Are you ready to experience the thrill of raging across complex city streets, trying to make it out alive? If so, a Need For Speed game is an absolute must-have in your gaming collection! This franchise has been around since the mid-'90s and has grown into one of the best racing games series ever created.
But where do you start when there are so many fantastic titles? Worry not - we've ranked the 20 best Need For Speed games below, so you can jump right into this amazing pickup-and-play series without hesitation!
A deep dive into each title's mechanics and features will help determine which offerings stand above all others. Buckle up as we explore some of our favorite NFS releases of all time.
Also Read: 10 Best Action Anime Games
20 Best Need For Speed Games
Need for Speed is one of the most popular racing game franchises of all time, and picking the best games to play can be a daunting task. Luckily, we've compiled a list of the top 20 Need for Speed games, ranging from the classic titles that kicked off the series to the most recent entries that push the boundaries of what a racing game can be.
Each game on our list offers something unique, whether it's the adrenaline-pumping police chases of Need for Speed: Most Wanted or the customization options of Need for Speed: Underground 2.
No matter what kind of racing game fan you are, there's sure to be a Need for Speed title that will keep you entertained for hours on end. So why not strap in and get ready to hit the gas? Let's tour some of the best racing games of all time!
1. Need for Speed Unbound
Get ready to rev your engines and zoom past the competition with the highly anticipated release of Need for Speed Unbound in 2022. This thrilling addition to the franchise promises to break free from the traditional track racing format and offer players the ultimate freedom to explore an open-world environment.
With stunning graphics, immersive gameplay, and a dynamic storyline, Need for Speed Unbound sets itself apart from its predecessors and raises the bar for racing games. Whether you're a newcomer to the series or a seasoned veteran, this game is sure to satisfy your need for speed and leave you craving more.
Also Read: 50 Hardest Video Game Levels
2. Need for Speed Heat
Gear up and prepare for Need for Speed Heat, the high-octane racing game that has taken the gaming world by storm since its release in 2019. Combining intense police chases, heart-stopping car races, and a gritty Miami-inspired backdrop, Need for Speed Heat offers players an immersive racing experience.
With a wide selection of high-performance cars and an innovative Rep System that rewards players for pushing the limits, this game is a must-play for anyone who wants to feel the rush of the street racing scene. Buckle up and hit the gas because, with Need for Speed Heat, the thrill of the race is always just around the corner.
3. Need for Speed Payback
Revise your engines and prepare for the ultimate racing experience with Need for Speed Payback. This thrilling game, released in 2017, takes the high-octane action to the next level with jaw-dropping graphics, customizable cars, and adrenaline-fueled missions.
Whether racing through the city streets or battling it out in intense heist missions, Need for Speed Payback will keep you on the edge of your seat. So buckle up and prepare to embark on the ride of a lifetime with this must-play game.
4. Need for Speed
Get ready to rev your engines because Need for Speed is back and better than ever in 2015! This latest installment of the adrenaline-fueled racing franchise brings high-octane excitement to players with a stunning visual display and a huge array of customizable cars.
Whether you prefer the thrill of drifting around corners or the rush of speed on straightaways, Need for Speed 2015 has something for everyone. The game's open-world design allows players to freely roam the streets and challenge other drivers to races or attempt to outrun the police.
With intense racing action, gorgeous graphics, and a vast array of customizations to explore, Need for Speed 2015 promises endless excitement for all racing fans.
5. Need for Speed: Rivals
With the release of Need for Speed: Rivals in 2013, gamers were again thrown into the adrenaline-fueled world of high-speed chases and intense car races. This iteration of the popular racing franchise took everything players loved about previous titles and amplified it to a new level.
With the introduction of the AllDrive system, both single-player and multiplayer experiences came together seamlessly, allowing players to jump in and out of races with friends or compete against each other in intense high-speed pursuits.
Adding new vehicles and customization options also kept things fresh for fans of the series. Even today, years after its initial release, Need for Speed: Rivals remains a thrilling and engaging racing game that any genre fan should experience.
6. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
In 2012, the video game scene was rocked by the release of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. This high-speed, action-packed game puts players in the driver's seat of some of the world's most coveted cars.
With intense police chases, challenging races, and a sprawling open world to explore, Most Wanted quickly became a fan favorite. It was praised for its stunning graphics, responsive controls, and immersive multiplayer options.
With a complex ranking system and various challenges to tackle, gamers were hooked on the rush of pushing their cars to the limit. Even almost a decade later, Need for Speed: Most Wanted still holds a special place in the hearts of many racing enthusiasts.
Also Read: 20 Best Multiplayer Games for PS5
7. Need for Speed: The Run
Need for Speed: The Run was a thrilling racing game that took the franchise to new heights in 2011. It was a cross-country adventure with high-speed chases and heart-pumping action.
From the neon-lit streets of San Francisco to the snow-covered passes of the Rocky Mountains, this game had it all. The storyline was engaging, the graphics were stunning, and the gameplay was intense. Players had to race against time and other drivers to reach the finish line and win the grand prize.
Whether you were a seasoned Need for Speed fan or simply looking for a high-octane thrill ride, The Run was the game for you. So buckle up and get ready for the ride of a lifetime!
8. Shift 2: Unlimited
Shift 2: Unlimited, the racing video game released in 2011, takes the exhilaration of speed to a whole new level. With an impressive array of customizable cars to choose from and the option to enhance and fine-tune every aspect of them, players can truly make their driving experience their own.
Not only does the game provide an extensive list of race tracks to test out their skills on, but it also offers dynamic weather and time of day changes to keep players on their toes. The game's advanced AI and realistic physics make for challenging yet rewarding gameplay, leaving players feeling like they truly earned their wins.
Shift 2: Unlimited is a must-play for any racing game enthusiast looking for a truly immersive and thrilling experience.
9. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – 2010 is an adrenaline-pumping racing game that offers the ultimate driving experience. The game comes with a variety of high-performance cars and exotic locations that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Whether you want to play as a cop or a racer, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit has something for everyone. As you race through the winding roads and bustling cities, you'll experience heart-pounding chases, nail-biting escapes, and breathtaking crashes.
With stunning graphics, realistic gameplay, and intuitive controls, this game is a must-play for any racing enthusiast. So, rev up your engine, buckle up, and get ready for an epic ride!
10. Need for Speed: World
In 2010, racing game fanatics were in for a treat with the release of Need for Speed: World. This online multiplayer game revolutionized the way racing games were played, allowing players from all over the world to compete against each other on a virtual track.
The game offered various cars to choose from, each with its unique attributes that would affect the player's performance on the road. With its stunning graphics and intense gameplay, Need for Speed: World quickly garnered a loyal following of gamers obsessed with being the best racer on the streets.
It might have been over a decade since its release, but Need for Speed: World still holds a special place in the hearts of racing game enthusiasts.
11. Need for Speed Shift
The world of racing games was revolutionized in 2009 with the release of Need for Speed Shift. This game took the player on a heart-pumping ride as they maneuvered their high-speed vehicle around every curve and turn.
Unlike previous installments, Shift put a premium on realism and authenticity, allowing players to feel like they were truly behind the wheel of a powerful machine. The graphics and sound design were unparalleled, creating an immersive experience that gamers couldn't get enough of.
Even over a decade later, Need for Speed Shift continues to be a beloved classic in the racing game genre.
12. Need for Speed Undercover
When it comes to racing games, Need for Speed Undercover definitely stands out from the crowd. Released back in 2008, it had a unique charm that left players coming back for more.
With its high-speed chases, thrilling heists, and intense driving, it was a game that truly delivered on the adrenaline rush. Players could customize their vehicles, engage in epic police pursuits, and immerse themselves in an intriguing storyline.
The game's graphics and sound design were top-notch, making it an unforgettable experience. Even to this day, Need for Speed Undercover remains a classic and beloved racing game that every genre fan should play.
Also Read: Top 20 Best RPG Games of 2023
13. Need for Speed: ProStreet
In 2007, the popular Need for Speed franchise released its latest installment, ProStreet, and fans were not disappointed. This game took street racing to a whole new level with the introduction of legal racing events and a focus on professional racing circuits.
The graphics were top-notch, with stunning visuals that immersed players in the racing world. The cars were even more customizable than before, allowing players to fine-tune every aspect of their vehicles for optimal performance. Need for Speed: ProStreet truly raised the bar for racing games and remained a fan favorite to this day.
14. Need for Speed: Carbon
In racing games, few titles have remained as popular as Need for Speed: Carbon. Released in 2006, this adrenaline-fueled game lets players hit the gas and speed through the streets in search of thrills and glory.
With a thrilling storyline that puts players in a dangerous turf war, Need for Speed: Carbon offers intense gameplay that keeps players on the edge of their seats.
From the high-speed chases to the heart-pumping escapes, every moment in this game is packed with excitement. So if you're looking for a fast-paced game that will get your heart racing, look no further than Need for Speed: Carbon.
15. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Need for Speed: Most Wanted – 2005 was an absolute classic in racing games. With its stunning graphics, intense gameplay, and adrenaline-fueled races, the game was an instant hit among gamers worldwide.
Set in the fictional city of Rockport, players had to race to the top of the Blacklist – a group of the most wanted street racers in the city. From thrilling pursuits with the police to epic boss battles, every moment of the game was packed with excitement and high-speed action.
With a wide range of cars to choose from, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses, players had to master the art of customization and tuning in order to come out on top. Overall, Need for Speed: Most Wanted – 2005 is a game that will forever live on in the hearts of gamers everywhere.
16. Need for Speed: Underground 2
Need for Speed: Underground 2, released in 2004, is undoubtedly one of the most iconic racing games ever. Building on the success of its predecessor, the game reached new heights of popularity with its high-octane street racing gameplay and stunning open-world environment.
Gamers worldwide were obsessed with pimping out their custom rides and competing in heart-stopping races through the underground street racing scene. What set this game apart was its immersive, adrenaline-fueled experience, complete with an epic hip-hop soundtrack that made you feel like you were part of the action.
Even almost two decades later, the game remains a fan favorite, and its impact on the racing game genre is undeniable. So, buckle up, rev your engines, and get ready to hit the streets in Need for Speed: Underground 2.
17. Need for Speed: Underground
In 2003, the video game world was forever changed with the release of Need for Speed: Underground. This game offered players a whole new level of excitement and challenge with its customizable cars, intense racing, and heart-pumping music.
The game truly captured the essence of underground street racing culture, and players found themselves fully immersed in the world of illegal racing as they navigated through the game's various tracks and challenges.
Even now, nearly two decades later, Need for Speed: Underground remains a classic, beloved by gamers and remembers fondly as a cornerstone in the racing game genre.
Also Read: 25 Best Third-Person Games
18. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
In 2002, racing games were taken to new heights with the release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. This game had it all - high-speed chases, intense police pursuits, and adrenaline-fueled races through some of the most scenic locations around the world.
From the sun-drenched coastlines of Australia to the winding roads of the Swiss Alps, players were given a chance to put their driving skills to the test and compete against some of the most skilled racers on the planet.
With spectacular graphics, heart-pumping sound effects, and a selection of some of the most desirable cars in the world, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 quickly became a fan favorite and a must-have for any racing enthusiast.
19. Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed
The year 2000 was a game-changer for fans of racing games, thanks to the release of Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed. This game took things to a new level with its stunning graphics and immersive gameplay, allowing players to hit the virtual tracks in some of the world's most iconic Porsche vehicles.
With a wide range of customization options available, players could truly make their cars their own and show off their skills on the road. For fans of the Need for Speed franchise and Porsche enthusiasts alike, Porsche Unleashed was an absolute must-own. Even now, over 20 years later, it remains a classic among racing game fans, and it's easy to see why.
20. Need for Speed: High Stakes
In 1999, the world was introduced to a racing game that would set the standard for years - Need for Speed: High Stakes. This game was the fourth installment in the popular Need for Speed series and brought a whole new level of excitement and risk to the virtual racing world.
Players could choose from various exotic cars and compete in high-stakes races against AI opponents or even their friends in multiplayer mode. With advanced graphics and realistic driving physics, it was easy to get lost in the game for hours on end.
Need for Speed: High Stakes was a game that truly captured the thrill of the race and paved the way for future racing games to follow.
Also Read: 20 Best Racing Games for PS5
There is no question that Need for Speed is an iconic racing game franchise. From being one of the first video games to be focused on drag racing with the 1995's Need for Speed: High Stakes to the upcoming release of Need for Speed Unbound in 2022, this series has been delivering hit after hit and evolving into a more cutting edge racing simulation experience that gamers love.
With titles such as Need for Speed Heat (2019), Payback (2017), and Rivals (2013) already being considered all-time racing greats, we fans of NFS have a whole lot to look forward to in the coming years! So if you're a fan of thrilling races and awesome cars, then you should start your engine and get ready to speed off into some wonderful memories!