Let’s get this out of the way: Need For Speed Payback’s story is pants. Clown pants, size XXXXXXL in the cheese department. The Fast & Furious movies may be the ultimate fantasy of anyone who ever painted go-faster stripes on their VW Golf, but while plenty of other games and films may have been inspired by the antics of Vin Diesel and his extended family, Need For Speed Payback operates in a manner that feels like the entire game was dipped in a fondue pot of melted Fast 8 Blu-Rays.
It’s a game built around the most cringe-worthy of dialogue, quotes so shockingly cheesy that your eyeballs are in danger of rolling out of your head with enough force to puncture your skull. Nowhere else in the game is that fact more apparent than in the Street Leagues. You’re racing around the city of Silver Rock to gain allies, leaders of gangs who each operate according to a certain discipline and spout out lines that read like bad fan fiction.
So here they are. The crème de la crème of intros that deserve to be ridden off of a cliff and never seen again as we start this list with the not so bad and work our way down (way waaaay down) to the worst:
When you race in Silver Rock, every quarter mile is a battle. From burnout to finish, we put it all on the line. I am Big Sister, and this…is Riot Club.
I’m not going to rate Big Sister too cruelly here. She’s actually a fun character, she only paraphases one line from the Fast ‘n the Furious and drag racing is actually kind of rad.
Free Ember Militia
They say it’s a man’s world. I say shove it. Survive a day in the desert with us if you think you’re so tough. We are…the Free Ember Militia.
In shocking news, it appears that women are capable of driving and being good at it. I can’t wait to tell my mom this when she drops me off at gym again.
The Silver Six
We were six warring leagues, exiled from the city by The House. But out here, we found our common cause. We are the Silver Six…And one day, you WILL hear about us.
Breaking news now, as six guys in six cars that cost the sum total of an entire BitCoin are upset about not being able to illegally race on crowded city streets and prove just how cool their four-wheeled compensations are.
Miles outside the city, it’s just sky as far as the eye can see. League 73: Freedom happens at a hundred miles an hour and ten feet in the air.
If these guys could achieve lift-off and an escape velocity that would carry them into orbit then that would be a crowdfunding drive worth supporting.
Hicks to the core, but I can GAR-UN-TEE we live better than you. Cash in our hands, dirt in our toes and nothin’ but the sky in front of us. We are…Hazard Company.
Hmmm, I’d bet that you’re glad that you got to marry your prettiest sister and that you have a cupboard full of shotguns next to your Larry The Cable Guy DVDs.
When you fly down the highway at a hundred miles an hour, every decision is life and death. I am La Catrina, and this…is the Graveyard Shift.
Honestly, if you’re looking to race against death then you might see if you can outrun an army of Ford Hilux bakkies after you tell a Bloemfontein crowd that Steve Hofmeyer sucks.
We exist in curves and motion. We skirt the knife’s edge between life and death, traction and freefall. I am Aki Kimura, the Drft King. Welcome to Noise Bomb.
Did you ever run across that pretentious wanker who studied art at your university, and harped on about how he was going to use the core ideals of Dadaism to reinvent the world? That’s Noise Bomb in a nutshell.
The One Percent Club
We’re on in three, two one…Ladies and gentlemen, you know her, you love her, it’s Natalia Nova! Joining her, as always, the best of the best: The One Percent Club!
When I’m president, the rich fatcats who ruined our economy will be sent to an island where they’ll be hunted for sport, for a change. Also, that’s a lie. Death Island is actually a peninsula.
You struggle through life while we toy with it. Nothing is ever exciting enough, dangerous enough…Worthy enough for us. We are…Diamond Block. Never heard of us? Well you must not be a millionaire then.
Everyone knows that one guy, that one dude who happens to have some cash in the bank and can’t resist showing off it off with fancy new purchases. Everyone also refers to guy as a wanker of the highest magnitude, when he’s not around because flaunting your wealth is a behaviour usually reserved for the douchiest of bros.
Where will you be when the revolution comes? We are the last stand against corporate tyranny We are the drifting freedom fighters of the Misinformation Age. We are…Shift Lock.
Imagine, standing in front of a mirror and saying that monologue. If you do that, then here’s a headband to wear while you practise your Naruto ninja-running when mom’s not at home.
You know what the funny thing is? As atrocious as that dialogue may be…I kind of like it. In the years to come, I have a feeling that Need For Speed Payback’s story will emerge as the The Room of video game narratives, a tale so monumentally derivative and uninspired that it somehow manages to inspire developers for years to come as the blueprint for how not to create a tale that fans will endlessly mock.
Oh hi car.
Last Updated: November 15, 2017