Delisted Need for Speed Games That Deserve a Second Chance

Delisted Need for Speed Games That Deserve a Second Chance

Need for Speed has had plenty of ups and downs, but the recently delisted titles do deserve some love, even if they’re not the franchise’s best.

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Delisted Need for Speed Games That Deserve a Second Chance

For the hardcore fans, many of the classic games in the Need for Speed franchise are some of the best in the series. Some will point to Need for Speed: Underground or Underground 2 as the best mainline entry, others will point to the original Need For Speed: Most Wanted from 2005. Some fans will point to the newer Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit as the best entry in the series. Every Need for Speed fan has their favorite (and not-so-favorite) entry in the franchise, considering the series’ 20+ year legacy has featured plenty of different racing experiences. For newer fans of the franchise, it’s soon going to become much more difficult to experience the franchise’s origins.

As the next Need for Speed game is delayed indefinitely to support Battlefield development, older Need for Speed games are also going away very soon. Five games in the franchise have been delisted from online storefronts, and will be taken offline in a few months: Need for Speed: Carbon, Need for Speed: Undercover, Need for Speed: Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed, and Need for Speed: The Run. EA’s community manager mentioned that these games had reached a player count where subsequent support was not feasible, which to some degree makes sense. These aren’t necessarily the best Need for Speed games, but they are underrated and special.

Need for Speed: Carbon

Delisted Need for Speed Games That Deserve a Second Chance

Billed as a sort-of sequel to 2005’s Need for Speed: Most Wanted, the story continues in Palmont City in Need for Speed: Carbon. Rather than placing the focus on escaping the police like in the previous entry, Carbon acted more as a meld between Most Wanted and Underground. While many of the Most Wanted race types (circuit, sprint, speedtrap, etc.) were present, the main attraction of Need for Speed: Carbon was the canyon races, similar to the Toge in Japanese street racing. Players compete in canyon races to defeat several street racing crews, rather than specific blacklist members from Most Wanted.

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In comparison to 2005’s Most Wanted, Need for Speed: Carbon was not nearly as popular or as successful, but it was still just as special. Even to this day, canyon races and the expanded car customization in Carbon still holds up just as well. It may not compare to Most Wanted, but Carbon’s offering as a sequel is just as iconic, if subtle.

Need for Speed: Undercover

Delisted Need for Speed Games That Deserve a Second Chance

Bringing the focus back to police chases from a new perspective, Need for Speed: Undercover put players in the shoes of the titular clandestine role. This game was not particularly well-received on release, understandably so. The game had numerous technical issues as a cross-gen title between PS2/PS3, especially in comparison to similar titles like Midnight Club: LA or Burnout Paradise, which released in the same year. The game was comparatively far less difficult, had a much lower car density, had heavily criticized elements of progression, among other problems.

Some PC players have made improvement mods to make the game playable, but to bring this game back would likely require some overhauling. That being said, the premise and story of Undercover is still iconic for the series. It takes some patience, but the hardcore fans have found that Undercover does have some redeeming qualities.

Need for Speed: Shift and Shift 2: Unleashed

Delisted Need for Speed Games That Deserve a Second Chance

For the first time in a long time, Need for Speed: Shift and Shift 2: Unleashed brought the series back to a simulatory experience akin to that of Forza or Gran Turismo. Many praised the game’s simulation-style racing mechanics that still maintained a level of arcade-like handling as well, so as not to be prohibitively difficult at first. Shift was far different from games like Undercover and Carbon before it, eschewing illegal street racing for exhibitions and legal race tracks. Given the popularity of titles like Forza Horizon, as well as both Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo returning in the near future, Need for Speed: Shift and Shift 2 occupy a very similar niche.

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The Shift entries find a nice balance between the simulation-style racing found in those similar franchises, whilst also retaining some of the fun factor of previous campy titles in the series. It’s hard to compare to more modern titles that offer a similar experience, but Need for Speed Shift offers plenty of challenging but rewarding races for those looking for a more realistic-leaning experience.

Need for Speed: The Run

Delisted Need for Speed Games That Deserve a Second Chance

Need for Speed: The Run received a pretty mixed reception at launch, and understandably so. Even compared to games like Underground or Most Wanted, which leaned directly into early 2000s street racing culture and all of the cheese it can provide, The Run was almost like an awful imitation of that spirit. Players were tasked with racing across the United States the fastest to get a huge cash prize, all the while contending with other racers and gaining better cars along the way. Coupled with a largely linear story and gameplay experience, Need for Speed: The Run’s interesting premise was marred by some questionable story and gameplay design decisions along the way.

Which is a shame, because some of the set pieces, rival races, and moments in between are some of the best in the Need for Speed franchise as a whole. That being said, the game was very different from previous efforts, and never got even remotely close to the popularity of greater mainstream entries in the series.

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