There's been a new Need For Speed title every year but one since 2002. Over the years, the series has experimented with tuner-focused, arcade-style street racing and realistic circuit events, but has spent the past several years milking its familiar police-versus-street-racers theme and arcade-style gameplay. And things got stale. The series' last annualized title, 2013's cheese-tastic Need For Speed: Rivals, was proof that fatigue had truly set in and that a break was due.
It's good that EA recognized this. While last year's Need For Speed still maintained numerous NFS tropes – no manual transmissions, night-only racing, tussles with the police, and arcade-like driving dynamics – it was more enjoyable and better thought out than everything since 2009's Need For Speed: Shift. After forcing myself to play Rivals when I reviewed it in 2013, last year's NFS game was a true breath of fresh air – I actually had trouble putting it down. With any luck, taking 2016 off from full-scale new games will provide the same punchy impact on the next entry in this long-running series.