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The Complete Need For Speed Games List in Order

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The Complete Need For Speed Games List

Need for Speed is still the first game that springs to mind when we want to play a racing game.  

The franchise is over two decades old and has managed to stay relevant year after year, despite increased competition and a shift in the way games are played and purchased. 

In light of the above, we decided to put together a complete Need for Speed games list in order of release, to give you a better understanding of what the most recent ones are. 

So, without further ado, here’s the complete Need For Speed games list in order. 

 

The Complete Need For Speed Games List in Order

The list of Need For Speed games and figures mentioned below has been compiled from various sources around the web, such as IMDB, Wikipedia & The Gamer.

Here’s the complete Need For Speed games list in order:

 

23. The Need for Speed – (1994) 

Need For Speed 1994

The Need for Speed is the first installment in the Need for Speed series. 

It was developed by EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts in 1994, for the 3DO, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows, Sega Saturn, and PlayStation. 

The game’s premise is simple, race around closed circuits and point-to-point tracks in exotic cars and Japanese imports while avoiding the police and completing a series of tournaments. 

The Need for Speed was praised for its realism, graphics, addictive gameplay, and video commentaries and managed to reach number 5 in the UK sales charts. 

 

22. Need for Speed II – (1997) 

Need for Speed II

Need for Speed II is the second installment in the series and was released on the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows in March 1997. 

Electronic Arts (EA) developed and published the game, and, like its predecessor, Need for Speed II allows players to compete in a series of races in rare exotic cars. 

You’ll be racing around themed tracks in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, either against your friends or computer-controlled adversaries.  

You can choose from eight luxury sports cars and some additional customization options that weren’t available in the first game in the series. 

Need for Speed was met with mixed reviews upon release with critique directed toward its graphics and frame rate. 

 

21. Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit – (1998) 

Need for Speed III Hot Pursuit

The next title on our complete Need for Speed games list is Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. 

The game is the third major installment in the Need for Speed series and was developed and published by Electronic Arts in 1998. 

Like the previous two installments before it, Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit still incorporates police pursuits, as a significant part of the game, and remains focused on exotic sports cars. 

However, the races mainly take place throughout North America, in different climates and settings, and feature improved police AI, which makes the game even more difficult. 

Upon release, the game was met with favorable reviews from critics and managed to climb to number 10 in the UK sales charts. 

 

20. Need for Speed: High Stakes – (1999) 

Best Need for Speed Games - High Stakes

Need for Speed: High Stakes is the 1999 racing video game that was developed and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation. 

In this installment, players can earn credits by completing races, which they can use to buy new cars or upgrade their old ones.

On top of that, winning a race also unlocks new tracks for single-player purposes, and, completing Tournament races unlocks “Special Event” races. 

When Need for Speed: High Stakes came out, it received mainly positive reviews from critics, mostly for features like vehicle damage, customization, and the new career mode. 

 

19. Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed – (2000) 

Next on the list is Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed

The game was developed by Electronic Arts, once again, and is the fifth installment in the Need for Speed series. 

This one differs from the previous titles in the series because it focuses entirely on racing Porsche sports cars around different tracks in Europe. 

Players can choose from two career modes and can fully customize their car from an in-depth catalog and aftermarket parts. 

Upon release, Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with PC Gamer US calling it the “best racing game of 2000.”

 

18. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 – (2002) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Hot Pursuit 2

The eighteenth title on our games list is Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. 

This 2002 installment is the sixth game in the series and the sequel to Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. 

EA Black Box developed the game for the PlayStation 2, and EA Seattle for the GameCube, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows versions. 

It continues with the series focus on exotic cars but also allows players to play as a police officer and do the pursuing instead of speeding for a change. 

Upon release, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 received favorable reviews for the PS2 and Xbox versions, while only scoring “average” reviews on the PC and GameCube versions. 

Despite mixed reviews overall, the game won the “Console Racing Game of the Year” award at the 6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards. 

 

17. Need for Speed: Underground – (2003) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Underground

Need for Speed: Underground was developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts in 2003. 

It’s the seventh installment in the Need for Speed series. Two different games were produced, one for Windows and consoles and the other for the GameBoy Advance. 

Underground went in a different direction compared to its predecessors in terms of sports cars and exotics, choosing instead to focus on vehicles that were associated with the import scene. 

They brought in a career mode that featured a storyline and a garage mode that allowed players to fully customize cars with a variety of brand-name parts. 

Need for Speed: Underground became a commercial success, with sales of around 7 million copies by the middle of 2004. It was quickly followed in 2004 by the next title on our Need for Speed games list.

 

16. Need for Speed: Underground 2 – (2004) 

Best Racing Games - Need For Speed Underground 2

Need for Speed: Underground 2 is the follow-up title to the previously mentioned Need for Speed: Underground. 

The game was released only a year after its older brother and is the eighth installment in the Need for Speed series overall. 

As usual, the game was developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, the Gameboy Advance, GameCube, Xbox, and Playstation 2 in 2004. 

This time around, the game resumes the Underground storyline but includes several new features like broader customization options, better ways to select races, and a further “explore mode.”

Need for Speed 2 broke UK sales records and sold over 8.4 million copies worldwide by the end of 2004. 

 

15. Need for Speed: Most Wanted – (2005) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Most Wanted

Coming in at number fifteen on our complete games list is Need for Speed: Most Wanted

It’s the ninth installment in the series and was developed by EA Canada and EA Black Box, and, published by Electronic Arts in 2005. 

The game was released for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows. 

This installment focuses on street racing-oriented gameplay around the fictional city of Rockport, with players challenging the cities elite street racers to be crowned “the most wanted racer of the group.”

Most Wanted received positive reviews upon release and became an instant commercial success. It sold more than 16 million copies worldwide and became the best-selling title in the series at the time. 

 

14. Need for Speed: Carbon – (2006) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Carbon

Next up is Need for Speed: Carbon. 

It’s the tenth installment in the series and was developed by EA Canada, Rovio Mobile, and EA Black Box. Electronic Arts published it in 2006 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Playstation 2, as well as a few others. 

Carbon takes place in the fictional city of Palmont, with its main story taking place after the events of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. 

It focuses on players trying to take control of the city from a variety of different street racing gangs. It introduced several new features, including crews, racing wingmen, and Touge-styled racing events. 

Upon release, the game received positive reviews from critics overall but did pick up some negative criticism over some elements of its gameplay mechanics and one to two other points. 

 

13. Need for Speed: Pro Street – (2007) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Pro Street

Need for Speed: Pro Street is the eleventh installment in the Need for Speed series and the direct sequel to Carbon. 

The game was developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts and EA Mobile for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox 360 in November 2007. 

Pro Street went down an entirely different path compared to its predecessors, as it focuses on legal closed-track racing, instead of the traditional illegal open-world street racing that Need for Speed is known for. 

The game was met with an average reception upon release and has sold over 2.4 million copies in the United States. 

 

12. Need for Speed: Undercover – (2008) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Undercover

Need for Speed: Undercover is the twelfth installment in the series and was released worldwide on November 18, 2008.

EA Black Box developed the game, and Electronic Arts published it for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Portable (PSP), and Nintendo DS. 

After 2007’s Pro Street digression into the legal world, Undercover sees a return to illegal street racing in fictional Tri-City.

The primary story mode focuses on players operating as an undercover cop to find links between stolen cars, street racers, and a criminal organization. 

Need for Speed: Undercover was criticized for its repetitive elements and difficulty setting, and was met with mixed reviews overall.

 

11. Need for Speed: Shift – (2009) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Shift

Need for Speed: Shift is the thirteenth installment in the racing video game series. 

It was developed by Slightly Mad Studios in conjunction with EA Bright Light and published by Electronic Arts in 2009 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the PlayStation Portable. 

Shift focuses on simulation instead of arcade racing gameplay like the majority of titles in the series and doesn’t include a story mode. Instead, players compete in the “NFS Live World Series” for stars, which can be converted into money, which can then be used to unlock new races. 

Upon release, Need for Speed: Shift was met with positive reviews overall and was given the “Editors Choice Award” by IGN. 

 

10. Need for Speed: Nitro – (2009) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Nitro

The next title on our complete Need for Speed games list is Need for Speed: Nitro. 

It’s the fourteenth title in the series and was developed by Firebrand Games in collaboration with EA Montreal and published by Electronic Arts in 2009 for the Nintendo Wii and DS. 

Nitro goes back to the classic arcade style of gameplay that we’re more familiar with and puts emphasis on Speed and excitement over realism and vehicle tuning. 

You’ll be able to play in several locations across the globe and compete in drag races of up to four players at a time. 

Upon release, Nitro was met with positive reviews and scored highly with the majority of game aggregators and publications. 

 

9. Need for Speed: World – (2010) 

Need for Speed World

Need for Speed: World is the fifteenth installment in the Need for Speed series and was co-developed by EA Black Box. 

Electronic Arts published it in 2010 for Microsoft Windows, and it was the first freemium massively multiplayer online racing game in the Need for Speed series. 

Need for Speed: World presents itself in the same kind of style as Most Wanted and Carbon, choosing to focus once again on illegal street racing, police chases, and car tuning. 

It also brings with it some new additions, such as “power-ups,” improvements to its graphics, and additional locations. 

Need for Speed: World was met with mixed reviews upon release and received average scores from the majority of game publications. 

 

8. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – (2010) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is a 2010 racing game developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts. 

It’s the sixteenth Need for Speed title in the franchise and was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft Windows. 

This time around, Hot Pursuit is set in Seacrest County, a fictional county that’s loosely based on the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. 

Players have lots of choices when it comes to gameplay and types of races to participate in. 

Upon release, Hot Pursuit was well received by critics and won several “Best Racing Game” awards, including “Best Driving Game” at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, and “Best Racing Game” at the 2010 Game Critics Awards. 

 

7. Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed – (2011) 

Best Need for Speed Games - Shift 2 Unleashed

The seventh title on our complete Need for Speed games list is Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed. 

It’s the seventeenth installment in the series and the direct sequel to Need for Speed: Shift. It was developed by Slightly Mad Studios and published by Electronic Arts in 2011. 

Unleashed features over 145 cars and players can compete in several race types and play online. 

As well as that, the game also features an additional in-helmet camera and night-time racing. 

Upon release, Shift 2:Unleashed was met with positive reviews overall and managed to reach number 3 in the UK game sales chart. 

 

6. Need for Speed: The Run – (2011) 

Best Need for Speed Games - The Run

Need for Speed: The Run is the eighteenth title in the Need for Speed series. 

The game was developed and published by Electronic Arts in 2011, for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. 

In this installment, the game focuses on point-to-point racing, allowing players to overtake opponents, explore time attacks, evade the police, and escape from criminal gang members. 

You’ll find an extensive collection of races located throughout major American cities, and a large variety of cars to drive around them in. 

Need for Speed: The Run was met with mixed reviews upon release, with the majority of significant game publications scoring the game just above average. 

 

5. Need for Speed: Most Wanted – (2012) 

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is the ninth installment in the Need for Speed series.

The 2005 open-world racing video game was developed Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts in 2012. 

It was released on the PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android. 

The game follows the same style as the first Most Wanted title in the franchise but includes several additional features, tracks, and cars. These provide a refreshing upgrade from its older brother and make for some excellent gameplay. 

Most Wanted was met with positive reviews from critics upon release and won several industry awards, including “Best Driving Game” at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards. 

 

4. Need for Speed: Rivals – (2013) 

Need for Speed Rivals

Coming in at number four on our complete Need for Speed games list is Need for Speed: Rivals. 

It’s the twelfth installment in the Need for Speed series and was released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows in November 2013. 

Rivals allow players to choose between playing as a cop or a racer. The one you choose will determine what type of playstyle you’ll be in, and each has its own unique attributes. 

Upon release, Rivals was met with positive reviews and received the award for “Best Racing Game” at the 2013 Game Critics Awards. 

 

3. Need for Speed: No Limits – (2015) 

Need for Speed No Limits

 

Next up is Need for Speed: No Limits. 

The free-to-play racing game was released in 2015 for iOS and Android, developed by Firemonkeys Studios, and published by Electronic Arts. 

It’s the franchises second free-to-play title and the first to be made specifically for mobile devices.

Players compete in “Campaign races,” Car Series races,” and Rival races,” focusing on street racing, vehicle customization, and evading the police. 

The game was praised for its visuals, controls, and gameplay, but did receive some negative criticism for its incredibly short races and free-to-play system. 

 

2. Need for Speed: Payback – (2017) 

Need for Speed Payback

Need for Speed: Payback is the twenty-third installment in the Need for Speed series. It was developed by Ghost Games and published by Electronic Arts in 2017. 

The game is set in an open-world environment in a fictional version of Las Vegas, Nevada: Fortune Valley. 

It features three playable characters, 74 vehicles, and is heavily focused on “action driving.”

Each player has a unique set of skills, and, when combined with the other two characters, they’re able to pull off some pretty cool action movie-type sequences. 

Payback was met with mixed reviews from critics upon release and was nominated for several industry awards in 2017 and 2018. 

 

1. Need for Speed: Heat – (2019)

Best Need for Speed Games - NFS Heat

Need for Speed: Heat is the most recent installment in the series. 

It was developed by Ghost Games and published by Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, and Xbox One. 

The latest installment is set in an open world in Palm City and sees players take part in a series of sanctioned race events by day, and illegal street races at night.

Players receive rewards from each race type and can put them toward new cars or upgrades. If being chased by police is your thing, focus more on the nighttime illegal street races, as this increases your “REP” which causes the police to become even more aggressive. 

Upon release, Need for Speed: Heat received positive reviews from critics and won the award for “Game, Franchise Racing” at the NAVGTR Awards. 

 

Summary

We hope you enjoyed the complete Need For Speed games list in order. 

Need for Speed is one of our favorite game franchises of all time. 

You’d be hard-pressed to pull us away from a game of Need for Speed: Heat, as once we’re locked in the driving seat, there isn’t any stopping us! 

Here’s a quick recap of the complete Need For Speed games list in order:

  1. Need for Speed: Heat – (2019)
  2. Need for Speed: Payback – (2017)
  3. Need for Speed: No Limits – (2015)
  4. Need for Speed: Rivals – (2013)
  5. Need for Speed: Most Wanted – (2012)
  6. Need for Speed: The Run – (2011)
  7. Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed – (2006)
  8. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – (2010)
  9. Need for Speed: World – (2010)
  10. Need for Speed: Nitro – (2009)
  11. Need for Speed: Shift – (2009)
  12. Need for Speed: Undercover – (2008)
  13. Need for Speed: Pro Street – (2007)
  14. Need for Speed: Carbon – (2006)
  15. Need for Speed: Most Wanted – (2005)
  16. Need for Speed: Underground 2 – (2004)
  17. Need for Speed: Underground – (2003)
  18. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 – (2002)
  19. Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed – (2000)
  20. Need for Speed: High Stakes – (1999)
  21. Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit – (1998)
  22. Need for Speed II – (1997)
  23. The Need for Speed – (1994)

What’s your favorite Need For Speed game? Leave a comment below.

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