Need for Speed Payback gets its first big update, adding a new mode, more cars, and "Smackables"

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Racing fans can get a little more bang for their buck (or is it more torque for their horsepower?) on December 19, when Need for Speed Payback gets its first big content patch. The "Speedcross" update will add a new mode, new cars, new customization parts, and support for Logitech racing wheels. The good news? It's free*. The bad news? *Only some of it.

The titular Speedcross mode is arguably the most substantial addition, giving players two brand new cars (the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman and the Infiniti Q60 S) and three cross-class asphalt burners (the Nissan 350Z, the Ford Focus RS, and the Dodge Charger) to race across 16 new events. Speedcross is a score challenge, with special areas like Drift Zones, Jumps, and Speedtraps added to the track so you can get a leg up on your competition. There are even "Smackables" - small, breakable objects to trash with your car in order to pick up some extra points.

Speedcross and its two new cars are free for those who bought the Need for Speed Payback Deluxe edition. It will be made available as a separate purchase for everyone else. EA hasn’t specified a price just yet.

Don't be too bummed out though, because even if your wallet's feeling a bit tight this holiday season, NFS Payback will still be getting an influx of new, free content. The biggest is the ability to access (and potentially earn) Abandoned Cars. These aren't quite like the Derelicts you can find already - instead, you'll find these ready-to-race roadsters hidden throughout the map and, if you can successfully evade the police with one, you'll unlock it permanently.

The first Abandoned Car coming to the game is the Mazda RX-7 Spirit R, and you can find it starting December 19. In the coming weeks, you'll also be able to add the Volvo 242DL, Volvo Amazon P130, Plymouth Barracuda, Nissan Skyline 2000 GTR and the BMW M3 Evolution II E30 to your garage.

In addition, the BMW M4 GTS, M5, X6M, and M2 are all getting new customization parts, the single-player's Drift Trial events are coming to multiplayer as Drift Runs, and the Logitech G29 and G920 steering wheels are getting official support.