon and other street racing games then you know what to expect and that perhaps leads to the following observation...

If it all seems familiar..

Then it is, and to be frank, you forget it's need for speed and you may think you are playing Forza Horizon or Burnout, only the drift racing  reminds you that it isn't, until you remember there is drift challenges on Forza 7.

It's a wish mash of things we have seen before, so is there anything new? Well there is, and this may raise eyebrows...

Loot Boxes...

Yup loot boxes raise their heads here. Credits earned from racing can be bought to open loot packages (OK cards) with a rarity scale, that unlock new paint jobs, tuning kits and car upgrades.

Then there is the Forza Horizon style derelict cars that can be discovered and renovated so they are street race ready, so like I said very familiar, in fact maybe too familiar....

Performance etc..

Ok the game engine runs smoothly enough whilst racing, little or no frame issues but FMV's can sometimes stutter spoiling character animations so they look like marionettes being controlled by a puppeteer having a seizure.

Voice acting is fine and lip synch is great and when racing straight, the cars handle well, but drifting?

This has to be the clunkiest version I have encountered. Pull right trigger to speed into a corner, then use the left stick to induce drift...or at least try too. Man it's as slippery as a wet fish lying on a slab of ice.

I quickly paused the game went back to home menu to see if I could alter the controls to the ones I was used too from previous games, i.e A for accelerate, X for brakes so a gentle tap of brakes can initiate the slide you are after.

And the answer is...no, you cannot. I struggled with drifting (check my mixer streams to see the frustrating and often comical results) until I got fed up too the back teeth with it.

Online

Online play is smooth for the most part, however lobbies seem quiet at the moment. Once in there are connectivity issues with sessions timing out whilst looking for competitors.

On the plus side, once in the races are smooth for the most part. Little or no lag, but there is occasional pop up issues and the action can slow down a little if there are a lot of cars heading for the same corner at the same time.

Sound, graphics etc.

Visually it's easy on the eye, textures and scenery are nicely rendered and the cars look very nice indeed though not as nice as they do in F1 2017 or Forza 7.

Music is the usual mix of R&B, Hip Hop that to be frank I found easy to ignore which is fine as it's not my cup of tea at all.

Car handling is fine, unless as stated you want to drift, it's so easy to overcook it and either find yourself facing the way you were coming, or performing a middle of the road donut in the face of incoming traffic.

I have to be honest....

This looks from the packaging as if it's going to be great game, and indeed it should be but this  racer hits speed bumps as it were, that overall mars the experience and fails it from hitting the dizzy heights it could have reached.

There's too many elements from other games, and to be honest, I found myself switching it off and going back to Paradise City or Forza where I find the presentation slicker, the handling better and there's no need for a movie style plot to carry the game.

Maybe it's time they pulled NFS over to one side, park it up and consider doing a 'reboot' ala C.o.D and go back to basics.

It offer much, promises a lot but I think if you want really really great racing that's fully engaging I'd say stick to Forza 5, 6, or 7 or Burnout, or Horizons. Sorry to say NFS Payback stalls slightly on the start line and struggles to fully deliver as it speeds off into the distance.