Top 10 Best Need for Speed Games

The Top Ten
1 Need for Speed: Most Wanted

This is by far one of the most complete racing games I have come across. It offers a variety of racing modes, a compelling story, and a lineup of cars that are both visually appealing and realistic for a street racer's budget. These elements combine to make a career mode that is truly worth playing.

The cop chases are fun but not impossible, and the game isn't overly focused on any one gameplay mechanic or type of car. The only area where it could improve is the customization options. While you can personalize your car, other games like UG2 and Carbon have taken customization to the next level. However, it's the career mode that makes this game stand out. Climbing to the top of the blacklist and taking your rivals' cars along the way provides a driving motivation that's unparalleled. The main reason to race in Most Wanted is clear: revenge.

2 Need for Speed: Underground 2

Plus, there was a good soundtrack and very detailed customizations. You could customize your mirrors, color your engine, and almost everything on your car in this game. Once I unlocked a new city, I cried in excitement. I never reached the end, but I hope someday to play this game again and reach the conclusion.

Drag racing, drifting, circuits, sprints - it was also multiplayer! The game had a feature where you could go to a race track, enter a garage, and it would tell you your wheel drive, such as front wheel, all wheel, and rear wheel. You could crash into cars and watch them fly. In free roam, you could do that too, but in that mode, you could also take scenic drives across the towns.

You could add under-glow lights, and there was a feature where you could take pictures for magazines. There was also a hydraulic feature. I don't remember what it was, but it was fun. In the magazine pictures, you could open your hood, your trunk, and your other doors. It's that awesome. This game deserves to be number one on the list. Oh, the memories. Ah, fun times, people. Fun times.

3 Need for Speed: Carbon

Carbon is incredibly good, only surpassed by Most Wanted due to MW's length. The game excels in visual appeal and offers excellent diversity between car classes. Tuners excel in turns, muscle cars dominate in straight lines, and exotics are the glass cannons. If you have the skills, you'll outperform the competition.

The story is the best of all the games, even outshining Most Wanted. The car selection is extensive, and the driving engine is incredibly smooth. Plus, you can drive the BMW M3 GTR. This is a game you must play.

4 Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)

This is definitely the best Need for Speed game to date. The graphics are outstanding, and the gameplay is scintillating. The cars are top-notch, and Criterion Games did an excellent job with this installment. Each race is challenging, and the pursuits are bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The range of cars is very vast, and the option to play both as a racer and a cop adds depth to the game. After this title, the quality of NFS games seems to have declined. You can play it your way: earn bounty as a racer and build your reputation as a cop, climbing the ranks and unlocking vehicles as you go. Another unique feature is that you acquire cars by increasing your bounty, rather than earning and spending cash. This is probably one of the best racing games ever made, and no driving experience is complete without playing it.

5 Need for Speed: Underground

The very first NFS game I ever played was Need for Speed: Underground. I remember my dad bringing it home and saying, "This game has a Honda Civic Si, son!" I was so excited, especially because it was for the GameCube. I played it when I was 8 years old and found it very difficult.

I always got so far as to acquire a Nissan Skyline GTR R34. Unfortunately, that was as far as I got because my GameCube broke. It was the saddest thing ever. Anyway, the cars, customization, graphics (which were awesome back in 2003), races, and gameplay all make this game deserving of a 10-star rating.

I am playing this for the first time in 2014. I actually enjoyed it. I really see why it sold so well. The gameplay, customization, and music are all awesome.

I was kind of surprised that it was number 7 on the list. I thought it was going to be in the top 4. Though people probably don't like it because it's old, and they can't accept that old games can be good too. If they don't have the latest graphics, the games are not good. It's a facepalm situation. But that doesn't prevent it from being good, in fact. Kudos to Black Box, which doesn't exist for NFS anymore.

6 Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)

I have had every single Need for Speed game yet, and I think Most Wanted 2012 is the best. The dynamics in the game are absolutely awesome. The speed is great, and the cops are more aggressive than ever. There are a few things that can be improved, such as the graphics and a few glitches within the game.

I think Most Wanted is probably the best Need for Speed, due in part to the fact that there are numerous astonishing cars in the game that don't require unlocking but just need to be found. For the first time, there is a wide range of cars, from muscle cars to exotic cars to super machines like the Ariel Atom, and also 4x4 vehicles.

Another great aspect of this game is that you can switch from one car to another just by pressing the triangle button, or by jumping straight to the car anywhere in the city. Moreover, when the next rival car is introduced, the artwork and animations are absolutely brilliant.

Excellent production from Citroen games.

7 Need for Speed: The Run

I agree with the game that's in first place right now, but I also think this game should be directly under it. It has the best-looking graphics of any racing simulator I've ever seen. The story is pretty good, and the idea of racing a 3,000-mile endurance race in one sitting is, to me, a pretty fun idea.

The game does take place in events, but that doesn't mean you can't play it from start to finish in one go.

Not one racing game has ever got my adrenaline pumping like this game. There's such a feeling of intensity on almost every mission. The stakes are high, and you can feel it.

This game should definitely be rated higher. I look forward to a sequel or spiritual successor.

8 Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

This is the beginning of the golden era, a series of five games that are arguably some of the best in the history of racing games. What puts this game so high on the list, despite its shortcomings, is the same thing that put Undercover so low despite its merits: physics. The handling in this game is by far the best in the series. I don't know what it is, but the way the cars handle feels incredibly satisfying. Police chases are also the most intense in the series, and it's quite hard to shake them off, unlike the less intelligent AI cops in the newer games. Additionally, their cars actually have weight, unlike in Most Wanted.

Championship mode gets unbelievably challenging in the later stages, but each failure only fuels your desire to complete the challenge. The soundtrack complements the game beautifully, keeping you fully focused during races. Hot Pursuit 2 may not have as much content as the top two games, but it's simply impossible to ignore just how well they nailed the physics!

Each game in the top three has a trait that no other game in the franchise can beat. This game excels at gameplay.

9 Need for Speed: World

This can be downloaded for free! You can play even if you don't have the money to buy almost any car, but if you want to, go ahead. There are so many places to drive in and discover. You can also look at hundreds of cars to choose from! The game is 3D, fast-paced, and long-running.

They actually update the game almost every week! For me, it's one of the most fun and exciting games ever made.

Most Wanted will never beat this because it has Carbon mixed in with it. My username is yspaceicufo. Add me, please! I only need one more person. Anyway, it might have Carbon Canyon in it and Rockport.

10 Need for Speed: Rivals

Given EA's troubles in the past, it was quite hard for them to top a great game like the classic NFS Most Wanted. However, thanks to their partnership with Ghost Games, they have reached new heights with Rivals.

I believe Rivals deserves a spot right next to Most Wanted (the first Most Wanted). It offers only the best racer and cop cars. To top that off, Ferrari is also back after a 7-year absence. Couple all this with the Frostbite 3 engine, and you have the best racer-chasing, cop-smashing arcade racer ever.

The Contenders
11 Need for Speed: Undercover

I've had this game for years and never sat down to focus on completing the career mode. I used it primarily for pursuits and sprints. I now realize how foolish I was for not dedicating more time to the career! It's fantastic! My only complaint is that the career mode is too short.

I completed it in roughly four hours of playing time. Regardless, I've started a new career, making different choices in cars this time. Even though I'm familiar with the stories and the roads, it sort of feels new again. I love this game!

Undercover had everything: from a not-so-bad story and graphics, to a wide paint selection and amazing Autosculpt customization. It even had one of the best and most varied car lineups in the franchise. It was set to be the best NFS game, but it wasn't even close.

What Undercover was missing is the most crucial aspect of any racing game: the physics. Undercover's physics were drastically bad. The cars handled like jet-skis. It's really sad knowing they got everything else right in the game. I spent most of my time in this game tuning cars.

12 Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed

Very few people realize this, as NFS spans such a long time period - of course, a 2010 game has better graphics than one that came out in 2000 - but Porsche Unleashed is the best game in the series. It strikes the perfect balance between street racing and organized races, realism and fun.

The car-accident-damage model is great. You can't just accelerate recklessly. Calculated driving, drifting, and overtaking are required. You have to repair any damage you cause.

The game offers realism in speed, without flashy effects, so you can really feel the speed. The factory driving mode is perfect.

13 Need for Speed: Shift 2: Unleashed

I found this Need for Speed to be very good. In fact, it's on par with its predecessor. I have never been fond of the direction Need for Speed took after the first Underground. The games were too arcade-like.

This one is not, and even though it often poses enough of a challenge, it's still great fun.

It is the best driving simulator ever! Move over, Gran Turismo!

NFS rocks. I really enjoyed the game. It's one of my most favorite games.

14 Need for Speed: Shift

I've been playing this game since I was 4. Now, ten years later, it's still my favorite Need for Speed game. It has great cars and great graphics. This game never gets old.

Best NFS game in my opinion. It's so realistic. None of the new NFS games have such a high level of realism.

15 Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit

How can this game be at such a low spot? This game is awesome! It's the first one I've played. The soundtrack is badass, the controls are smooth, and the cars are great. And I'm not talking about the PlayStation 1 version. I'm talking about the PC version. No game gets better than this one.

I just wish EA would make remastered versions of the old Need for Speed games. Maybe add new cars and remix the soundtrack.

This game has everything you need about cars, including pictures from the cockpit, slideshows, and lots of other things. The gameplay is very good too. It has the kind of music that a race game should have.

For a 1998 game, this one is sure a masterpiece.

16 Need for Speed: ProStreet

ProStreet rocks! Only true car racing fans and fanatics will appreciate this wonderful game. No other game offers this level of customization and modifications. You can sculpt your body in every possible way, and there are unlimited tuning options.

I just love it! I've finished it three times.

Great game, with something new in this series called "destruction." Yes, when you hit a wall or another player, you lose parts of your car, which was awesome in this game. It also has great graphics and a long "story."

You can personalize your car as you want to, with stripes, tribes, and stuff like that.

17 Need for Speed (2015)

Now that the game is out, there are many cars to choose from. In the beginning, you only have three to choose from, which is good for starting out, in my opinion.

It's true what others say about bringing back customization like in Underground and police chases like in Most Wanted. Even though Underground is considered rice nowadays, the type of customization should not be compared with the current options in the game. When it was launched, on rare occasions when passing a cop, let's just say at 15 mph, they will go and pull you over or start a pursuit. That's one con.

18 Need for Speed: High Stakes

Having owned most of the Need for Speed games, this was my favorite. People forget it because it is sandwiched between the Hot Pursuits, hasn't been remade, and is pre-Underground, but it was the best iteration of Hot Pursuit, deeper than its sequel, and more polished than HP. Porsche Unleashed should in no way be beating it. I owned both.

Also, it's more fun than Shift. I owned or played every game listed above this except for Carbon, and would rank this ahead of all of them.

On PCs, among those who have actually played NFS since the '90s, it is undisputed that High Stakes was, and still is, the true, definitive, and best NFS of all time. You will not find more perfect gameplay or a more perfect menu system. The cars are perfect. The maps are perfect.

Later games can only dream of reaching this level of excellence. The music is top-notch, and the cop A.I. is perfected. The car selections are superior. It may have been forgotten by the younger generation, perhaps deemed too dated for them. However, I assure you all, even in 2018, High Stakes is the best.

It still runs on Windows 10 using software rendering and looks amazing. It works flawlessly with the DS4 controller, with the triggers functioning like proper triggers, unlike modern NFS games that treat triggers as buttons. I own modern NFS games, and while some are good, most are laughable (cough SHIFT cough).

Forget those "realistic" NFS games that try too hard and end up being unrealistic in the process. High Stakes captures the true feel of racing in real life. This is what makes racing fun. High Stakes all the way.

19 Need for Speed II

Insane arcade game that doesn't feel like Burnout! (Which is good.) You also have the option to play with less arcade-like physics in simulation game style. This game was just about the true racing experience with exotic cars and exotic tracks, things that recent NFS games lack! Crashing here is very dangerous, and you can actually spin and roll your car.

Crashing in Most Wanted and Carbon is like nothing compared to this!

This is the best because it had the best track designs, innovative car damage, and interesting races. It was more of a simulator than an arcade racing game.

I'd put this up in the Top 10 because this is what made the Need for Speed series.

20 Need for Speed Payback

Why is this so low? The game was near perfect! Perfect storyline, perfect gameplay, perfect graphics, perfect amount of cars, and perfect customization. What is not to like? However, there is one little complaint I have: when you finish the story, then what? After finishing the storyline, there isn't much to do apart from driving around, collecting parts, and chips.

The derelicts were a fantastic addition.

Why 31? This is my favorite Need for Speed by far. The price is nowhere near as expensive as some people are saying, and the graphics are amazing. Cars and customizations are the best in the Need for Speed series.

I like doing free play and redoing races after I finish the story. Therefore, even when you are done, the fun just doesn't end! Also, the derelicts are a cool way to drive around more and get cars. I love NFS Payback and it definitely deserves at least the top 5 spot on this list.

21 Need for Speed Heat

This game could make a breakthrough due to its visuals, especially the day and night lighting, varieties of new model cars, and most importantly, its maps seem promising. This is just an early thought, and Heat may disrupt the game market.

This is the first Need for Speed game since Undercover that I've enjoyed from top to bottom. It has incredible graphics, brutal cops, and a car customization system unlike any NFS to date. Additionally, the NFS Heat Studio companion app is a really cool idea and should be implemented further into the franchise without having to pay any ludicrous amount of money. EA actually chilled with the purchasables this time around.

22 The Need for Speed

Most realistic Need for Speed ever. It's a shame the series turned to a more arcade-like experience, though I can understand it from a commercial perspective. But none of the sequels ever managed to be as impressive in terms of graphics and state-of-the-art features as this one was back in 1994. The first Need for Speed was a technical marvel and one of the most enjoyable racing simulations I've ever played.

The first NFS is still the best, along with Porsche Unleashed and NFS3. Looking at the votes, I'm pretty sure too many young people are here, not knowing the true roots of the series.

23 Need for Speed: No Limits
24 Need for Speed: V-Rally
25 Need for Speed: V-Rally 2
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