Need for Speed Games Ranked From Worst to Best

As an aficionado of racing games, you’re well acquainted with the ups and downs, the twists and turns of the Need for Speed franchise. It’s a thrilling ride, with some games shooting straight into pole position, while others sadly stall at the starting line.

Ranking these adrenaline-fueled games from the worst to the best is no small feat, but let’s navigate through this together, shall we? So buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a high-speed journey through the evolution of one of the most iconic racing game franchises in history.

Need for Speed Games Ranked From Worst to Best

Who knows, you might even discover some hidden gems you’ve overlooked along the way.

Key Takeaways

  • Need for Speed V Rally (1997) and Need for Speed: Undercover are considered the worst games in the franchise due to their focus on rally racing, poor graphics, inconsistent controls, and lack of quality gameplay and visuals.
  • Need for Speed: Nitro and Need for Speed: The Run fall in the middle tier, being average performers in the series, while Need for Speed: Heat offers a solid racing experience and is a good choice for fans of modern Need for Speed titles.
  • ‘The Turning Point’ game introduced a narrative-driven adventure in 2011, marking a significant change in the series and holding a unique position in the pantheon of Need for Speed games.
  • The original Need for Speed game, along with titles like Wanted and Carbon, brought significant changes to the series and revolutionized it, with their depiction of illegal street racing influencing pop culture.

Bottom of the List: Worst NFS Games

Bottom of the List: Worst NFS Games

Delving into the lower end of the spectrum, ‘Need for Speed V Rally’, released in 1997, disappoints with its focus on rally racing marred by poor graphics and inconsistent controls.

As you explore the Need For Speed franchise, from worst to best, you’ll discover other low points such as ‘Need for Speed: Undercover’. This racing game series has had its struggles, landing these titles at the bottom of the list: worst nfs games.

Middle Tier: Average Performers

Middle Tier: Average Performers

Stepping up from the franchise’s lowest points, we encounter the average performers in the Need for Speed series. These games are:

  1. Need for Speed: Nitro
  2. Need for Speed: The Run
  3. Need for Speed: Heat

Each Need for Speed game plays differently, offering a solid racing experience with a range of cars.

Ranking Every Need For Speed, these average performers are a good choice for fans of modern Need for Speed titles.

Top Ten: The Turning Point

Top Ten: The Turning Point

In the pantheon of Need for Speed games, ‘The Turning Point’ holds a unique position. It broke away from traditional racing gameplay in 2011 and introduced a narrative-driven adventure. This reshaped the franchise’s approach to racing games.

‘The Turning Point’ was a ‘top ten: the turning point’ for the series. It came after titles like Need for Speed: Shift, Hot Pursuit, and Porsche Unleashed from Ghost Games, and even Speed: Heat.

Top Five: The Game Changers

Top Five: The Game Changers

Continuing our journey, we now turn our focus to the revolutionary ‘Top Five: The Game Changers’.

The series showcases how:

  1. The original Need for Speed, the first game, altered the landscape of racing games.
  2. Speed has evolved with game changers like Wanted and Carbon, becoming the best Need For Speed.
  3. Need for Speed’s depiction of Illegal Street racing influenced pop culture.

The Runner Up: Almost Perfect

The Runner Up: Almost Perfect

Just shy of perfection, ‘The Runner Up: Almost Perfect’ is a heart-pounding game that captivates with its immersive open world, intense cop chases, and myriad of customizable cars.

This Need for Speed game provides a Forza Horizon-like experience with arcade-style racing and a compelling storyline featuring street racer Jack Rourke.

Despite minor flaws, its car customization is one of the best, making it almost perfect.

The Champion: Best NFS Game Ever

The Champion: Best NFS Game Ever

Now, let’s turn your attention to the champion, the best NFS game ever.

You’ll appreciate its unrivaled gameplay mechanics, stellar graphics quality, and captivating storyline elements.

These features elevate it above all others in the franchise, marking it as the pinnacle of the Need for Speed series.

Unrivaled Gameplay Mechanics

In the pantheon of Need for Speed games, The Champion stands out with its unrivaled gameplay mechanics that offer the most refined and immersive driving experience in the franchise’s history.

You’ll enjoy:

  1. Race tracks that rival Gran Turismo and Forza,
  2. High-octane police chases that outstrip Test Drive and Off-Road Racing,
  3. A ‘Speed Unbound’ feature that’s more game than Need.

With a score of 91, these mechanics make the game unbeatable.

Stellar Graphics Quality

While the unbeatable mechanics certainly set The Champion apart, it’s the game’s stellar graphics quality that truly catapults it to the top of the Need for Speed franchise.

Every detail, from the rally racing in San Francisco to the open world track editor in New York, is meticulously rendered. The game’s cars and tracks become the best in the series, creating an unrivaled gaming experience.

Captivating Storyline Elements

You’ll find the storyline elements in The Champion: Best NFS Game Ever captivating, setting it apart from other games in the franchise.

This arcade game lets you:

  1. Drive around in a Fast and the Furious styled story mode,
  2. Compete in intense drag racing in race mode,
  3. Enjoy the thrill of tournament mode with four-player support.

No wonder it tops the list of need for speed games ranked.


In conclusion, the Need for Speed franchise’s journey has been a thrilling ride, full of both peaks and dips. With over 150 million copies sold worldwide, it’s clear that this series holds a special spot in the hearts of racing game fans.

Despite some missteps, the franchise continues to rev engines and thrill players with its variety of gameplay styles, stunning visuals, and intense racing experiences.

Here’s to many more years of high-octane action.

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